Offbeat partner: Arielle
Offbeat partner: Mike
Date and location of wedding: Pavilion at City Park, Belfast, Maine — September 8, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The previous summer, while camping, we rewatched Moonrise Kingdom, which was one of the first movies we saw together when we reunited in 2012 (we'd briefly had a long-distance relationship in 1996, but went our separate ways and both ended up married to other people). We immediately realized it was the perfect inspiration for our kid-centered, end-of-summer wedding: it's romantic, but also weird, retro, and set in a Maine-like location.
The vintage summer camp theme made our super affordable ($60!) venue even more perfect: we got married in the pavilion overlooking the bay in our town's public park in Midcoast Maine. We even loved the etched-in graffiti. Our wedding planner helped us transform what was a VERY rustic, simple space into something quite magical for our simple afternoon ceremony. We sourced vintage Boy Scout and ’60s stuff from eBay for decor, and mixed it with homemade signs and flowers from a local organic farm. Our catering was just some good local finger foods from the co-op and our favorite area bakeries.
Most importantly, we centered the whole thing around the kids, ages 13 and 9. Mike has been in the kids' lives for many years by the time we got married — we are non-monogamous, and Mike lived with me and my ex and kids — and we wanted a ceremony that felt fun and meaningful to the kids. Our son chose to wear a dress that matched his sister's — he's been gender-nonconforming in his clothing choices since he was a toddler.
Tell us about the ceremony:
When our son walked in, he gave a flower to each of our friends and family gathered in a circle in the pavilion. Then I came in and collected each flower, which allowed me a moment to connect with every single guest. The gathered flowers became my bouquet, which our day-of coordinator tied with some vintage ribbon.
We wrote our own vows, and our kids sang "Lovely Day." And of course we quoted Moonrise Kingdom's wedding scene. We had vintage Scout accessories — caps, kerchiefs, pins, etc. — on hand so guests could dress up a bit for the theme, though everyone had been encouraged to dress in ’60s picnic style and many showed up in incredible outfits inspired by the film.
Music was a big part of the whole thing: each person in our four-person wedding party (us and the kids) walked in to our own ;theme song. (Our daughter had a Kinks song, our son had a Prince song, Mike had a ’70s funk song, and I had the acoustic cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine" from the movie Captain Fantastic.) We also ended the ceremony by having a Soul Train-style dance line and we did a synchronized dance to the ’70s tune "Groove Me" by King Floyd.
Mike gave me and the kids a special gift to signify this official transition in his status in our family from Mama's boyfriend to stepfather. We also exchanged rings — for us and each of the kids, with all four of our birthstones in it.
Mike is an atheist, so there was no religion involved, but there was plenty of ritual and meaning.
Tell us about the reception:
Our favorite aspect of our reception was having Madison and his Marshmallow Cart on site. He makes hand-crafted, flavored graham crackers and marshmallows and creates custom s'mores to order. They were a huge hit with all the kids present, and a perfect match for the summer camp vibe. It was all very casual and easy, with cans of sparkling beverages in a steel tub and paper straws. We did almost everything ourselves, with the help of our coordinator (who made the lovely signage) and our farmer-florist, who made and hung the flower arrangements.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We had wanted the ceremony to be simple and short and easy, because it was one of two weddings we were hosting that week (we had our legal, grown-ups only ceremony the following week in Portland — coming next week to Offbeat Bride!), and because there were a lot of young kids involved.
And it WAS simple and easy — but it went a little too fast! The whole thing was over very quickly, and we don't mean that in the "it was all a blur" metaphoric sense… it really only lasted an hour and a half or so. We had worried that folks would stick around for a long time and we'd run out of food, etc., but in the end we wished it had gone on longer. But we learned our lesson, and for our next ceremony the following weekend, we slowed everything down and took our time.
One lesson learned: the first time I got married, my two sisters and I were all childless, and we had plenty of time to hang out and prepare. This time, my sisters each had three young kids and were too busy wrangling their kids to do much of anything else. I hadn't counted on them to do anything, but I also hadn't really factored in just how different things would be now that we are all mamas.
Photographer: Lauryn Hottinger • S'mores: Marshmallow Cart • Cookies: Red Barn Bakery • Coordinator: Courtney, Take Off Events • Officiant: Savoir Claire • Flowers: Belladonna Floral • Venue: Belfast City Park, Belfast, Maine • Groom's kilt: Trinity Kilts • Decor, bride's dress and veil: Etsy • Groom's and kids' shoes: Converse • Kids' dresses: J.Crew • Videographer: Rachel Epperly Media