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The Offbeat Bride: Andrea, Preschool Director

Her offbeat partner: Matthew, Middle School Art Teacher

Date and location of wedding: Family Property at Lake Tahoe, Tahoma, CA — August 11, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding was small, with 55 people. Since over half the people attending were out-of-town, we wanted it to feel like a really fun vacation with a wedding stuck in the middle. We organized a group float down the Truckee River, our welcome dinner was a pizza/keg/roller skating affair at a local ski resort, and the day after we invited everyone back for boating, kayaking, and hanging out.

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My mom made my skirt for the ceremony, and I found my tank top on the clearance rack at Anthropologie. Matthew made the table runner and napkins, and we found all of the plates in thrift stores. We arranged all of our own flowers bought in bulk from Trader Joe’s, and the bouquets were done by the local grocery store. Everything else, we either sourced from friends or we just didn’t do at all!

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Things like programs, placecards, and guest books weren’t important to us, so we skipped them. We did have our caterer prepare sack lunches for people to take with them when they left, as there aren’t any late-night, post-boozing stops to make. Making sure everyone was well-fed and watered was important to us.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was done by Matthew’s friend from college, Dan. He made it both personal and humorous. There were some great nods to our solidarity as a couple, and our ability to make the best out of some not-so-great life situations. Our quasi-hippie lifestyle also came under fire, as he mentioned out loud that he was surprised to see our wedding rings were not made out of hemp or leather. My stepbrother read “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. We had the bar going before, during, and after the ceremony, which lasted about ten minutes.

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Our biggest challenge: Matthew’s family is really large, and my parents have been divorced for over 20 years, so the thought of getting all of them together in one place (let alone entertaining and feeding them) gave me hives. Because of this, we made the decision only to invite our most immediate family members.. It was hard, and some feelings were hurt, but we made the right decision for us. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and it allowed me to truly enjoy myself. I arranged for my step-dad to walk me down the first half of the aisle, and then hand me off to my dad. It was important to me to have both of them participate.

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My funniest moment: My father proceeded to give an absolutely hilarious ode to Matthew’s love of Scotch, which included his elaborate Skype date set-up to ask permission for my hand in marriage (complete with Scotch toast over the internet). He wrapped it up with a lap around the 60-person farm table high-fiving every single person there!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great?
We didn’t want a plated dinner, and a buffet didn’t seem like it would work logistically. And as pescatarians, we wanted to make sure everyone had something available that they liked eating. We ended up having a family-style, low-country shrimp boil that I was super excited about… until I woke up the day of the wedding convinced everyone would go hungry once they realized they would have to rip the legs off of the shrimp. It turned out to be totally unnecessary since everyone just dived in.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Don’t get too wrapped up in the details. Decor and favors may seem like the most important elements at times, but take the time to refocus on your real goals: your love and having a great time. Every time I looked around, guests had a crazy grin on their face and a drink in their hand. Everyone was relaxed and genuinely happy to be there, which was what I had hoped for.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Comments on Andrea & Matthew’s simple lakeside wedding weekend

  1. Relaxed and happy. That is a great focus for life in general. Thanks for sharing your wedding with us.

  2. We’re doing the same family-style low country boil for my wedding on Sunday! I love family style meals for weddings. Our guests come from such a variety of circles, and I wanted people to feel encouraged to get to know someone new. what better way to join families than breaking bread together? (or in our case tearing off shrimp legs!)

  3. Oh my goodness, that last photo by the lake! Wow! Seems like you had your priorities straight, and really had a magically day, Congratulations!

  4. Thank you for the sweet comments, it was such a perfect day that looking back on it, it almost seems surreal!

  5. Ive been playing with the idea of a seperate skirt/shirt for my wedding since I cant find a dress where I love the top and bottom at the same time in equal amounts. I was worried that it would look strange, but I have been proved wrong with this post! Loved your ensemble, and the overall vibe of the wedding 🙂

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