Surprise! It's Amanda & Robbie's housewarming party turned wedding

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These faces! Photos by Two Spoons Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Amanda, Stay-At-Home Mother

Her offbeat partner: Robbie, Corporate Concierge

Date and location of wedding: Our house, Richmond, VA — June 14, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Most importantly, we were married on our porch by my oldest friend. We planned on having our baby in our home and wanted all our biggest life events to happen there, so we decided to get married right on the front porch. However, we didn't tell anyone in advance that we were going to get married — everyone thought it was just a housewarming party! We had custom fortune cookies made that guests could have when they arrived, and the fortunes said "Surprise! You're at a wedding! Meet us out front at 4pm."

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Other highlights include having a food truck pull right up to the curb, another friend of mine playing "You and I" by Ingrid Michaelson on the ukulele during the ceremony, and taking a walk through our neighborhood in our wedding garb for portraits with our photographer.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Another friend of ours played ukulele and read the poem "I Carry Your Heart" by e.e. cummings. Robbie and I had made grand plans to write our own vows but never got around to it, so luckily Betsy had some great secular vows for us to use.

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Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge was planning in general. I'm not a super organized person plus I was pregnant. My friend and our officiant, Betsy, helped us lots by sending spreadsheets and generally being a resource. She had just planned her wedding so she used all those organization templates to help us stick to a timeline/budget.

The second biggest challenge was keeping it a surprise. A few key people couldn't come but we didn't tell them it was a wedding instead of just a housewarming party, and some were upset later. But we wanted it to be special and different and not have to publicly plan a wedding (which comes with its own challenges) so we kept things mum.

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My favorite moment:
One of the most meaningful things was my neighbors cheering from their homes/porches when they saw me walking down the "aisle" (sidewalk) with my dad. We love our city so much and the great sense of community we have here.

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After the ceremony, dancing with my dad in the backyard was a great moment, as well as having the first dance with Robbie happen on the very spot where he proposed. Again, we want every inch of our home filled with great memories, and we were so lucky to be able to have our wedding there.

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My funniest moment:
After the ceremony, our photographer took us on a walk around our neighborhood for some portraits. One of the spots we explored is a pretty big road with a giant, lovely median. When people saw us dressed up in wedding garb, strangers driving by started honking and yelling "Congratulations"! It was funny how weddings bring people together, and how excited even people we didn't know could be about love!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It doesn't have to be big! I didn't miss the huge party. Part of the reason we wanted to get married in our home was because we wanted to embed the space with as many memories as possible. I'm thrilled that I get to spend every day surrounded by that love, thinking things like "I married my husband there," "he proposed there", etc. Ultimately, we wanted our home to not just be where we live, it's where our life happened.

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  1. Uh, you mean they pulled an "April and Andy"? 😉

    This is gorgeous. I want a bright teal house now!!

    13 agree
    • I agree, the teal house is "Them." What a cute couple with beautiful friends. The young lady who played the ukulele is gorgeous.

      8 agree
  2. I think this might have to be my favourite wedding on OBB, ever. I loved every photo, especially the one of the two of you looking at each other.
    And your house! So cute! I can see why you wanted to get married there.
    Love it all!!! Congratulations!

    16 agree
  3. AHH, this is the CUTEST wedding day! I am obsessed with the idea of a surprise wedding, and Carly, their photographer, KILLED IT with the photos! So, so good!!

    6 agree
      • Ohh Look! This is with our little bebe, Lydia! Robbie LOVES history and reenacti g, so we had to snag this opportunity for a real tintype! I am deeply passionate about motherhood, and breastfeeding in particular, so it's so meaningful to me that we have this amazing heirloom that also commemorates our time as new parents!

        7 agree
  4. Wow. Just wow. This wedding looks fun, beautiful, and so meaningful. My husband and I loved our tiny wedding, but we both agree we want a do-over so we can get married in the home we just bought. I love your neighborhood. Your friends seem amazing. Let's be BFFs. 🙂

    5 agree
  5. Oh wow- beautiful house, beautiful couple, and it looks like it was a wonderful celebration.
    My partner and I have talked about having a surprise wedding for *exactly* the reasons you mention- I'd be very interested to know how you dealt with the upset people afterward as that's definitely a concern I have.

    1 agrees
    • Hi Ellen! Most of the people who were disappointed to have missed our wedding love us enough to just be happy we got married. It was my sister who was really put out, but since she doesn't have a good relationship with my mother, really couldn't have been invited outright anyway without the whole thing really going off the rails. If she'd come it would have been a disaster, so there was little I could say when she found out we'd gotten married without her. I'm sad to say we haven't spoken since, but that's sort of par for the course, so please don't take that one instance as any indication of what you might experience if you do the same. All in all, I'd definitely recommend going the "surprise wedding" route if you're so inclined. People will divide themselves according to how they might anyway. Besides, your wedding is yours, and shouldn't be expected to satisfy anybody else's expectations!

      3 agree
  6. I LOVED every bit of this. The sentiment and intentionality behind everything is so touching and this couple looked amazing. Congrats to you two!

    2 agree
  7. What a beautiful couple (I love the HUGE facial expressions of the groom in nearly all the photos!), and the feel of the whole event is just lovely. And I am obsessed with the house! Amazing colours.

    And I really loved this: "Ultimately, we wanted our home to not just be where we live, it's where our life happened."

    6 agree
  8. Love love love this! Good lord. Makes me miss Richmond so much. RVA native here! Looks like this was in the West End. The house is absolutely gorgeous!

  9. I LOVE this wedding! We're not having a surprise wedding but we are getting married at home (That was important to me) and I just adore how wonderful it all turned out. Congratulations on the marriage and new little one. Much luck to you all!

  10. I would love to interview Amanda and Robby for an article I'm writing for a national publication about buying a house instead of a wedding. What would be the best way to get in touch with the happy couple?

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