Offbeat partner: Alex, garden store manager
Offbeat partner: David, barista
Date and location of wedding: Camp Sky Ranch in Blowing Rock, North Carolina — September 9, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
From the moment I got engaged I was terrified of having a wedding until I Googled something along the lines of “engaged and overwhelmed” and found Offbeat Bride. I was comforted when I realized I wasn't alone in my mindset and that I could plan my wedding the way I wanted. Even the thought of wearing an all-white dress was hard for me simply because I don't like wearing the color white. When I found my lacy white and dark chocolate brown wedding dress I knew that I would be comfortable.
We wanted things to feel as natural as possible. I believe the words “Middle-earth” were thrown out a few times when we were thinking about our ideal vibe. We found the perfect venue in the North Carolina mountains where I grew up (and where I wanted the wedding to be from the very beginning), and the venue was so beautiful it didn't need an enormous amount of decoration because we were already surrounded by lush green mountains. The fact that it had a dining hall and adorable open-air chapel also meant that we didn't have to worry too much about having a rain plan.
Our other priorities were good food, good beer, and to be our own DJs. Almost every detail were either by Etsy artists (such as the bouquet and the rings) or handmade. The invitations and save-the-dates were made by me, and all the florals were grown by my mom in her garden and arranged the day before the wedding. The plates were mismatched vintage-ware and the seating arrangements were written on paint chips from Lowes.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We wrote the ceremony and vows ourselves together, taking passages from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer (something my mom gave me, I think because she knew I wanted a script that would be a little different), but it was mostly secular and very simple. Both of our parents walked each of us across the huge field to the chapel and down the aisle. The ceremony was particularly special because my dad was the officiant, and his personal words to us were very sweet. We didn't have a bridal party, but my friend played the cello for the prelude and recessional while my other friend held the rings for us. Our readings were selections from the writings of Rumi and Tolkien.
It was also very important to me to have an unplugged ceremony. Someone announced that we wished for no cellphones to be used during the ceremony for pictures or videos. Some of our friends and family thanked us for that, saying that it would have been a distraction. Some people said that they were disappointment at first when they found out they couldn't use their phones, but then realized they were able to be much more present in the moment and actually enjoyed themselves more because of it.
Tell us about your reception:
We had a short cocktail hour with mingling and lawn games in between the ceremony and dinner. We had a serve-yourself beer truck (which people REALLY liked) that was painted like the Blue Ridge Mountains. The reception was catered by a restaurant that specializes in meats (venison and pheasant pot pie!) but with lots of veggie options as well. We also did a huge spread of pies instead of cake. Our first dance segued immediately into the dance party.
It was really important to us that we did our own music. This was the part I was most anxious about, but was definitely the most fun. We both have eclectic music tastes, and music is probably the most important thing to both of us. It's also how we met, so we wanted the playlist to be music that we liked and our friends like. We had a LOT of David Bowie, some KPop for fun, some Greek dancing for my mom's Greek side of the family, some throwback '80s and '90s tunes, and some Judas Priest for good measure (we are both metal fans, and you can get away with some Priest on a wedding playlist). The final song of the night was “The End” by the Beatles which was a perfect way to end the night.
The best moment of the dance party, and probably the whole night, was when a salsa song came up and David's 95-year-old grandmother, who is usually confined to a wheelchair, got up and danced for the whole song with a huge smile on her face. We were all so excited we formed a huge dance circle around her.
What was your most important lesson learned?
It's easy in hindsight to say “don't sweat the small stuff,” but wedding planning can be very stressful and I spent a huge amount of energy sweating the small stuff. I found it hard not to get bogged down by all the little details. I also worried way too much about whether or not people were going to have fun, if they were going to think our wedding was weird, or if my family would be mad we weren't doing it in a church.
The week leading up to the wedding though I found myself overwhelmed, not by the details, but by the amount of love and support pouring out of everyone who was helping me and my family get ready, and from everyone traveling from near and far to come to the wedding.
- Photography: Carolyn Scott Photography
- Month-of wedding planner: The Whole Shebang Wedding Planning
- Venue: Camp Sky Ranch
- Florist: Bride's mom
- Dress: Cathy Telle
- Food and Pies: The Gamekeeper
- Dried bouquet and boutonniere: Cat Westerwisp
- Rings: Aide-Memoire
- Hair and makeup: Haircut 101
- vintage tableware and glassware: Missmatch Rentals