Surprise! It’s Amanda & Robbie’s housewarming party turned wedding

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 | Photography by Two Spoons Photography
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These faces! Photos by Two Spoons Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Amanda, Stay-At-Home Mother

Her offbeat partner: Robbie, Corporate Concierge

Date and location of wedding: Our house, Richmond, VA — June 14, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Most importantly, we were married on our porch by my oldest friend. We planned on having our baby in our home and wanted all our biggest life events to happen there, so we decided to get married right on the front porch. However, we didn't tell anyone in advance that we were going to get married — everyone thought it was just a housewarming party! We had custom fortune cookies made that guests could have when they arrived, and the fortunes said “Surprise! You're at a wedding! Meet us out front at 4pm.”

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Other highlights include having a food truck pull right up to the curb, another friend of mine playing “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson on the ukulele during the ceremony, and taking a walk through our neighborhood in our wedding garb for portraits with our photographer.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Another friend of ours played ukulele and read the poem “I Carry Your Heart” by e.e. cummings. Robbie and I had made grand plans to write our own vows but never got around to it, so luckily Betsy had some great secular vows for us to use.

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Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge was planning in general. I'm not a super organized person plus I was pregnant. My friend and our officiant, Betsy, helped us lots by sending spreadsheets and generally being a resource. She had just planned her wedding so she used all those organization templates to help us stick to a timeline/budget.

The second biggest challenge was keeping it a surprise. A few key people couldn't come but we didn't tell them it was a wedding instead of just a housewarming party, and some were upset later. But we wanted it to be special and different and not have to publicly plan a wedding (which comes with its own challenges) so we kept things mum.

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My favorite moment:
One of the most meaningful things was my neighbors cheering from their homes/porches when they saw me walking down the “aisle” (sidewalk) with my dad. We love our city so much and the great sense of community we have here.

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After the ceremony, dancing with my dad in the backyard was a great moment, as well as having the first dance with Robbie happen on the very spot where he proposed. Again, we want every inch of our home filled with great memories, and we were so lucky to be able to have our wedding there.

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My funniest moment:
After the ceremony, our photographer took us on a walk around our neighborhood for some portraits. One of the spots we explored is a pretty big road with a giant, lovely median. When people saw us dressed up in wedding garb, strangers driving by started honking and yelling “Congratulations”! It was funny how weddings bring people together, and how excited even people we didn't know could be about love!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It doesn't have to be big! I didn't miss the huge party. Part of the reason we wanted to get married in our home was because we wanted to embed the space with as many memories as possible. I'm thrilled that I get to spend every day surrounded by that love, thinking things like “I married my husband there,” “he proposed there”, etc. Ultimately, we wanted our home to not just be where we live, it's where our life happened.

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