The Offbeat Bride: Kaitlyn, Social Worker
Her offbeat partner: Jude, Musician
Date and location of wedding: White Star Farm, London, Ohio — June 25, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We wanted our wedding to be as down-to-earth as possible. I wrote the ceremony, and my husband picked all of the music for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted everything to represent our journey together and who we are. We picked a rustic theme, because we both thought it was beautiful and would best connect with the natural, simple look we were going for.
It was originally going to be a backyard wedding, but then a generous coworker let us use her barn, and suddenly… it all came together. I think the setup for the wedding best describes our attitude: we walked in there with a handful of decorations my one bridesmaid had made and another bag of craft supplies and just moved around and set up tables on the spot. We didn't have a plan going in, because we refused to stress ourselves out creating a plan that may not even go right the day of.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had three sections of vows. Our shared vows were structured around values we wanted to promise one another: loyalty, gentleness, friendship, etc. With each vow, I wrote a specific promise. For example: “I promise you forgiveness — to always let our love be bigger than my pride.” During the handfasting ceremony, we had a cord for each element (earth, air, fire, and water) and a corresponding vow to that element. Finally, we each wrote personal vows.
My coworker, Cherylann Richards, a Chaplain and lesbian, performed the ceremony. It was very important for us to have a fellow member of the LGBTQ community marry us. She knows us well and beautifully tied in themes of spirituality, without it being a religious ceremony, giving the balance we desired.
Jude selected the ceremony music very carefully. As everyone was getting seated, different songs from throughout our relationship were played, but instrumental versions. Once the processional began, our parents and grandparents walked down the aisle to “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, representing their faith and also my Italian background. Our bridal party walked down to “Here Comes The Sun,” but a version by James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma, which Jude picked because he calls me his “sun and stars.”
Tell us about your reception:
We said “fuck tradition” and entered before the bridal party — we weren't about to miss all their hilarious entrances! We began the reception with a little “open mic” portion, where we opened up the floor to our bridal party members for speeches. About half of them spoke, each fitting their unique personality. My one bridesmaid, who is typically a jokester, surprised us with a serious spoken word piece in tribute to the Orlando shootings (which took place a few weeks before our wedding) about letting love win. We will never forget how powerful that moment was.
Jude then sang a song with his sisters, then my sister, who introduced us after meeting Jude at the American Idol auditions back in 2011. After that, it was a free-for-all. Everyone was drinking, dancing, and laughing.
Once it got dark, we ran outside in the field and caught fireflies. We both drank and danced, and let the night take us where it did. We actually almost forgot the cake cutting and bouquet/garter tosses because of it.
What was your most important lesson learned?
We learned that we're an amazing team. We kept each other from stressing throughout the entire process by refusing to let any stress enter the situation and grounding the other if we forgot that mindset. It was really tough planning a budget wedding (the entire wedding was under $6K), but we made it work and didn't feel like we missed anything.
My biggest piece of advice for readers is to enjoy the journey. We remember our wedding so fondly and don't feel like it was a fog (the way many people describe), but it was also just one day. If we hadn't enjoyed the planning process just as much as the wedding, I don't think it would have meant as much.
- Photographer: Wild June Photography
- Venue: White Star Farm
- Hair: Moxie Beauty Bar
- Cake & cupcakes: Alice's Piece of Cake
- Bride's dress: White Swan Bridal
- Bridesmaid dresses & tie/bowties: Azazie
- Bouquet & boutonniere: Carolina Rosa Designs
- Flower crown: Lucky Kids Handmade
- Cake topper: Le Rustic Chic
- Handfasting Cords: Misti Lake via Magical Druid
- Officiant: Cherylann Richards
- DJ: Dave Huntley