The Offbeat Bride: Julianne, Graduate Student in Secondary English Teaching (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Jacob, Graduate Student in Computer Science
Date and location of wedding: Ceremony: The Linden Grove at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, MA; Dinner at Julian's on the West End of Providence, RI — 10/18/2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We're mad poor humanities academics, so the general gist was to not spend any money. We'd put the wedding off for so long waiting for some money to do it, and that just wasn't going to happen.
A good friend of ours helped Jacob with his formal wear, paid for a lot of the dinner, and put up/paid the travel expenses of another friend. We listed an ad on Craigslist seeking a student or amateur who would photograph the wedding. We went with the phenomenal James Mazza. We are crazy super over the moon about how wonderful he was, and how amazing his photographs are, and could never repay him for his art and professionalism.
I bought my vintage gown on eBay for $80, including shipping, and the alterations cost about $80. I bought $30 worth of flowers from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and made my bouquet, headpiece, and Jacob's boutonniere from them. I bought a length of tulle from Jo Ann's for $1.50 and used that as a veil, unaltered. I bought a length of velvet ribbon for under a dollar, and a vintage brooch from the thrift store for $1.00, which became my sash.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We didn't have money for a reception, or really anything at all, so our wedding was all ceremony. Still, we didn't want something too long, as we knew our guests would be standing outside. It lasted about 20 minutes. I was a literature major, and Jacob is a career-changing philosophy master's, so both of those things featured heavily in our readings.
I am bisexual, and living where I live, I am profoundly grateful to have the CHOICE to marry whomever I want, so our first reading was from the Goodridge decision, making Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Our dear friend from Jacob's philosophy program (who helped us fund most of the wedding) read from Plato's Symposium.
I read a Pablo Neruda poem, my closest friend read a passage, and we read our own vows. We had a ring warming, where we passed our rings around to have guests imbue them with their love and energy. We had a three times community vow, where everyone agreed to uphold us as a couple, and we vowed to one another three times.
We both have children from former relationships, so we included them by having Jacob's daughter bind our hands, my son was responsible for the rings, and each child put the opposite parent's ring on.
Tell us about your reception:
My favorite spot in Providence is Julian's. Their menu changes periodically, the decor and music and waitstaff are rad. On our first date, Jacob coming from Boston and not being familiar with Providence, I brought him there. It's a meaningful spot, and although we first looked for places in Jamaica Plain, when Julian's said they would accommodate our party of about 20, that sealed it.
It was a little tight, but my Nana, who couldn't make it to the ceremony, squeezed in right next to me, and we were so cozy together. Afterwards, we had a couples shoot with our photographer where we tramped around to the beautiful, gigantic, oft derelict Victorians that characterize the West End neighborhood of Providence, and took some quirky, anachronistic pictures.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Any other advice for Offbeat Bride readers?
We never truly overcame the budget. Although we worked with the little we had, nothing except the photography was close to ideal. My advice to those out there who are poor and don't have anyone paying a substantial portion of your plans: boil down what are absolutely the most essential aspects of your wedding, and don't budge. I had to have: an outdoor ceremony in the fall, a beautiful dress, a beautiful headpiece, flowers, photography, family, friends, and an officiant. That was all possible with a little tweaking and a little help.
- Photographer: James Mazza
- Venue: Arnold Arboretum (free to everyone for a ceremony! No fees! BREATHTAKING!)
- Restaurant: Julian's Providence
Comments on Tiny, hip, simple, and ultra budget-friendly autumn wedding
I’m in love with that dress.
That is the most amazing dress (and head piece) I have ever seen. Spectacular.
Thank you! It was really fun and pretty easy to make, too!
Details? Tutorial even?!
This was mine: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161639874/flower-crown-harvest-flower-feather?ref=favs_view_1
Use this tutorial!
That was all I needed!
I actually teared up reading this. What a beautiful wedding. I wish you all happiness for your lives together!
Thank you! ;_; Your words are so kind and sweet!
I also want to add that we both wrote and read our own vows. Not sure how I missed that, but that was a really big, important part of the ceremony! We also jumped the broom at the end as a family.
If anyone is interested in a transcript of the ceremony for inspiration, I’d be happy to oblige. I may also submit a steal these vows/ceremony article, because I myself took bits and pieces from couples here and elsewhere, and the ceremony wouldn’t have happened without those resources!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress! Especially how the skirt moves. And you are so covered up with it, yet so pretty! The buttons are my favorite part! I could see myself in a model like this. Too bad, mine is already in the making.
Thank you! If I’d had more money, I’d probably have gone with something a lot different! I did love the beaded Peter Pan collar, though! The most unfortunate thing about being so covered up (which wasn’t for modesty, just the style of the dress) was that my beautiful tattoos were also covered. When we have a big wedding/vow renewal in the future, I’m going to be sure to have them on display ;] I will never, never wear a strapless dress, though. Just ain’t my thang.
Can I ask where you got those awesome boots? They look pretty comfy. I’ve never had much luck finding comfortable boots, and am up in the air if I want to hunt some down for my wedding or not.
I WISH they had been $12 when I ordered them! I just swapped out the laces for ribbon, and although you can’t see it in the photos, I embellished the toes with gold Sharpie. They were about $25 when I bought them, and they have held up all through the RI winter, surprisingly.
Love this wedding. So simple yet beautiful and meaningful
Can you elaborate on the “three times community vow”? I’m really curious as to what that entails, I love the concept!
What a wonderful post! Thank you for including costs, it’s nice to see so much thought, effort, and beauty in a simple and (relatively) inexpensive wedding.
Wow, I can’t believe you got such great photos from a student you found on craigslist! I’ve seen that go badly the other way…
And I’ll echo everyone else that your dress and headpiece are just gorgeous!
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