Lauren & Ben's casual double-vowed Lord of the Rings wedding

October 22 2013 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Genevieve and James Nisly
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Photos by Genevieve and James Nisly

The Offbeat Bride: Lauren the Teacher

Her offbeat partner: Ben the Ph.D Candidate

Date and location of wedding: Clay's Park Resort, N. Lawrence, Ohio — June 23, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our goal for the day was to keep everything casual, fun, and cost-effective. Our venue was a campground and water park, which offered their own catering (classic picnic favorites like burgers and hot dogs). Clay's Park was wonderfully cost-effective and absolutely great. Since we would be outside, we insisted on a casual dress code for all the guests and asked our fellowship (aka bridal party) to wear whatever would make them most comfortable.

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We had a subtle Lord of the Rings theme running through the wedding, but also added other touches that were meaningful to us such as Rubik's Cube cake toppers, an Up card box and guestbook, and lots of games. We had a ring warming set up before the ceremony, and instead of cake we had a candy buffet, plus my mom made tons of treats. We ended the evening playing the shoe game.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our best friend was gracious enough to get ordained for our ceremony and we could not have been happier. Since neither of us is particularly religious, we started with an open book on ceremony possibilities. We decided on a handfasting. We had six different cords to go with six different vows. Each member of our fellowship placed a cord on us. We did a brief ring exchange and were done with the whole thing in under fifteen minutes.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was weather. Since the ceremony was outside and the reception was held in a pavilion, rain and heat were a big concern. The day-of, the forecast called for thunderstorms at the exact start of the ceremony. Fortunately, the weather cleared up and we were rain-free. However, we still had some very oppressive heat, so Clay's Park made sure people stayed hydrated by opening up the bar early before the ceremony started.

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My favorite moment:
Ben and I wrote vows that we wanted to share with just each other. So after our first look (which I LOVED and would absolutely recommend), we read them to each other. They held even more meaning knowing they were just for our ears.

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Both our best man and maid of honor speeches were beautiful and touching. My sister's maid of honor speech caused me to shed my only tears of the day. I even knew what she was going to say and I still ended up crying.

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My mom and I have been line dancing every week for the past seven years so we decided to have a mother-daughter line dance during the reception. Since I knew I would be moving after the wedding, and wouldn't be able to go out dancing with her, it was a bittersweet conclusion to our weekly tradition.

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My funniest moment:
We had such a great time, but the funniest moment came after the guests had gone home. Ben and I had rented a cabin at Clay's Park for the wedding night. But when we got back to it, we realized it was a bit more rustic than we realized. With no air conditioning, and having spent the day baking in 90 degree weather, the cabin was essentially a sauna. We both looked at each other and laughed at the absurdity of us trying to finish off the wedding night in the traditional way. Instead, we spent the evening sitting on the porch swing and comparing highlights of the day.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The day will take on its own personality. No matter how much you plan, it will go along its merry way. We spent months creating our perfect wedding playlist and I had visions of us dancing into the night. However, we barely got through a fourth of it. We were so tired as the day was winding down that we sent our DJ (who was a family friend and very understanding) home an hour early.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. "The day will take on its own personality. No matter how much you plan, it will go along its merry way." SO TRUE. Best just to roll with it, as you clearly did and clearly had fun doing 🙂

    Also, Rubik's cube cake toppers = genius.

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  2. Ok, now I have to go and present a new idea to my fiancé: we're not having a bridal party. We're having a fellowship of the rings!

    2 agree

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