The Offbeat Bride: Rachael, government employee
Her offbeat partner: Chris, barista
Date and location of wedding: Afton Villa Gardens, St. Francisville, LA — April 14, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Being a girl raised in the South, in a very traditional family, I had a lot of preconceived ideas about how things should go. But Chris and I decided to throw all those out the window and design a day that represented who we are as a couple. For the most part, my family believes that weddings are held in a church, but ours was held under a huge old tree draped with oodles of Spanish moss and the sun streaming through. We also embraced an Alice in Wonderland tea party theme!
We made tags that said “eat me,” “drink me,” and “take me” that were scattered along the tables, tied to tea cups, and situated on the candy bar. Much of our family does not drink, and since we also knew there would be children present, we opted for an Italian soda station where guests could partake of sodas flavored with peach, pomegranate, watermelon, cupcake, toasted marshmallow, and blueberry.
Since we were in an old garden, I knew there would be plenty of green, so I chose hydrangeas and daisies to add a pop of color. My bridesmaids chose whatever dress they wanted as long as they were tea length and strapless. But somehow they still chose the same dress in different shades! To fit the theme, we designated each of them a card suit to match their role in the wedding. My maid of honor was the Queen of Hearts, my matron of honor was my Queen of Diamonds, my childhood best friend was the Queen of Clubs, and my high school best friend was Queen of Spades. We asked the guys to wear white shirts with blue ties, and Chris wore the reverse.
My dress was a special order from Wedding Dress Fantasy. It was a mixture of shades of blue with white accents and some black and white lace scattered across the bodice. I had seen the dress on their website in floor-length, but I knew I didn't want to drag around a full-length dress in a Louisiana garden, so I asked that it be made tea-length to mimic the bridesmaid dresses. It turned out exactly as I wanted, and I didn't even have to get it altered upon receiving it!
Tell us about the ceremony: Since Chris's father agreed to be the minister, I asked if he could walk my mom down as well as his wife, Chris's mom. He seemed to really enjoy having two lovely ladies on his arm. We decided not to do the traditional wedding march and instead opted for the Boondock Saint's theme song, “The Blood of Cuchulainn,” which is a pretty epic piece. It was also the perfect length to allow all four of my girls to walk down and for me to follow, ending with me being escorted by my father and stepping into place at the altar as the music ended. By the time I made it to the altar, Chris, his dad, my mom, and probably my dad (I didn't look or I'd have been done for!) were all crying.
We had written and pieced together the non-denominational ceremony for Chris' dad. Chris and I each wrote our own vows and seemed to make it through without any more tears or emotional spillage, and within a few minutes we were wed. After such an emotionally-charged ceremony, I am glad we chose the song “Life's a Happy Song” from The Muppets to round out the afternoon.
Our biggest challenge: The Saturday before the wedding, I went to my parents to get my birth certificate and it was not where it was supposed to be. My mom and I turned her house over, looking everywhere for it but it was M.I.A. I was born in Louisiana, so I assumed I could drive down on a Sunday, wake up early and hit up the vital records office when they first opened on Monday. But the office was closed on Monday due to the fact it was the day after Easter. I called the parish vital records office in Baton Rouge and found that they provided birth certificates, and were open that day! Thankfully, we were able to pick up the marriage license with two hours to spare on the 72-hour window prior to the wedding service being performed.
My funniest moment: At first people were completely unsure about how to make an Italian soda. It was like watching people experiment in a science lab. First too much syrup, then not enough syrup, then a flavor that was supposed to go with the coffee (such as English Toffee) that didn't make for a very tasty Italian soda. Eventually, my dad figured out the proper ratio and taught two of my very best guy friends how to be the bar keepers. By the end of the afternoon, they were making drinks for everyone. A little advice: put up an instruction sign if you decide to do something similar!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Chris and I learned that it is incredibly important to give yourself more than enough time to gather and build all the things you want for the wedding. Plus, you'll have more time to pay things off a little at a time instead of all at once. It really helped our pocketbooks and our state of mind to be able to have the time to plan everything out.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Wedding Dress Fantasy
- Top Hat: Steampunk Emporium
- Bridesmaid dresses: House of Brides
- Photographer: Make Moments Photography
- Flowers: Fifty Flowers
- Rentals: Ginger's Party Rentals
- Bridal shoes: Seychelles
- Groom's ring: Hand made by Maggidesigns
- Penguin cake topper: Kikuike
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
dresses: Wedding Dress Fantasy