Offbeat partner: Dani
Offbeat partner: Chris
Date and location of wedding: The groom’s parents’ backyard for the ceremony, the bride’s mom’s backyard for the reception, Wells, Maine — November 4, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: There wasn’t really a theme. I’m a designer, so I just roll around in things that inspire me and see what sticks. The biggest highlight is that I made my own gown. All of it! From sketches to patternmaking to cutting and sewing. I also did our save the dates — a CD playlist inside a custom sleeve, featuring portraits of us I drew in Adventure Time style. We followed that up with marble themed invites we designed, knowing the neutral tones and moody vibes would go with everything we thought we wanted for the reception.
We knew we wanted things to be really classy and elegant, but we had a small budget. Since we couldn’t afford a lot of flowers, we bought a ton of Christmas lights on sale the year before and just went nuts with white twinkle lights and it worked out beautifully. Chris loves dinosaurs, so I snuck them in everywhere without telling him: large ones held our table numbers and small ones were just hidden in strange places, all painted gold.
Everything was super DIY, from my dress, to the ceremony benches. Because it was so DIY, we had tons of help. My father-in-law built the arch, and he, a family friend, and I built the benches. My girls and I made the boutonnières, which had special touches. My beekeeper in-laws had brass bees attached with floral glue to theirs, and for my mother, who I thought should have something non traditional, I attached flowers to a wide brass cuff the night before to match her emerald gown. We also had a food truck for maximum picnic vibe.
Tell us about the ceremony:
I walked down the aisle to “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service. My dad passed away unexpectedly the spring before the wedding, so my uncle walked with me. Our music was off Spotify and we had a last minute replacement in the music management, and our stand-in DJ pressed pause instead of turning down the volume, resulting in a little pause sound jingle that made everyone laugh, which I needed.
We had a confetti girl instead of a flower girl (eco-friendly confetti for chicken and bee safety!). A long time family friend, the very first person aside from my parents and grand parents to meet me after I was born, in fact, married us in an atheist ceremony full of Star Trek references and Carl Sagan quotes under a birch arch adorned with eucalyptus garland. I made vow books for Chris and I and we read vows we had written, which made each other laugh. Instead of “you may now kiss,” it was “make it so” a la Captain Picard. As I did not take Chris’ name, our officiant announced our full names with me as “Mrs. My Full Name,” so no one would call me Mrs. His Last Name or, worse still, Mrs. His First Name.
Tell us about the reception:
We had an incredible food truck, Mashed, a Maine-based operation which celebrates the Maine potato. The menu is very creative, everything is served on a bed of delicious mashed potatoes, and Renee makes EVERYTHING, including garnishes like breads, pickles, and for dessert, the authentic Maine potato Needham. Yes, Mainers even eat potatoes in their desserts. Each table was adorned with a simple white tablecloth, a gold number-bearing dino, a vase or beaker of flowers, hand dyed napkins, hand written name cards, honey from Chris’ parents’ hives bottled by his mom, and needhams from Mashed in pretty little boxes assembled by my mom.
The vases were all salvaged from flea markets or antique shops, the beakers were a nod to Chris being a chemist, my mom and I dyed every single napkin by hand in the backyard, and I wrote all the name cards on marble print card stock to match the invitations. At the head table we included gifts we had been given: a lovely vase and a set of blown glass champagne glasses, so that the gift givers could see that we truly cherish them. My mom baked our cake herself in her boyfriend’s kitchen, as we lost power at her house for several days the week of the wedding. That was truly terrifying but it did come back on just in time.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I feel like lots of brides say this, but shit happens, so be ready. We had an enormous storm that knocked out power in 95% of the state the week of the wedding. My mom’s house lost power two separate times. At this point, I was still sewing my dress and also had to move to her boyfriend’s house to finish. Having a back-up house to go to and a determined bridesmaid who is also a designer and refused to see me walk down the aisle without all the closures on my dress saved my bacon. For real, shit almost went totally sideways.
Additionally, know who your REAL supporters are. I had a lot, but I know many people don’t have a close by support network. Do not, DO. NOT. let anyone get in your way who doesn’t have a right or a good reason to be in your way. Let the drama roll off you.
And one more: as you are working through the planning process, many people may tell you that you “must” do this thing or that thing. This is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Okay, yeah, you are obligated to keep your guests comfy and happy because they came to support you, but that’s just polite. There is literally nothing you “must” do. I was told I “must” block hotel rooms. To that I say, we are all grown ass adults, and everyone knows how to book their own hotel. I provided a list of hotels that were open in the off season, y’all know what to do with that info. You only have to do what you want. You’ve got this.