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The Offbeat Bride: Michele, Freelance Graphic Designer for Anyone!

Her Offbeat Partner: Stuart, Historic Preservation Advocate for Non-Profit

Location & date of wedding: The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain, Dickerson, MD — August 29, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: While our wedding was traditional in most areas… it was all of the little offbeat details that made it uniquely ours. Those quirky touches were:

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Love their wedding logos on their cake and that cake topper!

A close friend did a reading which included quotes from our favorite children's books and movies. For example, he began with shouting “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

All of the printed items, including the save the date and invites were custom-designed by me. I created a graphic “logo” for our wedding which was a stylized version of a luckenbooth (a Scottish wedding brooch) that was used throughout. I also used a crayon drawing of a couple holding hands that I had done when I was child as inspiration. We actually took a photo of ourselves recreating the drawing and used that for our wedding cake topper and on our guestbook and program. We even decorated the guestbook table with drawings of us done by some children of our friends.

We DIY'd a lot of things! I knitted flower corsages, boutonnieres, flower girl necklaces, and flowers for my hair (good thing some friends/family provided some last minute help putting those together!). Stuart and I made holders for the sparklers and custom matchbooks. We put together simple, but pretty, centerpieces with wine bottles, votives, and flowers (from a wholesaler and arranged by sister and cousin). We also had favors that we made ourselves: a crossword puzzle, a cootie-catcher, and a CD of our wedding song “rejects.” Lunch boxes were used for card holders and decorations. My sister and cousin also made the bouquets.

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We incorporated Stuart's Scottish heritage with him wearing a kilt, having bagpiper play for the ceremony, and other Scottish traditions. We took our honeymoon prior to the wedding (shocking!) and we went to Scotland, where we brought back a Quaich that we used for toasting.

The venue was ideal because Stuart remembered going there when he was a kid and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (an important criteria for the preservationist!). We were able to take over the entire inn/restaurant which created a very cozy, homey feel. Since the wedding was taking place in his home state, Stuart's wedding gift to me was flying in one of my favorite Texas rockabilly bands, Lil' Bit and the Customatics, to play at the reception.

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Instead of traditional pre-selected flower girls, we encouraged all the young girls attending who were interested to help out as flower girls. We also had the young boys help handing out Scottish good luck horseshoes as we headed back up the aisle after the ceremony. We really wanted to encourage all kiddos to have fun at the wedding. We even had them put rubber duckies in the fountain before the ceremony.

There was a wide variety of food stations to appeal to us “foodies.” We had many vegetarian-friendly options and fun “comfort” food including a mashed potato bar and macaroni and cheese bar. And, in addition to the wedding cake, we had an ice-cream sundae bar (because everyone knows you can't have cake without ice cream!).

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We always stop to take photos at every photobooth we come across, so we had to have one for our reception! We even put out a bunch of props so people could have fun with it. And, since we are photography geeks, we had to take our typical “self-portrait” after we were declared married!

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was logistics and time! We only gave ourselves five months to pull together the wedding we wanted and we were planning the wedding remotely. The wedding took place in Maryland, we were living in New York, and all my family was in Texas. We took several trips to Maryland and crammed in as much wedding planning as possible. We had to do a lot of research (thanks internet!) beforehand so we could make the most of the time we had there.

And, of course, life also became a challenge… in the middle of wedding planning, Stuart was laid off and we made the decision to move cross-country for better job possibilities. So in the midst of stuffing envelopes for the wedding invitation, we were sending out resumes and looking for places to live!

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What were the most meaningful moments of your wedding? Since we went with a sort of a “child-at-heart” theme for our wedding, we chose “Rainbow Connection” for our first dance. It was the one surprise that we actually managed to keep from everyone! We watched some videos to learn how to waltz and it wasn't too much of a disaster! My favorite moment was dancing with the most wonderful guy in the world and hearing everyone around us singing along with Kermit.

While Stuart enjoyed that as well, he says that the sparkler send-off was something that really stood out for him.

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What was the funniest moment of your wedding or reception? Our entire wedding was about fun! From the cootie-catchers to the rockabilly band, our goal was to have a good time! I think our choice for the first dance song, Kermit's “Rainbow Connection” was a fun surprise. It was also pretty funny when people realized that the music we had playing as we were cutting the cake was the Muppet's “Mahna Mahna” song!

My advice for other offbeat brides: Prioritize the things that make your wedding yours! While perusing all the wedding magazines, books, and blogs, you will inevitably come up with a thousand ideas and you won't be able to use them all! Once you know what your important deal-breakers are — focus your time, energy, and money on those! For instance, I'm not much of a fashionista, so the dress wasn't a priority for me, but comfy shoes were, so I made sure I got my sequin blue Chucks.

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For those going the DIY route, consider alternate (and simple) sources for materials to save time (which usually saves money in the long run). We were racking our brain on how to collect and clean wine bottles for centerpieces when I came across a website selling bottles for home bottlers. Take advantage of the talent of your friends and family. While I could knit flowers, arranging live flowers was not in my skill set, so I enlisted the talent of others.

