Brandy & Josh's geek chic loft wedding #Real Weddings: Midwest US#atheist#loft#memorial#michigan#secular July 14 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Photos by: Emily-Waid Photography Photos by Jennifer Haverkamp of Emily-Waid Photography The Offbeat Bride: Brandy, video game studio office admin Her offbeat partner: Josh, respiratory therapist Date and location of wedding: Celery Flats Amphitheatre, Portage, MI Loft 310, Kalamazoo, MI — August 23, 2013 Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a completely secular ceremony with a handfasting. We had the ceremony outdoors, in a local park, and used an amazing officiant couple we'd found online. They allowed us to create our own ceremony, and performed it together, which we loved. Josh and I made our handfasting cords, complete with charms that represented us. The park amphitheatre came with seating already, so we rented that out and built our backdrop ourselves. The reception was basically just a big party — we skipped almost every traditional wedding event except the first dance and best man/maid of honor speeches (which were both awesome). I created the decor myself, putting in nerdy touches where I could: Doctor Who chair signs, a Han Solo and Princess Leia print for our table, and a quote from The Princess Bride on our invitations. We saved where we could (recycled/borrowed/inexpensive decor) and spent more where we wanted (the reception, mostly), and it turned out beautifully. Tell us about the ceremony: Our officiants gave us a huge packet to create our own ceremony. We were able to pick bits and pieces that we wanted, use their examples of readings/wording for each section or choose our own, and ended up creating a beautiful and short ceremony that was centered around nature, love, and equality within our new household. Our favorite part was the handfasting, followed by the exchanging of the rings and vows: Brandy and Josh have chosen to include the tradition of handfasting into their wedding ceremony today. Handfasting is an ancient Celtic wedding ritual in which the couples' hands are tied together as a symbol of their lives being joined together. This is where the expression "tying the knot" comes from. Marriage forms eternal and sacred bonds. The promises made today bind your lives together in a union of love and trust. Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow. Brandy: I choose you, Josh, to be my lifelong partner and best friend. I will always be faithful to you. I will be at your side in times of sorrow, And to laugh with you in times of joy. Josh: I choose you, Brandy, to be my lifelong partner and best friend. I will always be faithful to you. I will be at your side in times of sorrow, and to laugh with you in times of joy. Brandy and Josh, as your hands are now bound together, so your lives and spirits are now joined. This binding symbolizes the promises that have been made. May this knot of love remain forever tied. For thousands of years lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows. These bands are made precious by your wearing of them. These rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bound together. Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as soul, a present as well as a past, and that, despite its occasional sorrows, love is a circle of happiness, wonder, and delight. Josh: I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and friendship. With this ring, I marry you, and I am honored to call you my wife. Brandy: I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and friendship. With this ring, I marry you and I am honored to call you my husband. Our biggest challenge: Josh and I are atheists, while many of our family members are devout Christians. We absolutely wanted an outdoor, secular ceremony, but had to find a tactful way to decline suggestions of being married in someone's church (that we'd never attended) or by someone's pastor (whom we'd never met) without seriously upsetting anyone. What worked best was just telling people that we already had someone booked. You really have to stand your ground on the things that really matter to you. My favorite moment: Our first look was my favorite by far. I was SO EXCITED to finally show him my dress because I'd initially wanted him to come shopping with me, but he declined the day we were supposed to go. Runner-up moment goes to showing my DIY bouquet charms to my grandma. They were of my great-grandma (her mom, who passed away in 2006) and my grandpa, to have them both with me on my wedding day. My grandpa had passed away the summer before, and it really meant a lot to her that I had them with me. Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? Photography: Jennifer Haverkamp of Emily-Waid Photography Ceremony venue: Celery Flats Amphitheatre Reception Venue: Loft 310 Guest book: Shutterfly Han Solo and Leia print: Barbara Pala Officiants: Earthbound Weddings Cupcakes: Nell's Sweets 'n' Treats Hair and makeup: Alano Salon Flowers: Fifty Flowers, designed by Trish Keller Bridesmaids' shoes: Payless Bridesmaids' dresses: Dressilyme Ties: The Tie Bar Tuxes: Memories Bridal & Evening Wear Bride's shoes: Dyeable Anette (DIY by bride) Bride's dress: Venus Bridals from Memories Bridal & Evening Wear Enough talk — show me the wedding porn! Get your daily dose of Offbeat AWESOME Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS New York's elopement photographer Amber Marlow is now shooting large weddings… on a global scale NEXT Absolutely stunning art awaits you at this glass-blowing studio wedding Show/Hide comments [ 8 ] Oh I love the dash of nerdiness in your beautiful wedding. That mix looks perfect to me (taking note for the future 🙂 ) Everything looks so beautiful. And I love the tactful decline for officiant suggestions. 🙂 And.. *gasp* do I see fancy S'mores?! I DOO! 😀 2 agree Reply Thank you!! We were so happy with the way everything turned out. And yes, fancy s'mores! It was one of the venue's options (others included popcorn, milk and cookies, coffee, etc.), and since s'mores are a huge staple in our family, we had to have them. Reply Awwww! The photos are just lovely. Love the second to last one. Just another element of love in the wedding. Reply Thank you! They were a big hit with my family. 🙂 Reply I love all of this. I love your dress, your necklace, your bridesmaid dresses, the photographs. It's all so so lovely. Reply Yes! I can totally relate to this. Both me and my fiance are atheist and his family is HUGE and catholic and my brother is devoutly Christian so we worried a little about religion, but it's good to see someone else so elegantly and flawlessly pull it off without a care. The elegance with the touch of nerdy is exactly what we're going for too, though we plan to have a little more nerdiness! :] I love the 'Campanion' and 'Sweetie' name frames!! Soo cute 😀 A very beautiful wedding! 1 agrees Reply Thank you!! Honestly, if anyone had issues, no one said anything. The only comments that we received were that it was "the most beautiful ceremony" that his (very religious) grandmother had ever been to, which really meant a lot to me. 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