Laura & Dave's succulents, accordions, and Paper Moon wedding #Real Weddings: Southern US#diy centerpiece#diy invitations#economical wedding#first look#georgia#invitations#no wedding party#outdoor#photo booth#rock your wedding#secular#short dress July 22 | Offbeat Editors Photos by: Sweet Darlin Photography Photos by Sweet Darlin Photography The Offbeat Bride: Laura, Research Coordinator Her offbeat partner: Dave, Sociologist Date and location of wedding: The Founders Garden, Athens, GA — June 2, 2012 Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted our wedding weekend to be a meaningful reflection of our individual personalities, the love we share for each other, and the friends and families who shaped us as individuals and as a couple. Also, it was important for us to keep costs low since we were paying for most of the wedding ourselves and have other long-term financial goals. When making decisions, we would check back in with these guiding principles and make adjustments as necessary. The venue, decorations, music, and especially the ceremony were selected and/or created with intent. The venue was a garden on the University campus where we met. Many of the decorations were crafted by hand. We potted dozens of succulents. Dave worked on our save-the-dates and I made the invitations. With wood, foam board, some fabric, a high resolution picture of the moon, and a large scale printer, we constructed a Paper Moon-inspired photo booth for guests to enjoy during the reception. We had an accordion player during a cocktail hour, which included a version of Europe's "The Final Countdown." The whole affair was a group effort, much to the credit of our friends and family. Tell us about the ceremony: Without a religious tradition guiding the ceremony, we created one from scratch. Our ceremony was co-officiated by my major professor and her husband. Instead of a bridal party in the traditional sense, we each asked two friends to speak about whatever they wanted during the ceremony. Dave and I see our notions of love and marriage being shaped by those in our lives, so having our friends speak was a way of reflecting that. My friend Patrick read a poem that he wrote for the occasion. Dave's friend Bobby, a physiologist, spoke to the biological, psychological, and social definitions of love. My friend Laura read "Song of the Open Road Part 15" by Walt Whitman. And Dave's friend Nick read "Wedding Poem" by Bill Holm. Our vows consisted of six promises that captured our goals for marriage, the gist of which was: continuing to invest in our relationship, being responsible, celebrating our individuality, cherishing our network of friends and family, taking risks, and honoring our commitment to each other. As the ceremony concluded, we retreated back down the aisle as our friend crooned "Free Love Freeway," a song that David Brent sings in the BBC version of The Office. Our biggest challenge: It is easy to find ways to spend money and justify doing so. It was difficult for us to rein in those impulses and stick to our goals. When trying to strike a balance between creating a meaningful, magical experience and staying within our budget, we employed several tactics. First, we pinched pennies. Will Two-Buck Chuck suffice in lieu of France's finest Bordeaux? Instead of splurging on a DJ, can we solicit our friends and family for their favorite tunes to play on our iPad through Spotify? Yes and yes. Another saving strategy was to keep an open mind and not be turned off if something didn't have the word "wedding" in the description. The vintage dress I wore was marketed as prom dress. Our white linen tablecloths were actually Ikea bed sheets. Getting creative was a great way for us to save. We justified splurging on items out of which we could get a lot of mileage. Dave purchased a suit instead of renting one, which cost more up front but will serve him well throughout his career. And while we did have some freshly cut flowers, most of our centerpieces were potted succulents. Some of those plants continue to beautify our home and others were given away as gifts. My favorite moment: We appreciate the element of surprise when it comes to the sacred and profane aspects of our lives. Whether it's dramatically unveiling our engagement to friends and family or kicking each other out of the kitchen so as to secretly construct a heart-shaped pancake, we like surprises. During our rehearsal dinner, we revealed to our families that Dave had gotten a job in the same state as his siblings and parents. Both of our families were shocked, and ecstatic. It was a great way to kick off the weekend-long wedding celebration. For me, a highlight of the day was when I serenaded Dave (and our guests) with an accordion rendition of "Lovefool" by The Cardigans. And while the lyrics reek of desperation, the song was special to us because I sang it to him years before during a night of karaoke. It was a meaningful moment and a nod to how far we had come in our relationship. What "oOOooOooOoooOo" looks like in person My funniest moment: The moment of our first look was pretty funny. Dave turned around, seeing me for the first time all done up, and had the craziest, most surprised look on his face. Because of his expression, I thought he was joking and putting on a show. I asked him about it in the moment and he insisted he was just excited. Several weeks later, when we received our pictures from the photographer, he too made a comment about how crazy he looked. I'm so glad out photographer captured this crazy-in-love moment. What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? While planning the wedding, I came across the Offbeat Bride blog post on maintaining open expectations. I really took it to heart and, on our wedding day, others noticed — several people commented on how calm and relaxed we seemed amidst the chaos and stress of the day. Letting go of the anxiety and embracing all that the day had to offer was a great gift to ourselves. Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? Rehearsal dinner location: Transmetropolitan Rehearsal dinner photography: Courtney Houston Photography Rehearsal dress: Made Studio Rehearsal headband and belt: Daniel12 Rehearsal dinner heart crayons tutorial: Simmworks Family Venue: Founders Garden on The University of Georgia campus Photography: Sweet Darlin Photography Dress: Vintage Vortex Earrings and boutonniere: Wearable Planter Bouquet: Extra large Xerographica air plant Bride's Shoes: Aerosoles Suit: Indochino.com Groom's shoes: Kenneth Cole Succulent arrangements: Cactus Creations by Peggy Heard Individual succulents: Southeastern Succulents Oil Lamps: Kmart Oil Candles (as well as plates, cups, and silverware): WebstaurantStore.com Linens: IKEA Oilcloth runners: Fabric.com Ribbon wands tutorial: Offbeat Bride Food catered and serviced: Five Star Day Cafe Table and chair rentals: Goodwin Rentals Accordionist: Larry Berke Enough talk — show me the wedding porn! allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=photos%2F95413848%40N08%2Fsets%2F72157633535872715%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=photos%2F95413848%40N08%2Fsets%2F72157633535872715%2Fshow%2F&set_id=72157633535872715&jump_to=" width="800" height="500"> Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS You get another chance to win FREE wedding photography from New England's Justine Johnson Photography NEXT The adorable summer camp wedding that'll make you say "awww" at least once! Toggle comments [ 9 ] So so sweet, I love the setting and the look of those sweet treats, gorgeous and so heartfelt! 2 agree Reply I absolutely LOVE the paper moon photobooth! 6 agree Reply Awesome! I am going to make a paper moon photo booth for my wedding too. Mostly because 'our song' is the erin mckeown cover of paper moon and it will be our first dance song. Love it! 2 agree Reply Ikea sheets as tablecloths!? Genius weddinghack! 2 agree Reply Love, Love, Love! that dress!!!!! Beautiful and fun! 1 agrees Reply I love weddings that heavily incorporate literary elements! Also, paper moons are awesome. Reply Please tell me there is a tutorial on how to make that moon! If not make one! Or sell me your old moon! Lol I neeeeed it in my wedding haha Also, his face is amazing he definitely appreciated how beautiful you looked Beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple <3 1 agrees Reply I usually find first-look pictures a little weird, both because the idea of a first look isn't super appealing to me and because isn't it supposed to be an intimate moment? But that expression is brilliant! If I thought my dude would make a face like that, I'd be all about the first look! 5 agree Reply Love this. I got engaged at the Founder's garden and planned to get married in Athens but life got in the way. Your wedding looked gorgeous! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.