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The Offbeat Bride: Renée Marie, Esthetician and Freelance Makeup Artist

Her offbeat partner: Justin, Freelance Photographer and Graphic Artist

Date and location of wedding: A friends' former farm and surrounding land, Augusta, GA — November 12, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding concept was originally an all-out masquerade ball in the country with friends and family munching on homemade gluten-free goodies, drinking delicious libations, and enjoying large amounts of dancing. But it turned out to be just the two of us, our friend Emily, and our photographer. Oh, and two dozen gluten-free cupcakes from a local bakery. It wasn't our first choice, but it was the right choice.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
As a couple, we are very open-minded and more than willing to envelop ourselves in culture and new experiences. We chose a date that signified a moment in time that was rare and unique (and that we would never forget): 11/12/13.

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Justin created his Wolf Mask from found and organic materials, and I created my mask from remnants of his mother's wedding gown and hand-strung beadwork. Our masks were Justin's concept, the henna was a nod to my respect and admiration of Indian tradition, and the rings I wore during the ceremony were passed down generations through both of our families. The candle lighting was a symbol of keeping our personal fires lit while we made the journey together, which allowed us to give life to a larger flame.

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Our biggest challenge:
We had planned for a modest but robust guest list: roughly 30-40 guests of our closest friends and family. But sometimes life throws unexpected sadness at you and we needed to make a dramatic change. Justin is his mother's only son. She was his life and a major focus in nearly everything she did. I had a hard time earning a place at this side in her eyes. She and I worked at it every day to grow closer together so that I could consider her my mother and be worthy of her son as my soul mate. As a result, our relationships grew strong and we came to rely on one another in many aspects of each others' lives.

So it hit hard when she unexpectedly passed away mere months (to the day) prior to our wedding. We had considered not having the wedding at all in any form. We had just started creating the costume and masks for everyone, which was then put on hold. We mourned. We took time away. We stopped planning. We almost didn't do it simply because we almost ran out of time. But she was the unseen force pushing us along and we adjusted our plans to allow for a new chapter to begin.

We notified those who had been invited that the situation had changed and that we were going to hold the ceremony with just the two of us, and that invitations to the masquerade reception (to be held in our home during the Spring of 2014) would be sent at a later date.

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My favorite moment:
Susan, my mother-in-law, had allowed me the honor of altering her wedding gown to suit my needs for this wedding. This was a tremendous gesture. The dress meant the world to her and I was deeply affected by her generosity.

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My funniest moment:
During the reception, everyone arrived at a steady pace throughout the night in masks and formal attire. I was so pleased that everyone took the time to coordinate outfits and really find unique masks. My aunt surprised me the most: she is a teacher and adores comfort and no-frills attire, so when she showed up in a sparkly blouse and purple wig, I was ecstatic! It was great seeing everyones' reactions to the characters and style others had chosen.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Life is what we do for a living. Don't let work, loss, sadness, stress, money, other people, or anything else get in the way of happiness. The marriage doesn't start (or end) when the wedding does.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Comments on Renée Marie & Justin’s tiny masquerade wedding

  1. Beautiful day and pictures!!! A lesson in take it as it comes and let go what you need to. Many blessings to you!

    ( and can I ask how long before your big day you had your henna done? gorgeous!!
    )

    <3

  2. This is such an inspiring story. I love the images. The whole ordeal is simply beautiful!

  3. This story had me feeling so overwhelmed. I can’t express how I feel about those photos too! They’re just perfect, you guys definitely seemed to have picked the right…everything. I’m so in love with the love shared in these photos.
    Can.not.handle.
    Just beautiful you two, I wish you both nothing but happiness <3

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