The Offbeat Bride: Brandi, Preschool Teacher (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Jonah, Assistant Manager
Date and location of wedding: Farragut State Park, Athol, Idaho — September 29, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My family and friends had never been to Idaho, and we wanted them to see the beauty of the Northwest. We chose a beautiful state park on a lake as our venue (kid- and dog-friendly was a must). We wanted our wedding to really feel like “us”: simple, relaxed, and fun. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia six months before our wedding… but I was determined to DIY everything I could, despite the pain and fatigue. I DIYed my fascinator, the boutonnieres, and all of the decorations. We used pinwheels throughout our wedding because we are both kids at heart.
My mom crocheted the flowers for my bouquet and I assembled it. We are not dancers, so we had lawn games to play, and I created an iTunes playlist for music. I also made a photo booth using Sparkbooth, and it was a huge hit!
I have a gluten intolerance, so we had a gluten-free Mexican buffet for dinner. Our families both contributed to our gluten-free dessert table. We had special cream cheese candies that my mother has been making her whole life. Our cake was special to us, too. When we first started dating, Jonah would buy me cheesecakes instead of flowers, so my brother made us a small cheesecake for our cake cutting. I realized we didn't have a cake topper two days before the wedding, so the pinwheel topper was a last minute project.
Tell us about the ceremony: I arrived in my father-in-laws '39 Chevy, and walked down the aisle to Frank Turner's version of “You Are My Sunshine.” We wanted someone we knew to officiate, so my sister-in-law got ordained online. We are both too shy to write our own vows, but we created our ceremony using bits and pieces of other ceremonies found online and in books, and edited them to fit our needs. We included a hand blessing ceremony, and the Jewish tradition of the breaking of the glass.
My maid of honor and one of Jonah's groomsman read Taylor Mali's “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog.” We had Jonah's family dog as our ring bearer (and many dogs as guests as well). We chose “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” as the perfect happy song as we walked away from the ceremony as husband and wife.
Our biggest challenge: I was trying to deal with my Fibromyalgia diagnosis and plan the wedding at the same time. My closest family and friends all live thousands of miles away, and it was very difficult not having them with me to help with both things. On top of that, I got a sinus infection about two months before the wedding that just wouldn't go away. I had to give up on many of my ideas because I simply did not have the energy to accomplish them. I quickly realized that the details didn't matter. As long as we were married at the end of the day, that was the goal.
[For others wrestling with Fibro, be sure to check out our Fibromyalgia tag archive. -Editors]
My favorite moment: The most meaningful thing was seeing the way our families and friends came together to set up and take everything down. People went out of their way to help. It really showed all of the supportive people we have in our lives, and I know they will be there for us when we need help.
My funniest moment: Two moments stand out for me. First, we were starting to get emotional during the ceremony (and so was our pregnant officiant), when our almost two-year-old niece shouted out “Hi Jonah! Hi Jonah!!” to my husband. It was hilarious and she had perfect timing. Then, during our recessional, his groomsman and my bridesmen linked arms to walk back down the aisle!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Stay true to yourself! I was constantly worrying that people would judge me for my more offbeat choices. At one point I thought to myself “What if my fascinator is too big and people don't like it?” Immediately after that, I thought “If they don't like it, fuck 'em!” That became my mantra. You have to do what feels right for you, not what is right for everyone else.
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