The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, fine art photographer, self-portrait artist, and cat caretaker
Her offbeat partner: Geoff, writer
Date and location of wedding: The Inn At River Roads, Mulvane, KS — October 8, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We DIYed the heck out of the wedding for budget reasons, but I would have done it myself no matter how much money we had — I just like to make things. It was an intimate, outdoor ceremony, which was important to us. We wanted to be connected with nature while we said our vows, and I wanted to not be overwhelmed by facing a sea of strangers when I walked in to the ceremony. We each had only one attendant: mine was a good male friend of mine, and Geoff's was his dad. We included some nods to both of our favorite things, like our Casablanca-themed invites and Star Trek and The Last Unicorn cake toppers.
I made my bouquet with fake flowers, feathers, and a little bird. I tucked a lock of my dog's hair in it too, along with a unicorn charm a good friend had given me, since neither of them could be at the wedding itself.
Our rings came from Turtle Love Co. I specifically asked for Geoff to not get me a diamond, once he started hinting about proposing. I'd already been flirting with many of Turtle Love's rings, but once looking became more serious, I found a beautiful ring with a huge moonstone on it, which I adored.
My dress came from eBay, and I altered it myself. It actually got lost for several weeks at our local post office, which caused me an incredible amount of stress. Rose, the Super Postwoman, went to great lengths to find it! I swapped out a big, fake flower that originally adorned the front of my dress with an amber-colored brooch and a few bleached peacock feathers. Extra lace from the dress went to covering our card box, along with more bleached peacock feathers.
The cake topper was an ordeal to find, and a sculptor on Etsy ended up saving the day by creating the unicorn from The Last Unicorn. Geoff found a couple of Enterprises of the right size to flank the unicorn.
A few months before our wedding, the venue ownership changed hands, and I was worried for a little while that there would be problems, or that things would fall through cracks. The new owners, a husband and wife team, could not have been more wonderful, and after I quickly realized that everything would be just fine. In addition to the outdoor chapel, the reception barn, and the beautifully homey ambiance of the whole place, they also have adorable, charming cabins you can rent out. Geoff and I decided to stay in one after the wedding.
I was able to get ready in our room, and after the reception was over and we were exhausted, one of the owners thoughtfully drove me the short distance from the reception barn to our cabin so I wouldn't have to walk. They also brought us breakfast to our cabin the next morning which was indescribably wonderful.
Tell us about the ceremony: Geoff is atheist and I am agnostic, so it was important for us to have our beliefs reflected in the ceremony and have it feel authentic. I also wanted it to be outdoors, in nature, as that is what feels most sacred to me. After searching for someone to perform the ceremony, we asked Erick, a very dear friend of Geoff's since high school, to get ordained online and perform it. Asking Erick was the right way to go! He did a SPECTACULAR job, and it made the ceremony even more meaningful to us both.
We wrote our ceremony with a nod towards the need for marriage equality, and also included a subtle Battlestar Galactica reference with “So say we all.” I love the symbolism of handfasting, so we included that, with a cord I braided with ribbons in our colors (cream, green, and brown).
I walked in to the music piece “A Good Lighter” from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack. I also walked in alone because I felt strongly that I needed to be entering into my marriage on my own, of my own free will, and in my own strength. Luckily, my parents understood where I was coming from and weren't offended.
Our vows went like this:
I, Sarah, ask you, Geoff, to be my partner, my lover, my confidante, and my husband. I announce and declare that I give you my deepest friendship and love in all moments. I promise to share your dreams so that we dream together and create new realities and hopes. I declare to look for the brightness in life and the positiveness in you, and to share your challenges as if they were my own. And with this ring, I join my life to yours.
Our biggest challenge: I have myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, (aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which, as the name suggests, makes me very tired all the time, along with giving me intense muscle pain and frequent headaches. I was worried about how I would physically handle all the preparations for the wedding, then the wedding day itself. The family all swooped in to help me not over-exert myself and take any of the load they could off me. And I was so full of endorphins the day of, I sailed through it like a champ! I crashed after it, but it was SO worth it.
My favorite moment: Saying our vows is at the top of the list. I started crying almost immediately, as I was sure I would, and my Man of Honor sprang into action, whipping a tissue out of his pocket for me. It made everyone laugh, but I still barely got through the vows, mostly just whispering them by the end. And then of course, that made Geoff start to cry!
Geoff has a vintage car, a '55 Chevy Bel Air. It's completely original, and he and his dad got it when he was 14, so it holds a great deal of personal meaning to him. It was a really special touch to not only have Geoff drive us to and from the wedding in it, but be able to take some of our photos with it.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: To other budget brides: research, research, research! I honestly didn't believe we would find a place we liked that we could also afford, so I was shocked when I found The Inn At River Road. Budget doesn't have to mean sacrificing your dreams, but it may mean more work on your part to find those gems. Craigslist can be your best friend. I was really surprised by how many wonderful people we found that way!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Ceremony and reception location: The Inn at River Road
- Photographers: Husband and Wife Photography
- Videographer: It's a Boomerang
- DJ: DJ Connections
- Rings: Turtle Love Co.
- Hair fascinator: YJ Designs
- Custom The Last Unicorn cake topper: GrynixDesign
- Custom cuffs: Zen and Coffee
- Cake: World Of Wedding Cakes
- Hair: Planet Hair
- Shoes: Indigo by Clarks Women's Plush Sateen Mary Jane Pump
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
jewelry: Turtle Love Co.