The Offbeat Bride: Michele, Freelance Graphic Designer for Anyone!
Her Offbeat Partner: Stuart, Historic Preservation Advocate for Non-Profit
Location & date of wedding: The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain, Dickerson, MD — August 29, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: While our wedding was traditional in most areas… it was all of the little offbeat details that made it uniquely ours. Those quirky touches were:
A close friend did a reading which included quotes from our favorite children's books and movies. For example, he began with shouting “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”
All of the printed items, including the save the date and invites were custom-designed by me. I created a graphic “logo” for our wedding which was a stylized version of a luckenbooth (a Scottish wedding brooch) that was used throughout. I also used a crayon drawing of a couple holding hands that I had done when I was child as inspiration. We actually took a photo of ourselves recreating the drawing and used that for our wedding cake topper and on our guestbook and program. We even decorated the guestbook table with drawings of us done by some children of our friends.
We DIY'd a lot of things! I knitted flower corsages, boutonnieres, flower girl necklaces, and flowers for my hair (good thing some friends/family provided some last minute help putting those together!). Stuart and I made holders for the sparklers and custom matchbooks. We put together simple, but pretty, centerpieces with wine bottles, votives, and flowers (from a wholesaler and arranged by sister and cousin). We also had favors that we made ourselves: a crossword puzzle, a cootie-catcher, and a CD of our wedding song “rejects.” Lunch boxes were used for card holders and decorations. My sister and cousin also made the bouquets.
We incorporated Stuart's Scottish heritage with him wearing a kilt, having bagpiper play for the ceremony, and other Scottish traditions. We took our honeymoon prior to the wedding (shocking!) and we went to Scotland, where we brought back a Quaich that we used for toasting.
The venue was ideal because Stuart remembered going there when he was a kid and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (an important criteria for the preservationist!). We were able to take over the entire inn/restaurant which created a very cozy, homey feel. Since the wedding was taking place in his home state, Stuart's wedding gift to me was flying in one of my favorite Texas rockabilly bands, Lil' Bit and the Customatics, to play at the reception.
Instead of traditional pre-selected flower girls, we encouraged all the young girls attending who were interested to help out as flower girls. We also had the young boys help handing out Scottish good luck horseshoes as we headed back up the aisle after the ceremony. We really wanted to encourage all kiddos to have fun at the wedding. We even had them put rubber duckies in the fountain before the ceremony.
There was a wide variety of food stations to appeal to us “foodies.” We had many vegetarian-friendly options and fun “comfort” food including a mashed potato bar and macaroni and cheese bar. And, in addition to the wedding cake, we had an ice-cream sundae bar (because everyone knows you can't have cake without ice cream!).
We always stop to take photos at every photobooth we come across, so we had to have one for our reception! We even put out a bunch of props so people could have fun with it. And, since we are photography geeks, we had to take our typical “self-portrait” after we were declared married!
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was logistics and time! We only gave ourselves five months to pull together the wedding we wanted and we were planning the wedding remotely. The wedding took place in Maryland, we were living in New York, and all my family was in Texas. We took several trips to Maryland and crammed in as much wedding planning as possible. We had to do a lot of research (thanks internet!) beforehand so we could make the most of the time we had there.
And, of course, life also became a challenge… in the middle of wedding planning, Stuart was laid off and we made the decision to move cross-country for better job possibilities. So in the midst of stuffing envelopes for the wedding invitation, we were sending out resumes and looking for places to live!
What were the most meaningful moments of your wedding? Since we went with a sort of a “child-at-heart” theme for our wedding, we chose “Rainbow Connection” for our first dance. It was the one surprise that we actually managed to keep from everyone! We watched some videos to learn how to waltz and it wasn't too much of a disaster! My favorite moment was dancing with the most wonderful guy in the world and hearing everyone around us singing along with Kermit.
While Stuart enjoyed that as well, he says that the sparkler send-off was something that really stood out for him.
What was the funniest moment of your wedding or reception? Our entire wedding was about fun! From the cootie-catchers to the rockabilly band, our goal was to have a good time! I think our choice for the first dance song, Kermit's “Rainbow Connection” was a fun surprise. It was also pretty funny when people realized that the music we had playing as we were cutting the cake was the Muppet's “Mahna Mahna” song!
My advice for other offbeat brides: Prioritize the things that make your wedding yours! While perusing all the wedding magazines, books, and blogs, you will inevitably come up with a thousand ideas and you won't be able to use them all! Once you know what your important deal-breakers are — focus your time, energy, and money on those! For instance, I'm not much of a fashionista, so the dress wasn't a priority for me, but comfy shoes were, so I made sure I got my sequin blue Chucks.
For those going the DIY route, consider alternate (and simple) sources for materials to save time (which usually saves money in the long run). We were racking our brain on how to collect and clean wine bottles for centerpieces when I came across a website selling bottles for home bottlers. Take advantage of the talent of your friends and family. While I could knit flowers, arranging live flowers was not in my skill set, so I enlisted the talent of others.
And, speaking of taking advantage, use the web to your advantage… we set up a shared bookmarking site (Delicious) so that we could share sites of good ideas/vendors we came across with each other. We also set up our own wedding website blog. It was free (WordPress) and a great way to communicate information with all the wedding guests.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Have fun…and marry the person you have the most fun with! 😉
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Kilt: Atlanta Kilts
- Flowers: Blooms by the Box
- Honeymoon: Scotland Made Easy
- Bagpiper: Tim Carey Piper
- Lunchboxes: LunchBoxes.com
- Rubber Duckies and Pencils: Oriental Trading Co.
- Old Bay Seasoning (included in hotel welcome packet w/postcard)
- Photobooth: Majestic Photobooths
- Guestbook: Blurb
- Cake: Creative Cakes
- Band: The Customatics
- Votives: Candles4Less.com
- Wine Bottles: Midwest Supplies
- Rubber Stamp: RubberStamps.net
- Printing (save the date, post-its, invites, welcome postcards, thank you cards): Vista Print