Alexa & Kevin's casual, green, beach party wedding weekend

Updated Mar 15 2021

Baby, it's cold outside. Sit back, listen to the fireplace roar, and enjoy Day 1 of Beach week and this science-nerd, muli-cultural, lawn-game-playin' wedding! – Becca

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Photos by Mark Tenekjian

The offbeat bride: Alexa, Cartographer (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Kevin, Fisheries statistics grad student

Location & date of wedding: Sheraton, Ft Lauderdale Beach Hotel, Fortt Lauderdale, FL — May 22, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: First of all, being environmentalists, we wanted to have as low-impact a wedding as possible while still meeting my parents' expectations.

DSC_0703We didn't use any (real) flowers in the ceremony or reception and basically had no decorations at all for the ceremony. Our centerpieces for the reception were provided by the hotel (which is green certifed) who reuses them for other weddings and events. They also provided corn cups instead of plastic ones for the people drinking on the beach.

Ceremony ParticipantsAlso, we had no wedding party. We couldn't narrow down who we would want in a wedding party, so we asked all our guests to follow a color theme. We did however, have his college roommate as our officient and my best friend did the reading. Kevin's sister escorted his mom down the aisle and my sister escorted my mom down the aisle.

reception photoLastly, our reception was an indoor/outdoor event on the beach. The food and bar were in the hotel's small event room that opens directly onto the beach. We had umbreallas and bamboo mats set up on the beach for people to hang out and play games like washers, ladder golf, soccer, and volleyball.

Post-eating, I changed into a bathing suit and went swimming with all my friends and family.

the reveal

DSC_0619Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony, which we all wrote together, opened with the line from the wedding in The Princess Bride: "Mawwage! is wot bwings us togedder today."

The reading was an excerpt from "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr Suess.

Our processional music was "Invincible" by Muse.

Because Kevin and I met at a special science-nerd middle school and then re-met during a National Science Foundation internship in college, we played "She Blinded me with Science" by Thomas Dolby for our recessional.

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DSC_5191Our biggest challenge: The biggest challege for us was the entire wedding industry and its traditions. The whole way up to the wedding we had to push against things that other people decided needed to be a part of the wedding — wedding party, flowers, dances, diamonds, etc.

We didn't want to do any dances. We compromised and did parent dances, because my dad is sentimental like that.

ringsI had a sapphire engagement ring and a plain band as my wedding ring. My closest friends know that as a socially-conscious geology nerd, diamonds just don't interest me. I also needed a utilitarian band for field work and becasue I like getting my hands dirty. So I just sucked it up and showed off my rings with pride anyway.

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DSC_0768My funniest moment: The whole ceremony was pretty funny, especially the opening line from The Princess Bride. Only about half the guests (the younger ones) got the joke.

Also, we chose the traditional Irish wedding vows that start: "You can not own me for I belong to myself…." The second line in the vows says "You cannot command me, for I am a free person. But I shall serve you in those ways you require." Apparently what everyone heard was "Service you in those ways you desire" and everyone was cracking up during the ceremony. I, being of the slightly more innocent variety, was totally lost as to why everyone was laughing until the reception when all of our friends were congratulating Kevin on being able to get "serviced" whenever he wanted. Oops!

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DSC_4927Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I am Cuban/Puerto Rican and Kevin is of Irish decent. We have both accumulated friends from every stage of life — from South Florida where we grew up to my Latina sorority in college to Oregon where we now live. I was a little concerned about how our extended families and friends would get along.

DSC_5165We were so grateful that his parents hosted a Friday night, out-of-towner reception, because it gave everyone an extra night to get to know each other. Of course, everyone got along just fine, and new friendships and possibly even romances were formed over the three days of wedding madness! 🙂
feet

DSC_5236My advice for offbeat brides: Compromise! Despite ending up perfectly, the wedding we had was still way more formal than the wedding Kevin and I envisioned. In order to appease my parents (and because they helped pay in order to have the wedding more to their liking), we decided to go with the more tradiational hotel route. It ended up working out perfectly since we managed to find a green certified hotel that also agreed to customize a Cuban food menu for us and didn't look at me funny when I asked about recycling options and non-plastic cups.

as the night ends

DSC_4491Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Love anything but diamonds, I had a pink sapphire, it confused alot of people! Your wedding looked like alot of fun, congrats!

  2. Wow! I'm in a stats class with Kevin right now, and was procrastinating working on the project that is due tomorrow by perusing the OBB blog. What a small world!

    It looks like you two had an amazing celebration—it's great to see how you were able to find ways to meet some of the desires of your families while still having a truly green wedding!

  3. Fun, love, laughter and happiness. You look so happy in the pics and it's good to see that you can take a step away from the traditional path and uphold your beliefs without compromising the enjoyment of a wedding – good for you (both) and congratulations!

  4. Aaagh! Alexa, how can I get in contact with you and pick your brain??? I'M GETTING MARRIED IN FT. LAUDERDALE NEXT MAY AND WANT IT TO BE AS GREEN AS POSSIBLE!!! I would LOVE your help! 🙂

  5. Woah. My FH and I met at smart kid camp and are both super laid-back, independent types. We're planning an informal beach wedding, and being eco-minded, I've been worrying over things like flowers, decorations, and cups and plates. So grateful to find such a like-minded couple who forged the way for us in this, to be able to read about how they dealt with some of the details we're currently working with. Quite an inspiration. Many thanks for sharing.

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