The Offbeat Bride: Elizabeth, graphic designer
Her offbeat partner: Crys, musician
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to have a wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, preferably somewhere we could stay all weekend with our family, bridal party, and close friends. The mountains are so important to us both, and we couldn't dream of having it anywhere else. We ended up finding the perfect venue, a very nice mountain inn in Lexington, VA, that knocked out all other contenders from the first time we visited it.
We also wanted a vintage-styled wedding with peacock colors and undertones, but we didn't want the whole wedding covered in peacock feathers. For me, it was essential that everything looked like it went together, but I also didn't want it to look too matchy or like it had come from three different Pinterest boards smooshed together.
I'm a graphic designer by trade, so most items had our logo, colors, fonts, etc. on it, including the bags for the candy buffet, the escort cards, the drink tickets, the guest gift bags… all of it. I wanted those receiving the branded thank-you notes a month later to know what wedding they were coming from. Our logo featured two peacock busts, one with a “C” on it and one with an “E.” My peacock had one pink feather in the front to match my hair.
It was also important to us that we incorporate as much borrowed family heirloom, handmade, or small artisan elements into our wedding as we could. The centerpieces were made of vintage glass that belonged to my mother and grandmother. I made many of the decorations, including two-tone, tea- and food coloring-stained tissue poms (made from coffee filters) to line the aisles.
I made my bouquet from jewelry, mostly belonging to my great-great grandmother, great-grandmother, grandmother, mom, and Crys' mom and grandmother (with a few pieces that I bought that were symbolic of our relationship) so that it represented all of the strong, important women in our lives. Our hair clips and all of the jewelry, including mother of the bride, bridesmaid, and wedding bands were from local vendors or Etsy stores. My dress was from a designer who custom makes dresses to your measurements. Crys and I are both independent artists, and it was important that we support smaller vendors as much as possible.
Crys is a musician, so she was very picky about the ceremony music, timing, etc. She also wanted to find a DJ that wouldn't deviate from our list of songs. We go to a lot of weddings and find that we can't dance to the music, so we were insistent that we have music we love at our wedding.
We wanted our guests to have fun/interactive things to do throughout the ceremony and reception but to also see elements of us throughout the whole day. We had hula hoops and cornhole out for the cocktail hour. We had a candy buffet in vintage glass dishes. Our cupcakes were in flavors like lavender lemon, vanilla rose, and pistachio cream. We served only wine from our favorite vineyard, which pairs wine with music instead of food — a perfect blending of my love for wine with my love for my musician wife.
Our favors were succulents with a thank-you note about how succulents can survive and thrive in tough conditions, much like our friendships with our guests had done over the years. Our guest book was a Polaroid photo book. We wanted the day to celebrate love: our love for each other and our love for all of the people in our lives who mean so much to us.
My sister-in-law made our wedding video, which also features our wedding song that Crys wrote:
Tell us about the ceremony:
Crys wrote our ceremony. My only request was that I wanted no religious references in the ceremony. We are both more spiritual than religious, and we wanted our ceremony to be indicative of that. She beautifully wove in a Celtic tradition of “the oathing stone” that allowed us to cast our vows literally into stone. Guests each had their own small stone to cast their good wishes for us into stone as well. They dropped the stones into a jar as they exited the ceremony, and now we have a jar of good wishes from all of the people who are important to us and who celebrated with us that day.
We each wrote our own vows, which aligned in length and sentiment without us ever exchanging them to check beforehand. After we kissed, we jumped the broom, had lavender tossed at us as we walked down the aisle, and drove off from the ceremony in a 1940s vintage car.
Our biggest challenge:
Logistics for getting from the ceremony to the reception were a challenge. The inn that we chose for our venue had two beautiful properties on one mountain: the House Mountain Inn and the Irvine Estate. Both properties were set up as independent wedding venues, with a ceremony and reception site at each. Once we had toured both, we realized that we liked the ceremony space at one property and the reception space at another, so we rented the whole mountain.
The Irvine Estate was right up the hill from the House Mountain Inn, so proximity wasn't an issue, but parking and travel for guests could be. We decided to offer a bus from the host hotel to the wedding, which would then shuttle folks from the ceremony up the hill to the reception site and then make two trips back to the hotel. The bus company we chose was not super responsive, which made it difficult to know if they could pull off what we wanted to do with the shuttling. We eventually worked it out with them when communication got better. But we spent a ridiculous amount of time worrying about getting folks from point A to B.
My favorite moment:
The speeches. We had speeches from the best (wo)man, the maid of honor, moms, dads, my brother, and my grandma. Each family member said things that were so deeply sweet, touching, and personal. Crys's mother's speech still gets compliments to this day.
The father/daughter dance. My father is a very reserved man — you won't often see him cry or show emotion. When I was five weeks old, he had a very bad accident and lost his right hand. For our father/daughter dance, I chose Holly Dunn's “Daddy's Hands” and there wasn't a dry eye in the room… including my father's.
The wedding song. Crys wrote a song for our wedding day more than a year before we were set to say our vows. She recorded the song, was selling CDs with the song on it, and was even asked to perform it at other weddings. I was meant to hear the song on the day of our wedding, so for all that time, I never listened to it. She played it for me at the beginning of the reception, with the entire bridal party playing percussion or singing back up vocals. It is still one of my favorite songs she has ever written, and it was perfect for our wedding day.
My funniest moment:
When the best (wo)man and maid of honor were announced for the reception, they chest-bumped in celebration. It was especially funny because the maid of honor was much shorter than the best (wo)man. They both played a role in getting Crys and me to realize we belonged together.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
That love really can change hearts. Crys's mother, who at one point was very conflicted about coming to the wedding because of her religious beliefs (she's a preacher), said that she was so glad that she did come because it was amazing to see all of the love that people had for us and how much love we poured into the whole weekend.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Andi Roberts, Roberts Family Photography
- Dress: Custom Dolly Couture
- Bridal and bridesmaid jewelry: Estylo Jewelry
- Mother's Jewelry: The Jewelry Girls
- Wedding bands (Koa wood ring): USA Jewelry
- Custom wedding band: Washington Diamond
- DJ: Class Productions DJ Service
- Venue: House Mountain Inn and Irvine Estate
- Cake: Nerdy Girl Cupcakes
- Succulents: The Succulent Source
- Printers (for invitations and all of our branded stuff): CatPrint
- Wine: Notaviva Vineyards (our favorite vineyard)
- Special song: Crys Matthews (Amazon)
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!