Cassie & Hugh's Book Nerd Open Bar Dance Party Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

The offbeat bride: Cassie, Future Librarian

Her offbeat partner: Hugh, Future Philosopher

Location & date of wedding: The Clarke Estate in Santa Fe Springs, CA on July 20th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat:Our philosophy was to throw a really great party where we just happened to get married. We also had a super tight budget, but staying true to ourselves and working with a tight budget magically went hand in hand.

We're both former book store employees and huge readers so we raided our book collection to come up with the bulk of the books that were recycled into centerpieces. I found a vintage dress for $60 then had it remade exactly (since the original fabric had yellowed) for very very little money.

We enlisted our amazing friends for the following duties: designing our invites (and save the date bookmarks!), taking photos, making our amazing wedding cupcakes, hair, make-up, making buttons with "7.20" and "H x C" (our initials and a nod to hardcore all in one!) that we gave out as wedding favors.

Awesome bookish seating chart.

One of our friends even covered My Bloody Valentine's "Sometimes" for our first dance. Also, we walked down the aisle to the Spiritualized song "Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space" and threw in some Hegel into our wedding vows.

Our biggest challenge: We both have fairly traditional families so certain challenges came up here and there which had to be dealt with. One example is that we knew we wanted a really really short ceremony.

Hugh's sister married us (which was really special) but since she is a pastor and this is something she does professionally we had to compromise on a few things (which wouldn't have been an issue if, say, a friend married us and we could tell them exactly what to say). All in all though, she was very respectful of our input and we still had an awesomely short ceremony.

Also, staying sane when my mom kept inviting more and more relatives (we wanted to keep things as small as possible) and also when she insisted we needed things like ushers to escort people to their seats (we didn't).

My favorite moment: Dancing around, sipping champagne with my soon-to-be husband and close friends in our adjoining dressing rooms minutes before the ceremony started.

My offbeat advice: Focus on what matters to you (and your partner), the little things that you think you will remember most when you look back on your wedding day: whether it's music or photography or food. Don't waste time on the things you don't care about (for me it was flowers) and don't do things because people tell you that you HAVE to. You don't have to do anything, it's your wedding! Keep reminding yourself of this constantly.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Click the photo below for more nerdtastic photos of Cassie & Hugh's library-themed wedding!

  1. Amazing! I love… EVERYTHING about this, hahah. Secretly, I now hope to get married in a dress like that. Stunning. And the shoes.. and the nerdy book centerpieces.. I'm in love.

  2. Save-the-Date bookmarks! That must be one of those Super Awesome Ideas, because I had thought of doing that for ours. I love all the book decor and the bright colors and the dress–ok, I love everything–this is a beautiful wedding!

  3. Oh my gosh, I love this wedding! It's so personal and bookish, and still elegant. Fantastic- love the seating chart with book pages. Congratulations Cassie & Hugh!

  4. Really is one of the best weddings ever- I love how it is a combo of traditional and non traditional values : )

  5. I'm really liking the super-budget weddings here. My head hurts at the thought of spending so much money on a wedding when all I really want is to just be married, you know? But I also want it to be nice, too. So these posts show me ways to have both! Thanks! (Seriously not criticizing anyone with a giganto budget – whatever makes you happy!)

  6. Haha, I feel like I'm looking at picture of what my dream wedding! Perfect combination of the traditional and offbeat. The books centerpiece is a neat idea!

  7. I love Hegal (well as much as you can love a dead white guy philosopher) – you put Hegal in your ceremony – how awesome and amazing.

  8. I love this wedding (I work in book publishing and am a huge book nerd). Am so jealous. Getting married in June and feel like I am going way too traditional and giving in to the pressure.

  9. "Our philosophy was to throw a really great party where we just happened to get married."

    This is **EXACTLY** what my guy and I are doing – we aren't even going to have a formal ceremony so much as a break in the party about 45 minutes in, lol.

    I KNEW we couldn't be the first couple to think of it – so I will totally be showing this to my mom so she'll calm the heck down.

  10. Wow. This is pretty much the wedding I've been planning in my head–down to the Spiritualized song for the ceremony! Amazing. Glad to see it works so well!

  11. This i.s one of the coolest weddings ever. I am completely in love with everything. First her updo is amazing and I want to have my hair like that everyday. Second, I want that dress!!! Third all the other details from the my bloody valentine and the spiritualized to the owl bags to the stacks of books to the cute couple are perfect, what a wedding!!!

  12. LOVE IT! I am actually having my fiance read the whole thing right now! He's having guilt pangs over our "low-key/low-cost" wedding planning and I want him to see IT'S OKAY and can still be TOTALLY AMAZING!

    I have a favor – can the bride share more about the pretty yellow balls of flower at her ceremony (as seen in the porn). Did she use real flowers to make them? If not, what are they made out of? Give me your secrets, oh crafty one!

  13. Oh. My. God. This is an amazing wedding! I was planning to use many of the same ideas, so it's really exciting to see how beautiful it all is!

  14. It's an honor to be featured on Offbeat Bride! Thank you to everyone who left sweet comments. For those who had questions about the yellow pomanders or the dress — I included more information/directions on flickr, just click the photos, or feel free to message me.

    • cassie, where did you get the save the date book marks made? I would really like to do the same type of thing, but for favors.

      Thanks.

  15. Hey Cassie! This is Bryan's fiancee, Melissa. I was just browsing the site and was excited to see your wedding posted! It was beautiful, and so lovely to attend. Just wanted to say hi! Now back to planning our wedding:)

  16. What a wonderful wedding! My fiance and I are book nerds too, and are using that as our theme. So nice to see that there are other lit-freaks out there.

    Congratulations!

  17. FUN wedding! Great ideas and beautiful dress. I'd love to see more advice about how to find a great vintage dress, how to alter said dress, etc. The more I look for the perfect dress, the more I find myself drawn to vintage. As a resident of a really really rural area, I don't have the resources urbanites might, and I'm just uncomfortable buying a dress untried-on from the Internet. Any advice out there?

  18. I am just wondering where you got this fantastic dress. It is EXACTLY what I have been picturing my head for my own dress.

  19. My fiancee and I are both major nerds that want a certain vintage feel to our day. Thanks for the inspiration! Knowing you guys did it cheap yet it still looks AMAZING is a thrill to me. It can be done!

  20. I love the literary wedding theme. Did you carry your library/book theme through to your thank you cards/notes? If so, what did you use as thank you cards?

    Thanks

  21. Love your whole look. I'm planning to use books as our centerpiece/favors. Could you send me a picture of the full view of the table so I can get a better feel for it?

    Thanks!
    Rhonda

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