Jenni & Loren's simple crafty outdoor relationship celebration

Updated Oct 12 2015
Photos by Elijah Parker

The Offbeat Bride: Jenni, Photo retoucher for an ad agency

Her offbeat partner: Loren, Supervisor for a medical records copy company

Location & date of wedding:"The Little White Church in the Valley," Golden Valley Historical Society's Church, Golden Valley, MN — October 2, 2010


Our offbeat wedding at a glance: To me, what made our wedding offbeat was all in the planning. We spent a lot of time deciding what we wanted and didn't want. When I first got my photos back — I was surprised at how "traditional" my wedding looked in pictures. Girl with a white dress + Guy in a dark suit + Outdoor BBQ. But those choices and all the other choices we made were because we wanted it to be true to us. We like BBQ, and I wanted a white dress, and he wanted a dark suit. Our wedding was also un-fussy, crafty and laid-back, exactly like we are.


Tell us about the ceremony: We constructed the entire ceremony ourselves because we wanted to make sure we were promising things that were things we could really commit to. We used wording from different things we found around online and from weddings my Grandfather had performed when he was a Unitarian minister. His son, my uncle, performed the ceremony for us and he was perfect.


We had a ring warming — but instead of passing rings around we had them at the front so people could stop as they came in. My brother sang us a song.


A favorite part of the ceremony my husband chose was a rose exchange, which was representative of the first gift he'd given me — a white rose.


Our biggest challenge: I think just the guest list in general. We wanted to be surrounded by those who love us and who have actually supported our relationship, and not so much by those who hadn't. But it's hard to draw those lines, especially when you both feel the need to please everyone. But, you can't always please everyone, so we had to make decisions on what felt right at the time.


My favorite moment: The vows, for sure. We usually have a terrible time with secrets — I almost always know what I'm getting for my birthday before it's here — and he's the same way. But we managed to keep our individual vows a secret until we were there in front of everyone. And because we were so careful about our words and intention with the rest of the ceremony, it was really special to have one part as a surprise and to speak to each other from the heart.


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I worried about family dynamics. Both being from divorced families you just never really know how everyone will handle big events all together. Thankfully there was nothing to worry about.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: For me it was important to just talk — a lot — with my partner. We were going back and forth about things a lot. And initially we would just make decisions and book places because we thought we were supposed to, but once we started trying to be specific with what we wanted it to feel like, and sound like, and what message we wanted to send, the decisions became clearer and more exciting because it was more us!


Oh, and give yourselves credit for the things you and your partner CAN do — or have done! Like working a second job to help the budget, crafting cool wedding things, and organizing and planning and saving and creating! It really is something to be proud of, making a wedding — and it's good to keep that in mind when things feel overwhelming.



What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I think at first, I didn't think I deserved to have a special unique wedding. And it felt like we were putting on a show, or we had to do things a certain way — and that didn't feel right. We were together for seven years by our wedding date, so the turning point came when I started to think of it as a celebration of what we had already made together, and of all we were going to make. I then allowed myself to enjoy the process, realize that we deserved a day to say "WE LOVE EACH OTHER, a LOT!" So we planned a party that celebrated us in a way that we like to celebrate. And along the way I discovered that I am capable of a lot of things and that my husband is, too.


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I, too, am planning a wedding where we've been living together for years. I love the viewpoint of taking a day to proclaim "We love each other!" Love it!

  2. Love the simplicity and joy in these pictures 🙂

    I'm intrigued by the photobooth guest book idea, but it's hard to read the instructions in the picture. Can you please explain what that was about?

    • Thanks! The photo booth printed two copies of each strip and we asked them to keep one and put the other in our book and to write a note. I had pre-decorated some pages and the directions were really mostly to encourage our guests to participate in the guest book… I love the photos that came out and people liked being able to take a copy home.

  3. Hi Jenni,

    Your wedding is really lovely 🙂 As a fellow Minnesotan planning a wedding, did your reception also take place at the historical society or was that a different location?

    Thanks and congrats!

    • Hi Lauren- Thank you so much!
      The church was small and sweet- so we had our reception at North Mississippi Regional Park at their large pavilion so we could have more people attend that part.. We wanted to be outside (even though we knew it's a risk in MN!) And it did end up being slightly cold, but the BBQ warmed everybody up!

  4. I love how you talk about the planning aspect. Your words are so beautiful. The intention really came through in the photographs. Beautiful.

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