Vintage lovebirds and hanky invites at Liz & Kim's wedding

Brides in front of crane arch via @offbeatbride
Photos by Greenseed Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Liz, MBA Candidate (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Kim, Sign Language Interpreter

Date and location of wedding: Millcreek Barn, Watervliet, Michigan — August 31, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Kim and I are complete nerds who love themes, dancing, and making things ourselves. Our wedding had a lovebird theme (I proposed at a penguin exhibit) with 1,000 origami cranes made by friends and family. We made vintage hanky invites, newsletters for guests, handwritten programs and kids activity books, and a same sex wedding FAQ to answer any lingering questions for guests.

Invitation via @offbeatbride

Can't stop smiling via @offbeatbride

So cute via @offbeatbride

Liz shoes via @offbeatbride

School Bus via @offbeatbride

We worked hard to stay on budget, which meant prioritizing making things and choosing items that were so cheap we could throw away or invest and resell. So we ended up with a lot of DIY and upcycling. We did all the decorations ourselves: collecting vintage birdcages, jars, insulators, handkerchiefs, bringing antiques from home, and making tons of signs. Our venue, Millcreek Barn, an old nursery barn in rural Michigan, had large paper lanterns and mix-n-matched bunting.

Ceremony via @offbeatbride

To Do List via @offbeatbride

Sunnies via @offbeatbride

Entering Millcreek Barn via @offbeatbride

Peg board sign via @offbeatbride

Kim is a sign language interpreter, and a handful of our guests were deaf, so a friend interpreted the ceremony, speeches, etc. so all guests could enjoy our corny jokes.

Walking down the aisle via @offbeatbride

Kim & her folks via @offbeatbride

So excited! via @offbeatbride

Cheers to the crowd via @offbeatbride

We wanted our wedding to be fun, casual, and comfortable for our diverse guest list. We decided we would not do anything that did not feel like us. Luckily, as a same sex couple, we made up our own traditions. Our hands touched nearly every detail throughout the day.

Cheers via @offbeatbride

Mrs. & Mrs.! via @offbeatbride

Dancing down the aisle via @offbeatbride

Blue Crew via @offbeatbride

Sock Hop Box via @offbeatbride

Escort Card via @offbeatbride

Sweetheart Table via @offbeatbride

Millcreek Barn via @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

For the receiving line, we took a photo with each guest in front of an origami crane backdrop. Our bridesmaid owns The Organic Gypsy food truck and served ice cream sundaes. We had big band music during cocktail hour.

Jenga Guestbook via @offbeatbride

Kim and I met playing board games, and our guest book was a Jenga game. The centerpieces were a mix of antique birdcages, jars, insulators, and handkerchiefs. Kim and I tend to over-communicate so we had tons of homemade signs.

Rice Krispie Cake via @offbeatbride

Danish kransekage via @offbeatbride

Lokey Sign via @offbeatbride

Our bridesmale made a marquee sign with our nickname “Lokey." Dinner was southern barbecue. My mom has made the wedding cake for all of my siblings' weddings (I'm the youngest of six). It was very special that she made our banana split-flavored naked cake. We also had a Danish kransekage, Rice Krispies cake, and s’mores.

Organic Gypsy via @offbeatbride

Organic Gypsy via @offbeatbride

Kim and I are avid athletes, and many guests are teammates. The garter toss was highly competitive (guys and gals joined in). Kim tossed a softball garter belt and kept hitting the rafters. I tossed a football garter belt, and my teammates nearly tackled each other to get it.

As dance fanatics, we entered the reception to "Footloose." At all of my siblings' weddings, my dad has given the "5 Cs" speech (caring, compassion, companionship, compromise, and communication). It was special to hear it one final time. We had a sock hop box, too. We danced with our mothers and fathers at the same time. We kicked off the dancing with a performance of "Man In The Mirror." In the end, we jumped in a school bus and headed to the bar after party.

Centerpiece via @offbeatbride

Naked Cake via @offbeatbride

Day of the Dead Brides via @offbeatbride

Cut the cake via @offbeatbride

Smiles with our cake toppers via @offbeatbride

Kid's Activity Book via @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

People suck sometimes. The biggest challenge we had planning was being hurt and let down by some of the people closest to us. Weddings, like funerals, can sometimes bring out the best and worst in people. We were shocked and hurt by some hate mail we received about being a same-sex couple. But it reinforced who really supported us in the end.

The best piece of advice I got from other Tribesmaids was to carve out time for you and your partner. I was extremely intentional about only getting ready together, having a sweetheart table, and, when it got particularly stressful, keeping close tabs on Kim.

