The Offbeat Bride: Julie, Environmental Scientist
Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Underwriter
Date and location of wedding: Pavilion on Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT — December 6, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Ryan and I had been together for 12 years and always planned to get married. However, when I found out I was pregnant, we decided we wanted to do it before the baby arrived which gave us about three months.
We wanted a wedding without pomp and circumstance where we could spend as much time with our guests as possible, especially since many were traveling from out-of-town. We quickly found a venue that fit the bill, a converted barn where the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception were all in one room. Because we wanted as much time with our guests as possible, in addition to the wedding, we hosted a welcome dinner the Friday before the wedding at the Ryan's parents' house (catered with some of the best BBQ in the Northeast), an after-party at the hotel bar (with New Haven-style pizza from MONDO Pizza), and a Sunday morning brunch catered by the Inn at Middletown.
We didn't have a bridal party, and wanted to be present at the cocktail hour, so we opted to take all of our pictures before the ceremony (we even helped each other get ready). We included our immediate families in the pre-ceremony photos, and took extended family group shots at the cocktail hour.
Since the wedding would be in December, we opted for a Christmas-themed wedding. We opted to not use a florist. Instead we decorated the space with three live Christmas trees and made our centerpieces from pine and cedar roping, birch logs, antique jars (which we already had from various tag/estate sales), fresh cranberries, and candles. I made the bouquet and boutonniere from leftover greenery from the centerpieces and flowers purchased at Whole Foods the day before.
We are big into craft beer and consider ourselves foodies, so having good beer and food options was important to us (even though I couldn't drink!). Luckily, our venue allowed us to bring some of our own beer. Ryan's brother and parents drove up to Vermont the week before to get the rare and highly coveted Heady Topper (four cases, a very difficult task) and we were able to acquire a keg of another rare beer, Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, which we served in growlers. The venue served many locally sourced foods, and our cupcakes were made by our favorite cupcake truck/store NoRa Cupcakes.
We found out the gender of our baby three days before the wedding, so we decided to keep it a secret until the wedding and tell everyone all at once. Ryan's sister offered to help us with the surprise “gender reveal” and filled a big box with balloons corresponding to the sex. Instead of doing a cake cutting ceremony, we gave a toast to our guests, and opened up the box. It was great to see the look on our parents faces when they found out we were having a girl!
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had quick non-religious ceremony, officiated by Ryan's best friend growing up, Lee. It was short, sweet, and personal, done with very little planning. Neither Lee nor Ryan and I knew what he was going to say until the day before. Lee cleared the final draft with me five minutes before the ceremony started.
My favorite moment:
I really wanted to be present at our wedding and experience each moment. I wasn't thinking about what was wrong or what was right, or what was happening next, I was enjoying the party and the people. For me there wasn't one most moment that was the most meaningful, but a combination of small moments: dancing with a cousin I haven't seen in two years, hugging my mom and dad after they found out I was having a baby girl, eating dinner with new husband, listening to Ryan's sister's impromptu toast, and enjoying time with all the people who came out to celebrate.
- Dress: Catherine Deane via BHLDN
- Headpiece: Batcakes Couture
- Shoes: ModCloth
- Hair/Makeup: Andrea DiLieto
- Photographer: OhKarina Photography
- Cake: NoRA Cupcakes
- Venue/Planner: CT Wedding Group
- Transportation: DATTCO
- Lodging: Inn at Middletown
- Welcome dinner Caterer: Bear's BBQ
- Suit: Joseph Abboud via Men's Warehouse