In the Garden

The offbeat bride: Emily: director/musician (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Rush: actor/writer

Location & date of wedding: Japanese Garden and Park Lane Banquet Hall, Mountain Brook, AL — May 29, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We were wed outdoors with a few friends and family in a circle around us. Rush and I walked into it together as everyone sang for us. We didn't exchange rings (I love my emerald engagement ring and Rush just doesn't want to wear one), and I held a pinwheel made of vintage hymn sheets.

Thumbprint TreeWe then moved the party to an indoor venue where a lot more friends were invited to celebrate with us! As guests walked in, they signed their name and a message to a piece of paper to hang on our Wishing Tree. They then pressed their thumb to an inkpad and put it on our Thumb Print Tree that my sister's husband painted.

We set up a photo booth area with homemade props for people to play with. We had a local folk band rocking the reception, after Rush and I opened singing our rendition of Mario Kart Love Song to each other.

DoughnutsRush doesn't like cake, so we substituted his favorite dessert: doughnuts! We also had chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. The “cakes” sat behind a Japanese Bridge that Rush built with Legos holding a doughnut man and a cupcake girl that I made out of clay.

I have negative associations with flowers, so my sister's husband's mother (my mother-in-law-in-law?) made some awesome decorations using all sorts of natural pieces in vases and little candles.

We exited to the sound of everyone playing tiny, toy instruments on which we wrote “R<3E 5.29.10."

Photo Booth

Send Off BandTell us about the ceremony: Rush and I walked into the center of the circle our guests created while they all sang a couple verses of “Down in the River to Pray.” Our friend and minister had written his own ceremony, but we chose the songs to add to it. Before our vows, we all sang the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” The whole ceremony concluded with us stepping out of the center to join and complete our circle of family and friends. We then all sang “For the Beauty of the Earth.” It was very short, with no procession, unity ceremony, ring exchange, or recession.

Getting Ready

CenterpiecesOur biggest challenge: In addition to the challenge of a tiny budget, we chose not to have attendants. While we really wanted our friends to be there, the most important people to us are our parents and siblings and we wanted them by our sides.

This meant, we figured out later, that there were no bridesmaids or groomsmen to help tie tiny ribbons or carry in heavy boxes. Rush works full-time and I was a full-time student, so it was a bit of a struggle to get everything done in two months! So we rallied together and made a list of what we HAD to do and what we'd LIKE to do. Some of the “like to” list never happened — and that is just fine. I eventually lost my sense of stubborn independence and delegated a little. Friends who knew they were the would-be attendants stepped up when they saw us start to pull our hair out. Everything that needed to happen happened, and we all had smiles on our faces to boot!

In the Garden

Cake TopperMy favorite moment: Shockingly, I think my favorite part of our wedding was when we said our vows to each other. Why does this shock me? They were so NOT the vows I wanted to say. Long story short, Rush and I had pieced together/written vows, but never actually got them to our minister. The officiant's vows were so much more beautiful than ours would have been. Since we'd never heard the before the ceremony, we really had to listen to be able to repeat them to each other. We both meant and believed every word we said and later decided that we couldn't have put them any better ourselves. We were so blessed to have a dear friend marry us.

In the Garden

Food and LanternsMy funniest moment: Our wedding ended with me saying, very awkwardly, “Thanks for coming, guys…” See, after our vows and a prayer, Rush and I decided to have a final hymn sung with us joining and completing the circle around us. When it was over, I'm not sure if everyone expected something else to happen or for us to recess or something, but that was it! Our minister raised his arms in a dismissal and I heard the tiniest bit of chatter, but for the most part, everyone continued to stand where they were in this weird silence. We hadn't had a “You may now kiss” moment, so Rush and I kissed. Then everyone applauded. And then we all stood there quietly for a few more seconds. I couldn't stand it anymore so I said my strange parting words, turned quickly to the side and began talking to my mother. Finally everyone began to break up. Not funny at the time, but hysterical to look back on!!

As for the reception, a lot of people got a kick out of the hilarious Mario Kart Love Song that we sang to each other, complete with our own original harmonies.


My advice for offbeat brides: Let the little things go. Seriously. Let them go. Now. Make your wedding about you and your almost-husband and whoever else is significant in your life, and there's no way you'll regret a single exciting, love-filled moment! I promise. Remember that your love is what matters. Take an umbrella if it looks like rain and get a pretty picture along the way.

In the Garden

Wishing TreeWhat was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?Everything is a choice. Obviously you've made the decision to get married and you know you have a lot more things you have to decide before it's over. The emotional choices took us off-guard, though.

There was quite a bit of fighting and a lot of negativity surrounding our wedding. Rush and I figured out pretty late (but luckily a couple weeks before the day) that we got to choose how we felt. We could let it get us down and be miserable or we could focus on what matters. I've heard that my whole life and always scoffed, thinking to myself “Sure, like it's so easy.” But IT WAS! It was so easy!! Just like that, we said I love you and we washed our hands of all the drama. We still had to deal with it, but concentrating our hearts solely on each other instantly filled the entire process with joy. Happiness is a choice. So why not choose it?

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Comments on Emily & Rush’s relaxed folksy musical wedding

  1. Just wondering if there are photos other than the ‘wedding porn’ at the bottom? I didn’t see any next to the text..

  2. That dress! So much love!
    The centerpieces made out of the… twirly… flower arrangement… stickthings… I really like that idea. -googles what the heck they’re called-
    Also, the bride looks like an adorable amalgamation of myself and my sister-in-law, which makes me want to be best friends with her. :B

  3. I LOVE your dress!! *squeal*
    Where is it from?

    And how amazingly cute that your hubby made that lego bridge to match the actual bridge!!

    • AH thank you!! The dress is from David’s Bridal… Walked in, put on the first one I found, and walked out again hahaha It’s actually supposed to be shorter but at 4’11” I was just glad to get a dress that didn’t have to be chopped to bits!

      As for the bridge – I know, right? He is so cute. I didn’t give him any parameters other than that we needed something for our little dessert-selves to sit on.

  4. Love it! Especially the thumb print tree! What a great rememberance for a beautiful day!

    • Yeah… Funny story there… We were AMAZINGLY blessed in that our families took care of taking down the reception while we got to scamper off to bed (TO SLEEP!) The next morning when they were packing stuff up, my brother-in-law Noah, the one who actually painted the tree for us, put it on top of the car. And then they drove off. In the torrential rain that had been promised for the day before.

      So, that thumbprint tree is no longer with us. But Noah (again, both the painter and the destroyer) actually made a new one so whenever someone comes to our new home, they have to add their print all over again 🙂

  5. This is really well-written, like we’re just hanging out, hearing the story of your wedding. And I like that you included hymns in an outdoor, leave-out-the-bits-we-don’t-like ceremony. It’s a rare blend of tradition and personalization, so well done.
    And Congratulations!

  6. Your advice is likely saving our relationship with less than a month to the big day. I really enjoyed reading about your wedding and your insights into letting it all go. You’ve inspired me! It’s so great to see two people that happy.

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