Offbeat partner: Allison, Project Manager
Offbeat partner: Matt, IT Specialist
Date and location of wedding: Our backyard in Washington, WV — October 20, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Shortly before Matt and I got engaged, we bought a house with a stunning park-like backyard, complete with an arch for the ceremony. We planned the wedding in just three months. Our focus was celebrating the new family we were creating with my three sons from my first marriage. To keep it casual, we held a catered backyard barbecue on a Friday evening.
I didn’t hire a wedding coordinator, but I had a tremendous amount of help from my coworkers, friends, and family. We made all the floral arrangements and decorations using flowers ordered online from Bloominous and pumpkins and gourds from a farm down the road. Matt is an outdoorsman, so I aimed for a wedding that was elegant but captured his spirit, too. We used the skull of a deer he hunted with flowers and eucalyptus to decorate the arch.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose to have a private, secular ceremony in our backyard officiated by my cousin attended just by my mother and Matt's parents. My sons stood under the arch with us while we promised to build a home filled with love and support. He laughed, I cried, and the boys made silly faces. When Matt and I were dating, my youngest son always asked for a group hug before Matt would go home, so of course, we had to end the ceremony with a group hug.
Tell us about your reception:
We hosted a family-style reception for 60 catered with the best barbecue in town. The dessert table was filled with locally famous donuts and a beautiful groom’s cake that was a surprise for Matt. His parents supplied the beer, wine, and champagne. Having music was important to us, but a DJ wasn’t our speed. Instead, we hired an acoustic duo that provided the perfect sound for the occasion.
The only traditional reception things we did were a first dance and an impromptu cake cutting. This helped set the laid back tone for the evening.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest challenge for me to overcome had nothing to do with the budget or logistics. It was getting past the self-consciousness and unease of being an older, second-time bride. However, Matt is an only child and had not been married, and I wanted his family to have the chance to enjoy a wedding celebration.
I learned from my first wedding to forgo details that weren't worth the time or money in order to concentrate on the big things that our guests would enjoy: good food, good drinks, and good music! Ultimately, I was able to plan a wedding and reception that was low key enough to make me comfortable but was also beautiful and memorable for everyone.