Jennifer & Mark’s 1950s, vintage Barbie, Hollywood glamour wedding

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Day two of Offbeat Mama-Bride week brings us Jennifer and Mark's vintage-style wedding with a Barbie theme. Jennifer's daughters were both MOHs and rocked some pretty incredible bridesmaid's dresses.

IMG_0432The offbeat bride: Jennifer

Her offbeat partner: Mark

Location & date of wedding: The Russian Hall, Little Falls, NJ — 09.19.09

What made our wedding offbeat: We had an elegant, 1950s vintage Hollywood wedding on a small budget. I did everything myself, and it was fabulous for the amount of money I spent!

My daughters were both maids of honor, and we had a family unity ceremony for them.

I wore a vintage inspired second hand gown, and $5, silver, 1950s shoes from a thrift shop. A birdcage veil and rhinestone headpiece. Custom made french beaded bouquet, featuring Evenstar pendant from Lord of The Rings (the first gift my hubby ever gave me eight years ago).

4118341320 ac06e0edd2 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)I am forty-two, he is thirty-three, and this was my second marriage. My daughters were both maids of honor, and we had a family unity ceremony for them. Wrote our own vows and ceremony. And we hand-made the invitations featuring our dogs in wedding attire.

The men were dressed in shawl collar typical 1950s tuxedos, with paper, rhinestone and guinea feather boutonnieres, and bow ties. The groom wore a feathered rat-pack hat. My girls wore “Barbie,” black, elegant, fishtail dresses, and carried hand painted fans, and wore vintage rhinestone jewelry.

4118352332 635a5611ca m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Vintage reproduction Barbie dolls dotted the candy buffet.

My entrance song was ‘Let It Be Me' a classic big-Elvis Vegas song, and most of our wedding was Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin type music. We had a doo-wop group perform, featuring my new father in law! A candy buffet dotted with vintage barbie dolls, and silver chinese take out containers. Famous Hollywood couples photos that I custom made into table number cards. A Superman grooms cake. Vintage Barbie and Ken wedding cake topper!

Our biggest challenge: Having an elegant wedding that was DIY but didn't look it or feel it. Centerpieces were made for under $25 each, grooms cake for $80. Dress for $600, bridesmaids dresses on sale from Lord & Taylor for $150 each. My shoes were $5! Finding the right space was HARD but actually got the tip from an OBB and The Hall was wonderfully kitchy! My bouquet was $70 and it was gorgeous!

4118351206 1a2e23a13e m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)The challenge was doing it all with no help, as my daughters are in college — and one lives in VT and was physically unable to be there, and the other daughter is also in grad school, and works two jobs! My husband helped, and we did it all!

The invitations were my biggest challenge, and took me three months to finish. We dressed our dogs in wedding attire and had a photo shoot on the bed, and we made HUGE invitations: 8 x 11! They probably cost the most money but people went NUTS over them! I worked so hard on those and I STILL get compliments.


My favorite moment: When my new hubby and my kids exchanged vows and rings and we became a family, even though they are in college.

4118351078 819b666f12 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)My daughters speech made the entire crowd cry! I'm not kidding!! My kids had a challenging life with their biological dad, and ever since Mark came into their lives, they have seen me happy and they have had someone to depend on and care for them. It was truly, truly a beautiful moment!

My offbeat advice: Cohesiveness. I have seen many beautiful weddings on OBB that really inspired me to just go all the way and not leave any detail out. I got such compliments about how much love there was in the room, not only in the new family we have made but in how we created this day to reflect the true “us.” It was remarkable!4118346408 c8dd277490 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • On Etsy I got the boutonnieres (custom made, with some elements I sent the creator to help her) and the custom painted fans. I found that I could get ideas from these very creative people, start a conversation with them, and lead them in the direction I wanted, and they really came through!
  • All my Barbies were gotten on ebay and some from my own collection.
  • My jewelry was all my grandmothers, lucky me! Including my engagement ring which we had re-set into a rose gold VERY unique setting! Lovesss it!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

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Comments on Jennifer & Mark’s 1950s, vintage Barbie, Hollywood glamour wedding

  1. What a truly gorgeous wedding. Having your daughters as Maids of Honour is just lovely.

    I love your dress; it’s very close to what I am picturing for myself.

    May you have many years of happiness!

  2. This is a truly offbeat site. I am pretty sure I wore the exact same dress as the bridesmaids for my “tax wedding”… the wedding at the end of December, before the big ceremony to make things official so we could pay for the other wedding with our tax deduction.

    Jennifer’s whole theme and affair was adorable.

  3. You and your daughters are so beautiful! What an inspiration for a small budget wedding!

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the black and white retro theme…everything went together so well. Oh yeah, congrats!

  5. Mind if I ask where you got the chinese take-out boxes? I’ve been looking for a while but I can’t find any at such a good price!

  6. I love the Barbie and Ken cake toppers, we used those too! Such nifty ornaments. Gorgeous wedding!x

  7. I’m so glad you featured this wedding, her dress is unforgettable!

  8. How are you old enough to have daughters in college! You looked SO young and beautiful!!!!!!! Gorgeous wedding! It looked so beautiful and heart felt! BEAUTIFUl!

  9. I think this has been the first story to have brought tears to my eyes, it spoke to me in every way, the dress (gorgeous)the bringing together of families with adult children. I’m to be married in 4months and will draw inspiration from this one. Great Vibes, Thanks x

  10. Love, love, love everything!!!! You look BEAUTIFUL. That dress is amazing. I adore the barbies and the whole hollywood glam vibe. And such a lovely story! Congratulations to you, your new hubby and your family! Wish you all the best!

  11. I love love love LOVE this. My dream is a 1950’s wedding.
    It’s all so timeless and beautiful, every minor detail is gourgous

    and the invatations <3 I study art and so have been given loads of trials on how to make things ike that. But I feel some brides seem to forget about them, my aunt make hers on microsoft word and posted them to us all a week before her wedding!

  12. WOW. That’s probably the most rad-tastic DIY, budget wedding I have EVER seen! Glorious!

  13. Crazy! I was on the search for little wedding cake toppers and randomly when I wasn’t even searching I found the same Barbie and Ken figures at value village! We are having a retro..rockabilly..50s wedding and how perfect of toppers!? Hahaha I didn’t know anyone else would have the same idea! 😀

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