Less is often more. A large bridal party = lots of people to manage. Tons of DIY = months of planning. Lots of decorations = more hands to help set up. If we went back, we would size down these components.

Grub via @offbeatbride

To Have & To Hold via @offbeatbride

Toast to the Best Man via @offbeatbride

Kisses via @offbeatbride

Dance Hall via @offbeatbride

When I dip, you dip we dip via @offbeatbride

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  1. I love everything about this wedding! So many adorable handmade touches as well as a beautiful couple.

    I can especially relate to what Liz said about weddings bringing out the worst in people, particularly in regards to same-sex marriage views. My fiancee and I are getting married in August, and we've received a couple of very nasty responses from religious/conservative family members about why they refuse to attend the wedding, including one from my godmother. I am so glad to hear that Liz & Kim didn't let the negativity get them down and ruin their special day, because as Liz said, it only proves who truly supports you. Congratulations, ladies! Hope married life is treating you well 🙂

    11 agree
    • I'm so sorry that you have had negative responses (and that Liz & Kim had to deal with some too), that really sucks. I was anticipating some agro when we made our engagement 'facebook official' and even took a screencap of my friends total in case it went down as a result, but we have been totally surprised by the support out there. Bits of our close family have been lukewarm but our friends are all super excited, even the ones we were worried about.

      We were at church on Sunday for the first time since our announcement and were inundated with well-wishers, they even gave us some of the flowers to take home! I'm sure we'll experience some struggles on the way to get married, but it's been a great start so far.

      • That is so great to hear! It's truly wonderful that you've received so much support, especially from your church. It makes me hopeful to see that the tides really are turning and that more people are so accepting. With the exception of the few bad eggs, we were pleasantly surprised with the reactions from our family and friends as well. Best of luck in the planning process, and may you enjoy this continued love and support throughout your marriage!

        1 agrees
    • Hi, Nicole!

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Sorry to hear you've also experienced negativity. But sounds like you're strong & resilient & choose to focus on the good in the world. Hope you have a fabulous celebration! Cheers to raising above the nonsense & smiling thru it! 🙂

  2. So happy to see a dinner menu at an actual wedding that is so similar to ours! We're doing cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and mac n' cheese as our main dishes and have gotten so many weird looks and eye rolls about it. I'm happy to see a real life wedding with that down home goodness instead of fancy sauces!

    7 agree
  3. I can't believe people would send hate mail, that's just…I don't even know. I'm glad things worked out in the end. This wedding looks beautiful. I love the personal touches and those invitations are so unique and pretty. Also this wedding has inspired me to make a pegboard sign because their's just looks so great!

    3 agree
    • Yay for pegboards! I was soooo excited to make ours! So simple, just need a bit of time to plan it out. I made sure ours would fit in the entrance-way in our home, so we could continue to enjoy it. If you need any help let me know! Cheers!

  4. I love the brightly colored strapless mother of the bride dresses. Actually everything in the 2 photos is great: dad in seersucker and hat, huge smiles, bright dresses, and dad with a pen in his pocket (that is something my stepdad would have in his).

    4 agree
  5. Aaah I love this wedding too much for words! I just kept scrolling through the pictures saying Oh! I love the signs! And the paper lamps! And the sign language interpreter! And the corny puns! And… and… and… I have nothing useful to add, just wanted to say you have a fan here!

    4 agree
    • So glad you enjoyed the puns – we're pretty darn corny! Kim's vows were riddled with puns about different board games. Thanks for the super kind words!

  6. Absolutely beautiful <3 So much inspiration for my own wedding. Love the paper lanterns and the socks.

    Quick question, what kind of activities would be in the activity book? Such a cute idea and am now thinking of creating one for my wedding. Ideas? xo

    1 agrees
    • Hey Jenna!

      Thanks for the kind words! In the activity book we had a word search (with our names, other buzzwords from the wedding), connect the dots (in the shape of a bird cage & heard), a maze puzzle, a color the numbers picture, and the sign language alphabet with an ASL puzzle. We drew all of these ourselves, but I'm sure there are some great ones online or in teacher resources! Hope that's helpful!

  7. Lovely! I have a collection of vintage hankies – what method did you use to print the invites onto yours?? It's such a cute and clever idea I thought of sharing it with my mom, but then she'd think we're getting married.

    • Hey Hayley! We used iron-on transfers & followed a similar method in this tutorial. With some time & attention to detail, it's pretty easy. Good luck!

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