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The offbeat bride: Kelly, Writer and TESL Teacher
Her offbeat partner: Francis, Web Designer

Location & date of wedding: Stone Mansion in Rome, NY – May 24th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Both of our families are super Catholic and we are not, so we decided on a outdoor handfasting. The ceremony was presided over by a Catholic woman who was excommunicated for belonging to a church that ordains women and marries same sex couples.

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We were her first heterosexual couple! Our handfasting rope was made out of tri-colored ribbons that our closest friends and family decorated with wishes and words of wisdom at our rehearsal dinner. My dress was black and white and our readings were from “The Alchemis”, “Green Eye” by Coldplay and a Taoist friend's reflection on love and companionship.

We read sections from “The Invitation” as our statement of intentions with passages such as ” Can you see beauty, even when it's not pretty and still source your own life from it?” and “Will you risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive?” and ended with us both asking ” I want to know if you will stand in the middle of the fire with me and not shrink back?”

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Our vows were a Buddhist prayer dedicated to an inspirational couple (the parents of the best man), who had passed away in a car accident right after we got engaged.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was Fran's family, who are super-strict, right wingers. First it was getting married outside, then it was not inviting their whole church congregation, then it was the woman Minister, then it was the black and white dress, then that we were not including (“go forth and have children”) in our ceremony, since we don't want children at this time… the list goes on and on.

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There was screaming, crying and threatening to not come from the MIL, but Fran and I just politely told them that they had their wedding and this was ours. We held fast and our wedding, every detail which was non-traditional, was perfect… and although his parents weren't happy, we were, and I wouldn't change any of it.

People will always have opinions when you buck tradition, but don't loose your cool. Keep saying over and over, “This is how we are doing things. I'm sorry that it upsets you, but this is the way it is”. Then think about how fab the wedding of YOUR dreams will be. IT IS NOT WORTH IT TO TRY AND PLEASE EVERYONE!! You never will and will drive yourself crazy in the meantime.

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My favorite moment: My favorite moment was stating my intentions to my new husband and reciting our vows. They were so meaningful and heartfelt, I was just overwhelmed with joy and emotion as I read them.

They are below for your reading pleasure:

Statement of Intentions: Adapted from “The Invitation” by Oriah

“I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,or to remember the limitations of being human.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”.

I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done.

I want to know if you will stand alone in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back….”


“Fran/Kelly take this ring, as my pledge to help you to develop your heart and mind. Cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm and wisdom as we age and undergo the ups and downs of life. I promise to do whatever is in my power to take these things and lead them into the path of love, peace, joy and serenity. Because you are my best friend and my partner in all things and with you I am complete.”

My offbeat advice: It's hard to give one bit of advice… don't sweat the small stuff… remember Bridezilla doesn't look good on anyone ;-). Everyone will have an opinion on your wedding, this happens, people lose all sense of decorum when people get married or die and they say stupid sh*%… don't freak out! Hold fast to something you're really looking forward too (it was the handfasting for me) and keep saying, “My wedding will rock, these people are closed minded, etc etc etc” and you'll be fine!

Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: Click the photo below to see amazing shots of Kelly & Francis' Old Hollywood Outdoor Wedding!

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Comments on Kelly & Francis’ 1920’s Old Hollywood Wedding!

  1. hello! i am now a puddle. that statement of intention and those vows are mindblowing. i want to get married all over again so i can STEAL THEM!!!

  2. What a beautiful ceremony. Fortunately I’m not getting married until next year, so I actually can steal them 0_o (jk)
    Thank you for the off-beat inspiration though!

  3. Steal away! That’s why I put this out there! I hope you all have as great a time as we did!! Xo K

  4. Beautiful photos, beautiful couple! Good for you for sticking to your guns… MIL’s will just NEVER be happy 😉 PS… I’m from Utica!

  5. wow your statement and vows are amazing and powerful…perfect for me (a total spiritualist) and my love (your average earth loving atheist). I totally admire your desire to do things YOUR way! Big kudos and congrats! BTW the b/w photo of you with the blusher is phenomenal. It looks like a glamour shot from the 40’s!!

  6. beatiful!!! i love the crisp black and white photographs!
    where did you find your dress? it reminds me of the dream dress i want sort of like the dress audrey hepburn one in Sabrina! if you could e-mail me and tell me let me know!

    -ashley nicole

  7. Fran and Kelly, your wedding was beautiful and I know that everyone who reads this will be inspired too. Love the advice even more than the photos – you two are amazing!

  8. Nice wedding pics!! where did the bride get that beautiful wedding gown I wonder? Congrats the the couple !!!

  9. I love your statement of intention and vows. I love your attitude and how you did your wedding your way. My boyfriend and I do not want a traditional wedding as we would be happy going alone and marry on a beach or beautiful location but we have family members who want to be there. We only know that when we plan to marry the only one that we will definitely bring with us is his daughter. She is 15 and I have to have her there with us because she is completing the new family. Aside from that, we don’t want tradition but to be ours. I love your ideas, way of thinking and your heart. May you have many joyful years of health, happiness and love!

  10. Kelly, I had no idea! And yet I guess I am not surprised. 🙂 Good for you guys to have gone about it your own way.

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