An intimate rustic Christmas wedding with a baby reveal

December 24 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: OhKarina Photography
An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride
Photos by OhKarina Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Julie, Environmental Scientist

Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Underwriter

Date and location of wedding: Pavilion on Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT — December 6, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Ryan and I had been together for 12 years and always planned to get married. However, when I found out I was pregnant, we decided we wanted to do it before the baby arrived which gave us about three months.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

We wanted a wedding without pomp and circumstance where we could spend as much time with our guests as possible, especially since many were traveling from out-of-town. We quickly found a venue that fit the bill, a converted barn where the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception were all in one room. Because we wanted as much time with our guests as possible, in addition to the wedding, we hosted a welcome dinner the Friday before the wedding at the Ryan's parents' house (catered with some of the best BBQ in the Northeast), an after-party at the hotel bar (with New Haven-style pizza from MONDO Pizza), and a Sunday morning brunch catered by the Inn at Middletown.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

We didn't have a bridal party, and wanted to be present at the cocktail hour, so we opted to take all of our pictures before the ceremony (we even helped each other get ready). We included our immediate families in the pre-ceremony photos, and took extended family group shots at the cocktail hour.

Since the wedding would be in December, we opted for a Christmas-themed wedding. We opted to not use a florist. Instead we decorated the space with three live Christmas trees and made our centerpieces from pine and cedar roping, birch logs, antique jars (which we already had from various tag/estate sales), fresh cranberries, and candles. I made the bouquet and boutonniere from leftover greenery from the centerpieces and flowers purchased at Whole Foods the day before.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

We are big into craft beer and consider ourselves foodies, so having good beer and food options was important to us (even though I couldn't drink!). Luckily, our venue allowed us to bring some of our own beer. Ryan's brother and parents drove up to Vermont the week before to get the rare and highly coveted Heady Topper (four cases, a very difficult task) and we were able to acquire a keg of another rare beer, Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, which we served in growlers. The venue served many locally sourced foods, and our cupcakes were made by our favorite cupcake truck/store NoRa Cupcakes.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

We found out the gender of our baby three days before the wedding, so we decided to keep it a secret until the wedding and tell everyone all at once. Ryan's sister offered to help us with the surprise "gender reveal" and filled a big box with balloons corresponding to the sex. Instead of doing a cake cutting ceremony, we gave a toast to our guests, and opened up the box. It was great to see the look on our parents faces when they found out we were having a girl!

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We had quick non-religious ceremony, officiated by Ryan's best friend growing up, Lee. It was short, sweet, and personal, done with very little planning. Neither Lee nor Ryan and I knew what he was going to say until the day before. Lee cleared the final draft with me five minutes before the ceremony started.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

My favorite moment:

I really wanted to be present at our wedding and experience each moment. I wasn't thinking about what was wrong or what was right, or what was happening next, I was enjoying the party and the people. For me there wasn't one most moment that was the most meaningful, but a combination of small moments: dancing with a cousin I haven't seen in two years, hugging my mom and dad after they found out I was having a baby girl, eating dinner with new husband, listening to Ryan's sister's impromptu toast, and enjoying time with all the people who came out to celebrate.

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

An intimate rustic Christmas with a baby gender reveal on @offbeatbride

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  1. I know OBB publishes the bride's words (and am definitely not bashing on her because embracing their baby at their wedding is super cute!), but the balloons revealed the sex, not the gender. Nobody will know the gender of the baby until they're old enough to tell everyone. Considering how inclusive the site is to varying gender identities I guess I was just surprised to something like that go unquestioned.

    14 agree
    • There's a time to nitpick like Sheldon Cooper & there's a time to just say "congrats & I'm happy for you about your wedding & new baby."

      18 agree
      • I would argue this is a very real concern in the trans community, and to dismiss it as "nitpick like Sheldon Cooper" is bordering on the No Drama policy.

        4 agree
    • TL;DR – It's a reasonable mistake for someone to make, and I agree with you. Maybe an editor could contact the bride and ask for permission to rephrase.

      The long version:
      I agree with you regarding the correct usages of the words "gender" and "sex". I also think it's an understandable mistake on the bride's part considering how prevalent "gender reveals" have become recently, further cementing the incorrect word into our vocabulary.

      It also seems as though America's dysfunctional attitude toward sex in general makes people feel uncomfortable using the word in its correct sense. We feel more comfortable with the word "gender" and a lot of people mistakenly believe the two words are synonyms.

      I agree that correcting these mistakes seems appropriate in a forum like OBB that strives to be on the forefront of such issues. Being able to accurately articulate new concepts improves comprehension, so by encouraging members of our community to use the right words, we are increasing recognition of these fundamental ideas about identity.

      5 agree
    • Thank you guys so much for flagging this wording. I agree with everything Juliana said… this is one of those editorial issues where the word "gender" isn't accurate, but it's also the word that's become commonly used with these kinds of reveals. While having "Baby sex reveal" is more accurate and inclusive, it's clearly awkward for its own reasons.

      We've contacted the bride to see if we can change her wording in the post itself, and in the meantime we've removed the word "gender" from our title.

      As always, what I most appreciate here is that we have readers who will call out this stuff! Inclusive language is important to us, and this is a post where we could have done better.

      1 agrees
  2. The gender reveal is so sweet and you can just feel the happiness from the photos! What a great idea to include the baby and add another little celebration. The bride and groom look amazing!

    3 agree
  3. I love how sweet this wedding is – it's festive but not super christmassy, and it just makes me feel so happy looking at it!

  4. what a lovely looking celebration and what a exciting announcement to be able to make at ones wedding!

  5. "Gender reveal" parties make me really uncomfortable, both the notion that you can tell a person's gender from the shape of their genitals AND the rigid binary blue=boy, pink=girl colour-coding. I kind of expect better from Offbeat than to celebrate this kind of thing. It feels like a big step backwards. Let kids be kids, dress them in all the colours, let them play with all the toys; don't start pigeonholing them before they're even born.

    • We're pretty big into gender-neutrality in these parts: http://offbeathome.com/tag/gender-neutral/

      …but we're also pretty big on letting folks express their own values. This felt like a fit for this couple, and I'm not into policing other people's values, even when they're different from mine.

      1 agrees

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