Melissa Mansfield's intimate ceremony

melissaThe offbeat bride: Melissa Mansfield, researcher and knitter (and Offbeat Bride lab rat!)

My offbeat groom: Joseph, librarian and banjo-player

Location & date of wedding: Harvest Cafe patio overlooking Mohonk Mountain, New Paltz, N.Y. August 27, 2005.

What made our wedding offbeat: We chose New Paltz Mayor Jason West as our officiant once he was elected, because we met in New Paltz, and knew him from town. Then he solemnized same-sex couples and made national news. We did ask a friend to get certified just in case there was an injunction, but luckily Mayor West was able to perform the ceremony.

The bride wore a knee length dress, the groom a brown pinstripe suite. Our attendants had some shade of red involved in their clothing, sisters and mothers as well.

We surrounded ourselves with our immediate family and closest friends for the ceremony, then celebrated the occasion with about 125 loved ones at a restaurant on the Roundout Creek in Kingston.

And our first live song (by awesome blues band No Outlet) was "Never Can Tell" by Chuck Berry.

If something matches your personalities but not the wedding industry's ideals — who cares!

Our biggest challenge: It was hard to explain to our friends and family that the ceremony would be very intimate. They were flying in from all over, but we wanted to get married in the Village of New Paltz, and there aren't many venues for 125 people. We had planned on showing the video of the ceremony right before we arrived at the reception, but a technical glitch postponed the viewing until later that evening

melissa2.jpgMy favorite moment: Walking in to the room of our loved ones, all smiling at us, was very special. The bride's father, and two of our close friends, played music for us at the reception. It was a beautiful gift, and the bride danced with her knitting crew to "Rock and Roll Part 2" by the Velvet Underground.

My offbeat advice: Pick your battles, and remember this day is to celebrate the love between you and your partner. If something matches your personalities but not the wedding industry's ideals — who cares!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

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