Kirsten's community potluck wedding

The offbeat bride: Kirsten, RN and baby catcher (See Kirsten's page on the OBT!)

Her offbeat partner: Ebony, woodworker

Location & date of wedding: USO building, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA. 1/12/2008

What made our wedding offbeat: I had a white dress…that's where the tradition ended! We agreed at the outset that we would not pay ANYONE to do ANYTHING. We invited our friends and family to "bring what makes them who they are" to share. We had no idea what our wedding would look like — we were not disappointed.


I baked lasagna for 200, we had a potluck of drinks and desserts. A beautiful and delicious homemade wedding cake just APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE! Our friends sang, read stories, played music, put on improv performances, made up carnival games, and told each other's families waaaaay too much about the new in laws!

They choreographed interpretive dances, made strawberry wine, gathered pieces of our earth from a friends property and made that hall the most beautiful and sacred space I've ever seen! We danced, laughed and came to know one another in a whole new way.

My husband and i did the same — as a woodworker, he carved his vows into a 21 piece puzzle that he assembled as he read them off. I wrote him a dramatic monologue.

At the end, our respective families stood and took our vows with us. "Will all my relations who are willing and able please stand with me now and repeat, Ebony, we are your family".

Our biggest challenge: Keeping our heads straight. There is a lot of BS out there about weddings. We went in totally blind to what "wedding etiquette" was. So we were too deep into "inappropriate" before we had a chance to freak.

But once things got going and i saw how far "off" we were — it was hard not to get frightened of offending someone or screwing it all up. We just kept reminding each other, this is about our MARRIAGE, not our wedding. We couldn't fail. These people loved us and knew us, what did they expect? We just kept loving each other through the pressure.

My favorite moment: About 9 hours into the nonstop flow of folks running to the front to share themselves and their love, I looked at my husband and realized that we had truly created something together … he kissed me and said "We did it baby, you're my WIFE!!"

My offbeat advice: I am pretty sure that all that advice people give about "it's your wedding" is true. And truly, traditions that are meaningless to you just hide who you and your future mate ARE. Like my dad said "love sometimes takes some polishing, MAKE IT SHINE!"

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Take a look at the community-style potluck wedding!

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  1. Lasagne Bride! (yours was the first thread I ever read on OBT–so I remember this well). It looks like it was soooo beautiful. Congratulations 🙂

  2. You are so lucky to have such a supportive, wonderful family. Your page made me cry. Congratulations!

  3. Beautiful! Thanks so much for posting this great story! I am trying to put together something pretty similar with the whole thought "I am not paying people to do this!" I wasn't sure it could be pulled off and you did it beautifully. I am also blessed with many talented and gracious friends and family and I sometimes get a little freaked out thinking about asking them to do things but so far it's worked out well so I hope that we have the great experience that you two (and your guests) did! Big blessings in the future!

  4. This in fantastic! My person and I are planning something really similar right now (right down to the homemade lasagna buffet) and he's been stressing that it won't work, and that people will think we're being rude. When I showed him your story he felt so much better, and was inspired by Ebony's artistic vows…except he's definitely not a woodworker, so I have NO idea what he's going to do :0)

    Oh, and love the henna – one of my friends has already claimed my hands and feet as hers for our day!

  5. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I stand in awe of the way they put their faith in their community for their special day. That is incredible. How very cool. 🙂

  6. thank you all for your wonderful comments and blessings! i have been "offline", sorry to take so long to respond to all the kindness! now go DO YOUR THING!!!

  7. Not many people would even dare to do this for the sake of so-called "elegance". I've been to plenty of weddings where the couple paid hundreds of dollars for crappy food; in your case, the guests were more than happy to contribute and I'm sure that everything was delectable. Homemade food trumps 5-course meals any day! Thanks for posting your wedding experience; I wish you all the best for your future.

  8. I think the 'We are your family' vow is my favorite thing in the world. Congratulations!

  9. I am so thankful to have read this: my fiancee and I are planning a potluck bbq reception in our backyard, and have tossed and turned over the etiquette/correctness of asking everyone to bring a dish to share (I used to cater and have a hard time letting go of some of the ideas of what traditional hosts do!). But this gave me new faith in our decision to have everyone REALLY share in our celebration! Thank you so much, and congratulations.

    1 agrees
  10. This sounds like exactly what we want to do. I wish I could have been there – I would have made you something fun and beautiful. Your story is so moving and adorable!

  11. I know this wedding was so long ago but it's reinvigorated my desire for a potluck wedding. So many people are talking me out of it and I know this is what I want. Thanks Kristen and I hope you and your hubby are still as happy as the day you were married.

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