This week we're celebrating intimate weddings with destination elopements, cozy city hall vows, and private romantic ceremonies. It's the warm fuzzies on a smaller scale.
The offbeat bride: Stephanie, student
Her offbeat partner: Zachary, United States Army
Date and location of wedding: Douglas County Courthouse, Superior, WI — June 11, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Zachary and I wanted something different and our own. We decided to have our wedding on a Monday. He wore his Class A's and I wore a short, white dress. Our ceremony took place at our local courthouse, where we had a beautiful ceremony despite it being from a judge that we had never met before.
We had just our immediate family and closest friends at the ceremony as well as at our pizza lunch reception that followed. After our lunch, we spent the evening bar-hopping with a group of friends before finding a hotel for the night. We weren't spending hundreds of dollars trying to impress anyone, we just wanted to be authentic and celebrate our love and commitment.
Tell us about the ceremony: We were at the mercy of whatever our judge wanted to say. Luckily, his readings were perfect. He really tailored it and made it personal to us. By the tears in our families' eyes, it was beyond amazing.
Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was whether or not to invite extended family and more of our friends. We ended up just inviting our immediate family because we figured the relatives would understand if it was just those closest to us. Our extended families showed overwhelming support for our decision, which was a relief.
My funniest moment: I remember when my husband tried to put the wedding band on my finger during the ceremony (it was a little snug) and I said, "It'll fit!" Everybody started laughing.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I thought that I wasn't going to have enough time or enough skill to do my own hair and makeup. I showed up about five minutes late to the courthouse to fill out paperwork because of that. But I think it was just fine in the end.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Plan a wedding within your means, and hire an amazing photographer. You can have the most gorgeous wedding in the world, but make sure the photographs do it justice. Also, consider a mid-week wedding. You will save big money everywhere, and those who really care will show up.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Remember to go with your gut, and be confident about your decisions. We would have been unhappy with a big wedding, so we chose to cater the size to our preference. People are going to ask why you did such-and-such, and you just have to own your choices.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!