Mary & Adam's Elephantastic Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

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!

also way up high
Lucy the elephant/wedding location.

The Offbeat Bride: Mary, school librarian

Her Offbeat Partner: Adam, writer

Location & date of wedding: Lucy the Elephant, Margate City, NJ — 4/18/2009

in the howdah

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?

post vow smooch inside Lucy
Post vow smooch inside Lucy.

Also, we had no officiant because we didn't want someone standing between us while we said our vows.

lucy cake

Adam's mom made our amazing (and delicious) Lucy-shaped cake. A lifelong friend did my hair.

prayer flag

prayer flags

Family members decorated blank prayer flags as decorations.

white house

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.

champagne

champagne

champagne

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.

love

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.

cannoli

--

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.

yum

Finally, we wanted to spend time with our families all weekend, so we rented a big ol' beach house for everyone to stay in.

big sky

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.

postcards
We displayed postcards of places that are important to us. We also printed postcards of photos of Lucy and asked guests to write us a note on those and place it in the wee red mailbox, instead of signing a guestbook.

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.

happy

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!

stairs inside Lucy the Elephant
This is one of my favorites of the two of us. We're standing on the spiral staircase inside one of Lucy's legs.

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.

ring pillow
Ring pillow that says "this is an adventure"

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).

program
We made these programs with the gocco, and I stamped the date with a library date due stamp.

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.
  • We bought blank & printed prayer flags from West Wind Flags and suitcases from Paper Source and a lot of vintage postcards from ebay.

  1. Beth Cyr made our rings too! She is kickass, and we can't wait to wear them (June 13th!). Congratulations on a gorgeous, fun wedding. Elephants are the best. 🙂

  2. This wedding looks so fabulous. Everybody is obviously having a great time – which is all anyone could ask for.

    Congrats (and I love love love your cake!)

  3. Awesome! I'm so glad to hear that non-officiant weddings go over well. We are doing that and we've been a little nervous about it. It always makes me feel better to see the ideas I have be successful for other people first. Yay!

  4. There was no "elephant in the room" for this one, cuz the elephant was the whole darn venue!!!!

    This is just so awesome! And I love that ring pillow with the "This is an adventure", what an great message!

  5. Wow, such a great idea, i think this is the first elephant wedding i have come across! Congratulations to you both, you are so lucky to have such amazing friends and family!

  6. thanks everyone for all your kind comments!

    @courtney: officiant-free did not = hassle-free for us, but near enough. we had a little f.a.q. section in the program which contained a question like "where's the priest?" and then a succinct answer about the reasoning behind our decision. i hope your officiant-less wedding is a success!

  7. what a really unique wedding! i LOVE the prayer flag idea, and in fact had just been talking to my fiance about doing the same thing. he was a little frightened that we would have to make them, but thank you so much for sharing the vendor. now we don't have to worry about that!

  8. That is the coolest wedding venue I have ever seen. So jealous! Why aren't there giant animal buildings in my area?

  9. What an awesome wedding and I love the use of Lucy. I've never actually visited, but have driven past Lucy. My fiance' and I are from South Jersey and are currently planning to have a beach wedding in Brigantine. 🙂

  10. What a perfect little wedding! I love it all. The cake, the brides outfit, the two little boys holding hands down the aisle. Gorgeous!

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