Rei & Bryan's forest elopement

Updated Oct 17 2019

The offbeat bride: Rei Chee, naturalist

My offbeat groom: Bryan Perez, musician

Location & date of wedding: Backwoods on my friend/reverend's property in Boston Hills, NY. May 2006.

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was not the ball of the year, but being in the presence of nature & our close friends made it very magical.

My husband & I eloped in my woodman friend's backyard, which was a huge tract of natural land. He was also our Reverend. We were married between a shagbark hickory (signifying solidity & strength) and a beautiful white pine, the Tree of Peace among the Iroquois Indians. Our invited guests were my parrot, a few special humans, and the Reverend's pack of border collies in a very whimsical ceremony.

We had the trees, the sky, the earth be our witnesses. As part of our ceremony, our friends grabbed a handful of rich earth from around the woods, and was placed in a glass bowl. We plan to plant a growing green life in it to signify our nurturing love.

My dress was a white sun dress from JC Penny, and cost less than our wedding cake, which was picked out from a dessert deli a few hours before the ceremony. On it we wrote "Rockstar & Eco-warrior Forever". My wedding bouquet was also picked out on our Big Day. Yes, we were cutting it a little close! To top off my outfit, I wore my Kangol and Puma shoes. No point wearing high heels out in the muddy woods …

My husband was decked out in his Chuck Taylors & tuxedo, and as we were headed to our 'altar' my parrot pooped on him as her wedding gift.

The ceremony itself was very beautiful & sacred. We held hands in a circle with our eyes closed. Afterwards, we hung out in Herb's little cabin, along with his snakes, alligators, frogs, and lizards. He is a licensed educator, and is my colleague.

Our biggest challenge: Having to break the news of our elopement to our parents. My husband's parents (divorced) found out quite by accident. My parents live in Singapore, and not wanting to appear disrespectful, I finally told my father that we want to get married and my husband called my dad long-distance to ask for his permission. He agreed.

My favorite moment: When Reverend Herb had all of us standing in a circle holding hands, eyes closed, listening to the beautiful & on-the-fly speech … and then Josie, the alpha dog of Herb's border collie pack, licked Bryan's & my clenched hands. And I knew, just knew that Josie was giving us his blessing, this wise old dog who lives out in this very special woods. He did not lick the hands of others.

My offbeat advice: Do this for your hubby and yourself! Do not worry if it seems silly or ridiculous, because this is YOUR special day.

  1. I know it's funny for me to comment on my own post, but I just have to say that I ADORE this wedding story! I think people at times confuse "offbeat" with extravagantly weird, … and for some people "offbeat" just means simple and heartfelt and beautiful. Like this wedding. I love it!!

  2. This is seriously one of the best wedding stories I've ever heard and it's pretty much how I envision my own elopement!

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