4346926699 a902f36b86 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)The Offbeat Bride: Maria, Graphic Designer (and OBT member)

Her Offbeat Partner: Dave, Roofer/Musician

Location & date of wedding: The Music House Museum in Traverse City, Michigan — Oct. 17, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We waited a long, long time for this. Dave and I met on the school bus and have been best friends for sixteen years. After nine years of putting off a wedding due to financial reasons, we finally decided to tie the knot at the courthouse (for health insurance — so romantic). We wanted to keep it a secret until the real ceremony, two years later, but Dave's mom found out and soon did everyone! Getting sick of family grilling us with questions, we decided, on a whim, to plan the ceremony and get “weddinged” in just six weeks! All for under $4000.

4347671126 75f046ca64 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)Held at an historical museum containing automated instruments from the early 1900's (music is a very big part of out lives), the ceremony and reception was small, intimate, and casual. Everything was DIY: my dress was a custom made repurposed vintage slip, my sister made the cake, we did an iPod reception and my Aunt emceed, I made my own bouquet and invites, and my brother married us (he got ordained online).

The entire affair was very lax — no sweating the small stuff — in fact I asked everyone involved to bring their own individuality to it and surprise me! Dresses didn't match, we didn't rehearse properly, but we didn't care! It turned out funny (we had the whole crowd cracking up during vows) and meaningful. Just the way a wedding should be!

Tell us about your ceremony: It was so small and intimate that we were almost standing on top of each other! Everyone could hear us and it was like we were just sitting around our living rooms, giggling and laughing. It was perfect, and highly recommend having a small ceremony.

4346948223 8a855bb757 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)What were the most meaningful moments of your wedding?: Dave's vows. He ended with a quote from Grumpier Old Men: “Maria, out of all the fish in the sea, you are the only one I want to catch and mount over my fireplace.” The crowd roared in laughter!

My brother (“fake” minister) started the ceremony by saying, “We're gathered here in this historical music museum to celebrate what all music, and nearly every Beatles song, is about — love… Except ‘I Am The Walrus.' No one knows what that song is about.”

The museum director, Patte, lost her husband of fourty-two years just a few months ago. Our wedding happened to be on her anniversary. So instead of spending her first anniversary alone, she got to celebrate it with us! We did a surprise toast in her and her husband's honor, and presented her with a fall chrysanthemum to plant in the museum's garden in rememberance of us.

4347672022 164b0ce455 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

What was your biggest challenge: Planning a DIY wedding in six weeks.

4346934047 60c9e4fa6b m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great?: My brother marrying us — he's quite sarcastic and offensive, so I was sure he would embarrass me. But, he did great. In fact, it was the most touching thing anyone has ever done for me, it turned out amazing, and I am forever grateful.

Advice for other offbeat brides: Getting married is exactly like planning a trip to the amusement park. You plan your adventure for months in advance. You are brimming with excitement. But when that time comes, when you are getting strapped into that seat and you know there's no turning back — it will scare the crap out of you. All rational thought will go out the window. You are going to turn into someone else. You are going to say, “Where is this money coming from? What was I thinking? I can't do this! I will look ugly! Can't we just elope?”

The girlsBut you know what? It's all NORMAL. Everyone goes through it. Stick with it, you'll be glad you did, no matter how many butterflies you have in your stomach. Because trust me, after you get off that ride, you are going to say “AGAIN! I want to go again!” Because it's going to be the best day of your life.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • My photographer was AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!!!! The best decision I ever made. She's fantastic with people, extremely talented, and willing to travel: Southby Photography
  • My dress was a custom made repurposed slip from an Etsy artist. She did a fantastic job from some simple direction I gave her. i highly recommend her work!: Muir Hughes
  • I designed buttons as favors and used my favorite button company, Busy Beaver! I've worked with them through my job many times and they are great! Buttons are a cheap, easy, and fun way to do favors!

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Comments on Maria & Dave’s roaring twenties, museum wedding

  1. Oh, I love, love, love your brother's opening statement. And great advice. I think I'm going to print that off and put it on my mirror so I can remember it when I'm freaking out.

  2. Lovely wedding! Everyone looks like they are having a great time. Love the speak easy vibe of the reception. You and your beloved look wonderful. Many more happy years!

  3. Lovely wedding! Everyone looks like they are having a great time. Love the speak easy vibe of the reception. You and your beloved look wonderful. Many more happy years!

