Jessica & Jacob's low-key '50s-Style wedding

We saw this retro-inspired bride and her sisters/bridesmaids in a recent Monday Montage! Here is the rest of this '50s-style party.

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Photos by Lulu Photos

The offbeat bride: Jessica, Retail General Manager and seller of shiny things

Her offbeat partner: Jacob, Culinary Student and baker of awesome

Date and location of wedding: Marietta Square, Marietta, GA — April 1, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we first started planning our wedding, we had no idea what we wanted. We went back and forth through a zillion different ideas, and none of them seemed just right. I wanted to elope, he wanted our friends and family present. Plus we originally had no idea just how expensive weddings can be. We eventually compromised and decided on a small wedding with a few close family and friends. Once we sat down and started compiling the guest list, we realized that we had a lot more close friends and family than we initially thought.

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We then started looking for ways to cut costs since we wanted to invite more people. I had no desire to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that I would only wear once. I tried on frilly white dresses at bridal stores, and none of them really felt like me. Then I discovered Offbeat Bride, and realized that I could wear absolutely anything I wanted. I scoured the internet for inspiration, and decided I wanted a '50-style swing dress in sky blue. I contacted a friend who is a talented seamstress, and she took the elements I described to her and designed the perfect dress for me. She also happened to have a vintage pillbox hat with veil that matched the fabric color of my dress.

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To save on flowers, I used large multicolored rhinestone pieces of jewelry for my bouquet. I included a picture of my late grandmother at the base of my bouquet. It was important to me and my family that she be there in spirit with us on the day.

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We went with a '50s influence for the rest of the bridal party. I found the bridesmaids dresses at H&M for $50. A friend who is in hair school did mine and my bridesmaids' hair, and my sister and I did our makeup.

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The guys wore skinny ties that had a retro feel. I bought Jake a pair of cufflinks as a wedding present: a skull and crossbones motif because we both love pirates.

Jake arrived at the ceremony site before I did, and when I got there he saw me from across the square and came to greet me. We were separated by a road, and had to wait for the cars to pass before I could cross the street to meet him. Standing on the opposite side of that street, looking at him grinning at me, is such a great memory. As soon as it was safe to cross, I booked it across the street and into his arms.

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We considered doing a dessert reception to save money, but my mom felt strongly about a full dinner for everyone. We were able to make it work within our budget by hosting dinner at a restaurant instead of having a full reception. The restaurant where Jake works gave us a great deal too.

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The only decorations we used were table centerpieces, which we constructed ourselves. Myself and two very dear friends, to whom I will be forever grateful, folded hundreds of paper cranes for the centerpieces. Let me tell you, we are crane-folding EXPERTS now. We bought pretty wire birdcages and put the cranes inside. Half the birdcages were full of cranes, and half of them had a handful of cranes suspended inside the cages on clear wire. We also used the cranes for a sort-of boutonniere. They sat inside the guys jacket pockets and peeked out the top! It was so cute.

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In lieu of favors we made a donation to Human Rights Campaign.

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Tell us about the ceremony: There wasn't enough room to set up chairs around the ceremony space, so I wanted it to be short so people didn't have to stand for too long. We wrote our own vows together, taking inspiration from other vows we had read online as well as writing some of our own. There were a few serious vows, but for the most part they were silly and geeky. We also said our vows to each other one line at a time, he would say a vow, then I would say a vow, instead of doing them all at once for each of us.

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Our vows:

Her: Although I will be imperfect, I pledge to be sensitive and respectful of your unique talents, abilities, and quirks.
Him: Although I will be imperfect, I pledge to be sensitive and respectful of your unique talents, abilities, and quirks.
Her: I pledge to always treat you as my best friend and equal.
Him: I promise to ask for help when I need it, and offer it to you always.
Her: I vow to hold your hands as often as possible.
Him: I vow to encourage us to try new things.
Her: I vow to be the best parts of me that fit perfectly with the best parts of you.
Him: I vow to be the best parts of me that fit perfectly with the best parts of you.
Her: I promise to love you eternally, even when you eat the last cookie, and even when the rum is gone.
Him: I vow to always bring you a little snack whenever you are cranky, because I love you, and not at all because you are making us late to something.
Her: I promise not to poke you in the face to wake you up in the morning, even though it's pretty fun.
Him: I pledge to give you my warmth whenever you require it, even though your hands are like tiny blocks of ice.
Her: I promise to stop making fun of your funny chef hat, even though it's really ridiculous.
Him: I promise to always investigate strange noises, squash bugs, and open jars.
Her: I vow to try to not be quite so bossy all the time.
Him: I vow to never use a recipe when fixing dinner.
Her: I vow to always try at least one bite of any meal you create.
Him: I vow to dance silly as often as possible and embarrass you in public.
Her: I promise to cuss loudly at video games.
Him: I vow to always sing you Soft Kitty when you are sick. But only when you are sick.
Her: I promise that if a strange man in a blue Police Box tries to take me away, I will insist that you tag along.
Him: I promise that you will always have my sword.
Her: And you will always have my bow.
(Chorus of Nerds:) AND MY AXE!
Her: Let us be friends and lovers, and grow old disgracefully together.
Him: I am the luckiest, and I could not imagine growing old with anyone else.

