Kimberly & John’s laid-back rustic seaside wedding

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 | Photography by Beacon Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Kimberly, business manager assistant/freelance writer/blogger

Her offbeat partner: John, HVAC sales counter associate

Date and location of wedding: Our backyard and Cottage Park Yacht Club, Winthrop, MA — September 22, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: John and I had decided on a simple and laid-back wedding shortly after getting engaged. We had a civil ceremony in our backyard with immediate family. Right after, we had a reception at the yacht club down the street with all of our family and friends. As far as we were concerned, we were throwing a party.

There was no seating plan, which, for 150 people, went rather smoothly. We also nixed the bouquet/garter tosses, the toasts, and even being announced when we entered the reception hall.

It was wonderful because we could enjoy ourselves without feeling stuffy, uncomfortable, and out of place. There was enough BBQ, booze, and great views to please anyone.




Being on a strict budget, we were very limited as to what we could afford. John and I crafted our own invitations, arbor, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, photo booth, guestbook, card box, and the décor for the ceremony and reception, to name a few things. Rather than having a typical cake, we chose instead to have a dessert table. Several family members and friends offered to make desserts and I personally baked 14 loaves of various dessert breads.


We live close to the water, so incorporating some nautical touches was a given. But we did not want to limit ourselves to anchors and seashells — they're just not our thing. We also included some details that screamed redneck, since we, admittedly, kind of are. At our reception, we asked the bartender to serve beer in red Solo cups.


On our wedding day, it was pouring rain all morning. Hesitant to move the ceremony indoors, we decided to roll the dice and hope the rain subsided. Well, it sure did. As we were finishing getting ready, just as the photographer arrived, the clouds disappeared and the sun came out. It stayed out for the rest of the day.


Tell us about the ceremony:
We wanted a very small ceremony with just immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) and our wedding party, consisting of a maid of honor, matron of honor, and two best men. We had less than twenty people at the ceremony. Since it was in our backyard, right on the water in Boston harbor, and we had no music playing. The sounds of nature were all we needed.


John and I are both very proud of our Irish heritage, so, for our first reading, we chose to follow the Irish tradition of invoking the elements:

May the gentle breeze bear witness to this ritual and carry its message to all lands.
May the sun, warm their hearts, and its ever-burning fire fuel their desire for each other.
May the sea provide for them from its bounty, and comfort their souls with her sounds.
May the earth lend its strength, and reveal its mysteries.


My favorite part of the ceremony was the hands reading, during which we faced one another and held hands. It is a pretty lengthy reading, but one of my favorite parts is:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief overwhelm you.


Once we were pronounced husband and wife and were married, we stayed in the backyard and had some champagne with our families. It was such a special moment for us, and we are so happy that we got to share it with those closest to us.



My favorite moment:
I chose to have both of my parents walk me up to the arbor where John was waiting. Not being a fan of tradition, this was an easy decision for me to make. They both raised me, taught me right from wrong, consoled me, encouraged me and loved me. It only made sense to have them both give me away. When the time came to take that walk, having them both there really calmed me and I experienced a “this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now in my life” kind of moment.






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Comments on Kimberly & John’s laid-back rustic seaside wedding

  1. ” I experienced a “this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now in my life” kind of moment.” – SO this!
    and the boots – and everything – and the boots!

  2. Wow what a great wedding!! It sure looks like everyone had a blast too. I just love. love. love your boots!! and your white dress is so pretty!! Congratulations to the couple!!

  3. Love this! Especially that N. Any help on how to procure one of my own? (that is not an N)

    • Thanks so much. We actually made the N ourselves. I drew it out by hand on sheet of about 1″ thick plywood and my husband used a saw to cut it out, then we sanded it down and spray-painted it. It was actually a lot easier than I thought. If you aren’t looking to DIY, I have seen several wooden guestbook letters on Etsy. Hope that helps!

  4. “As far as we were concerned, we were throwing a party …. We also nixed the bouquet/garter tosses, the toasts, and even being announced when we entered the reception hall.”
    This is exactly what My Guy and I are going to do for our day. By that time, we will have been together 10 years and we don’t need all of the WIC humdrum that comes with the traditional big wedding. Our mothers still don’t understand why we want our guests to show up in jeans and sneakers when I am going to be wearing a white dress. Which, just let me say, yours is wicked awesome! (from one Bostonian to another!)

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