Sandee & Ty's weird California winery wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

The Offbeat Bride: Sandee, Office Manager and mother to the coolest pup around (and OBT member "Sandee")

Her Offbeat Partner: Ty, Electrical Engineer

Location & date of wedding: Eagle Castle Winery, Paso Robles, CA. It is a vineyard and winery with an old world castle theme, complete with moat! — September 20, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: While we could have gone the medieval route with the theme at the castle, we decided that the theme would be "US!" Our music, our favorite foods, and little touches of us everywhere.

We saved a shipload of money by utilizing the AMAZING shops at Etsy and created a unique event like no other. I'm sure a lot of our personal flairs raised a few eyebrows, but it was exactly what we wanted and all that mattered. Highlights included:

  • Our cake, complete with dripping "blood" fondant and lip locked skeleton cake topper (skeletons can still use tongue!).
  • Our daughter, Gabby the Pup as Doggie of Honor.
  • Engagement photos doubled as table numbers.
  • An electric guitar served as our guestbook.
  • Cocktail napkins had favorite quotes from our two favorites shows (How I Met Your Mother and The Office).
  • Our food was reminiscent of the first meal we shared together (fuck foofy food you can't pronounce, it's all about beans and rice and chili verde!!!).
  • We finalized our vows the night before on hotel paper.
  • All the personal touches that only photos can describe!
320_Portraits__104_
Check out their gun ties!

Our biggest challenge:We had a big problem with those who were invited as "singles" all of a sudden wanting to bring dates a WEEK before the wedding — after everything had been finalized. We wanted a very small and intimate wedding and I didn't want to say "nice to meet you" to anyone on our wedding day. It infuriated me that so many people put me in that position. In the end, I had to put my foot down and say no, because frankly, we couldn't afford to tack on fifteen extra people at a seventy-five person wedding. We figured if someone had the nards to hold it against us, then they weren't true friends anyway.

And like most couples, we experienced the ever present problem of having to remind people that this is OUR day, not THEIRS. In the end, you have to be firm because you only get one shot at your wedding. Being blunt was the only way I got the job done.

Toasting glasses.

My favorite moment: Before the reception, after we took some photographs, my new husband and I spent a few moments alone together just relaxing and soaking everything up. The whole day goes by so fast, but those few moments we sat together alone with no cameras or people in our faces are the most special in my mind.

My advice for other offbeat brides: Being offbeat can also score you some major deals! [Editors Note: Ariel wrote a post about wedding photographers that do INDEED give deals for being offbeat.]

The winery was a cool offbeat place and the vendors that I interviewed offered me many discounts so they could have an offbeat wedding in their portfolio. Florists, caterers, DJs and coordinators get sick of the same old thing and may jump at the chance to do something fun and new.

Pick vendors who you really "click" with. Granted, when you're shopping for wedding pros, you're not out to find your new best friend. But if you don't gel well, you're not going to want to spend your entire wedding day with someone you don't have good chemistry with. This is especially important with photographers, videographers and wedding planners. If the shoe doesn't fit, DO NOT sign the dotted line.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

  1. Oh I remember that cake from OBT. I have never involuntarily drooled like that. Fantastic wedding! Congratuations!

  2. We were totally looking at this venue for our wedding, but the were booked for the date we wanted! ­čÖü

    Your wedding looks like it was amazing, though!!

  3. AMS is AWESOME. I was so picky about DJs too. I hate the cheese! I had been to a ton of weddings that summer and 90% of the DJs were icky icky ICK!

    Sean was AMAZING. I recommend them 100%.

  4. Spencer's Gifts. They were super cheap, like $10. They had a bunch of different colors and phrases. Last time I was there they also had "bride" and "groom" ones. These were more ghetto fab though.

  5. Haha I totally look for my new best friend in all my vendors. I keep wondering if my photographer wants to hang out. It was so much fun last time!

  6. My daughter was one of the first weddings at the castle. Yours looked amazing too! You are both very creative…I love it! Cheers to you both! Oh, by the way….AMS is the best aren't they? We used them too

  7. omg. those toasting glasses remind me of my neighbors name in their internet connectivity thingy: bitchhodonutbowl. *shakes head*

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