The offbeat bride: Hana, Managing Editor of a magazine
Her offbeat partner: Tim, Cabinet Maker
Date and location of wedding: Hana's boss's farm and Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield, ME — July 28, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: For our venue, we chose a family farm in rural Maine owned by our former boss. He and his wife graciously let us use it for free, and it was perfect for a small, destination-ish wedding (we live in Massachusetts). We decided to have our reception at Stone Mountain Arts Center because it was right down the street from the farm.
Most of the elements of our wedding were DIY and local. We made the pinwheels, and two of our friends made the jams we gave away as favors. The flowers came from the garden of one of Stone Mountain Arts Center's employees. The ingredients in the food at the reception were all local, too. While the location was a tad inconvenient for our out-of-state guests, we were close enough to lots of tourist attractions to make the trip worthwhile for everyone.
Overall we just wanted something simple and inexpensive, so we left out some of the more "traditional" elements of a wedding, such as a hired DJ and a cake cutting. We told our wedding party to dress in whatever they liked best. I bought my dress online from Nordstrom for $225, and Tim bought his outfit at Macy's for under $100. My sister, Julia, and my best friend, Hanna, did my hair and makeup, and my stepbrother's wife officiated the ceremony. In the end, it was exactly what we envisioned and we saved a lot of money.
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was officiated by my stepbrother's wife (stepsister-in-law?), Kate, who is the wittiest, most personable woman we know. We actually got married a month beforehand at the city hall in our town, so Kate did not have to get ordained or anything. Her ceremony was funny, sweet, and touching all at once. Here's an excerpt:
Obviously this is not going to be a religious ceremony. Major clues were probably that we are outside of a barn, I'm reading from a Kindle and I'm a dubiously related family member. But even so, I want to talk to you about Holy matrimony. What does holy really mean? It is special, it is sacred. It is apart from the everything else that competes for our attention. And today Hana and Tim stand here to affirm that the relationship they share is separate, is holy, is sacred, not just today but for every day forward.
My best childhood friend, Hanna, read an excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. We chose this as our reading because it was read at my parents' wedding in 1983:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
We also did a modified, non-religious version of the Seven Blessings, which we called the Seven Wishes. We had seven family members and friends stand up and each read one. We read our vows, which we wrote ourselves, then did a ribbon ceremony, where Kaylana, our oldest daughter, tied a ribbon around our clasped hands and said "We are a family!"
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was making sure that everyone in our families could attend the wedding, and that they would have a place to stay in Maine. Tim has a big family and most of my family lives in Colorado, so we needed to find affordable accommodations and a central place to meet throughout the week we would be there. My dad, certified hero, saved our butts by offering to rent and cover the cost of a mammoth vacation house in near-by North Conway, NH so that all 35 of us (including nine children) would have a place to stay together.
My favorite moment: Tim has a seven-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, and we have a 15-month-old little girl together. Having both of the girls not only at the wedding, participating in the ceremony was super meaningful. Lucy, our toddler, wandered around our feet playing with pinwheels throughout the ceremony, and Kaylana performed the ribbon ceremony to officially bind us together as a family. We all walked down the aisle together afterwards.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? While planning this wedding I really learned how to let people help me. I normally have a very difficult time delegating tasks — I like to do everything myself (and my way) start to finish. As much as I wanted to be Super Bride, it quickly became evident that raising a baby, working full-time, and planning a wedding do not mix, and my family and friends swooped in to help. At first I had a terrible time letting things go, but the weight that was lifted off my shoulders each time was amazing, and soon I was asking for help left and right.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Erica Marie Photography
- Dress: Nordstrom
- Shoes: Marianna by Golc
- Flower in hair: Forever21
- Flower girl dresses: Chasing Fireflies and Target
- Bridesmaid dresses: Ruche and Lane Bryant
- Reception venue: Stone Mountain Arts Center
- Flowers: Jackie Gardner at Stone Mountain Arts Center
- Pies: Leavitt's Country Bakery, North Conway, NH
- Parasol, mini chalkboards, fans, and kids toys: Oriental Trading Company
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!