Offbeat Brides have been submitting lots of gorgeous woodsy weddings, so we've compiled a few of our favorites in a forest theme week including this nostalgically-inspired camp wedding.
The offbeat bride: Taymar, Live Action Director (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Max, Manager of Remote Production
Date and location of wedding: Zaca Lake, near Santa Barbara, CA — June 2, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Max had only two preferences: that our ceremony would be spiritual but not religious, and that it would be outside. I wanted to spend more than just a few frantic hours with our guests, most of whom were coming from out-of-town, and I wanted to make it affordable for people to come, without putting us into eternal debt.
We were able to somewhat affordably rent the entire lake and cabins at Zaca Lake from Friday through Sunday. Nearly all of our guests stayed with us for the whole weekend.
My grandparents used to take my two sisters and me to a cabin on a lake in Illinois every summer. We would have huge spaghetti dinners, and all of our family would come and hang out on the lake. My sister Josie and I both went to a sort of hippy clown camp in California called Camp Winnarainbow. Those are some of my fondest childhood memories, so I wanted to sort of recreate that free feeling of childhood summer bliss with all of our closest friends and family.
Tell us about the ceremony: I wrote a poem about how each person in our lives is like a ribbon making up a tapestry, and my dad read it as my best friends and “ribbon ladies” brought colored cloth down to create the aisle. My son and nephews were my “elves,” my nieces and best friends daughters were “flower fairies,” and my sisters and best friends were my bridesmaids.
I was raised on the Navajo Nation where my mother still works as a midwife, so she brought a Tree of Life blanket to present to us, and spoke about its significance. My friend Rachel read from Thich Nhat Hahn and the Buddhist Five Agreements.
Max's parents gave him a wolf necklace which he gave to our Caspian as a symbol of their bond.
Then the ribbon ladies passed out pieces of string and everyone came up to tie a string around our wrist while giving us advice. Finally, our officiant Sarah told a story about how she had told me in college that being in love is like being in a boat — you can't be in it unless the other person is too.
After we exchanged rings and kissed, we left via rowboat. Our groomsmen pushed us off, and we rowed away with our son in a canoe alongside us. Everyone blew bubbles and waved goodbye.
Our biggest challenge: We wanted to be very inclusive, but we also were paying for the wedding ourselves so we couldn't invite everyone we wanted to. We met at work, and would have loved to invite every single one of our awesome co-workers. Instead we opted for a separate work party.
My favorite moment: Since most of our grandparents were not with us anymore, we incorporated elements to remember them. My mother made my grandparents famous spaghetti at the lake lodge for the welcome dinner on Friday.
For the ceremony I wore my grandmother's pearl necklace, and Max's maternal grandmother's ring, and paternal grandmother's earrings and necklace, so that every grandmother was represented. My father's mother made it to the wedding in a fabulous pink silk dress with a white feather headband. She looked fabulous! My sister hung my great-grandmother's wedding dress near the cake table. The morning after the ceremony we had a Bubbies bagel brunch to celebrate Max's maternal grandmother.
My funniest moment: After our first dance as a couple we did a family dance with Caspian to “Life's a Happy Song” from The Muppets. After the first verse, we invited all the kids to join in, and eventually we had everyone in a conga line dancing around the barn!
The second funniest moment was realizing that in order to go to the bathroom, I needed at least three of my friends to hold my dress up for me! I imagine this happens to a lot of brides, and I don't know how shy brides deal with this dilemma.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Since we had over 100 guests and only 19 cabins, we had to do a lot of jigsaw puzzle mental work to figure out who would go where. I was especially worried that sheets, towels, and pillows were not provided. How to get enough of them for everyone was a huge headache. We were hoping to rent, but there weren't any companies in the area willing to rent to us.
In the end it worked out perfectly. We asked people to bring their own linens if they could, and most people did. For those traveling long distances, we bought inexpensive sheets and pillows from IKEA, and placed them in a hamper in the lodge.
We grouped all of the families in cabins by the lake, our late-night partiers in the bunk house and above the barn, and our quiet, early morning risers on the far side of the lake. Matching people according to personality really worked out.
My advice for offbeat brides: If you can, hire a coordinator. If you can't, assign someone who understands events and isn't in your bridal party. I can't imagine how much might have gone wrong if we didn't have a coordinator managing all of the many vendors.
We banned electronic devices based on this post. I thought it was a good idea, so I requested that people not take pictures during the ceremony. I'm really glad that I did, as it was so much more meaningful to have everyone present, and my professional photographer got great pictures. Guests will post unflattering photos of you on Facebook if you let them, so I found it best to just say no cameras and cell phones out during the ceremony.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Summer camp invitation: Etsy seller Pixelpaper
- Bride's dress: Olivia Wtoo from Gigi's Bridal
- Program: Emily Kay of Cre8ivemedia.com
- Wooden signs: Etsy seller craftmarttexas
- Coordinator: Leanne Elliot of Soleil Events
- Photography: Isaac Hernandez
- Videographer: Riviera Productions
- Cupcakes and cake: Crushcakes
- Makeup: Tina from Santa Barbara Makeup
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!