The Offbeat Bride: Shannon, registered nurse

Her offbeat partner: Billy, warehouse manager

Date and location of wedding: Our backyard, Waldorf, Maryland — September 21, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted something casual, small, and intimate, with just our closest friends and family. We bought our first house in February and happen to have a decent yard with room for a tent, ample street parking, and cool neighbors, so it made sense to just have our wedding at our home.



We got our rings from Brilliant Earth, which is a great company that uses recycled metals and ethical diamonds. We also had a naked cake since I'm not a big fan of icing and didn't want anything too fancy. Each teir was a different flavor: caramel apple, banana, and carrot.


We did a lot of DIYing. I crocheted my bouquet, Billy's boutonniere, and the flowers on the cake. The arch we stood in front of was something my mom and I built in the garage a few days before. My mom refinished the cake table for a wedding present (and made lawn Jenga too!). Billy did a ton of yard work, planting, watering, and mulching to make sure the yard was picture-worthy. Everyone got two favors: a homemade sugar scrub and a mason jar mug that was your glass for the night.




I didn't want to have to worry about food, so we hired a caterer that happens to be a friend of a friend for some laid-back, tasty BBQ eats and plenty of vegetarian-friendly options and lots of grilled stuff.



Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a secular ceremony, and included a special customized marriage certificate we both signed to keep.



The ring warming was another touch I thought was important. This is what our officiant said to start:

Around the world, wedding rings are the strongest and most visible sign of the bond these two people are about to make — a commitment to life, to each other, and to the future. These rings are the visible signs of their commitment to one another.
As this ceremony proceeds, we ask that everyone gathered here today take part in the warming of the rings. We ask that you, their family and friends, to wish them health and happiness, and all that is noble and good in life. Tonya will now start the passing of the rings, and I ask that each of you hold them for a moment, warm them with your love, then pass them on to the next person. I ask that all present voice a silent wish or prayer for this couple, for their marriage and their future together. When these rings come back they will contain, in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is priceless: your love and hope and pledge of support for this union.


Our biggest challenge:
It rained so much! The day before, the forecast didn't look good, so we asked that if any of the guests had a pop-up tent and if they'd bring it. We rented a 20×20′ tent but that wouldn't be enough for everyone, and it wasn't mobile to get close to where the arch was. Our wonderful friends and family brought five! There was plenty of room to fit everyone in chairs for the ceremony.


My funniest moment:
A few minutes into the ceremony, I realized I was getting very wet and chilly so I dashed to the side of the house to retrieve my umbrella. Someone yelled out “She's making a run for it!” I came back, of course, with the umbrella in hand.





Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

jewelry: Brilliant Earth

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Comments on Shannon & Billy’s casual red and blue backyard wedding

  1. looks fantastic! we are also having a naked cake, but wondering how on earth do you cut a tiered naked cake?? does it have to have support stands?

    • While it won’t be quite as heavy without fondant/icing coverage, it can still collapse without supports. I’d recommend supports even for a naked angel food tiered cake. Better safe than sorry with how many will likely be oogling (and slightly bumping into) the cake table, as well.

  2. my deceased Italian grandmother (may she RIP) would be smiling at rain on your wedding day. It’s amazing good luck!

    The Italian saying, which translates AMAZINGLY, is “wet bride, happy bride”. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. 😉

  3. i just love this. the dress, the cake, the happiness, the laid-back vibe. mazel tov, you two 🙂

  4. Hi from a Southern Maryland Peep! Nice to see our area represented!
    I also loved the look of the cake and rest of the food looked delish!

  5. Thanks everyone! Especially Offbeat Bride! I’m amazed we made it on here- this was such an inspirational site to confirm what I wanted was perfectly fine & that we didn’t need to do all the “traditional” stuff our friends and family insisted on!

  6. What a great wedding, I love that you didn’t freak out about it raining and instead were flexible and made things work. And I absolutely LOVE that picture of you holding the mason jar in the middle of everyone. You look so sincerely happy, it warms my heart!

    • Thanks! That was actually just after we signed the license (made it legal!) in our garage (where everyone ended up hanging out, avoiding the rain)

  7. what beautiful humans! I especially LOOOVVVEEEEE the top of the brides dress 🙂

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