The offbeat bride: Cat
Her offbeat partner: Geoff
Date and location of wedding: Minister’s Tree House, Crossville, TN — September 7, 2009
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: After dating for nearly three years, we didn’t want to postpone being married for the sake of having a “perfect” wedding. So our engagement was only 120 days long. We looked for a venue in Baltimore, where we live, but nothing really resonated with us. I had always wanted to get married in a treehouse. In fact, even before the engagement, “treehouse” had always been a code word for our wedding/marriage. Geoff figured that all of our family would have to travel for our wedding anyways, so why not see if this treehouse thing was a possibility?
We Googled “treehouse” and found the Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, TN. We went to check it out to see if it was legit. Horace Burgess, the builder and the most awesome Jesus-loving visionary/artist/hippie ever met with us. The place was perfect. Its story was perfect.
We came in under our $6,000 wedding budget, which meant more to spend on our Hawaii honeymoon. To save money, I thrifted my shoes for three dollars, bought wildflowers from local Mennonite ladies, and purchased a delicious wedding cake from the local grocery store.
Tell us about the ceremony: Both Geoff and I were music majors, so the majority of our friends are musicians. Our wedding mini-orchestra included three violins, three violas, one cello, one djembe, and two guitars. My brother jokes that there were more musicians than people in the pews.
Geoff did an arrangement of Holst’s Thaxed (from Jupiter) for the bridesmaid and bride entrance. He had arranged for my entrance to be on a climactic point of the piece. For me it was a pretty epic, fist-clenching, super satisfying moment that he arranged for me. I came down the aisle sobbing.
Part of our reading:
…she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.
This illustrates God’s tenderness with us…like a husband to his bride.
Our biggest challenge: Given our tight timeline and physical distance from our wedding site, planning this wedding would have been impossible without the power of the internet. Geoff and I kept track of all we could on Google Docs.
Despite all our good bookkeeping, there were inevitably things forgotten and unfinished by the time we had to drive 700 miles to Crossville to set up. We became frequent visitors to Wal-mart and the local dollar store. Most of the loose ends were tied up thanks to a little flexibility and Geoff’s unbeatable work ethic.
My favorite moment: The love people showed to us throughout our whirlwind weekend was overwhelming. The treehouse was a mess before our arrival. While Geoff and I were running around Crossville getting the reception ready, our friends and family picked up cigarette butts, mopped floors, hung lanterns, weaved yards of tulle throughout the treehouse, and transformed the local high school hang out into something truly beautiful.
We left one heavily graffitied wall in the chapel exposed. We used it as an analogy of our lives: we are messed up and scarred people but like the treehouse, we were meticulously crafted, and a work of love meant to be beautiful. A red cloth was draped over the wall at the beginning of the wedding to symbolize that God can make things beautiful again.
My funniest moment: Geoff and I sawed a log. It took five minutes to do. An old German tradition, it’s supposed to be the first obstacle you tackle as a couple. I wonder if the old Germans knew that using a two-man saw looked oddly suggestive too.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Geoff and I rented cabins in an RV park right before the wedding. The RV park owners came wheeling up in a golf cart, hollering that they heard that we’re getting married. The man said, “We’ve been married 20 years, and let me tell you something: just stick it out!” They drove away laughing. In the moment it was kind of weird, but it’s definitely our motto now.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Wasin Prasertlap and Joe Dombrowski
- Dress: Light in the Box
- Outrageous amounts of tulle: Gifts International
- Bridesmaid dresses: Spiegel
- Reception site: Cumberland Mountain State Park
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!