Offbeat partner: Megan, retail
Offbeat partner: Steve, videography
Date and location of wedding: Papa's lakefront home on Piseco Lake, NY and Oak Mountain Ski Center in Speculator, NY — October 14, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our wedding was a small (only 45 people — a cozy, casual, sentimental, lakeside dream. From the moment we started planning, our mission was to have our wedding be simple, "cheap" by wedding standards, rustic, and fun for everyone, especially because I actually would've preferred to elope! (My husband was the one that wanted to have the big shindig.)
We knew we wanted it to be in the fall, outdoors, and on my grandparent's property, overlooking the lake that I have been going to since I was born, as well as my mother when she was a kid. It's practically our second home and is the only place I ever imagined getting married.
Traditions were not important to us. A standard banquet hall was pretty much out of the question. And we omitted a lot of the typical wedding practices, i.e. things like the bouquet/garter toss, cake cutting, bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding registry, and wearing a white gown, just because they weren't important to us.
There was no colour scheme per se, just fall foliage hues like green, yellow, orange, and reds, and most of our decor was DIYed by me. We aren't religious people, so naturally there wasn't any religion incorporated into our day, aside from an Irish blessing read during the ceremony followed by the sound of a bell, rung by my mother, as an homage to old Irish tradition.
It was a love and laughter-filled day that truly showcased our down-to-earth nature. No stress. No drama. Just an intimate celebration in the mountains.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was at 4:00 p.m., only about 10 minutes long, and somewhat informal, but very us. The script was actually sourced from Offbeat Bride and then tweaked a little to make it truly us. It included a quote written by me (a former Facebook status about love — totally unplanned but it worked perfectly!), an Irish blessing and ringing of the bell, lots of giggles interspersed, and quirky vows that truly epitomize our relationship.
"Will you, Steve and Megan, be each other's partners from this day forward? In sickness, in weirdness, and in health? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest (and goofiest) moments together, and love each other infinitely — for the rest of your life and beyond?" … “We will.”
After the ceremony, as suggested by our incredible photographer, and with the help of groomsmen and both fathers, we hopped into one of our old canoes, went out on the water, and got some shots of us paddling along and smooching, trying not to tip the canoe, while our guests watched from the shoreline, chuckling at it all.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception was held at the Oak Mountain Ski Center in Speculator, NY. It's an amazing little spot — a hidden gem — with stunning mountain views of the area. With the rustic ambiance and no-frills vibe we were going for, tall ski lodge metal beamed ceilings, a fire pit out back for making s'mores, and a great craft beer list, it was as if the venue was made for us.
Oh and let's not forget, fresh cinnamon sugar donuts for dessert provided by the local Piseco Lake Lodge… the same scrumptious donuts that I had as a kid. The highlight of the evening for us was getting driven, drinks in hand, in an ATV up the side of the mountain with the owner and our photographers to take some cuddly sunset photos at the top of the mountain.
Music was very important to us. Thankfully we found DJs who let us essentially pick all the music. The entire playlist was created by me, spending lots of time on Spotify, as we both did not want to hear a lot of the mainstream radio hits. Our taste ranges from metal, ska, and punk music to indie, classic rock, and funk, so our night featured songs like "Come on Eileen" covered by Saving Ferris, "Drunken Lullabies" by Flogging Molly, "Sound System" by Operation Ivy, "Lovely Day" covered by alt-J, and artists including Sublime, David Bowie, Queen, Violent Femmes, Beastie Boys, The Clash, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Led Zeppelin. Our first dance song was "You are Mine" by Mutemath. The groom's uncle also performed "They Love Each Other" by the Grateful Dead.
What was your most important lesson learned?
We couldn't have been happier with our wedding. The few small hiccups were overcome because we always kept a positive and rational frame of mind. Our advice to those planning their wedding? Make it YOU. Do it your way, whatever that entails, and no matter how much criticism it is met with. There's a lot of unnecessary pressure out there to have your wedding be…well, just like every other wedding. And if traditional is your thing, run with it! There's nothing wrong with keeping traditions. But it's all about you two. It's your relationship, your marriage, your love. You set the parameters. You make (and break!) the rules. And enjoy the ride, because it is so very fleeting.
Oh and one last thing: we didn't use a wedding planner or day-of coordinator. As the bride, it was both fun and exhausting to run the show myself. And I think I did a really great job. There were no significant issues and everything was practically perfect. We were on a budget (which we went over by about $4K) and while I enjoyed having control, in retrospect it would've been very helpful and worth the cost to at least have a day-of coordinator to lighten the load. Trying to enjoy the day WHILE keeping everything and everyone in check was overwhelming and distracting from our priority, relaxing and savoring the moment. It really is over in the blink of an eye. I would recommend that every bride consider dolling out some of the responsibility to a professional. You (hopefully!) only do it once. Do it right!
Photographer: Whitney Tracey, Mountainaire Gatherings Weddings • Second shooter: Amber Lamphere, Saddleback Studio • DJ: Saratoga Sound • Flowers: The Flower Patch • Dress: JJ's House (only cost me $100!) • Hair: Krystal Rose Studio • Reception Venue: Oak Mountain Ski Center • Lodging: Irondequoit Inn