Sara & Mutt's retro handmade dive bar wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Photos by Sasha Landskov

The Offbeat Bride: Sara, Chef

Her offbeat partner: Mutt, Robot Repairman

Date and location of wedding: Jax Cafe, Minneapolis, MN — September 27, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Mutt and I live a vintage lifestyle. We try to find old things and give them new life. We dress in vintage clothing on a daily basis and use old or antique things in our everyday lives and so do many of our friends. We tried to make this same way of life flow into our wedding. Bridesmaids wore black dresses of their choosing, and matching gloves, fascinators and jewelry from the 1950s.

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Just about everything we used for the wedding was found at an antique or thrift store. Even my dress! I found my 1950s vintage dress in the Halloween section of a Goodwill for $50! I then found an amazing seamstress who altered it to fit me. We made Limoncello (a traditional Italian lemon-flavored liqueur) as favors, had an extremely talented friend make all the bouquets out of paper, and handed vintage hankies out to guests. We designed our invites with the help of an amazing artist friend and printed them at a local print shop. We were on a budget, so we had to get creative. One of my bridesmaids and I even made the cake.

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We had friends playing in the band at the reception, friends as a photographer, and friends helping with sound and directing traffic. It was a community effort with everyone we cared about to create this amazing party we will never forget.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We are non-religious, so we had a secular ceremony. We asked Mutt's barber to officiate the ceremony. In the rockabilly world, who is more revered than the barber, the keeper of the pomp? He happened to be an "ordained minister" and it was perfect. Having a good friend officiate is so personal. We kept it short and sweet. A salt ceremony (which we learned about from Offbeat Bride!) was an excellent choice for us. We wanted a ritual that didn't belong to any one religion. This fit well for us and gave us a lovely keepsake for they years to come.

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Our biggest challenge:
The budget was our biggest challenge. We had a strict $10k budget, and the majority of that was going to pay for the dinner for 125 people. I found my dresses at thrift stores and had them altered to fit me. We made all the decorations from thrifted items and used splashes of color from cheap paper items rather than investing in linens and rentals. We bartered for generic décor (Mason jars and branches for centerpieces, votive holders) from other friends who were getting married. We offered to help them set up and decorate in exchange for them helping with ours.

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I called on talented friends to help make things for the wedding too. Our invites were made by a super talented friend on her computer and printed at the local copy shop. That same friend also made all of the flowers out of paper. They were gorgeous and will last forever on top of them being a better choice for the environment and the pocketbook. Our location was perfect as well. Jax Café is one of the oldest restaurants in Minneapolis. They also have a gorgeous courtyard with a stream running though it, and we chose to get married in the courtyard. By having all the events in one spot, it saved a tremendous amount of money. We used minimal décor and let the historic features of the venue set the mood.

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My favorite moment:
We opted for a Salt Ceremony, but we made it our own. We collect vintage salt and pepper shakers, so we found a special set from the '50s. I am a chef, so we changed the traditional salt ceremony to incorporate salt and pepper. The mixing of spices was a perfect metaphor for us. The shakers then became our cake topper and will be a keepsake for us forever.

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We also had a vintage car cruise to the dive bar that we met at. We met all of our friends through the vintage car scene and from going to our favorite bar, Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis. This place is so special to all of us, we had to include it in our special day. We all piled in our vintage cars, hot rods, scooters, and motorcycles and drove across the city to have a champagne toast immediately after the ceremony. I highly recommend throwing yourself a parade — it was so much fun!

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My funniest moment:
My parents bought us a vintage camper for our wedding present. Apparently everyone knew about this except for me! It took a whole network of my friends weeks of hiding it to keep it a secret. Looking at my face in the pictures when I saw it was hilarious. I was so surprised.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I love all the vintage details! So amazing and special that so many of your friends and family helped you on your day. I'm currently planning my vintage 1950's wedding so thank you for sharing.

  2. Holy. Helicopters. This is incredible! The beehive, the sunglasses, the vintage car parade…..- fans face- It's so cool that you both embrace vintage style in your everyday lives. How unique and sustainable! The stories all your possessions have must be fascinating. Congrats on your marriage–looks like you really entered married life with a bang!

  3. This was such a great wedding! Everything was personal and had meaning. All the best to Sara and Mutt, your family loves you!

  4. I love everything about this, I can't even pick a favorite!! What a unique and gorgeous wedding, congrats!

  5. Hello! Could you give me the name of the artist who drew your portrait for the 'tears' card! I love that! I didn't see it on the etsy link you posted. Thank you!! We're considering having our wedding at Jax!

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