Betsy & Kent's polka-dots and April Fool's pizza party wedding

October 14 2014 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Alisa Sue Photography

This week we're celebrating the tea-length, the mini, and the cocktail — that's right, it's short dress week! We're showcasing brides who dare to bare their gams in shorter dresses.

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Photos by Alisa Sue Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Betsy, 3rd Grade Teacher

Her offbeat partner: Kent, Comedian/Voice Over Artist/Instructional Designer

Date and location of wedding: Our home's backyard in Sarasota, Florida — April 1, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Since it was a second wedding for both of us, and the first time around we both went the super fancy route, we wanted it to be casual and most of all FUN. Kent is a comedian, so getting married on April Fool's Day seemed like the perfect choice, plus I liked the date 4/1/14. It was a Tuesday, which made it odd to some of our family and friends. A friend described our less-than-traditional, Mad-Libs-style, polka dotted invitations as, "This is what happens when an English major/comedian marries an elementary school teacher who loves polka dots."

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We decided to save money by having the ceremony in our backyard. Our friend, a notary and fellow comedian, married us. We bucked the traditional wedding reception and went with a pizza party with beer and wine at a fantastic local Italian restaurant. We played trivia on our first date, and have played almost every week since, so including a game of trivia at the reception was important to us. We created questions about ourselves for our family and friends to answer and the DJ ran the game. It was hilarious seeing how competitive our guests got!

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We also had an April Fool's prank of our own. While everyone was eating, drinking, and being merry at the house after the ceremony, we put phony parking tickets on their cars! APRIL FOOLS! Our house guests totally got us back, though. When we returned from our wedding night away, we found our entire bedroom tin-foiled and plastic wrapped!

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We wrote our own vows. We pulled all sorts of things from Offbeat Bride and other sources, and put the pieces we liked together. We went to rival colleges, so we thought it was important to include something about that as well.

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Kent's vows:

Betsy, I choose you to be my wife. I promise to be your best friend and your greatest champion. I promise to always laugh with you and comfort you in times of sorrow, including rough Florida Gator football seasons. Together we will continue to nurture a family that is welcoming, accepting of all, and fun-loving. I promise to love you, respect you, trust you, and give you the best of myself, for I know that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. I promise to always try to make you laugh, not because I'll be your husband and it's the nice thing to do, but because you deserve a life filled with joy and I always forget to buy flowers. I promise to continue to love your child, because today she is my own, as I officially become your partner in her life. My love is yours today, tomorrow, and all the days before us.

Betsy's vows:

Kent, I choose you to be my husband. I promise to be your best friend and your biggest fan. I promise to always laugh with you and comfort you in times of sorrow, including rough Florida State Seminole football seasons. I promise to support our family with you, in a household filled with laughter, patience, understanding, and love. I vow not just to grow old together, but to grow together. I promise to always laugh at your jokes, not because I'll be your wife and it's the nice thing to do, but because I will always think that you are the funniest man I know. I promise to continue to love your children, because today they are my own, as I officially become your partner in their lives. My love is yours today, tomorrow, and all the days before us.

And here are our vows to the kids:

Betsy: Juliet and Jillian, I promise always to treat you with love and respect. I promise to be there for you in any way I can. I promise to support you in your relationship with both your mother and your father and I promise always to listen to you. I am proud to call you my children and look forward to sharing all that our future holds.

Kent: Avery, I promise to always treat you with love and respect. I promise to be there for you in any way I can. I promise to support you in your relationship with both your mother and your father and I promise always to listen to you. I am proud to call you my step-monkey and look forward to sharing all that our future as a family holds.

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Our biggest challenge:
The logistics of hosting the ceremony in our backyard became difficult when we also decided to have out-of-town family and friends stay with us in the days leading up to the wedding. Luckily, we have great family and friends. Once I realized that they really wanted to help and didn't feel it was necessary to be treated like "guests" in our home, I was able to let go and allow them to help me with everything from decorating to entertaining the kids out of the house so we could meet with our officiant. In the end, our house guests ended up being a HUGE help to us in the days leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day itself.

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My funniest moment:
Our first dance while we were dating was at a fifth grade dance at the elementary school where I worked at the time. We waited and waited for the first slow song, knowing that it would become "our song." Unfortunately, the first slow song they played was "My Heart Will Go On," by Celine Dion, of which we were not fans. We laughed and refused to dance and make that OUR song. Kent always jokes that it actually is our song.

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So when it was time for the first dance, the DJ first began playing "Last Dance" by Donna Summer (because Kent thought it was a great April Fool's wedding first dance song). He quickly went over to the DJ and had him play a different song. The DJ then played "My Heart Will Go On," which I quickly asked him to stop playing. Then he played our REAL first dance song, "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Our family and friends laughed and joined us on the dance floor soon after.

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My favorite moment:
I really wanted to DIY a lot of the wedding details. The added bonus to this is having a 13-year-old step-daughter who was eager to help. We spent hours together planning for and bonding over this wedding. Juliet was a huge help and it brought us closer together.

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Our children were our only attendants, and we felt it very necessary to include them in the ceremony. We made vows to each other and to the children. We presented each other's children with a family necklace made up of a silver circle with all our names etched on it and each of our birthstones. The kids didn't know they were going to do more than stand with us during the ceremony. They were so excited to receive a promise and gift from each of us and couldn't wait to show off their necklaces.

Having the ceremony at our house also made it very meaningful. We've lived together and have become a family in this house. It only seemed fitting to solidify our bond here, in our very own backyard. Having our closest family and friends sitting in our house and yard to celebrate our wedding is a memory we will always cherish. Our dream is to get a cozy swing in the backyard so we can sit together in the very place we vowed to love each other forever.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. That is my parents (who are both unfortunately deceased) wedding anniversary. My dad said he wanted a really easy and stupid date to remember. They were married 22 years before my father died. It is a fun day to get married on! But as far as I know they did not pull any pranks on their family or guests.

  2. Also our wedding date because as they say "Love is for fools". My now brother-in-law wore a gorilla suit to the wedding.

    Congratulations and may you celebrate many happy anniversaries!

  3. That dress! Your photos are really lovely and I really enjoyed the details here — that you guys incorporated trivia into your reception and the last dance pranks!

  4. Loved your Post!

    I am also planning a backyard wedding in our first home (Yet to be build). Its our first home and first marriage but I like the simple intimacy and small details that show you as a couple and family. I hope to create a similar feel for mine.

  5. I would love to know how many guests you had, and the logistics of the evening. Did you go to the restaurant for supper then come back to your place to dance?

  6. Oh my! I love everything about this wedding! So fun and gorgeous! Love the brides wedding cardigan! Adorable! Congrats!

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