Leila & Don's home-made barn party with a wedding and tattoos

Updated Oct 12 2015

The offbeat bride: Leila

Her offbeat partner: Don

Location & date of wedding: The Conrad Botzum Farmstead, Akron, OH — 07/11/2009

What made our wedding offbeat: When I planned my wedding, the general idea was to get rid of all the things people find annoying about weddings! I wanted the day to have a very easy-going feel, like a backyard BBQ, and that's exactly what I got.

What made my wedding especially unique was that my husband and I got tattooed as part of the ceremony. We used a symbol meaning 'family'; his on the ring finger, mine beind my left ear. Guests were given buttons with the symbol on them as favors.tattoo2

I designed and made my own dress and wore Converse sneaker wedges rather than heels. Decorations were almost non-existant, as our location needed no ehnancement. We used an instrumental song from our favorite local metal band for my walk down the aisle. We used an open pasture for the ceremony as opposed to an altar. Our officant was also our tattoo artist and my husband's co-worker. Our attendants were non-matching; they each picked out their own dress or tux with the only limitation being that it had to be purple.

The reception was completely without structure, aside from the buffet line. Family members cooked for the crowd, as food was a priority and we hate bad wedding food. My husband and I bought plain sheet cakes and decorated them together before the wedding. (It's not every day you see a Frankenstein wedding cake topper!) The whole event was very do-it-yourself — I bussed tables at my own wedding!

Tell us about your ceremony: We wrote our own vows and did not let each other read them before the ceremony. For the rehearsal vows, I translated traditional vows into Japanese then back into English again using the babel fish translator. The result were hilarious "Engrish" vows that my mother is still laughing about six months later.

girlsceremony

Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was my dress. I am on the extreme end of petite and have very simple tastes, so I knew from the start that off-the-rack wasn't for me. Instead, I designed and made my own dress and got exactly what I wanted.

What were the most meaningful moments of your wedding? Getting my wedding tattoo was by far the most meaningful moment. It gave the ceremony a sense of permanence.

Having my mother walk down the aisle along with myself and my father was another big moment for me.

What was the funniest moment of your wedding or reception? My funniest wedding moment was when my husband was removing my garter. A very young guest who has a little-boy crush on me walked by at just the right time and his eyes got so huge when he discovered he could see up my dress! He could not look away and everybody noticed.

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't sweat the small stuff! Chances are, you will be the only one who knows that something didn't go as planned.

ustwoDon't be afraid that a friend or family member won't accept any nontraditional ideas you have. Remember, it's your day and they love you, so they're likely to support your ideas even if they don't agree with them. No one will remember petty disagreements once the big day is upon them.

Finally, don't buy in to the idea that all weddings must be fancy or expensive. My guests loved the low-key feel of the ceremony and the free-form unstructured reception. Creative and personal can be better than expensive and fancy any day!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? I purchased the cotton/silk blend satin for my dress at Golden Silks. If you're looking for natural fabrics, they're reasonably priced and have a great selection.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!: [Editors note: Most of their photos are low res (TINY!) so you're going to have to head over to Flickr to see the rest of the pics.]

  1. Ditto what Jaime said! SO happy to finally see another Akron bride on OBB!

    Haven't been to the Botzum Farm, but this makes me want to go!

  2. this has to be my favorite wedding so far, maybe because its so similar to what me and my fiance are planning for our wedding. it definitely gave me some new ideas though. love it!

  3. Is there any way (if you're reading this) that you can send me an mp3 of the song you used for your walk down the aisle (or do you know where I can get it)? My guitarist (who was going to do a crunchy metal version of Pachelbel's Canon) may not be able to make it, so I'm desperately looking for a song suitable to replace it. Maybe yours will be the one! Much appreciation if you can help me out. Beautiful wedding by the way!

    Amy amyvons@shaw.ca

    • Hi Amy,
      The song was called Wormcharmer, by the band Rebreather. It's on their Sunflower album. They're local to Youngstown, and are on the web, so I think you should be able to get a download off their MySpace or at least contact them. Baroness's Red Album also has an excellent track that was a close second to Wormcharmer; it's called Grad. Both are lovely melodic songs with an edge. I hope I helped, and enjoy!

  4. I grew up very nearby to Botzum! It is a beautiful venue, and we considered it, before deciding to just hold our wedding the backyard with a tent instead.

    It looks like a lovely wedding! Yay OH brides!

  5. Yes, Ohio brides represent!

    SO excited to see this post, since I've got the Conrad Botzum Farmstead on my list of reception places, for the same reason you booked them– I'm looking for a low-key feel. Love the dress, love the photos, love the bridesmaids and your tattoos… Awesome wedding, congratulations!

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