Jamielynn & Matthew's wedding weekend with a trebuchet

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Photos by Hoffer Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Jamielynn, Director of Wish Granting for Hero Network

Her offbeat partner: Matthew, Regional Sales Manager for Apple

Date and location of wedding: YMCA Camp Ockanickon, Medford, NJ — November 2, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We did not follow many traditions at all. We had an entire wedding weekend which included campfires, archery, boating, a ropes course, and a trebuchet! Matthew and his family (with some help from my family) spent about six months prior to the wedding building a massive trebuchet which we used to toss the bouquet. We called it the "Trebouquet."

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We had no wedding cake but had a giant creme donut, all home-brew beer at the bar, and a fajita buffet with lots of guacamole for the reception dinner. My gorgeous flowers were a gift from a friend of mine who is a florist at Whole Foods. Instead of a videographer, we had a GoPro camera mounted to my wedding bouquet to film the day from my point of view. Instead of a rehearsal dinner on Friday night, we had a "roast" of us followed by a late-night campfire with s'mores.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Some of our favorite parts were the ring warming ceremony, the included equality statement, and the vows we wrote.

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This was the equality statement we included:

As we are gathered here to celebrate this marriage, Jamielynn and Matthew would also like to acknowledge those who are not afforded the same legal right.  We are excited about the increased marriage equality in the State of New Jersey, and hope the rest of the nation will follow soon. Jamielynn and Matthew have asked that I share a reading from Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall:

'Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.'

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Our biggest challenge:
It was challenging at times hosting our wedding somewhere that was not a typical wedding venue by nature. We did not have the benefit of an onsite wedding coordinator or anything like that. There are so many things you don't realize you have to think about from timing out the ceremony to the layout of the reception to the logistics of our guests getting from one side of camp to the other for our ceremony. We knew what we were signing up for though and it was all worth it in the end!

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My funniest moment:
I loved when my grandmother sang "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," forgot the words, and decided to instead start talking into the microphone about how she ran into a family she used to babysit for on her way to our ceremony.

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My favorite moment:
Having an entire weekend to spend with family and friends was just amazing. Also, so many of our friends and family chipped in to help us in whatever way they could. I definitely discovered in my wedding planning that we have such a unique set of friends/family with so many talents, and they were all so willing to offer up help to make it our dream weekend.

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A part of the day I am so glad that we included was doing a first look. It was such a great way to have a moment of just us in the middle of such craziness. When we looked back on the wedding we realized that after our first look the next time we got alone time together was not until the following afternoon while we were packing up the camp.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Oh my goodness, I have so many questions! This is REALLY similar to what my boyfriend and I have been talking about, so I'm curious how a number of things were pulled off. We are thinking about doing a wedding weekend as well at a "resort" (using the term loosely, here), which is a campground that also has a bunch of nice big cabins and lodges, horseback riding, rafting/canoeing, etc. I feel like the bride here would have had to handle some of the same logistical issues we would be looking at, namely: food storage and transport, use of an electric generator, set-up issues with tables and so forth, bringing a photographer a couple hours away from the city, and guest management and accommodations. How were these things all dealt with, and what was the budget like? We would LOVE to do what basically amounts to a camp-out wedding, but we are also looking at around 150 people in attendance (we both have enormous families, not even counting cousin's S.O.'s and such). We both really, really want this kind of wedding, but we're worried about the logistics and budget with that many people, and due to the fact that said huge family is mostly huge because of the parental sibling count, it's not like we can simply not invite second cousins or whatever to curtail the head-count… x_x

