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The Offbeat Bride: Anais, Technical Book Editor

Her offbeat partner: Ira, Mental Health Case Manager

Date and location of wedding: Edgewood Farm, Truro, MA — September 29, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Since we have friends and family near and far, we wanted to take the opportunity to have a community celebration in a way we don't usually get to. We also wanted to set a casual atmosphere (starting with a CD of semi-inappropriate wedding songs in our save-the date!). Lots of people contributed to the wedding in so many ways. We ended up with an outdoor party with lots of handmade and personal details.

Table Settings

The Studio


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Guest BookFrom there, we brought in lots of friends to help with little things:

  • We got married on a friend's family's stunning property in Truro, MA, a place I've known and loved for years
  • One of the groomsmen and his wife raised the pork we served on their Vermont farm
  • I knit fascinators for me and my two bridesmaids
  • My brother cut wooden discs to serve as our guestbook (we want to make a counter top out of them someday)
  • Ira's brother performed the ceremony for us
  • My mom altered my vintage dress and knit my and my bridesmaids' wraps
  • My dad roasted the coffee we served
  • My sister helped me come up with an all-vegan-plus-pork menu
  • My father-in-law sewed together the bunting we cut
  • My dad's girlfriend made our phenomenal letterpress invitations (yep, she has a letterpress) plus amazing artisan sourdough loaves

Friends offered up recipes, desserts, musical accompaniment on the cello, and more. It was truly a community effort.


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Tell us about the ceremony: I wrote our ceremony, using a lot of online sources. It was pretty much a Humanist ceremony, which was good for us since we both teeter between agnosticism and atheism. We emphasized community, and had our guests affirm our union with a “we do!” line. I was pretty into focusing on realistic, lasting love, and was against talking about idealized romantic love. Each of our moms did a reading, and my mom struggled to decide on hers. She switched at the last minute and ended up reading “The Third Body,” by Robert Bly, which I think strikes just the right note.


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Our biggest challenge: Ira has brewed beer for years, and we knew early on that we wanted to do a wedding beer. We decided on a light honey ale, and he brewed two test batches starting about eight months before the wedding. We've been together for over five years, and every batch has been good, but friends, neither of the two wedding batches carbonated. At that point, I'd spent a whole weekend making labels for the bottles, and he'd spent untold hours brewing. We'd also told a lot of people about our beer and named it (Honey Do), and it was a big disappointment, especially for Ira. No big deal, though, one can buy beer… but it was a little sad.

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My favorite moment: The ceremony was amazing for me, particularly the part where we looked out at everyone who came. Some of my favorite moments were my dad whispering at me to slow down as we walked down our aisle, and recessing with my husband as everyone chucked dried silver dollar seed packets at us and hollered, and I had an enormous sense of relief and liberation from this whole wonderful, taxing process.

Before the Ceremony
But I loved random moments where people who had just met, or who hadn't seen each other for ages, came together. Before the ceremony, I looked out the window and saw my sister's date, Adrian, shaving the back of our officiant's (aka Ira's brother's) neck under an apple tree. Friends from work and college mixed with friends from childhood and high school.

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My funniest moment: In lieu of a cake cutting, we smashed a cake-shaped pinata that I'd made. The picture of me winding up and my grandmother cringing is priceless.

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Funk Bus

We wrapped up the reception party at 10:00 p.m. and piled into buses to take us all into Provincetown. We randomly decided to go to a club in town. When we got there, there was no one there, and there wasn't even ice at the bar. September in Provincetown isn't exactly hopping, and they kept saying things like, “we didn't expect you until 11.” Eventually, we figured out they were expecting ANOTHER wedding party, and didn't usually open until 11. Our friend who DJed the reception went to close out the night at a favorite bar, and close to 40 of us made it to last call in all our wedding finery.



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great?
I partly knew it would all work, but as we got closer, certain things became harder and harder for me to imagine. Am I really going to walk down the aisle and read this crazy made-up ceremony? Are we really going to be able to feed 90 people buffet-style with dishes we cooked a couple days before? What if we don't really have enough serving dishes/utensils/drinking vessels? I really don't know what would have happened without our day-of-coordinator, Whitney. She's a friend who is an organizational and managerial bad-ass, who brought everything together. We had a bare bones staff: two food-type people, a DJ, photographers, and one pig roaster, and I remain amazed at what they pulled off.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I didn't know how useless I would be the day before and the day of the wedding. I got a little lazy toward the end and didn't write down everything I should have. It turned out great, but I wish I had created better resources for the people who ended up taking over for me. I thought that by not being totally organized toward the end, I was only hurting myself, but a lot of people ended up picking up my slack. I also didn't know how embarrassingly, flat-out grateful I would be to how many people.

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Dinner 2

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Comments on Anais & Ira’s low-key handmade crafty wedding

  1. This is so very very sweet! I love how everyone came together, just as they did as a couple.

  2. I love how fashionable the dudes are! And those candelabras under the tent? Amazing. There are just too many amazing details to mention. Awesome party!

  3. thanks, guys! I’m the bride in this post. I don’t know how I didn’t mention that my amazing husband created the vast majority of the paper flowers, and about a thousand other things.

      • I pinned a couple of flower tutorials before the wedding (http://pinterest.com/anaisaw/wedding-ideas/), but we ended up slowly figuring out what worked best for us. We did almost all rolled flowers, in paper, tissue, and felt. The felt I sewed together, the tissue we gathered along thin strips of duct tape and rolled onto wire, and the paper we glued. Less is more on these, we thought! If each flower is taking a long time, there is a better way 🙂

  4. Your wedding is so beautiful!

    Do you the pattern that was used for your wrap? It’s lovely.

  5. So cute! If you don’t mind me asking, how big was your tent? I’m trying to figure out how big of a tent to get for mine (60 people). Also, did you all hang the lanterns and stuff yourselves? Any tips? Thanks!!

    • Thanks, Catherine! Our tent was 40 x 40. We had about 90 people seated, I think, and four small buffet tables inside the tent. We had plenty of room for people to move around, but honestly, I missed the part where people went up to buffets, so I’m not sure how crowded it felt at that point.

    • oh, one more thing! we did the dancing and pinata elsewhere, not in the tent, so we didn’t need room for a floor or milling around.

      • Thank you, Anais! It’s nice to know you were able to fit the buffet tables in there too. (And I’m desperately hoping it won’t rain so people won’t be confined to just our tent, but we’ll make it work either way.)

        I hope my wedding ends up as cute as yours!

        • Good luck! It’ll all come together. I forgot to answer your question about the lanterns. We hung them in the tent ourselves, yes. We basically just strung them between the exterior poles and the center pole. With a ladder and some patience, it wasn’t hard at all. It did take more people more time than I would have estimated.

  6. ha ha! Wedding Cake Pinata! what will they think of next? Was there bite-size cake balls inside?

    The bouquet is gorgeous. I’ve seen some paper bouquets that didn’t work, this defiantly WORKED! Fantastic!

  7. I would LOVE to know how you made the wedding cake piñata!!!! Daughter is getting married new years eve and wants a piñata. Yours was perfect!!!!

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