Emmy & Ian's public library dance party wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015
 
Photos by: SV Heart Photography
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Photos by Sharon Vanorny, SV Heart Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Emmy

Her offbeat partner: Ian

Date and location of wedding: The Madison Public Library, Madison, WI — June 28, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We were so lucky to have the ceremony and the reception in the brand new Madison Public Library, which was really emblematic of our larger sense of place attached to our wedding. Madison has been really special to us as a city. We met a couple months after we had each moved here and were both new to the area, so we really fell in love with the city as we fell in love with each other. For that reason, and its geographical location nearly exactly halfway between each of our families, it felt exactly right to have ourselves a downtown Madison wedding, complete with fresh farmer's market flowers and a local farm-to-table caterer.

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We also had the surreal experience of having our favorite band play throughout the night! Ian had been following Caroline Smith, a Minneapolis-based musician (formerly Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps), for years and struck up a rapport with the band. Their music was something he shared with me right away after we started dating, and it was such a privilege to have them at our wedding. They played a few awesome sets and ended the night with some amazing DJing and we all danced the night away.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
It was pretty short. We were married by a justice of the peace, and we used the lovely and simple agnostic script she provided. We had four readings done by members of the wedding party: "Advice for the 21st Century" by the Dalai Llama, "All Lovers Have Secret Names" by Marge Piercy, "Habitation" by Margaret Atwood, and an excerpt from Ian McEwan's Atonement. At the end of the ceremony, between vows and being announced as husband and wife, my grandmother read the Apache Marriage Blessing.

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My favorite moment:
Ian cried during the ceremony. He said he was going to but I didn't really believe him until we were exchanging vows and there he was, all teary-eyed. My heart!

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The speeches were also really special. We had four: my younger sister/ maid of honor, each of our fathers, and Ian's best friend/best man. I had been really nervous about them because it was the only part of the day that I didn't know what to expect, but each one was so perfect, and they all complemented each other really well — funny AND poignant. I was so touched by each one, and they really felt like a gift to us.

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Coincidentally, the night of our wedding was the same night of the city's pre-Independence Day fireworks display, and the venue had a little balcony with a perfect view of the fireworks display. Some of our guests thought we had arranged it, but it was totally serendipitous. We hadn't realized until the day of that would be happening! So the fireworks came at a really nice break in the evening, and everyone moved outside to watch the fireworks together.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I was very cognizant of the fact that we would probably never have all of our family and friends together again in the same room, so I tried to appreciate that in the moment. It just meant so much to have everyone come together for us, particularly because a lot of people traveled from out of town. Our people really made the wedding.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. oh my! this is so gorgeous and full of light and love!

    and I'd not seen the Margaret Atwood poem before, and it is just beautiful!

    Congratulations!

    • Thank you Helen!

      I know — that Margaret Atwood poem was just such a lucky find. I felt as if I looked through dozens of readings and none of them felt exactly right, but Habitation was so perfect!

  2. I think this is my favorite wedding I've ever seen on OBB. The space is just beautiful, your photographer was incredibly talented, and you can totally get a sense for how much love you were surrounded by that day. And ohmigosh the fireworks!! How lucky you guys were!

  3. I love this idea. I live in Madison, and am interested in knowing how you went about reserving the library for the wedding.

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