barn-acle-weekWhen we feature both weddings with barns, AND tentacle posts, it can only mean it's BARNACLE WEEK! Today we've got a little Star Trek, a little DIY, and a big, red barn.

Geoff likes to bite my nose

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.


The moody, beautiful clouds that held off raining until the very moment we all got inside the barn for the reception

More heavily-symbolic bouquet

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.

Hands, rings exchanged

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.

Walking myself in

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.

DIY'ed card box

The super-cool cake and toppers :)

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 lovely little path leads to the chapel

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.

The chapelTell 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).

Geoff's vowsI 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.

We did it!

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 Man of Honor springing into action and handing me a tissue as soon as I started crying

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!

Kissing, the '55 and clouds

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.

Shoes and hair fascinator

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!

He always has my back

Being twitterpated

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

jewelry: Turtle Love Co.

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Comments on A DIY nature-loving barn wedding

  1. This is such an adorable wedding! I love the vibe. Were you worried about rain? Did you have to rent all sorts of stuff to make being outside comfortable (chairs, tents, tables, flooring, etc. etc.)? I really want to get married in a similar setting as yours, but I’m afraid I’d be biting off more than I realized. Did anything pop up that made planning for an outside space more challenging than you expected?

    • Agreed, such an amazing wedding!

      K we’re doing a similar outdoor wedding. We managed to find a local 1930s country hall with amazing views over a horse stud out the back and a nice level grass area for our ceremony. The ceremony will be outdoors and the reception/dinner will be inside the Hall. The Hall is owned by the local council, and we’ve hired it for 3 days so we can set up and pack up ourselves, but without the stress of doing it on the day.

      We’ve had to hire in tables and chairs as well, as the ones supplied are cheap and nasty plastic school chairs. Fine for a community meeting but not in line with our rustic plans. If you do go down this route you’ll need to look at who supplies everything, be it the venue, you, your caterer etc. Even down to what cooking equipment the caterer needs, even little things like who supplies the bin bags or serviettes! For us, by the time we hired the venue for 3 days, hired tables, chairs etc as well as catering, it hasnt saved us any money. But we’ve had complete control over the styling, set up etc and we wouldnt have it any other way!

    • Thank you! YES, while rain in Wichita is uncommon for that time of year, it was threatening to pour all day! Luckily it held off just long enough for us to have our ceremony and photos. About 10 minutes into the reception the flood gates opened, lol. We could have had the ceremony inside the barn too, but we loved the gazebo, so it worked out perfectly 🙂 Other than the weather, there wasn’t anything super challenging. We had to rent chairs, but it was super easy. Weather was the biggest outdoor challenge!

  2. oh i love it. i have arm warmers from zen and coffee too, although i opted for over-the-elbow with a fingerloop. those cuffs are totes adorbz though! i love the whole vibe here…totally taking notes for my own DIY projects. great job! as a fibromyalgia sufferer, i hope my family and friends can help me out in the same way your clan did. beautiful wedding.

    • All her designs are gorgeous, aren’t they? It was very hard to choose what I wanted! I’m sure yours will be amazing too!

      Good luck with the fibro! I hope your friends and family support you. In my case, I found it most helpful to just say “Hey, I have ME, there is a limit to what I can physically do. This is nothing personal, it’s just the way my body is.” Most people will respect that kind of comment. I hope it goes well for you!

    • Thank you! All her designs are gorgeous, and she’ll happily custom design you your own pair, which is what she did for me. Very easy to work with!

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