And, speaking of taking advantage, use the web to your advantage… we set up a shared bookmarking site (Delicious) so that we could share sites of good ideas/vendors we came across with each other. We also set up our own wedding website blog. It was free (WordPress) and a great way to communicate information with all the wedding guests.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Have fun…and marry the person you have the most fun with! 😉

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Comments on Michele & Stuart’s splendiferous, Scottish shindig

  1. wow. Just beautiful, and looks like a TON of fun! Especially the Muppets songs. I’m a sucker for Muppets. 🙂

  2. Awesome! I love the cake topper and the…pretty much everything else. We’re doing the sparklers as we exit too…so much more fun and better in photos than just throwing rice!

  3. Yay! Great post. Great mindset. It seems like the couple exercised both their wedding and marriage muscles here.

  4. Hey, this looks like fun! I’m just wondering, what quotes did you read from children’s books? We’re trying to narrow a few down for our ceremony. I also LOVE the crossword puzzle. Did you find a template somewhere or just build one yourself? Congratulations!

    • We used an “online crossword generator” for the puzzle, then jazzed it up in a design software (you could use powerpoint) to match our design theme.

      Our friend put together the “reading” from the quotes and read it as once piece (very animated and touching!). Here it is (the books/movies aren’t included so you may have to search for those you don’t already know):


      That is the first word that came to mind when I heard that Michele and
      Stuart were engaged. I really couldn’t think of anything else to say.
      You see, I believe this union is so special. There aren’t two people
      on this earth that share the same unique…if not a bit
      quirky…philosophy. And they’ve asked me to try to convey that to
      you, with quotes from their favorite children’s books and movies
      because, as the Little Prince said, “Grown-ups never understand
      anything by themselves.”

      The lonely monster should have been more careful, but he was willing
      to risk anything to find a friend.

      From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

      It was a dark and stormy night.

      Anything Can Happen If You Let It. Anything Can Happen If You Just
      Imagine. If You Chase Your Dreams You Won’t Regret It.

      So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.
      Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever,
      in Never Never Land!

      If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.

      If you never did You should. These things are fun, and Fun is good.

      That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness
      isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!

      Dandelion Break!

      I like it better here where I can just sit quietly and smell the flowers.

      But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether,
      since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under
      glass. Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she’s
      the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three
      for butterflies). Since she the one I listened to when she
      complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said
      nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.

      You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is
      finally better than your dreams.

      If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one
      day, so I never have to live without you.

      This time, at last, it is the real, the unmistakable thing, simple —
      passionate — perfect.

      And finally, don’t forget what happened to the boy who suddenly got
      everything he wanted. He lived happily ever after.

  5. Rainbow Connection is brills. I would never have thought of that, even though it’s one of my favorite songs EVAR.

      • THIS VIDEO IS SO AMAZING! i love the song choice and the giggles in the background make the video even cuter. you guys are an adorable couple!

      • I 2nd what Coco said, SO ADORABLE!!! I actually thought about putting Rainbow Connection in my 1st dance song round-up but then thought it was too slow. Now I’m kicking myself for not including it. Right on guys!

        • When we went for our first (and last) dance lesson, the instructor wasn’t quite sure what to do with the song. But we really wanted the song, so we forged ahead ourselves and improvised with our “version” of a waltz!

  6. Also, kick-ass job on everything, you guys. Really, your wedding looks like it would have been so fun to attend.

  7. So many wonderful details… what a great idea to have all the young girls and boys involved in the ceremony! And most importantly, the underlying value on love and lighthearted shine right through. Congratulations!

  8. I LOVE that you did a mashed potato bar! I’ve been saying for years I wanted to do this, and I always get a “huh?”. SO fun! 🙂

  9. So lovely! I grew up right near the Comus Inn, so I about jumped out of my seat when I saw it was the same one:)

  10. Ah, I was so glad to read that you had “Rainbow Connection” as your first dance! Do you mind if I ask a few questions?

    FH and I are planning on using the same song, and also keeping it a secret (I think we’d get a lot of weird looks, since it’s not a “traditional song”). Thing is, in my head I imagine people getting all “awww” and misty eyed when they hear the song, but fear that it’ll just get a lot of laughs, and “oh, they’re so silly” instead.
    How was it for you two? Because if everyone laughs while I’m sobbing in hubby’s arms to my favorite song, it’ll kind of suck, ha.


    Ok, enough hijacking. Beautiful pics. Congrats!

    • Hey there, Michele’s husband here. While there were definitely some laughs and giggles at the beginning of the song, by the end the majority of our guests were singing along. I would just tell you to go for it – I honestly think that anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 who has seen the Muppet Movie will be teary-eyed by the end of the dance.

      In case you haven’t seen the video you can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVAIgLOx0LQ

  11. Stuart and Michele – so great to hear from you both tonight and I hope all is working out for you in Texas!! It was great to meet you in Nairn on your pre honeymoon! I was so very pleased and honoured to be able to help!
    I left my heart there !!San Antonio, the River Walk, Durty Nellies and San Antonio!!
    My own wedding anniversary tomorrow – 38 years —
    Hope all is well with you both now in Texas and that life is good!! Lovely part of the world with great and very friendly people!!
    Keep in touch and if we can help friends or colleagues for trips here we will be delighted! Elspeth and I are invited to be witnesses at a wedding at Dornoch Castle(near where Madonna married!) at a very small and private wedding on 22nd April!
    Speak soon,

  12. Wow! I love these little details that make this day so unique and special! Way to have fun with it! I love that cake and those crazy toppers! Thanks for sharing- I’ll be using some of these ideas!

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