Carla & Zeb's handmade everything, drumming dance party wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

free flowers too!

The Offbeat Bride: Carla, farmer/produce marketer

Her Offbeat Partner: Zeb, farmer/produce marketer

Location & date of wedding: Byzantine Church, and church hall in DuBois, PA — May 30, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: The wedding was a traditional Byzantine wedding which is somewhat offbeat even though its orthodox. Byzantine wedding in western PA; we warned people it would be just like the wedding in the move The Deerhunter.

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My dress was gold and the bridesmaids wore white (a little backwards). And we bought simple sneakers for the bridal party to change into afterwards.

The bridal party

We saved a ton of money by doing everything ourselves. I had made paper flowers for the three flowergirls who wore handmade dresses by me, the bride. The groomsmen wore linen shirts and hemp pants with handmade rosemary boutineers made by me as well. We ordered beautiful handmade crowns from Etsy for our ceremony.

Our homeade jelly!
Homemade grape jelly favors.

The reception was catered completely by us (since we're organic farmers that had long been the plan). The favors were organic grape jelly that we had made the fall before. I asked my African drumming group to come and rock and they did! Everyone got up and danced. It was such a good time. My music-obsessed groom had the whole reception planned on his computer which we hooked up to an amp. Best reception music ever! Also we just asked specific friends to help with serving and bartending as their presents to us. It worked out perfectly.

Tim and rest of drummers

Our biggest challenge: It was the time constraint. We were determined to do everything ourselves but were also busy with moving and tying up loose ends with business/farming stuff so that we could relax on our honeymoon.

The crowning ceremony

Thankfully our mothers both stepped in and helped us with creating the reception hall. We needed to have good conversation skills to make sure both our wants were met and that we weren't compromising too much. We made a list of things that were important for us to have and just worked around that. That made it easier to filter out time consuming tasks that we didn't care about.

Later in the evening

My favorite moment: Dancing with all my friends and family. During the drumming everything got heated up and everyone was on the floor. It was like being at a great concert with everyone i care about.

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My advice for other offbeat brides: Don't be afraid to ask for help! It was my experience that my friends and family were enthusiastic about being involved. I only asked each person that helped to do one thing so that they were not overwhelmed. This helped me because I knew everything was covered and they were glad to have a task. Good communication with people went a long way that day!

Our way too huge cake

Oh also if you know your specific colors check out after-Chrismas sales at craft stores. I got so much stuff to decorate with for a great price!

Enough talk — show me the Deerhunter wedding porn!:

  1. Hey there fellow rural Pennsylvanian! State College kid here. You don't happen to sell your produce in my area, do you? 'Cause I'll totally buy it.

    It looks like people really had fun with the drumming.

    • We sell mostly in the Pittsburgh area now. Sorry! There is a good CSA i would reccommend your way though – Village Acres. They are nice people.

  2. I have a dress question. I also want my bms in white and i was wondering how long it took you to make the dresses/what patterns and fabric you used.

    Also, I think the gold looks great with your skintone ^^

    • The white bridesmaid dresses were bought at a store. I made the gold flowergirl dresses though. I got some satiny gold fabric and made a simple strapless A line dress with a deep V in the back so that they could pull it over their heads. Then i sewed a layer of sheer gold crinkle fabric over top to look very flowy. I added a thick ribbon over both layers that was long enough to tie the back together in a bow. Then straps. the end.

      Does that make sense how i explained it? I think you could do that for bridesmaid dresses too – they would be babydoll like but that could be cute. If i added it up i'd say it took about 10 hours per dress, or something like that.

    • The white bridesmaid dresses were bought at a store. I made the gold flowergirl dresses though. I got some satiny gold fabric and made a simple strapless A line dress with a deep V in the back so that they could pull it over their heads. Then i sewed a layer of sheer gold crinkle fabric over top to look very flowy. I added a thick ribbon over both layers that was long enough to tie the back together in a bow. Then straps. the end.

      Does that make sense how i explained it? I think you could do that for bridesmaid dresses too – they would be babydoll like but that could be cute. If i added it up i'd say it took about 10 hours per dress, or something like that.

  3. what a pretty wedding! Love the stain glass windows in the background.
    Also nice to see a wedding where the bride and groom have big giant smiles on their faces the whole time!

  4. LOVE that you all did everything yourselves! The dresses were gorgeous, and it looked like everyone was celebrating-not stressing-which is so the point. Thanks for the DIY inspiration/reassurance-I'm making peacock/fairy/flower girl dresses for 2 of my daughters for our wedding, and most of our decorations.

  5. I'm Byzantine Catholic (Are you guys Byzantine or Orthodox?) and it's really awesome to see a wedding here from my faith (which I assumed was too orthodox to be offbeat)! Congrats you gusy!

    • We are Byzantine. I think its so uncommon now and concentrated in small pockets in the states that is is offbeat. Almost no one who attended had seen a Byzantine ceremony before (we converted to Byzantine, hence our family being unfamiliar). The ceremony is so beautiful and unusual, we really loved sharing it with everyone. Thank you Angie!

  6. Oh my gosh, Carla, I was your roomie at Pre-Cana! Everything looked wonderful. We're getting married on the 28th, but we're still waiting for a delegation to go through. Turns out my fiance isn't technically Byzantine! Since I'm Roman, the priest has to get permission to marry us!

    • Wow Bianca! Its good to hear from you. Oh my, that would be frustrating! I'm sure everything will work out for you guys. Take care!

    • Hey Bianca! That would be kinda frustrating, geeze all the technicalities. I hope everything goes well for you!

  7. You've inspired me to get a drum circle at my wedding. I love your pictures – it looks like it was a great reception!

  8. One thing I've struggled with is trying to reconcile my desire to have a casual wedding with my desire to dress up more "formally" – and now that I've seen these pictures, I don't have to struggle anymore! You pulled off looking gorgeous in a formal-type gown without looking overdressed or out of place one little bit. Wow!

    Also: Love the drum circle!

  9. So much heart and fun spirit in this wedding!

    Who made your dress, or did you purchase it? Looks similar to a Nicole Miller gown I was considering…

  10. Carla… my fiance' and i are also organic farmers… we're located in central IL. We want to cater the whole thing with the veggies and chicken we raise. Even the flowers from my gardens. I was wondering if you could talk to me about your menu? My email address is Mellowmymind123@yahoo.com. I'd be super appreciative!

  11. Congrats and wonderful wedding!!! I grew up Byzantine Catholic so it was so cool to see the church in the background.. i did a little… "Hey! That looks familiar! :D"

    I'm actually from southwestern PA myself. The area is very rich with wedding traditions that are not common in other parts of the country. Since my hubs & I actually got married in Rochester, NY it was quite a chore explaining some of the things we wanted to do. Blank stares from the reception hall coordinator. It was a fight, but we got our way in the end.

    Anyways, it was so fun seeing this! Congrats again!

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