Maria & Rory’s homemade community country wedding with secret nuptials

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I Do Kisses

The Offbeat Bride: Maria, Marketing Coordinator

Her offbeat partner: Rory, Medical Student

Date and location of wedding: Small family farm, Waukon, Iowa — July 28, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Rory and I try not to waste things or put a lot of emphasis on things we buy. Instead, we prefer to surround ourselves with local items or things we've made. From the beginning, it was obvious that if we were going to have a wedding that felt like us, we couldn't go the traditional route. That's when Offbeat Bride came in. The book and blog gave us confidence to do things our own way.

Growing Growing Garden

Chicken Buffet

Planting Under the Pine

Doing things our own way included growing a garden and raising chickens instead of buying food, and having a small ceremony followed by a large party (instead of inviting everyone to every part).

Ice Blocks

Surprise Vows

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our officiant backed out just a few weeks before the wedding, so we decided to secretly get married early. That way, whoever officiated our wedding (our friend and neighbor) didn't need to be certified. We didn't tell most people because we didn't want to take away any of the significance of the day. In fact, it wasn't until my family watched this video, did they know that we got married a month earlier:

(WARNING: chicken butchering is featured in this video):


Table Decor

Wooden Guest Book

Our biggest challenge:
I can't stress the importance of saying “no.” Learn to say no to friends, family, and especially to the comment, “Well, that's what's always done.” We made a point of only including elements in our wedding because we wanted them, not because it was traditional.

Make it known that your wedding is a reflection of you. It may be hard for people to accept if you're planning something different, but remind them of areas in your life that they are proud of. If you make smart decisions in other parts of your life, they should hopefully be confident that your wedding will be the same.

Joe and Vicki Price

Father Daughter Dance

My favorite moment:
We looked around and saw that everything had meaning to us. Either we or someone we loved had a part in creating every detail. Growing a garden, plucking chickens, making decorations, or just supporting us. Everyone made an investment.

Basil Punch

My funniest moment:
Instead of having a bar, we made punch and bought a keg of beer. The punch ran out shortly after the reception and the keg emptied not long afterwards. We knew that the store would close in 10 minutes, so Rory (who wasn't drinking) and I decided to make a quick trip. Our car was blocked in, so we decided to temporarily steal any vehicle that had keys in it. The trip gave us a few minutes of solitude to reflect on the evening, and really surprised the store owner. “Grand theft auto” on our wedding night!

We put so much work into the wedding, so we were determined to soak up every minute. We were the last ones up at 3 a.m. so we started to pick up. Afterwards, we walked to the hotel where we had reservations. When we got there, the hotel door was locked and no one answered the phone! We walked back home, but all the beds were full, so we had to share a bed with my best friend. He snored like a bear, but we were too happy and tired to care.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Sometimes when you're young, you want to break out of your small town. But as you get older, you see that your tight-knit community is a gift that not many people are given. When I look at pictures from that day, I see all the things that I tried to run away from, but found myself running back into.

For example, my mom used to work at a senior center, and they let us borrow chairs for the ceremony. And the week before the wedding, a storm rolled through, knocking down a bunch a trees and branches. My friend's dad came up with his chainsaw and trailer to help pick them up. These are just a few of the details that warm my heart.

Jodi and Roger

Thank You

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: BHLDN
  • Cook: Christina Sjogren
  • Music: Joe Price Blues
  • Photography: Jeremiah Johnson, friend/artist and Rory Deol, groom/camera geek

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Comments on Maria & Rory’s homemade community country wedding with secret nuptials

  1. I love the backdrop for the ceremony with the fabric. Super pretty and space defining but still allowing a natural view/llight.

    Were the ice flower columns used for a buffet/bar? They’re really pretty and would be a neat thing to incorporate into any outdoor event.

    • Hey everyone, this is the bride! Thank you for your kind words.
      To answer the water bottle question – Months before the wedding my mother started collecting plastic bottles. She filled them with water and flowers and put them in the freezer. The morning of the wedding we cut off the plastic to reveal the blocks of ice. They were both pretty and took the place of having to buy bags of ice for an outdoor summer wedding.
      I’m happy to answer any other questions 🙂

  2. yes i third the ice flowers….very pretty but how did they get used? i really really love your wedding. its very similar to how i envision my partner and i’s future ceromony planning ahead with the garden and using things we already utilize or grow at home. i really appreicated that and i loved your bhldn dress.

    last thing: i love the thank you picture: very iowa!

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