Offbeat partner: Holly, homeschooling mom
Offbeat partner: Tom, hardware store customer service
Date and location of wedding: Private mountain lakeside bungalow in Front Royal, Virginia — May 19, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
When I set out to marry my boyfriend Tom, I'd already been married for nine years to my husband Dan. This would be Tom's first wedding, so I didn't really want to just run off and elope, but he was cool with it, so away we went. I didn't want a big poofy white dress, since I'd done that previously, and I wanted to be able to enjoy my time with my new guy, so no fuss was my general goal.
As far as colors go, we purchased Tom's tentacle tie from Cyberoptix first, and then built the other elements around it. Tom worked for a time at the National Aquarium, and at a fish store, so bringing water into the ceremony somehow was important. His favorite color is purple, and mine is teal blue, so we smashed those together and made it work.
Of course, the day of the wedding, I realized I had forgotten the tie back at home, which necessitated a mad scramble back and forth to make it in time. Thankfully, my other husband was able to meet Tom halfway with it, since we lived an hour and a half north of the ceremony site.
We both wore Converse sneakers because we both own pairs already in our everyday lives, and for an outdoor wedding, I couldn't fathom the idea of heels. I went for a galaxy print shoe since I had just finished teaching an Astronomy class to a bunch of high school students. Homeschooling my youngest daughter (who is 17) is currently a large part of my identity, so having a nod to that in a small way made things special.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We eloped, so the only people present were the photographer and the officiant. We had a handfasting with chords that I created after seeing tons of crappy, overpriced ones online. It wasn't really that difficult, but it did take some time.
We also exchanged rings. To keep my finger from being too overloaded with bling, for mine we went with a plain white gold band that matched my existing wedding set from Dan. For Tom's ring, we purchased a tungsten carbide band with an abalone shell inlay — again, that tied in with the water and color scheme, so it was pretty fabulous. Until they were on our fingers, they sat nestled on a ring stand that Tom had made at a local glass blowing studio.
The location was a private bungalow in the hills near the Shenandoah river. We had our own personal waterfall, hot tub and pond — the latter was stocked with tadpoles, frogs, turtles, and a shoreline full of dragonflies! One thing I hadn't anticipated was that in the springtime, the pretty lake in the promotional photos would be muddy brown from the frequent rain. We had also planned to have the ceremony on the dock overlooking the pond, but at 2 pm, the sun was relentless. So, we relocated to the opposite side of the property that was wooded and very nicely shaded.
Tell us about your reception:
After the photographer and officiant left, Tom and I ripped off all of our wedding finery and spent the rest of the afternoon in our private hot tub. We celebrated that evening with steaks on the grill and a visit from the property owner's bedraggled dog, who apparently traveled many miles to beg for a bite. When it grew dark and the night was full of a chorus of frogs, we lit a fire on the shoreline and asked the stars to recognize that the elements that arose from them were now reunited in us. We also had s'mores!
We ended up breaking in to the wedding cake before we ate dinner — it looked just that yummy! The cake was made for us by a close friend of mine who runs a bakery business, Queen Bee Cakes. I had saved photos of a few styles I liked to my Pinterest board, and she replicated the top layer of one for us. She also hand-made the octopus topper out of Sculpty, based on a photo I had pinned. However, she added personal touches to it including the rings, bouquet, and matching veil!
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest wedding challenge was finding a dress I liked that wouldn't break the budget. I ended up with a bridesmaid's gown with a matching wrap that I had my seamstress friend disassemble and use to create both sleeves and a bigger back drape with parts of it. As a curvy girl, I need a supportive bra, and the open back of the dress initially had the straps showing.
I was also concerned early on about the fact that this was a poly wedding, but everyone I contacted was really cool with the idea, and was willing to work with us on creating the ceremony that we wanted. Of course, we couldn't file paperwork to make it legal, but we did everything we could to make it just as special. Maybe someday we will be able to get recognition from the government that this is serious — I hope that the recent SCOTUS ruling will be expanded upon to include all love between consenting adults.
- Officiant: Brenda Berry, Sacred Celebrations
- Photographer: Doug Stanford
- Dress: David's Bridal
- Cake: Queen Bee Cakes
- Tie: Cyberoptix Tie Lab