The offbeat bride: Jessi, teacher and photographer

Her offbeat partner: Dave, Whole Foods team member and photographer

Location & date of wedding: Dave's family friend's back yard in Prairie Villiage, KS — Sept 21, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: We're pretty unconventional, so we did it “us.” My bouquet came from the farmer's market, my mom picked the flowers for the tables at the side of the highway, our centerpieces were board games, my husband wore hemp pants and a simple shirt; we didn't have attendants, a cake, toasts, bouquet toss, etc.



As guests came into the yard, there was a shoe check because we wanted everyone barefoot. The chairs for the ceremony were set up under a huge tree in a circle so that the guests would feel intimately involved. We served everyone communion, and laughed the whole ceremony. He surprised me with my grandma's ring, instead of the custom band to match my engagement ring I was expecting.


After the ceremony, we went up to the house for the potluck reception! All the guests brought a side dish to share, and the feast was INSANE. We had an ice cream sundae bar with a flavor we created. Guests played games and enjoyed fellowship with each other.


My best friend was the first one in the pool (in her dress…) and a lot of people followed suit! It quickly turned into a pool party, with everyone, including me, still in their clothes (well, except my husband in gross swimtrunk!).


When it was time to go, we left in a 1979 white Volkswagen Beetle convertible, Dave's dream car. It was a perfect day, start to finish!


Our biggest challenge: My mom wasn't on board with the potluck idea at first, so it took me standing up for what we wanted for her to understand why it was important to us. We wanted our friends and family to feel like they were a part of what was going on, not just showing up for a show. She got on board, and so many people have told me that they loved the potluck idea and had a lot of fun putting their dishes together. And that they had a lot of fun eating!


But really, that wasn't that big of deal. We didn't get hung up on details — we just wanted to be married! At the end of the day, we'd be husband and wife, so we didn't get bothered by things that happened in unexpected ways.


My favorite moment: There's two moments for me…

Dave's three sisters and brother-in-law were going to play “Come and Listen” by David Crowder to start the ceremony, which I asked them to do two days before the wedding… Dave and I had our “first sighting” and were walking back toward the guest house when they were practicing on the porch. The words are so simple, but so beautiful and powerful.


I remember walking up and standing there, holding Dave, thinking, wow, this is happening! It was probably one of the more emotional parts of the day for me, because I felt so at peace, knowing that what was happening was good and right, and knowing that we were surrounded by and supported by so many people who loved us. The images from that moment are some of my favorite, because they make me feel those same feelings all over again!


A close second would definitely be getting in the pool — no one, not even me, was expecting it! Everyone else looked like they were having so much fun, swimming in their clothes, and I wanted to be a part of it, too! The look on Dave's face when he turned around and saw me walking down the stairs into the pool was worth it. The pictures from that were unreal, and the dress is still intact!



My offbeat advice: Make it you — just because something is tradition doesn't mean you have to do it. Your guests are coming to celebrate you and what's happening in your lives together. Let them know who you are and who you want to be as a couple. Be willing to take risks and let your personality as a couple show. People have told me that our wedding was their favorite they've been to, because they got a sense of us. Our wedding was memorable for us and our guests because it screamed Jessi and Dave.


Details are just things — don't stress over them and just let it happen as it happens! And a lot of money doesn't need to be spent to make the day special. Costs can be kept down and the day can still be spectacular!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Photographers- The Parsons
  • Dress- The Gown Gallery, Kansas City, Mo
  • Ice Cream- Poppy's, Lee's Summit, Mo
  • Flowers- Drumm Farms, Independence, Mo
  • Rings (his and hers) and jewelry- Paul Dodds, Lee's Summit, Mo (THEY ARE AMAZING- did everything custom!!!)

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