Treehouse Entrance

The offbeat bride: Julie, Communications Director

Her offbeat partner: Tom, High School History Teacher

Date and location of wedding: Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, PA — April 30, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding was a mix of styles and things that we like. As much as I do love theme parties, picking one proved difficult, so we threw it all in. We combined our loved of sci-fi (with lots of Doctor Who touches including Dalek cake toppers), and my love of carnival and vintage style with my husband's love of history.

Dalek love

Sci-fi cupcakes, dalek toppers and busken cookies

We found the best location in a giant treehouse at the Morris Arboretum. The ceremony was held on the treehouse and the reception in the tent. The view was incredible!

Cincy/Philly flavor favors

For the carnival inspiration we served popcorn, snow cones, and other carnival fare.

Laying an egg

Our friends' kids were able to run around the treehouse and play in the giant nest with eggs. There was a lot of light-hearted fun.


Tell us about the ceremony: Once we sat down and thought about how our ceremony should go, we realized that even with our self-imposed 15-20 minute limit, we had a lot of time to fill! So we came up with an idea to kill a few minutes and get our smart on at the same time.

Libbie & General Custer reading

My husband is a high school history teacher. He put the call out to his students that they could do short, original readings on history's greatest love stories at our wedding. Several students, no doubt enticed by the opportunity for free food, took him up on it. The stories included: Marie and Pierre Curie, John and Abigail Adams, Libbie and General Custer, and of course, Linden Baines and Lady Bird Johnson. The kids were definitely the high point of the wedding. They did a great job and seemed to have fun considering they were high school students doing a historical reading on a Saturday night.

Vuvezela serenade

After the wedding, all of our groomsmen and bridesmaids blew vuvuzelas instead of throwing rice. This was inspired by our engagement in South Africa during the World Cup.

yes sir

Treehouse sunset

Our biggest challenge: Having a wedding without spending a fortune is much harder than I ever thought. We DIYed the invites, flowers, lights, decorations, DJ, music, set-up, favor inserts, and alcohol and still ended up spending a lot. But in the end, we had a beautiful day and are glad we did it. The wedding was a bright spot on a year that was marked by family illness and other issues. Knowing that our family and friends had fun and appreciated the wedding as a bright spot in the year helped convince us that it was worth it.


My favorite moment: My dad passed away when I was a teenager, so having my brother walk me down the aisle was meaningful. My mom's willingness to help and make the day special meant a lot. Our vows were also really special, and I was surprised at how emotional they made us both.

Danzig surprise

My funniest moment: For the mother/son dance, Tom's mother had requested “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. But my husband had different plans. He had his heart set on dancing to “Mother” by Danzig and made a secret plan to cut off Kenny Loggins halfway and break in with the Danzig. For the remainder of the song, they rocked out in front of the crowd.

Post wedding Broad Street Run

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The morning after the wedding, we had planned to run the Broad Street Run ten-mile run in our wedding garb. Although we were dead tired, we had the best time. My brother and sister-in-law ran it with us along with some friends. Despite the fact that I am very out of shape, all of my very athletic running buddies stayed with us the whole time and got a kick out of entertaining the crowd. I was too busy wheezing, praying for the race to end, and adjusting my wedding gown to interact much with “our adoring fans.” But there were lots of people entertained by the “runaway bride and groom” headed their way. We were even on the evening news and had our picture in the newspaper.


Because I did not want to ruin my wedding dress, I asked my mom to hunt down an old wedding dress at a thrift store for the run. She got a great dress. In fact, I liked it so much I ended up wearing it to the wedding, saving my original dress for the reception. Nothing says mother/daughter love like your mom cleaning the spaghetti stains from the last wearer off of your thrift store wedding gown.

Grendel the flower girl/ring bearer

My advice for offbeat brides: Err on the side of over-inviting. Err on the side of under-buying for alcohol (we had tons leftover). Dogs look cute in formal attire. All you need is a glue gun in order to turn ordinary Daleks into matrimonial Daleks.

We did it

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Comments on Julie & Tom’s sci-fi and carnival-inspired treehouse wedding


    …is what I would’ve said if I were your marriage commisioner. 😛

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