Rebecca & Andrew's kid-friendly country farm museum wedding

at the beach
Photos by A Bride's Day Photography

The offbeat bride: Rebecca, Social Worker

Her offbeat partner: Andrew, Journalist

Location & date of wedding: South County Museum in Narragansett, RI — August 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Andrew and I wanted a family-friendly party with good food, entertainment, and enough activities to occupy guests of all ages. Our wonderful wedding planner Patti, of Fancy Tomato Events, helped us pull this off. Some of the more offbeat details: a wedding party consisting of two best men; a barnyard tour with sheep, chickens, and other animals; lawn games; and a New Orleans-style jazz trio featuring my uncle, cousin, and a singer/burlesque performer named Miss Cherry Delight.

Del's frozen lemonade- a RI tradition

The band

Both the ceremony and the reception were on the grounds of a former farm, now heritage museum, so there were lots of quirky exhibits and sights like huge whale bones, antique farm equipment, and a display of vintage toys.
 

beach shower
Shopped!

Tell us about the ceremony: My aunt Kathleen became a Universal Life minister in order to officiate our wedding. As a close relative and friend, she was a wonderful choice. But beyond that, Kathleen is a brilliant wordsmith, an award-winning poet, and a soulful, witty, loving person.

The ceremony

She crafted a beautiful, personal ceremony complete with a poem about love dedicated to Andrew and me. It truly could not have been a more perfect way to represent how Andrew and I felt about marrying one another. A friend of Andrew's also read Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 and his father read Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou.

crying during our vows

We tweaked the traditional bridal party and chose to have just two attendants: Andrew's cousin Adam as his Best Man and my brother Kevin as mine. Andrew's two teenaged sons walked him down the aisle and both of my parents escorted me.

The guys

ceremony

Our biggest challenge: Much of Andrew's closest family members live on two other continents and weren't able to make it to the wedding. My family, on the other hand, is ginormous and live relatively close by. I was concerned that Andrew and the few family members who were in attendance would feel overwhelmed by the crowd of my family and friends.

Given this, we also wanted to keep the guest list under 75 (something that's almost unheard of on Long Island, where we live). In the end, we decided that there were some people we absolutely could not leave out and the list grew to just under 100. But it was wonderful to have everyone there and now I can't imagine it any other way.

Group shot

My favorite moment: We chose to get married in Rhode Island, even though we live in New York, because it was close to the place where I'd spent my childhood (and parts of many adult) summers. My Nana had lived there every summer for almost 50 years and she died in January of this year. It meant a lot to me that, although she didn't make it to the celebration, she knew that Andrew and I would be getting married in a place that she loved.

Matunuck Beach Boardwalk

Smith-468

My funniest moment: Both of our best men gave funny, clever speeches. My brother was especially funny when he referenced our favorite movie, "The Hangover," and told Andrew and his sons that they were now a part of his wolf pack.

Toast

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Thanks to our wedding planner, I really wasn't worried that anything would be a disaster. My biggest concern was that the day would be hot and humid and Andrew and I would be a sweaty, gross mess. Luckily, it was a dry, beautiful day — one of the best of the whole summer.

Old timey fun at the South County Museum

My advice for offbeat brides: While it is important to make your wedding what you want it to be, there are probably lots of other people in your lives who love and help and support you. You can compromise to make those people happy in big and small ways without losing yourself and your vision in the process.

awesome boutonnieres

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? This is my first marriage. Andrew had been married before but had never had a wedding. It was awesome having his two sons involved in the wedding and they really enjoyed it, too. I love being their stepmom and wanted the wedding to be a celebration of that as well as of my commitment to Andrew.

Custom wedding cufflinks

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned that we are loved by many people who are happy that we are happy. Also, as much as I tried to be the "cool, relaxed bride," having a wedding can be anxiety-provoking and I just had to accept that getting nervous about some of the details didn't make me a bridezilla.

fireworks

after the ceremony

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Girl you are ROCKING that dress! What a beautiful wedding- congratulations!

    5 agree
  2. My sister totally went the wolf-pack route when she gave her MOH toast! yayy wolfpacks 🙂

    1 agrees
  3. I'm a South County Museum bride too! My fiance and I are getting married there in 3 weeks. We're in our 30s and have been to so many of the cookie cutter banquet hall/ country club weddings. We were on the hunt for something different. I googled "South County Museum wedding", came across your flickr stream and the rest was history! We have a 10 month old daughter so kid-friendly was important to us too (plus we're basically overgrown kids ourselves). We couldn't afford Patti but at least Doug is making our cake. Your advice in the blog post is spot-on. Best wishes to you and Andrew!

    2 agree
  4. Yay Beth! Congratulations! I'm so glad that our wedding could inspire yours. I'm sure it will be beautiful.

    1 agrees
  5. Yay! Miss Cherry Delight is one of my favoritest friends and one of my fiance's best girlies in our bridal party. She is amazingly talented. I'm so glad you got to enjoy her talents at your wedding. Congrats!

    1 agrees
  6. That Cecilia dress has been my main inspiration for my own homemade dress. Lovely wedding, congrats!

    1 agrees
  7. it's official: you are KILLING it in that dress! Congratulations. We're having a family friendly anniversary reception next summer on a farm/vineyard owned by friends. I'm so stealing the lemonade and lawn games! And amen to "caring about details" does not equal "bridezilla."

    1 agrees
  8. I have been searching and searching for a venue like this in RI for weeks!! Thank you so much!! Congrats on your nuptials!

    1 agrees
    • I'm getting married there on August 27th. My advice would be to hire a planner if you can possibly afford one. I enthusiastically second Rebecca's recommendation for Patti Alley at Fancy Tomato. The museum isn't in the "business" of doing weddings so there are a lot of logistics to work out on your own. The site fee is negligible but that's offset by the fact that you have to rent EVERYTHING (tent, tables, chairs, linens, plates, silverware, glasses). You save a lot on decor though since the grounds are beautiful on their own, especially the stable ruins where most weddings are held. The museum is a fantastic venue for an Offbeat wedding, and it's right by the beach so there's lots for your guests to do while they're in town. PS- I concur with the other posters, Rebecca you look AMAZING in that dress!

      1 agrees
  9. Your whole day looks so amazing! But I am especially inspired by this:

    "While it is important to make your wedding what you want it to be, there are probably lots of other people in your lives who love and help and support you. You can compromise to make those people happy in big and small ways without losing yourself and your vision in the process."

    So often the advice given by other brides is, "be true to yourself, no matter the cost!" and it always makes me feel a little icky when I search out the opinions and ideas of our family and friends. I know that the sentiment behind those other comments is not to completely alienate everyone else, but the way you phrased it so perfectly fits with the way I feel about our day. Yes, it is *our* day, but we didn't get here by ourselves!

    1 agrees
  10. Is it possible to hold JUST the ceremony at the museum? We've already booked the Towers for our reception and would love love love to exchange vows here.

    2 agree
  11. I LOVE YOUR WEDDING! We are also having our wedding at the SCM. Can you tell me who did the boutonniere?

  12. My mom lives just down the street from the South County Museum and we have always wondered what a wedding would look like there! Absolutely stunning! Would have been my top choice if we didn't get married in the backyard!

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