  4. this is wonderful!!! maria, i'd love to feature this on my wedding blog, all about wedding and music. and hearing dave is a musician, your wedding location, and that great line about music's influence…it's perfect! my blog is called Hi-Fi Weddings (hifiweddings.com) and i'd love to have ya on there. and maybe pick your brain about your wedding playlist! let me know if you are interested darling…and you had a stunning wedding! congrats on being a mrs. now! 🙂

    • Hi! Sure, I'd love to be featured on your blog! We did an ipod reception and the playlist was very important to us! Honestly, I think I paid more attention to that than my own dress! 🙂 We did a set of 20's & 30's jazz & blues while people mingled, then a mix that ranged from 50's doo-wop to indie rock. Feel free to email me and we can talk more!

  5. Love the bouquet! Did you make it? If so, got a DIY tutorial? If not, where'd you get it?

    • I did make it! I didn't have any tutorial, though! I just sort of… made it up. 🙂 I'll try to explain:

      1. I cut pieces of fabric into long strips, about 4 inches thick and a few feet long.

      2. I rolled the fabric very loosely into flowers by pinching it in my right hand and twisting it with my left. I bunched it up as I went along. I didn't take much care into making them exact—I wanted them to look very rustic, uneven, and organic. I even left the frayed edges out instead of folding the fabric neatly.

      3. When a flower was done, I took thick, bark-covered wire (available at Michaels) and wrapped it around the base a few times until the flower was secure, but left a long piece of wire coming down to create a "stem."

      4. I made about 10-15 of these flowers and gathered them into a bouquet, then tied more wire around the base to secure them together.

      Best part? It only took me a couple hours! Good luck, hope that helped!

  6. All rational thought will go out the window. You are going to turn into someone else. You are going to say, "Where is this money coming from? What was I thinking? I can't do this! I will look ugly! Can't we just elope?"-

    Thank you so much for encapsulating exactly how I feel right now, three weeks from my wedding, and then letting me know that it's normal and that it's all unnecessary because this will be the best day ever.

  7. yeah, your photographer was awesome! I love the angles and even the posed shots look natural. Looking at your wedding porn I felt like the pictures really captured the fun, joy, and love of your wedding. Congratulations!

  8. Looooove the pic of you peaking out the window! Just gorgeous.

    Also like the idea of rings on guitar strings….as a member of a muso filled family I wish I had’ve thought of that! We also had a very small ‘private’ ceremony (22), with the rest of our family and friends invited only to the reception (100ish), and for me it was so much more intimate and special.


  9. What a beautiful wedding! I also absolutely love the analogy of a wedding to an amusement park adventure, so true!

  10. Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful compliments!

    I'm glad that my advice helps in some way. Believe me, I wish I could go back in time and tell it to myself! Every bit of it is true.

    My photographer WAS amazing, wasn't she? She is a good friend of mine. The rings on the guitar were her idea—in fact, everything was. She doesn't just take photos, she creates them! I was so lucky to have her do my wedding. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else in the world to shoot it.

    Thanks again, everyone! I'm so grateful for all the kind words. 🙂

  11. Awsome wedding, sixs week out from mine (which has been in the works for about 18mnts), I can`t imagine whats it'd be like to pull it all togeather in so short a time. But definartly approve of the lax approach – organise things and then go with the flow – i`m not stressed atm, but every one telling me I should be is beginning to drive me up the wall!!! Congrats on a magical day! Love your dress!

  12. Your wedding is my favorite one on here! That museum is wonderful. I am a fellow Michigander and did not know about it. What a wonderful place to have it! 🙂

    • Oh, I definitely recommend it! The staff is amazing. It's truly Traverse City's hidden gem. Even if you don't plan on attending a wedding there, you should stop in for a tour! The tour is what moved me to have me wedding there.

  13. That is the best "Advice for Other Offbeat Brides" section I have ever read, and I've probably read too many.

    So true, and exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  14. Hi Maria!
    Oh, I can only agree in all the comments here, I LOOOOVE the look and feel of your pictures!! 🙂 🙂 That relaxed and informal feel is what I really hope myself and my to-be as well as out friends and family will create together at our wedding in June. Did you not meet any resistance from family members or others when choosing such an informal style..? (We do … 🙂 Your flowers and colours were LOVELY!!! Congrats on your marriage, wish you all well.

  15. Absolutly beautiful!!! I love your photos and the theme!!! Looked like a blast!

  16. the greatest wedding yet! i can't even try to replicate something like this! i LOVE this so much i could cry right now!

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