    • Hi! I'm so glad you liked our wedding. You are correct- there were a TON of logistics to figure out- especially the entire guest management and accommodations side of things. I'll try to answer as best as possible.
      So first, the part where we were lucky is that this beautiful camp is a bit of a hidden gem only 30 minutes from Philadelphia. So while it looks remote it was actually only 20 minutes from our home and around the corner for many of our guests. Also besides Philadelphia there was another city even closer that has a lot of hotels and accommodations if needed for the non-campy guests. We definitely lucked out with that.
      As to food, electricity and all that- the camp has a dining hall and they did all of the catering the entire weekend. Camp also has electricity and our guests were split between 3 large heated lodges.
      We sort of had to look at everything as 2 separate events we were planning. "The wedding & reception" & the "weekend retreat". We knew that not everyone who would come to our wedding would be up for staying the weekend- our goal was 50 people to stay the weekend out of 200 invited. We ended up with around 65 staying the weekend and we had 160 attend our wedding and reception. I did my own invites which you can see here: http://imgur.com/a/wqPTx#0 We had a wedding website (which has expired now) that really detailed out everything. We made sure it was really clear that everyone was invited to both wedding and the weekend but to please still come to our wedding even if you can't stay the weekend. I also had an insert in the invitation similar to when people include a directions/accommodations insert but it had details for lodging along with a form they would mail back with the RSVP if they were staying.
      If people were staying the weekend they paid to stay. We figured it is the same with weddings when people get a hotel room and it was optional. The fee was exactly what it cost for them to stay the weekend- our reception meal was a completely separate contract so I don't want people thinking we had our guests pay for our wedding.
      Cost- since we had guests paying to stay the weekend it really was not bad. We were responsible for paying for 50 people to stay whether they stayed or not but we lucked out and hit our number. It was $100 per person to stay the weekend (including all activities Fri night, saturday afternoon and sunday afternoon, lodging, dinner friday, continental breakfast/lunch saturday and a really nice brunch sunday morning. For our reception dinner we paid $29 per person plus some other room fees, gratuity and taxes. We also had to hire bartenders (cost around $200) and provide the alcohol. We did home-brew beer in kegs and cases of wine so it was pretty reasonable and people did not drink nearly as much as we expected.
      It's def worth it but takes a lot of planning! We had an almost 2 year engagement and I started planning right away so I never really got stressed or too overwhelmed. I couldn't imagine planning it in under a year though! I'm happy to answer any other questions. I hope that helps some!

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      • Thank you so much for your reply! I'm sorry my response is so late– my boyfriend and I spent the week moving in together (still a work in progress, actually), and then we were out of town this weekend. Anyway, I'm really glad to know that you were able to pull this off with a group of similar size, since that's the main thing I was worrying about. 🙂 thanks again so much for sharing!

  2. First, man is this wedding beautiful! The photo of the bride and her ladies? A-mazing.

    Second, I'm so glad that your wedding weekend worked out. We're planning to have a more rustic camping wedding and I'm worried that people may opt out – what a great idea to have activities to entice them to stick around ^^After all, the main reason why we're making a weekend of it is so we can have more time with our guests~!

    • They are all Jasmine Bridal bridesmaid dresses from the B2 and Belsoie lines. They are able to interchange fabrics between those 2 lines so that it matches. I picked the fabric (Tiffany Chiffon) and colors and the girls were free to pick whichever dress they liked in those lines. They did great job! Picking the colors was HARD (bc you have to choose from these tiny swatches) but in the end it all worked out.

      The actual dresses are from left to right in that photo:
      Jasmine Belsoie Style # L144017 in Misty Pink (this was my FAVORITE dress)
      Jasmine B2 Style # B4101 in Latte
      Jasmine Belsoie Style # L144018 in Vanilla (we had those capped sleeves added- it was a strapless dress)
      Jasmine B2 Style B143059 in Misty Pink (I had 2 MOH and put them both in the same color)
      Jasmine Belsoie Style # L154019 in Taupe
      Not pictured I had a junior bridesmaid who held my train as I walked down the "aisle" and she wore the Jasmine Belsoie Style # L3001 in Ivory

      You can see the entire bridal party in this pic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/65766051@N02/11040025045/in/set-72157638026779076

  3. This may be my favorite wedding on Offbeat Bride yet! What a beautiful day! I love that you incorporated so much fun into it. I love the waterfront ceremony and multi-colored bridesmaid dresses. And the Go-Pro bouquet (so clever!) and wood slices with the wood-burned details. I love the tree drawing on your welcome sign. We are also doing a scheme of nature/birds/trees, so I love all the detail ideas.

    Finally – I'm gay, and my partner and I will be getting married this year after being together for ten years. We spent much of our relationship doing activism for marriage equality and trans rights, and want to build a piece into our wedding. As somebody who cares very deeply about marriage equality, I want to thank you for including the Massachusetts reading in your ceremony. <3

    Oh – and I absolutely love love love your veil. Do you mind if I ask where you got it?

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