Lisa & Mike's literature-inspired family-focused wedding redo

We've got our noses stuck in the book of love with this week's theme: bookish weddings! Turn the page — I mean, scroll down — for literature-loving fun.

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Photos by jbagz Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Lisa, Operations Manager/Brand Designer

Her offbeat partner: Mike, Systems Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Monte Sano Club, Huntsville, AL — October 19, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Michael and I have always shared a love of books. So when it came time to plan the event, a literature-inspired ceremony was a natural solution. Everything from the cootie-catcher save-the-dates to the hand-typed invitations were inspired by our love of lit. The cake topper was even a dinosaur couple from A Lovely Love Story made by our awesome friend and artist, Ramone Daniel.

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"If destroying books for crafts freaks you out, click here to learn how you're actually doing libraries a favor!"

Lovely Love Story Dinosaur Cake Toppers

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DIY Literature Inspired Decorations

The love of family and community was also a driving factor. So we opted to keep things less formal, and made everything very family-focused and fun. We served a s'mores bar with hot cider to help folks warm up in the chilly night. We also showed The Princess Bride in the pavilion. The kiddos relaxed on straw bales and ate while they watched the movie. While the movie played, the adults listened to a house concert given by Nashville singer/songwriter, Jon Troast. And Michael didn't have to dance, so he thought that was super awesome, too.

Programs

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One of our favorite programs!

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Michael and I were married at Monte Sano Club in Huntsville, Alabama. The event took place beneath the full moon, perched on the side of a mountain, overlooking the valley. We wrote our own vows and I made almost all of the decorations by hand, working for months leading up to the event.

Our dear friend, Kerry Holder Joffrion performed the ceremony. She did an amazing job weaving in our love of literature and devotion to our mountain-top community. Our beautiful nephew, Lawson, gave the reading, A Lovely Love Story, of course. We followed the vows with a fire ceremony that culminated in a wish lantern taking our hopes for the future out into the universe.

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Having an outdoor ceremony, our biggest contingency plan was "a good attitude." We told everyone that the wedding is on the side of a mountain, at night, in October, and to dress accordingly. And even though it was a super chilly night, the multiple fire pits and propane heaters kept everyone's fingers from turning blue.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was the budget. Since Michael and I have been together for fifteen years, we were focused mostly on college funds for the kids and the to-do projects around the house. When we finally made the decision to have a ceremony, we set aside money every month and paid cash for the wedding. Friends and family helped out with everything from flower arranging to sculpting our kick-ass cake topper.

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My favorite moment:
I was so touched that my dad finally got to walk me down the aisle. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 18, so having my dad there was super emotional. I was so thankful to have him by my side.

When Michael started to say his vows, he choked up for a few minutes. And everyone who knows Michael knows that he's anything but emotional! As the tears welled up in his eyes, we just exchanged the biggest grins that I will remember forever.

And finally, when Jon Troast played "At Least They'll Know," an ode to what we do for our families, I hugged our kids close and sobbed my sensitive little heart out. I was just so thankful to be surrounded by all of my friends and family that I love so much. As my daughter used to say, "The happiness just got so big inside it leaked out of your eyes."

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My funniest moment:
The funniest moment of our wedding occurred when the officiant, our dear friend, Kerry, asked for the rings. After fifteen years, I know Michael. He got that look on his face like, "Oh, crap." Then he looked over to our son and he gave us the "Don't look at me," shrug of a teenage boy. Then we looked at each other and cracked up. We realized we had seriously forgotten the rings. Then I turned around to the audience and shouted, "Does anyone have some rings we can borrow?" Two dear friends came to the rescue with their rings and Kerry worked it into the ceremony so well that everyone thought we planned the whole thing!

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
Michael and I had both been married before — to each other in fact! We were married for 10 years before we went through a divorce. I like to call it our "Phoenix Year" because we rose from the ashes together and now everyone we meet thinks we are newlyweds. We know how challenging married life can be and we chose each other again. In fact, I think it says something to choose someone for the second time after being together for so long. You know all of their faults and still say, "I can't imagine my life without you."

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
ACCEPT HELP! Seriously, I absolutely could not have pulled this off without the endless hours from my friends and loved ones. My sister, Michelle showed up two days early to help set up, and my father built the cake stand and bench for the kids. And some truly amazing ladies, Jodie Stephens, Laura Wren, and Allison Young knocked out the setup, flowers, and endless details it takes to pull a wedding together. They were serious rock stars.

Fire ceremony

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Lisa, this is absolutely beautiful!
    I'd like to take your advise and ask for help- would your dad be willing to share his basic plans for the cake stand?

    Thanks so much!

    4 agree
    • I'm sure he would love to! I'll talk to him and find out. Could I send you an email when he responds?

  2. Seriously, those mini-trifles. That is such an amazing idea. I need to know where to buy those tiny dessert cups!

  3. As an old married who never got our off beat wedding and went through some personal fires this gives me hope for our dream off beat wedding.

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