A booklover’s library wedding (with special appearances by Sonic the hedgehog)

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Photos by Shannon Hodges Photography

Offbeat partner: Cassy & Damian

Date and location of wedding: Handley Library in Winchester, VA (Reception at Millwood Station Fireman's Hall) — 06/08/2014

Budget: $10k

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Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Books was the obvious theme (the first indication being that it's at a library), but my husband actually hates reading (THE HORROR!), so we included some Sonic the Hedgehog elements because that's his all-time favorite video game.

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We also chose Orange and Purple as our wedding colors because those are our favorite colors. We really just wanted people to have fun and we didn't want it to be super serious… because we are not, in fact, super-serious people.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Probably the best part of the entire ceremony was a moment that stemmed from a complete mess up.

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The song that I was supposed to walk down the aisle to was a classical version of “Green Hill Zone” music (the music from the first Sonic the Hedgehog level.) But it was just my iPod and my sister had done it and didn't put it on its own playlist and also didn't put it on repeat. So my iPod just went to the next song.

…Which happened to be “The Bear Necessities”. My dad and I started walking down the aisle at the exact moment that Baloo started singing and we both just lost it and broke out in laughter right as I made my grand entrance. It made for my absolutely favorite photo of the entire wedding.

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Later, when I told people of the error, every single person had said they thought I chose that song on purpose. They thought it was the kind of thing I'd do (and truthfully, it kind of was.)

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We had a really good friend of mine, who had been my roommate when my husband and I started dating, read a poem for us in our ceremony. It was nice because I hadn't been able to make her a bridesmaid, but she still did a LOT of stuff my bridesmaids did (because she's just a good friend), so I was really glad that we were able to still have her be a part of our wedding.

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We did a wine box ceremony. We put a bottle of wine in a box with two notes that we each had written and you lock the box. On your fifth anniversary, you open the box, drink the wine, and read the notes. Not sure why I chose this, considering my husband doesn't drink and, at the time, I hated red wine, so I chose a champagne (which doesn't usually age as well), but I think I liked the idea of it.

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The ceremony was only maybe thirty minutes or so because, personally, I hate really long wedding ceremonies. So I wanted it short and sweet, but not so short and sweet that people weren't able to enjoy all the awesome decorations.

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Tell us about the reception:
My reception was a lot of dancing! My husband and I took ballroom dancing lessons the year leading up to our wedding. We… well, actually looking back on it, we weren't THAT good, but I've learned it doesn't actually take a lot to impress people when dancing, so everyone thought we looked spectacular. (We actually still ballroom dance, which is why I can say with confidence that we were definitely novices.) But I'm fairly certain no one we know knew how to dance, because everyone told us how much they loved it, including the staff (I'm not going to say we were the best first dance they'd ever seen… actually, yes, I am saying that.)

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I had flip flops for all and there was, of course, food and cake. We also had a photo booth guestbook. I didn't want something with 100 signatures I'd never look at, so I got a digital camera and a small photo printer and had everyone take pictures. I included props, and then put string on the wall with clothespins and a small card with everyone's name. Guests would replace their names with a pictures of themselves.

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The cake was also ah-maz-ing. My baker's cake easily outshined everyone else we had tasted (Word of advice: don't do all your cake tastings in one day. Trust me.) and she was significantly more affordable than anyone else we'd seen. I loved her so much, I recommended her to two friends, both of whom used her for their weddings, they liked her so much.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your booklover's library wedding?
There will always be something that someone hates at your wedding. People you didn't think would have opinions will most definitely have opinions. And they will never stop telling you about them.

Just say no. Do what will make you happy.

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I wore orange converse sneakers under my wedding dress. For many reasons, but the biggest was I wanted shoes I would use again. (Seven years later and I still wear them!)

My mother complained about those shoes the entire two years that I was planning my wedding. She would constantly show me different shoes, or try and talk me out of it, or try and tell me that no one would be looking at me, they would only be looking at my feet. It's STILL a sore point with her.

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Over the course of my whole wedding, I had exactly one person who didn't insert her unsolicited opinions. I had a really good friend getting married about three months before I did (she was March to my June) and she was 110% supportive the entire time of everything I wanted. And she was probably that way because she was dealing with a lot of the same crap I was at the same time.

This brings me to my other pieces of advice: If you can manage to get married around the same time as a really good friend without stepping on their toes or vise versa, do it. It was fun, and we were constantly feeding off each other's resources and ideas.

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