The Offbeat Bride: Beth, Photographer and graphic designer (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Garrett, GIS Mapping Guru
Date and location of wedding: Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland, Oregon — September 7, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Beer was a major theme of the day, and our guests sat on picnic blankets in the forest which was decorated with hops vines. Our flower girl tossed (or chucked violently at guests' heads) hops cones, which are used in making beer. We made the table decor and boutonnieres with beer ingredients, too. We had happy hour and a trail mix bar before the ceremony so by the time our Elvis officiant came down the aisle, people were liquored up and cheering.
We're major tech nerds and wanted to film our own invitation. Even though we shared almost all of the wedding information exclusively online, as well as had high-tech interactive aspects of our outdoor wedding, we had a strictly unplugged ceremony (except for Garrett's surprise selfie right after the kiss).
Here is the invitation:
We met many of our friends via kickball, so after the ceremony, we played a short game followed by lawn games and a talent show instead of cake cuttings and first dances. We encouraged people to take and share photos throughout the day by creating a scavenger hunt with prizes, then the images would appear on the projector above the stage. People could earn merit badge buttons by participating in different events, and we had “camp counselors” walking around handing out badges and answering questions. They could also refer to their illustrated Camp Epic Wedding Survival Guide. We made a barley wine which was part of the ceremony, and handed out a wedding-themed home-brewed IPA along with commemorative coozies.
Tell us about the ceremony:
When we first started dating years ago, our friend made a joke about saving us money by dressing as Elvis and marrying us so we didn't have to go all the way to Vegas. We held her to that! I came down the aisle to “The Imperial March” played on the violin, and cried from that moment all the way through to the kiss.
Elvis talked about the importance of community to us and asked guests to promise to hold us accountable and support us in years to come. Following that, friends read “Scientific Romance” by Tim Pratt, which is the sweetest, nerdiest, and most on point thing to our relationship that could have ever been written. Plus, we were really glad that our fairly conservative parents found the mention of a time traveling, auto-erotic threesome hilarious instead of appalling.
We created a ceremony where we drank the barley wine from mugs created by Garrett's late grandmother, and then passed it around to everyone on stage. The ceremony talked about how barley wines change and develop a more complex flavor with time, and how we had bottled the whole batch and plan to drink one on each anniversary.
At the rehearsal dinner party, we had people secretly write down pairs of things (like “Batman and Robin” and “Fred and Ginger”) on slips of paper and give it to one of the wedding crew. Then instead of “husband and wife,” Elvis drew a paper from a hat and that was what she declared us (David Bowie and Iman was chosen!). It was really fun!
Garrett and I decided we'd get our rings tattooed later, so we settled on drawing Sharpie marker versions of the rings on each other in place of an actual ring exchange. Garrett's vows were a few funny little stories about us, and mine were about all the things I couldn't promise him, but how the desire to want to be able to is pretty damn romantic. I don't know what kind of superheroes those people are — the ones who can swear undying love for all eternity. Though, if they can promise eternity, maybe they're actually Asgardian gods or Time Lords or vampires! Here were my vows:
Believe it or not, I'm only human, and human nature makes it impossible to keep all the promises of perfect intentions. I can't swear an undying love that will outlast eternity. But I CAN promise that for as long as we are together on earth you'll know how much I love and respect you.
I can't swear a future full of expensive gifts or lavish trips around the world. But I CAN promise to be by your side through the everyday adventures and be ready to dream up new ways to experience the world around us.
And it's illogical to swear that we'll always be happy and never disagree. But I CAN promise to try to understand your side of the argument and remember that because we're on the same team, that makes us capable of anything we put our minds to.
I never needed a Prince Charming, and I'm glad we don't live a world of “happily ever afters” because with you, our friends, and our family, I get to have a lot of ‘happily here and nows.'”
Our biggest challenge:
I had some personally difficult moments connected to concerns that people would think we were “trying too hard.” I also had a lot of guilt around the money and the unbelievable generosity of our parents. But I think the biggest issue of all was my extreme underestimation of just how many details I needed to delegate to people. I can't even fathom how half the things got done because I don't remember telling anyone, “Hey, after kids go to bed will you put out the s'mores bar and write the names of all the ingredients on the chalkboard with the chalk pen?” yet somehow it magically got done.
My favorite moment:
When I was standing at the top of the hill watching my wedding crew walk down to the stage, they were laughing and dancing to the music and our guests were cheering and clapping and hooting. All totally unplanned. I've never seen that at a wedding before, and it meant so much to me that people knew they were there to celebrate and have a good time. (okay, it probably didn't hurt that we gave them all a ton of booze beforehand).
Then at the end of the night there was a moment on the back patio where two dozen people from different parts of our lives were jamming along with the farm owners on instruments, and anything that would make sound including buckets and musical saws. They started playing “I'll Fly Away,” and our parents and older family members were suddenly there, and everyone was singing their hearts out in a deafening chorus of voices. Truly incredible.
My funniest moment:
My favorite funny moment was at the ceremony. Our dads leapt into the air and chest bumped before taking a seat. It was pretty out of character for both of them, but a little surprise they'd worked out beforehand.
Then a friend with a slow-mo camera went around all day filming guests and compiled this hysterical masterpiece of slow-mo schlubber face action:
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: June Lion Photography
- Venue: Pendarvis Farm
- Day-of-coordinator: December Carson
- Catering: Cha Cha Cha
- Bride's skirt: Laureen Saputo
- Bride's Corset: Hips and Curves
- Bride's earrings: our friend, NONIKO Jewelry
- Hair and makeup: Amber Arpin
- Graphic design/beer labels/button badges: Beth Olson Creative
- Violin: Zak Lovas of Left Coast Country
- Hops vines: Crosby Hop Farms
- Garrett's outfit: Hollywood Vintage and Historical Emporium
- Elvis officiant: our actress friend, Kimberly Wilson
- Socks: Sock Dreams
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
fashion: Sock Dreams