The offbeat bride: Sandy, student

Her offbeat partner: Ben, realtor

Date and location of wedding: Bride's parents' backyard, Meade County, Kentucky — June 4, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Much of the wedding was DIYed. My mom and I tie-dyed our table-runners, made our centerpieces, and my veil. Ben and his sister tie-dyed all the shirts. I made our fan-shaped programs. Ben and I put together the playlist, and my younger cousin was our DJ. Our wedding favors were seed packets that we printed out and put together. We also had an ice cream sundae bar instead of a cake.


Coffee mugs, hell yeah!

Instead of toasting with glasses during the reception, we toasted with coffee mugs. Ben and I both used to be baristas, and we are totally obsessed with coffee.

After the ceremony and dancing, we both changed into more comfy clothes and played volleyball down in the nearby field. After volleyball, we sat around a bonfire with our friends and they serenaded us with their guitars and bongo drums. During the bonfire, we got to sit back and watch our own personal fireworks display, courtesy of my brother.

We finally departed around midnight to head out-of-town for the honeymoon: first to the Smokey Mountains for a few days, and then to Bonnaroo!

IMG_7398-1Tell us about the ceremony: My older brother was my “man of honor.” Our officiant was Ben's younger brother Jon who got ordained online for the purpose of marrying us. Jon is the one who introduced us over five years ago. We also didn't have an aisle dividing our seating and families, but instead set up the seats in a semi-circle — amphitheater style –and walked in from the opposite sides.

Ben walked in to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, and my processional was to “Sea of Love” by Cat Power. Our recessional was to “Feel Like Making Love” by Bad Company.

Ben and I are both humanists, so instead of our officiant holding the Bible, he held a copy of our favorite book, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

The reading was put together from assorted tidbits we'd seen online from other ceremonies.

IMG_7267-1Our vows weren't written by us, but when I found them, I totally freaked because they were perfect. And when I showed them to Ben for the first time, he completely agreed. Here are the vows:

Ben, I will let you be the man you need to be,
I will chase your dreams tirelessly at your side,
I will trust in you without reservation,
And I will still your pain with my kisses.
I pledge these things because I love you,
So for now and forever,
I give you my solemn vows.

Sandy, I will listen to you with an open heart,
I will always support your creative flights of fancy,
I will never allow you to give up on yourself,
I will lend you comfort as often as you need,
I so vow because of my overwhelming love for you,
Thus I bind myself to you for eternity,
With these oaths of love.

IMG_5825-1Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was the venue. We wanted to get married at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown because it was beautiful and there was a gazebo there that would have been perfect. It was a meaningful location because we used to hang out there a lot in the beginning of our relationship. The park didn't take reservations until the 5th of January on the year of the event. We showed up when they opened that morning, ready to reserve June 4th, but the entire weekend was already booked for an annual festival hosted by the park, and the dates had changed from the year before.

We had already bookedour photographer, Kirstie Goodman, for June 4th, and we had already sent out our save-the-dates with the date and location on them. Our choices were to lose the venue or lose the photographer. We chose to keep our photographer, because I really had my heart set on her, and looking back, I think we made the right choice.

We tossed around several ideas after that, but finally settled on getting married in my parents' backyard. I panicked a little bit about the whole situation back in January, but if I could do it all over, I would do everything exactly the same.


My favorite moment: Standing on the front porch with my dad waiting to walk down the aisle. He told me how beautiful I was, how proud he was, and he gave me a hug and a kiss.

I also remember holding Ben's hands during the ceremony and staring into his eyes, and we both just had that “Holy shit, we're getting married!” look on our faces, and it felt so surreal. We were so excited and we just laughed at ourselves subtly during our ceremony.

One of my favorite parts was walking into the house right after the ceremony ended, and our wedding party followed us in, and we just all stood around in the kitchen just laughing and hugging, and everyone was just really happy.

Best Boy Band ever?

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Compromising with your partner on the things that are really important to them is key. Just because you may have dreamed about your wedding day your whole life doesn't mean it's not their wedding day, too.

Wedding Win.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photography: Kirstie Goodman Photography
  • Invitations:
  • Sunflowers: . This company was super nice and helpful. They told us what day we should pick for delivery based on what day our ceremony was. They called us to make sure we received the flowers on time (we did). And they called to tell us how best to care for them to make them perk up for the ceremony.

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

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Comments on Sandy & Ben’s volleyball and bonfire tie-dyed wedding

  1. I so would love to see the tie dye shirts and rainbow colors for weddings!! great pictures and Congrats to the couple!!…

  2. Love your photos! Personalized weddings have so much character. My fh and I wanted an ice cream bar as well but were afraid it would end up a melted mess! How did you keep it cold?

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