The Offbeat Bride: Brittany, musician (singer), student
Her offbeat partner: Thomas, bartender
Date and location of wedding: Baton Rouge, Louisiana — October 11, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
My husband and I were high school sweethearts, and I have known that I would marry him for a long time. When our wedding day finally came (ten years later!), I was incredibly overwhelmed with the love and beauty of it all. We worked very hard to make a beautiful wedding for ourselves, and I almost couldn't believe that we pulled it off.
Although we currently reside in New Orleans, we decided to get married in our hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The venue was situated on a tract of 420 acres in the heart of Baton Rouge. I was immediately smitten with its lush gardens and urban forests. We wanted a wedding that would represent our style: laid back and not fussy, but with attention to detail, lots of whimsy, and a touch of glamour.
Our budget was very tight, and I am proud to say that we pulled off our wedding with 120 guests for under $10,000. We DIYed our little hearts out and it was so gratifying to see everything come together. Family and friends were a major contribution to our wedding being a success. My mother-in-law even made all of our invitations. We are so lucky to have such talented and generous people in our lives. Thomas and the groomsmen went to the venue on the morning of and set up everything from string lights and banners to centerpieces and reception details. It was truly a community effort.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony took place on the lawn of the venue and overlooked a beautiful rose garden. My best friend's mom generously volunteered to coordinate our ceremony. A dear friend officiated the ceremony, which we wrote using bits and pieces from different humanist and secular ceremonies. I walked down the aisle to “Carl Goes Up” from Up, one of our favorite movies.
Our ceremony backdrop was a DIYed ribbon drop. It was simple to make, and it added a romantic, playful texture. A few close friends did readings from e.e. cummings and Carl Sagan. It was so special to have our loved ones participate in the ceremony this way, they read beautifully and it was quite emotional. We are very connected to the LGBTQ community, and we included a passage from Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall as well as a personal pledge of solidarity:
“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a ‘social institution of the highest importance.'
While Brittany and Thomas are ecstatic to declare their vows today, they must acknowledge the injustice that there are some who are unable to engage in the wonderful institution of marriage. Their own marriage would have been illegal 47 years ago, and they wish to express their sincere and earnest wish that true marriage equality will be granted in the near future.”
Tell us about your reception:
Our cocktail hour took place steps away from the ceremony site. There was a pavilion for the bar and the dance floor, and the tables were al fresco. We painted and glittered wooden “B&T” letters for a reception focal point, and made a glittery pennant banner to string across the pavilion. We supplied our own bar of beer and wine, and we each had a specialty cocktail.
Because we are both musicians and music is very important to us, we crafted a playlist of big band and jazz music for cocktail hour, followed by girl groups and doo wop during dinner. Overhead hung cafe-style string lights casting a warm glow. The tables were set with DIY spray painted gold and teal wine bottle vases with peacock feathers instead of flowers. DIY painted gold animals and books from our own collection topped off the tables with a personal touch.
We had Southern comfort food for dinner. My father-in-law made a three-tier chocolate cake with hazelnut filling, and my husband's great aunt made hundreds of specialty cupcakes. I am in a Motown/Soul band called The Essentials and they played our reception. The Essentials tore it up playing Motown's best, and everyone danced all night. As a dedication to my new husband, I sang “Your Love is Lifting Me Higher.”
To send us off, we had a traditional New Orleans second line. The band strutted through the grounds and played us out as our loved ones followed and waved sparklers. It was a dramatic closing to a dream come true wedding day.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Our biggest wedding challenge was budget. I spent hours researching, planning, and DIYing in order to stretch our dollars. My husband was a huge help and I gave him tons of DIY projects which he completed like a champion! We were so incredibly lucky to have amazing support from our friends and family. We took a gamble and hired a photographer who had never shot a wedding. She gave us a great price and the photos were beautiful.
My best advice to brides and grooms is to graciously accept help. If your friends and family volunteer to help, it's because they want to. I would also advise you not to stress about the apparel or genders in your wedding party. My bridesmaids included my sister, who would never be caught dead in a dress, so she wore a shirt, tie, and vest. My husband had a groomsgal who wore a dress that matched the colors of the groomsmen. What matters most is having the people you love standing with you. Our wedding was more meaningful and heartfelt than we could have ever imagined, and we will forever carry the memory of that day in our hearts.
- Bride's Art Deco Style Bracelet: ModCloth
- Bride's Engagement Ring: Ken And Dana Design
- Bride's Flower Crown: Be Something You
- Veil: Mignonne Handmade
- Photography: Lauren Domangue, Apple Eye Photography
- Bridesmaids' Dresses: For Her And For Him
- Bridesmaids' Robes: Etsy seller thaichill
- Caterer: Three Bones Catering
- Rentals: Doug Olinde's
- Band: The Essentials
- Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade
- Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals
- Venue: Gardens: Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie