To kick off Offbeat Bride's first ever “Elephun Elephant Day” we present to you an elephant inspired wedding! And stay tuned for more elephant themed posts today!
The Offbeat Bride: Mary, school librarian
Her Offbeat Partner: Adam, writer
Location & date of wedding: Lucy the Elephant, Margate City, NJ — 4/18/2009
What made our wedding offbeat:
We exchanged our vows inside a giant elephant-shaped building from 1882 and our guests got to see the view from the howdah on her back. How fun is that?
Also, we had no officiant because we didn't want someone standing between us while we said our vows.
Adam's mom made our amazing (and delicious) Lucy-shaped cake. A lifelong friend did my hair.
Family members decorated blank prayer flags as decorations.
My sister and I made the bouquets from supermarket flowers the day before the wedding. And everyone pitched in to pour champagne at the reception.
It all happened with the help of our friends and family instead of vendors. Honestly, our wedding would have been crap without everyone's participation. It made the whole event much more fun and meaningful.
We asked my sister's kids to choose songs to sing during the ceremony (final picks: “doo wah diddy,” “just a boy and a girl in a little canoe,” and a song about fruit salad). And we wanted people to be comfortable, so we encouraged everyone to wear whatever they wished.
We didn't want an hours-long reception, so we served cake, cannoli, champagne and soda, and wrapped the whole thing up after a few hours.
Finally, we wanted to spend time with our families all weekend, so we rented a big ol' beach house for everyone to stay in.
Our biggest challenge: Staying flexible and not bowing to what we thought people expected from a wedding and keeping up the continuing conversation about what our priorities were and how to execute them. That ongoing conversation lead us to cancel our dinner reception at a local restaurant about six months before our wedding. It was difficult, but such a relief when we could proceed with our revised, more mellow plans.
Ariel said it better than I could, but once we focused our energy on what we did want, as opposed to the things we were choosing to skip, everything started to go much more smoothly.
My favorite moment: Saying my vows. So emotional!
My advice for other offbeat brides:
1. Use your resources. We just happened to have a fabulous baker & artist (Adam's mom) in the family, and she came up with the best cake ever. Our friends & family were delighted to help and yours will be too, you just have to give up a little control and ask!
2. If you're traveling to your wedding and you're hoping to spend time with family and friends, look into alternatives to a hotel. Our gigantic rental house served as a great spot for bouquet-making, cake-icing, rehearsal-dinnering, and just general chilling out. Doing all those things in a hotel would have been inconvenient, if not exactly impossible. And the house was a fraction of the cost of a load of hotel rooms.
3. Pick a few (that means three) items that are really important to you and stick to your guns on those while maintaining flexibility about the other stuff. For us it was the venue (nothing else could possibly compare to Lucy), the lack of a dress code (it freaked some people out, but we just kept reiterating that we really meant it), and the invitations (we made them ourselves and they were a ton of work, but totally worth it).
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- The fabulous emily from Cheekadee did the ladies' makeup
- I bought my BCBG dress from bluefly before we were even engaged.
- My hairpiece was from twigs & honey on etsy.
- Our wedding rings were from Beth Cyr jewelry.
- We bought blank & printed prayer flags from West Wind Flags and suitcases from Paper Source and a lot of vintage postcards from ebay.
- And our incredible photos are by Carina Romano and Amanda Jaffe of Love Me Do Photography.