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Planning a wedding as a fatherless bride

Despite the joy and enthusiasm I felt about getting married, not having my dad there meant there was a shadow, which for me made wedding planning — especially some of the emotions and complexities — as if I were planning both a wedding and a funeral. Death and life. Beginnings and endings. Joy and grief. It was all wound up together in a giant ball of messy emotions.

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When family tragedy strikes during wedding planning

To every cloud there is a silver lining — and the silver lining to my father's stroke and the fear that we were going to lose him was that when, five months later (six months until the wedding), my fiancé's mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was much better equipped to understand what he was going through. And I was better able to support him. In those first few days after she died we talked about many things, some trivial and some very important…

47

Brandy & Josh's geek chic loft wedding

A wee bit of geek chic, two fabulous venues, and a whole lot of style — this wedding is all kinds of sweet and memorable. Their secular and meaningful ceremony also did a kick-ass job of combining a handfasting and some super sweet vows. You will want to read them! Let's head in and see the Star Wars LEGOs, the flowing ceremony backdrop, and chic urban loft.

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Music, laughter, hugs, and tears: the ways I honored my dad on our wedding day

Then the more our wedding plans coalesced, the more I needed Dad to have a role, somehow, in our wedding. Some friends suggested that we include a prayer in our ceremony to acknowledge him, but this seemed out of character for us. Others proposed placing an empty chair next to my mother to symbolize both his presence and absence, but this didn't seem right, either. So, to create a space for Dad, Nick and I decided on the following. They may seem minute, but to me, they were huge…

39

Losing my mother and honoring her memory through my own offbeat wedding

I have taken so much joy (if that's even the right word) in seeing how other Offbeat Brides have made touching, bittersweet acknowledgements of those who can only be there with them in spirit. It seems that those rituals are surprisingly absent from "traditional" wedding magazines and blogs. My mom passed away almost two years ago, but my parents didn't get married until four days before she died. And I know that being a part of that wedding has empowered me to craft an offbeat wedding that I can proudly take ownership of.

36

Turtles, starfish, and sailboats: a sun-filled aquarium wedding from New Jersey

Ben and Erin hosted their ceremony and reception at New Jersey's Atlantic City Aquarium. The pair included a ton of darling details like blue and teal striped pinwheels and planting a tree together for their unity ceremony. They also opted to leave several seats intentionally empty during the ceremony, and marked these spots with a handwritten tribute to family and friends who couldn't be there to celebrate.

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Lauren & Marco's offbeat lite Filipino American wedding

This pair wanted to mix some traditions with offbeat ways. So get ready for traditional Filipino food, invitations, barongs, and 35 sponsors! They also opted for a Unitarian ceremony, which presented its own challenge for the bride's Catholic family. You'll definitely want to heed her advice when it comes to that. So head in and ogle the gorgeous Wai-Ching and Unique Vintage dresses, the purple glow-y tent, and the choreographed first dance story.

5

Use Cocroft and Delbridge's custom fabric flowers to keep your wedding day memories alive

Whether your style is classically elegant, girly with a touch of vintage, beautifully bohemian, glitzy glam, or rocker chic, Cocroft and Delbridge is going to hook you up with fabric flowers that'll make you think twice before throwing that bouquet. Speaking of bouquets, let's take a look at all the ways Cocroft and Delbridge can outfit your wedding with flowers that'll never say die…

19

Scooter & Robert's small rustic wedding

With a fabulous green house and garden venue, bread baked in flower pots, and a bonfire with s'mores, what could possibly go wrong? Just a too-large guest list. So this pair decided on a family-only celebration with lots of DIYed and adorable log details that totally played off the rustic vibe of the venue. Plus, you'll love how the bride celebrates her departed dad and her three-generation ring photo.