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My favorite moment: Standing in front of our friends and family, finally formalizing our commitment to each other. Everyone kept asking us beforehand, "Are you nervous?" Our answer was always "No!" We were already committed to each other, the wedding was just a formality. But I had no idea how much just saying those words would mean to me. It's a very special feeling that I will never forget. We asked Jake's father to marry us, because we are both very close to him and we wanted someone special in our lives to marry us rather than a stranger. He was ordained online so that he could perform the ceremony. His being a part of the ceremony made it that much more meaningful.

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My funniest moment: The night before the wedding, a friend gave us a piñata as a wedding present. We had no clue why, but we had a piñata, and Jake decided it was coming to the wedding with us. After the ceremony, they strung up the piñata from a tree and used a wooden sword to hack it to bits.

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A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The day of the wedding, Jake emailed our vows to me so that I could print them out at my mom's house. Getting ready with the girls took longer than I anticipated, so we were running late. On our way out the door I remembered that I didn't have my vows. We went to print them out, and the printer decided to stage a mutiny and wouldn't print. We tried everything, but we were running so late that we eventually had to give up on the printer. My maid-of-awesome sister pulled up my vows on her laptop, took the laptop in the car with us, and hand-wrote my vows in the backseat of the car on the way to the ceremony. It actually ended up being more meaningful to have those hand-written vows instead.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Sometimes compromise is necessary. I compromised on certain things that I ended up being very grateful for in the end. And as much as everyone says "Don't stress!" YOU. WILL. STRESS. Just remember, it's one day out of your life, and be realistic. I had some fun girl time with good friends the week of the wedding to help de-stress, and I am so grateful that I did.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. The whole first paragraph could be copy-and-pasted to my own to-be-wedding description. How did we get so many guests??
    I also went through a similar dress evolution…I kept looking at everything from normal David's Bridal dresses to floor length 1920's Hollywood style dresses, but nothing was really clicking. Then I found OBB and realized that a short 50's swing dress would be way more comfortable and fun. I did go with white, but with green and blue accents. And my bridesmaids are also wearing gray dresses with big bright jewelry!
    *sigh* I almost wish my guy were more geeky after seeing your vows. AND MY AXE! Oh my god, I love it! I'm definitely stealing some of your other lines (we're also doing one line, back and forth vows).

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    • We totally stole some of the lines from other vows we read online, so steal away! 🙂 Congrats!

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    • I know, right? I have always been kind of a vow-traditionalist because of continuity with the past and whatnot, but OMG THOSE VOWS.

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    • Thank you! All of our friends were DYING laughing during the vows, and we had such a blast writing them together.

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  2. Oh, lovely! I adore your vows – they're both serious and funny, and I find that really charming. Plus I love the way you traded off back and forth with them. 🙂

    Also, I love your dress (that color is fantastic on you) and I LOVE the makeup. I'm not used to saying "man, I wish I could have awesome makeup like that" because I'm not a makeup girl, but you just look so awesome.

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  3. Are these the greatest vows ever? LOVE them – and love the turquoise dress and especially the headwear.

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    • Yes, it is vintage! I have seen similar styles in vintage clothing stores and sold online, try Ebay and Etsy! 🙂

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  4. With just over 3 weeks to go to my own wedding, your wedding gave me back the stoke! i LOVED your vows and dress and you guys' outlook and wedding attitude reminded me of ours 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a rocking, full of love wedding 🙂

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  5. My word that is a beautiful wedding. And more paper crane inspiration! I'm currently folding like a thing possessed! I love the colour of the bride's dress and that hat is super classy. There's something about the relaxed, elegant, fun vibe of this wedding I hope comes through in mine – congrats – very inspirational

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your vows. I had wondered for so long how to do ours, and this is simply perfect. Great ideas and so specific – I can just hear both of your voices in the exchange.

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    • We definitely wanted them to be personal, and when my now hubby came up with the idea of each saying one line back and forth I loved it. I knew that if I had to do a lot of talking by myself I would end up bawling, which I didn't want to do. As it was I still got choked up on a couple lines, but he immediately was making me laugh on the next line so I managed to hold it together! It was perfect.

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  7. LOVE the cranes, LOVE that you dual-purposed them for centerpieces, and the perfect boutennierres! Love your dress color, love that pillbox HAT! You just ran with your love and made this wedding totally you. Fabulous.

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  8. Oh my lord….I love everything about this wedding! The bride looks so incredibly adorable…the decor, the dresses…perfect. And those freaking vows…I must be the biggest marshmallow on the planet because they had me tearing up….the perfect mix of nerd and sap. Absolutely lovely.

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  9. the color and style of that dress, AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING! and i love love love the cranes in the pockets! Very very cool.

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  10. Aw, this is just lovely. I especially love your bouquets and if I'd seen them before my wedding, those roses would've been toast! The photo of your grandmother is a really touching gesture. Hope you are enjoying marriage. x

  11. Heehe, piñata! At a wedding! That's the cutest thing ever, and the most awesome wedding gift ever too. Who doesn't love a piñata?

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