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The Offbeat Bride: Zara, Singer

Her offbeat partner: Stefan, Drummer

Date and location of wedding: The Northfield Drive-In, Winchester, NH — September 13, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Zara: What I wished for in a wedding was never quite cookie cutter. From the start I was looking for oddball spots like barges, bowling alleys, carousels, and bookstores for venues. I know the city like the back of my hand, but it was so hard to plan for a wedding remotely, and in the most expensive city around. I nearly lost my mind with the costs. So I ripped up the contracts, and I started thinking of places that had the few things we required to set up shop: a field, bathrooms, a kitchen, and some scenery.

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We would always hit up drive-ins when we were on vacation, or happened to have a weekend night off in the summer and joked about renting the nearby Northfield Drive-In for an engagement party, but then realized it was the perfect venue for the actual event.

Stefan: Luckily for us the drive-in closes for the season on Labor day, and we were to be married the following weekend, so I think they were happy to have a bit more business. To make the day complete, we had catering by our favorite Mexican spot, where we had our first date. Then we hired our buddies The Revelers to come up from Louisiana to get people dancing.

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Since we were at the drive-in, we played movies in the evening. The first film was Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, and the main feature was Pee Wee's Big Adventure, a nearly perfect movie. Since it was the end of the season we got to use the leftover soda, popcorn, and candy. You should've seen the faces of our friends at the concession stand that night “You mean my popcorn and Skittles are FREE?!”

Z: Best wedding favors ever.

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Tell us about the ceremony:

Z: We'd actually eloped earlier in the year (hence our little baby surprise) so the ceremony was adapted from that. The original vows were a bit formal, so we tailored them to fit our commitment to each other. For me, ceremonies have a tendency to drag on, and I already knew plenty of songs and speeches would be shared throughout the night, but I did want to honor the ritual. I felt it was important to have a few readings, a moment to reflect on the poetry of love as well as the diversity of our families and friends.

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S: Zara realized we had a multilingual wedding party, eight languages in total. So we had each member select a reading in a different language, followed by the English translation. We didn't know what these would be beforehand, and so it was a pleasant surprise to hear each one.

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Z: At the end we had a little call and response between the officiant and all our friends and family, which was a great way to go from the tender space of exchanging vows to the full group, lively voices shouting “WE WILL!”

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Our biggest challenge:

Z: Stefan of course remembered no issues except that the tap immediately broke on the keg (gasp!),but it was easily remedied by a last-minute beer run where my dad and the caterer cleared the shelves at a local gas station. There were definitely some snafus. A week before the wedding, the rental company gave away our order because THEY forgot to ask for a deposit from us. I was at the meeting, I had my credit card ready, they just never asked. I was able to make a whole new seating arrangement with what they had left, but it was not a fun time.

Oh, then there was finding out I was pregnant after my first dress fitting! My tailor was my first call before the family even knew. I was wondering how or why my boobs had gotten so big and my shoes no longer fit! Luckily she is an incredible friend and master seamstress who was willing to wait until the last minute to do the final cuts. Her golden rule: empire waist is your friend.

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My favorite moment:

S: To take advantage of our musical friends and family after the ceremony, my dad led everyone in the old classic, “Hey Good Lookin'” Originally this was going to be in a procession from an outdoor altar back to the tent where drinks and appetizers would follow. Due to the rain, we had to stay in the tent, and there wasn't much room for a procession. The mud kept people from stomping around in the grass, but everyone still broke out their instruments and sang. It was a wholly joyous moment with an overflow of good will. I'll admit it, I burst into tears.

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Z: Once the song was over, the house band started to play and we had our parents join us. No one knew who to dance with, so all six of us grabbed hands and danced in a circle for a while and then slowly broke off and traded parents and partners. It was spontaneous, unexpected, and just wonderful.

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My funniest moment:

S: I think it would have to be Zara's dad fulfilling a lifelong dream: to stand in front of the drive-in movie projector so his 50-foot shadow could flip everyone off.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?

Z: As a strong visual person and organizer, it was hard to ask for help. I was so self-conscious of being seen as a “bridezilla” if I asked for things. So I was really selective, and waited probably a bit too long to ask for a helping hand. I eventually came around and utilized my bridal party the entire day before the wedding and found a great production team to help.

I wanted our wedding day to be one where I didn't have to think about anything but love. It's so important to drop all your baggage and let go. Let go of power, let go of expectations, so you can let other people's stress wash over you and just trust in the moment and enjoy your big f*cking day!

S: I think in the end we were both left with the impression of how wonderful it is to throw a big party for all your friends. In the weeks following the wedding, and still a few months down the road, we got many requests to do it all again next year. It's a lot of work though, so I think we'll stick to attending other people's weddings.

Z: But maybe we can rent out the drive-in for our anniversary?

S: We sure can, honey.

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Comments on Keeping it dreamy at the drive-in at Zara & Stefan’s wedding

  1. Such a gorgeous wedding, all of that hard work paid off. 🙂
    I’m a terrible procrastinator and I knew if I choose a diy venue I’d fail. Weddings like miss make me wonder if I should have been braver but then I remember my invite nightmares and tell myself off.
    Ps, I love that dad shadow picture, it’s amazing. XD

  2. How the ever-loving HECK is that bride so stunning? She’s amazing. That first photo!! What a stunning smile.

  3. What an AMAZING wedding!!! Seriously I love everything about this! Drive in movies with all my friends and family? YES PLEASE! I can’t imagine a wedding much funner than this one 🙂

  4. OMG! Your wedding was beautiful! I grew up in that area and used to love going to the drive in! I’m so happy it’s still in operation and you guys got to use for an extra special event!

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