We got a little peek at the ceremony of this wedding in a Monday Montage and fell in love! Here's the rest of the story.


The offbeat bride: Jessica, Costumer for the film industry (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Max, Story board artist

Date and location of wedding: The Casements, the late John D. Rockefeller's winter home, Ormond Beach, FL — April 28, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Max and I had a $5,000 budget, and chose to have a handfasting, beautiful paper decorations courtesy of Max's mother, a hula hoop performance by my sister, and a homemade buffet line for dinner. I made my wedding dress (with some help!), altered Max's suit, and created a hooping costume for my sister. In the end we got just what we wanted: a fun wedding with lots of love!

The brides sister performing

the reception room,lovingly decorated


Tell us about the ceremony: We have a lot of Christian family members, but don't relate to any specific religion ourselves. With this in mind, we thought a handfasting ceremony would be the most romantic, honest choice. We also wanted a short, sincere ceremony, so the whole thing only lasted 10 minutes. Max and I walked down the aisle together, and skipped on having bride and groom parties. We also chose non-assigned seating so that our family and friends could mingle.

Handfasting ribbons hand woven by the bride's best friend

Here was our handfasting reading:

Blessed are these hands that will passionately love and cherish each of you through the years, blessed are the hands that will wipe tears of joy and sorrow from each others eyes, blessed are these hands that will remain strong when building, yet gentle and soothing, these are the hands that are holding your best friend, these are the hands that will speak when there are no words to say.

Our biggest challenge: We planned the whole wedding from our home in Los Angeles, CA, and that turned out to be tricky. There were lots of phone calls instead of meeting in person, online research, and lots of help from the Offbeat Bride Tribe with vendor recommendations! We had some last-minute emergencies, like finding servers for the buffet the night before (the local college culinary program saved us!), but thankfully it all worked out in the end.


My favorite moment: Max and I walked down the aisle together from upstairs, and were surprised to find that our officiant, Rev. Debs, had brought a guitar player with her. At the last moment, he had written us a love song that walked us down the aisle.

fdfdfd 082212 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Two cakes: one real, one paper


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? All of the DIY projects! Lots of people generously volunteered their time, but with my crazy work schedule right up to the wedding week, so much could have gone wrong. Max's mom made all of the paper decorations, my best girlfriend made our handfasting ribbons, Max's best friend made the cake topper, grandmothers were in the kitchen day and night, and my wedding dress was finished the night before I jumped on a plane.

The surprise ring holder, and the bride's last moment flowers

The rings

I even made a last-minute ring holder from a copy of my favorite book, “The Princess Bride,” just hours before the wedding.

Something new, something blue. hand made by the ladies I work with

A Beatles moment

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Two things made a huge difference for Max and I: having a moment to ourselves right after the ceremony, and the sweetheart table during the reception. Escaping to have a moment for “Oh my gosh we just got married!” was great. Sharing the happy tears in private was nice too.


Our table for two was like a little privacy barrier too. No one came over to us until the toasting started, giving us time to eat and drink something. We walked around the floor and mingled from there. Little moments of privacy at a very public event are good!

The first dance


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Comments on Jessica & Max’s small handmade secular handfasting

    • I love her choice of glasses for her wedding. Nice vintage look 50’s style glasses made nice soft touch to her beautiful face. More prove that can wear her glasses and be every bit as beautiful.

  1. This looks like a really lovely and fun wedding. The dress is gorgeous!!!! As well as the decorations!

  2. This wedding is so lovely! I love how the sweetheart table offers privacy, it’s such a clever way to make sure you get a chance to eat, drink and breathe without being bombarded by well-meaning friends and family. Gorgeous decorations too!

  3. I love everything about this wedding. Sadly my heart sank when I read that dress wasn’t bought. 🙁 I’m in awe of your talent, and you made that ring holder!? Girl, you’re brilliant.

  4. The paper decorations were sophisticated, classic and artistic all at once. They create a beautiful atmosphere without stealing the show.

    Your dress and ring are both exquisite. I like your take on the privacy aspect as well – I would like to keep a little something for my groom and I, and not get caught up in it all and forget half of what happened on the day.

    Best wishes to you both.

  5. The only thing missing here is an up close look at that awesome dress!

  6. Omg!! Your dress is amazing and you and your Husband look absolutely adorable!! I think your wedding was perfect, definitely the type of vibe i am going for! thank you for the inspiration! xoxo 😉

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