The Offbeat Bride: Kelsey, Art Therapist
Her offbeat partner: Elias, Web Developer
Date and location of wedding: Richmond, VA — October 4, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
When Eli and I got engaged, we thought about what we love about our relationship. We created our wedding day around these intentions, always referring back to them when we had decisions to make. The words that we chose were playful, cozy, intimate, and honoring of both our relationship, and the relationship we have with each of our guests.
This feels really special, especially since we live in Colorado, far away from most friends and family. Many of our friends and family have not experienced our relationship, so we were really excited to be able to spend a day showing what it’s like to be in our love.
As an art therapist, creating an environment of beauty and joy through art was vital. Eli is quite an inventor as well, and was totally on board with this intention. To create this intimate and connected feel it was important to us to hand-make most of the decor and include our friends and family in the process as much as possible. We wanted the whole feel of the day to be around support and love.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We handmade the pillows that our wedding party sat on during the ceremony. This was a detail that felt important to us to. At weddings we've been involved in, we've stood off to the side behind the bride or groom, the traditional set up. Imagining ourselves front and center without being able to see our most special friends didn't feel right, so we chose to do things a little differently. During the ceremony our wedding party sat in a semi-circle around us, allowing Eli and I to look out and see them, creating a sense of connection and groundedness during our transition into marriage. We also asked our wedding party to offer up blessings during the ceremony, which was one of my favorite parts of our day.
Other details of the ceremony included the handkerchiefs we sewed for our parents and grandparents (which we gave out as surprise gifts at the beginning of the ceremony), including a ring warming into our ceremony, having friends as our ceremony musicians, and having our dog as the ring bearer.
My brother designs jeans, so he made Bodhi’s (our pup) denim ring holder. We’re big sewers, so Eli hand-made all of the bowties for the groomsmen. During the rehearsal Bodhi ran to me instead of Eli, so we didn’t have high hopes that he would deliver the rings successfully. On the day of the wedding he was a rock star, though, and got lots of love as he wandered in and out of the reception throughout the rest of the day.
Tell us about your reception:
We had stations set up all around the site for the reception. There was a photo booth area, lawn games (including two cornhole sets painted by family members), a painting station (an alternative to a guestbook), table games, quilts and pillows laid out for alternative seating, stools that the wedding party painted for seating, and hand-painted signs by an amazing friend.
Eli’s friends from college provided the beer from their newly opened brewery. One of my best friends sang and played guitar. As favors for the guests, I made little tubs of lip balm, a tribute to our engagement story. All these little touches made the day feel special, knowing that so many friends and family put so much into it. A really special part of the decor were all the felted garlands that hung around the reception and ceremony. Family and friends from around the world created these, sending packages full of felted balls to us during the engagement. We strung these and used them as decoration to create a cozy, intimate feel, as well as include guests who couldn't attend.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We were lucky to have an awesome and open support system throughout the process, but still the biggest challenge we faced was actually going through with what we wanted to do. Because a lot of our ideas were more quirky, when describing our ideas the initial response from family and friends would be “um…really?” Don't be afraid to do something different. We approached our wedding as the day that we could do whatever we wanted — to magnify our true selves.
Another suggestion I have is to really take the engagement as a time of reflection. Getting married is a big identity shift, even if it doesn't feel like it. Let yourself feel the joy, excitement, and outpouring of love, but also be open to the grief, fear, and weirdness that comes with transitions.