The Offbeat Bride: Jessica – Sr. Office Assistant

Her Offbeat Partner: Lantrel – Business Services Manager

Location & date of wedding: Father of the bride's backyard, Stockton, CA — 06/20/2009

What made our wedding offbeat: At the tender age of 18, my husband and I snuck to the county clerks office and tied the knot, without our family's blessing or knowledge. Thirteen years later we decided we would love to reaffirm our vows and love for one another and have our families witness it this time.

As I begun my planning, I realized there was a lot more websites and information out there for first weddings, but not so much for vow renewals. I didn't know what the correct etiquette was for a vow renewal. Finally, I decided I didn't need to follow whatever that correct etiquette may be and I could do whatever I wanted!

I, a mother of two, wore a tea length WHITE dress with a black petticoat and black high heels. My husband and our children wore Chuck Taylors. Wedding cake? Cute little matching cupcakes? NOPE! I decided to get all gourmet cupcakes in a variety of delicious flavors. The term “vow renewal” is not exactly what we followed. My husband listed all the things he loves about me, like how I make the BEST chocolate chip cookies, and I decided to let him know that, although I went into our first wedding day with my eyes closed, I could not have made a better decision. It was sweet, simple, and we made it work under $1500 TOTAL!


Our biggest challenge: Cost was our biggest challenge, as I am sure it is for a lot of couples. Times are hard. I had to dim out a lot of the ideas of what I thought this day would be. Even the cheapest venues can still be quite pricey if you don't have a lot of money to work with. We wanted to keep the total cost under $1500. That was dress, shoes, food, everything.

After months of checking out and researching different venues, I decided to have it in my dad's back yard. He has a water way in his backyard and I thought it would be a nice background. I knew I wanted a retro inspired wedding dress and found lots of amazing sites that had beautiful dresses, but most were out of my small budget. I finally found a site that had the perfect dress at the perfect price and also sold the crinoline slip for underneath! I am lucky enough to have a retired caterer in my family that said she would do all the food for me as a gift. My father-in-law bought all the meat and cooked it for us. You'd be amazed once things get rolling how much everyone offers to help and everything falls in to place.

My favorite moment: My favorite moment of our beautiful day was walking down to my husband, holding our youngest son's hand, while our older son played an acoustic version of the song “Running,” by No Doubt on his guitar. Looking into my husband's eyes, full of love, and knowing that after thirteen years of marriage we are more in love than the day we got married and that we loved each other enough to want to do it again.

My advice for other offbeat brides: It doesn't have to be that expensive wedding you have ideas for in your head. If money is tight, you can make it work and things can turn out surprisingly well on not much money at all. The hard thing is changing how you have always envisioned the day in your mind. But if your able to do that, you will still be very happy. You can do different versions of the expensive things and just change up the norm.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
My dress was from a website I found that has lots of unique dresses to choose from at reasonable prices: Unique Vintage

My photographer happens to be a friend. She is amazing! AND very affordable!: Bella Mena Photography

The cupcakes were seriously a huge hit! I think everyone enjoyed that there was such a variety. Some tables of guests were cutting there cupcakes in quarters so they could all share and taste the different flavors of yumminess!: Cupcake Craving

Enough talk — show me the vow renewal porn!:

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