Isn't he handsome!

The Offbeat Bride: Carrie

Her offbeat partner: Simon

Date and location of wedding: DANK HAUS, Chicago, IL — May 19, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When Simon asked me to marry him, he presented me with his grandmother's wedding ring, so that kind of started me on the path to wanting something more vintage-inspired. We were pretty much on the same page from day one: small wedding, in or around Chicago, and a reasonable budget.

8132863724 93d49ef5af alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

So in love!

We ended up looking at only two venues: a farm and the DANK. We went with the DANK because we loved that all of our friends in the city could easily drive or take a cab, few people would have to get hotel rooms, and we live in Chicago so it would be convenient for us, too. Plus, they let us use all of our own vendors, which we really appreciated.


My dress came from a vintage shop in the neighborhood, Silver Moon Vintage. The dress came from long and happy marriage, which made me feel better about buying vintage. It sounds weird, but it really did make me feel better that the dress already had a good history.

here's how you know what your dinner is!

We kept everything pretty simple: no wedding party and no seating arrangements. Instead, we had three long tables and let it be a free-for-all. We ordered wooden fish, cows, and leaves so the caterers would know what to bring each guest for their entree.

Flowers and favorite vase

We also kept table decorations to a minimum: just mis-matched vintage vases (from thrift stores) and flowers in each.


The dads

Tell us about the ceremony: Our friend Meg officiated and wrote the ceremony. Neither of us are religious, so we were hoping for something lovely and heartfelt, and Meg delivered.


Some excerpts:

In Spain, there's a phrase that quintessentially describes one's true love: “mi media naranja,” which translates to “my orange half.” In the same way that there are no two snowflakes alike, when you cut an orange in two, those two halves will never match to any other orange half. The easy way to describe that would be soul mates, but that isn't as juicy and good for you as an orange. Carrie and Simon, finding your orange half in this world is no easy feat, and your friends and family are here today in recognition, love, and support of the true love you've found in each other.
As two creative individuals, you'll challenge each other. You'll challenge each other in a safe and loving environment to be a better person individually, and toward each other. Working on your marriage should be seen as taking vitamins as opposed to taking medicine; in other words, it's every day. Be candid, be kind, be true, be honest, and be emotionally fearless. Keeping true to these principles, the evolution of your relationship throughout your marriage will strengthen you as a couple. It's actually a really good thing to consider your marriage as a work in progress. While that doesn't sound like fun, it is, to face the greatest adventure with your best friend. Everyone here loves you, but you two are each other's partner in crime.

We're married!

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was probably accepting help. We had a long engagement (almost two years) and around the year and a half mark, my mom started coming up with ideas and “things to do.” At first, I was resistant because Simon and I were doing it all on our own, but I had to remind myself that she was trying to help and that it was a good thing. Being able to delegate and have extra help (from both my mom and sister) was great. They helped keep both Simon and I on track and had some great input.


My favorite moment: Our vows were definitely a favorite moment. I wrote mine down, but Simon went from the heart. Some of my favorite photos are from when he's talking — the look of happiness and even us laughing just sums it up all so well.

Our “I do's” were also memorable for us. We met a bar and got engaged there, so we figured why not write our “I do's” there. It was really fun writing them together, and we were in agreement on every idea we came up with, which is great when you're promising how to treat and respect each other in your relationship.


My funniest moment: When the unexpected mashed potatoes came out. We knew our caterers from a restaurant in our old work building. Every time I went there, I ordered the mashed potatoes because they were the best. During dinner, we were happily eating away, when suddenly there was this massive bowl of mashers beside me. Our caterers weren't sure if they'd be able to pull it off that day, but they did. It was such a random, funny surprise.

Oh we also had our DJ play “Somebody's Getting Married” by The Muppets just before the ceremony started. I heard people roaring with laughter.

A few words before dinner

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I wasn't expecting disaster, but I was expecting a little non-socializing between my mom and my dad's second wife and her husband. Turns out, they totally hit it off at the rehearsal dinner and then, the next night at the reception, my mom sat by them at the other end of the table! I can't tell you how incredibly happy that made me.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: Don't sweat the small stuff. For example, my town car didn't show up and I didn't have the phone number to the company on me. I just called a cab and made my way over to Simon that way instead. I was a little late and was a little panicky at first, but had to remind myself that I was getting there and that's what mattered.

We also ran out of wine before dinner was over (since we were missing a keg initially from our booze vendor). It turns out, the caterer was willing to run out and get more and just add it onto our bill.

Also, if you think a situation might cause others some anxiety or discomfort, tell them your plan early and give them time to get used to the idea. Let them know how important it is to you for that situation to happen and happen positively.

First dance

Terrace at night

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? That it can be fun and not too stressful to plan a wedding. If someone wants to help, let them, but it's also okay to tell them your expectations. There are ways to be tactful and kind about it, especially if your best interest is at heart.

Hanging in Humboldt

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Comments on Carrie & Simon’s vintage-inspired wedding

  1. “Also, if you think a situation might cause others some anxiety or discomfort, tell them your plan early and give them time to get used to the idea. Let them know how important it is to you for that situation to happen and happen positively.” This, 100%! And what a gorgeous dress, and a lovely wedding. Congratulations!

  2. Do you mind me asking- where did you order the animal cutouts from? We’re having a plated dinner as well and we’re trying to figure out the best way to do place cards. I saw the animals and thought they were adorable!

    • hi! I knew I hoarded emails for a reason… looks like we got them from: I’m glad you like the idea! It was honestly one of my favorite “different” little touches that we had 🙂 have a fantastic wedding day!

  3. If you don’t mind me asking, how much did the wedding end up costing? My fiance and I really want a simple, family oriented wedding as well!

    • Hi Mary!

      I think we came in around $10,000- give or take a bit. It sounds like a lot (because it is!), but given that we had a long engagement and were able to spread out down-payments on food and the venue, it was manageable. Food was for sure the biggest expense, but having a good meal was important to us. Since I’m pescetarian and we have quite a few friends who are vegetarian, having an option for all meant a lot to us.

      The cost above includes the venue, food & booze, photographer, my dress and accessories, his suit and accessories, flowers- basically everything but the honeymoon. We also had a total of 88 guests, I think.

      Good luck! it’s funny how spending $500-$1000 on a dress that you’re going to wear for a day seems cheap 🙂

    • howdy!

      I don’t think anyone was hurt that we didn’t have a wedding party, and if they were, they’ve kept it to themselves. For us, it was kind of all or nothing- either we have a wedding party and risk hurting peoples feelings that way because at some point you have to stop inviting people to be a part of it, or we just don’t have anyone. Not having a wedding party felt more natural to us, and I think our friends and family understood that.

      Another perspective- my best friend is getting married in September and recently let us know that she and her fiance also aren’t having a wedding party, but would like a few of us to contribute in another way. I’m 100% not hurt that she’s not having a wedding party- almost more relieved than anything. If you’re having trouble deciding or fear hurting peoples feelings, ask them to read a poem during the ceremony, or give a speech before dinner. That way they’re still participating, but (to me) in a more meaningful way.

      I totally stand by our decision to not have a wedding party. It was less stress for us, and I think for our friends, too. I’m not the best at planning events and event details, so I’m quite sure it would’ve caused me more anxiety and stress than I wanted. My sister and best friends stepped up and helped out when and where I needed; hopefully since they weren’t part of a wedding party, it wasn’t stressful for them either because they could float in and out of helping & didn’t have the obligation of “I’m part of the wedding party, so I have to do XYZ”.

      Good luck and do what’s best for you!

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