Shana & Bill's Sunny Muddy Kid-Friendly Farm Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

The offbeat bride: Shana, Renewable Energy

Her offbeat partner: Bill, Renewable Energy

Location & date of wedding: Our farm in Gouverneur, NY on August 2nd, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: First, it was on a rundown, beat up, muddy, treacherous farm. There is no barn to speak of, and everything has been abandoned for a couple decades. We warned guests of snakes and potholes, and asked them to bring hiking boots and tennis shoes (they needed tennis shoes for the groom's cup tennis tournament on our front lawn).

We invited children galore! We gave them toys and candy and games! We gave the adults the same treatment and everyone was happy. Our band was warm, happy and an incredible presence (Hunger Mountain Boys deserve all the bluegrass business in New England)!

They had cool duds, even cooler, historic instruments and just a super stage presence. I grew our centerpieces in my garden, fed people on the famous Binghamton New York chicken spiedies, and our altar was a hunk of wood torn from our farmhouse. Our port-a-potties were the best available, air conditioned and spotless. Never, ever skimp on the loo.

Our biggest challenge: Pie management and dealing with the weather. Everyone has to deal with weather when it's an outdoor wedding! Ours was rain-sun-rain-drizzle-thunder-rain-sun. There was no point in trying to anticipate what the crazy weather was going to do, so we covered the chairs with huge tarps and hoped for the best.

Never, ever skimp on the loo.

Had the groomsmen been ready on time, we would have finished the ceremony with scant minutes to spare before the downpour. Unfortunately, the tarps which were meant to cover the chairs were suddenly the tarps that covered the guests. All 128 of them moved 1/4 mile in unison underneath the tarps- in what we could only call the "Blue Turtle". Some got drenched, others muddy, but they all bonded and will forever remember the day.

In addition to a small cake, we had pies. 18 of them. We had to bring them from the restaurant in Rubbermaid drawers, and find a way to display, protect and serve them. They were decimated in minutes by guests ravenous for sweetness. Feed your guests pies and you will never go wrong.

My favorite moment: Watching my groom and my aunt win the groom's cup five minutes before the ceremony was about to start. He hadn't even begun getting ready- but was so happy he was beaming.

Portrait table.
My offbeat advice: Do as much in advance of the final week as possible, hire a fantastic and energetic person to keep tabs on your day (not a wedding planner: mine was the best waitress in town), don't get worked up about weather, serve your favorite food and keep it simple.

Try new things (tennis, flags and a bonfire), plan to have more going on in the day than actually gets accomplished (we didn't do about 1/2 the stuff we planned but were never bored), get bright and fantastic bouquets, smile all day, hire a fun and talented photographer!

Inform your guests in a brochure before the wedding, take a moment to thank your parents regardless of what they did, print and display photographs of all your family's weddings… Don't worry about favors, just have a candy table and make eye contact with everyone you can as you proudly walk down the aisle.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

  1. Wow – this sounds like many of the ideas we're incorporating into our upcoming wedding. I'm so glad to know that guests had a great time with it! And the tip on the wedding band is about to lead to a google search. Thanks!

  2. Beautiful!
    And weird: I was born on a farm in Gouverneur, NY that has been abandoned for decades. My dad built a log cabin there. Shana: I realize I'm a total stranger, but any chance of getting more details from you about the place? Cuz that's a pretty crazy coincidence.
    Also, I'm all about pies at weddings. Well done.

  3. Beautiful! Like Suzanna, I was born in the area (Ogdensburg to be exact) and if my mom sees this post, I am going to have a really hard time continuing to justify the fact that I eloped to Las Vegas last week because planning a nice North Country wedding is impossible. Congrats!!

  4. again, crazy coincidence, but i'm from the area too (hermon, actually). to put this in perspective, St. Lawrence county is larger than Rhode Island but only has 100,000ish people in the whole county! lots of OBB per capita, don't you think?
    congrats!!

  5. im planning a farm wedding and was wanting some ideas and would lkie to see pics of your wedding but cant see them.Is there another site they are on?

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.