The Offbeat Bride: Eva, PhD student/research fellow
Her offbeat partner: Radek, PhD student/research fellow
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: A traditional Czech wedding usually takes place somewhere indoors (like a church or town hall), but we just could not imagine the ceremony without seeing sky above and trees around. When searching for the perfect place for the ceremony, we figured that we already knew the best place for us: Býčí skála (Bull Rock) in Moravian Karst. This place is very important to us for various reasons: there is a cave system inside the rock that is known for prehistoric culture relics (which makes our pre-history and anthropology-loving hearts palpitate), and it is also the place where we first met and two years later got engaged.
We also had two best men and three bridesmaids, which is not traditional in our culture. We also did not want to do the traditional division of family and friends for the reception or to in any way exclude anyone we wanted to have there. Usually just the family is invited for the lunch/afternoon meal with a set menu, and friends come only for the evening party.
We also wanted to accommodate the dietary needs of our guests. The groom is on a lactose- and gluten-free diet, and my father is diabetic, so we were really conscious about what we served. We chose a buffet-style reception with options for every dietary need that we knew about.
We also did not have the traditional wedding cake, as the dietary restrictions made it almost impossible. Instead, we had a cheese cake made from different types of whole cheeses including goat cheese (goat milk lactose is different from cow milk, so goat cheese was edible for the groom).
We offered our guests different options for afternoon and evening activities including horse riding, going for an organized walk to a nearby watchtower, and solving games and quizzes from the wedding guidebook. The great weather also lent itself to leisurely walks around the grounds, watching and feeding the horses, and socializing.
I love DIY, so I made my dress, the skirts, shrugs, and necklaces for my bridesmaids, invitations, and our wedding website. My friends and family helped me create decorations I wanted and my mum knitted a shawl for me. My sister did my hair-do. We also asked our mums to prepare some of our favorite meals which we wanted to share with our guests.
Tell us about the ceremony: We had a Protestant Christian ceremony officiated by a friend who is also a pastor. He based his talk on the quotation we put on our save-the-date/invitation cards: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death,” as well as on his knowledge of our relationship, so it was meaningful and candid.
We asked three talented friends to play during the ceremony. We chose the music, and they did an awesome job learning and playing everything. I walked down the aisle with my father to “Greensleeves”, and we listened to a favourite song of ours, Bruce Dickinson's “Tears of the Dragon” just before the vows and blessings. We decided not to exchange rings, so there was just music, a short sermon, vows, the kiss, and blessings.
Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge occurred when one of my close friends decided to get married just a week after us. We share a lot of friends, so there was anxiety on both ends about being compared and not getting enough attention. I had to remind myself that the wedding is not a competition, and we ended up being able to help each other with preparations.
My favorite moment: Apart from the vows, which were really the centre of the whole event for us, it would probably be the preparations. Creating the ceremony, discussing what it meant to us and what to incorporate, as well as inviting people who are significant to both of us, made us really aware of what we were about to do. During the day, there was not so much time to really think about it, because it was actually happening, and there were too many things to enjoy.
My funniest moment: My brother (and my best man) prepared a very special surprise gift for us consisting of a chisel, a hammer, and a big concrete cube which he wrapped in nice wrapping paper and placed among other wedding gifts. We had to break the cube with all the guests cheering to get inside, where the real gift was hidden. Fortunately, it was a financial gift (which we asked for) and not some fragile porcelain vase as someone suggested during our “un-wrapping.”
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The possible disaster situation happened at the end of the ceremony. One of our pregnant guests fainted and really scared everyone. My sister (official medic both for the wedding and in normal life) called the ambulance and kept her stabilized while the bridesmaids helped to wrap her in blankets. We waited for the ambulance to come and the medics to give her the all-clear before resuming the ceremony. Luckily, she and the baby were both alright, and she even joined us later in the afternoon.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Enjoy the preparations! There are plenty of ways to incorporate the things you enjoy in the process and make it fun. The wedding itself is usually too short to get all the quality time you want with your guests, so you can share some time with those you care about while planning before the wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Anna “Andraste” Kijenská
- Venue: Býčí Skála (Bull rock) and Panská Lícha
- Sweets: Kokino
- Flowers: Rosebud
- Necklace: Fleur
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!