Monica & Clint's literary garden wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015
 
Photos by: Shandi Wallace
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Photos by Shandi Wallace

The Offbeat Bride: Monica, Researching Writer, Homeopathy student

Her offbeat partner: Clint, Active Duty Military

Date and location of wedding: Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio — June 28, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to make sure we only spent money on the things we actually wanted. We didn't do favors or programs, 90 percent of the flowers were handmade paper, and all of the vases and books were purchased secondhand. Clint and the rest of the fellas in the party were told to wear whatever dress shirt they wanted, and any shoes would be fine. The ladies did whatever they wanted with their hair and makeup, and their shoes were up to them, as well.

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The things we focused our wallets on were the food, bar, and venue. We did dinner family-style, because we didn't want a buffet and plated meals have a tendency to get lukewarm. It also encouraged our families to get to know each other. Square tables with mixed parties helped that, too.

45 minutes before the ceremony the bar was open, so guests had their drinks and were seating themselves before the Lord of the Rings theme, which signified that the ceremony was about to start.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
My brother Craig, our officiant, made an announcement after everyone was seated:

I invite you to be truly present at this special time. The couple respectfully requests that all guests honor the sanctity of this moment by turning off your cellphones and putting down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology.

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After everyone had processed, Clint got to do his favorite thing, address a crowd:

To family and friends, it means the world to us that you made it here. Thank you for the support, encouragement, love, and laughter you have given us. You are our favorite people in the world. It is our hope that you have a great time, and remember tonight as the best wedding to which you have ever been.

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We had two readings, "To Love is not to Possess" by James Kavanaugh and "Love" by Roy Croft.

Here were our vows:

I give you that which is mine to give.
I pledge to you that it will be your eyes into which I smile every morning.
I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care.
I shall be a shield for your back, and you for mine.
I shall not slander you, nor you me.
When we quarrel, we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances.
And I shall honor you above all others.

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Our biggest challenge:
I was living in Florida at the time, and planning a wedding in Ohio. I took three trips to go to meetings with the caterer and venue. Coordinating everything else over the phone and internet was rough. I would not recommend it to anyone. I just made sure to try to not stress over things too much and go with the flow.

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My favorite moment:
Two weeks after we got engaged, Clint got a no-notice year-long deployment. We had two weeks until he left, so we decided to take care of some paperwork ahead of time. My dad married us in Florida with a few witnesses. Clint's dad and stepmom came down from North Carolina, and some of my family were there. We asked everyone there to not tell the rest of the families, because we didn't want anyone to feel left out. So just having everyone who wanted to be there for us and support our relationship was one of the best parts!

We got weddinged on Clint's R&R, so it was after nine long months of being apart that we got to see everyone and celebrate just being together. Knowing that he had to go back on his deployment for several months afterward made it even more special.

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
Clint was married once before and had really no say in the planning. This time he was involved in as many decisions as possible with him deployed. For instance, we picked music that was for both of us:

  • Seating of the mothers: "Fireworks" from the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix soundtrack
  • Bridesmaids/bridesman procession: "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri
  • Bridal procession: "First Snow" by Boy in the Rain (I picked that song to walk to right after I met Clint. It made me think of him, us, and how our lives might be.)

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I LOVE this!
    The bride and groom booth look so in love and so stunning, and I especially love the "no camera or other device during the ceremony" rule, I think we'll do that as well 🙂
    The purple and blue decor is gorgeous.

  2. Sweet & lovely!!! Monica, your whole wedding 'look' — hair, veil, dress, makeup, smile — is absolutely perfect! Wish I had your hairstyle photos when I was wedding planning because I could've just taken them to the hairdresser and said "that's the 'do for me". Your puffy pie toppers are so cuddly and adorable! 🙂

    And major props for making such a beautiful celebration happen during a difficult, long-distance situation. May you have joy together!

  3. How fascinating! I love the color of the decoration and the 'no device' thing was just awesome. But you made such a beautiful bride… everything else paled.

  4. Phew! This makes me feel a little better knowing it's possible to plan a wedding from a different state while he's stationed elsewhere.

    Congratulations. Everything is outstanding. I love the book idea.

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