You guys might know Tribesmaid Morganculture from this pre-ceremony yoga post. Now you get to see her wedding(s)!

The Offbeat Bride: Morgan, artist, designer, Offbeat Home & Life sponsor (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Jon, cinematographer at Relentless Weddings

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had not one, but three wedding events:

  • an intimate destination wedding in Mexico (“Mexi-cation”) at Akumal Beach Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico
  • a “fancy picnic” at Malibu Wines in Los Angeles (based on something I used to love in high school, going out and doing regular things like bowling in super-fancy attire)
  • a barbecue at Jon's parents' backyard in Chicago.

We found that doing all of these events was infinitely cheaper than doing just one beachside LA wedding.

Other details included a group first dance, a non-white dress that I spray-painted myself, another dress that I handmade, pink cowboy boots, and a surprise wedding tattoo. I surprised Jon about a week before the wedding with a tattoo of our wedding logo I'd gotten while he was out of the country for a bit. We designed the logo together, and now it's my most visible and favorite tattoo.

Hannah Frances Photo

We also had a competition to see who could spend less on our outfits. I spent $50 on a used dress that I painted, $12 on shoes that I also painted, and $30 for a corset for the other dress I made. He spent $35 on shoes from Goodwill, $20 on pants, and bartered to borrow the rest of the outfit from a stylist friend.


Tell us about the ceremony: In Mexico, we chose to do a handfasting, and made our cords ourselves. We also asked our officiant to introduce each section of the ceremony in order for everyone to understand what was happening and the significance of each part.

We also developed what we called a “water ceremony”:

Morgan and Jon would now like to honor their parents. For this action, they have created a ceremony all their own. This Water Ceremony is based in the ideas of the Chinese Tea Ceremony, yet is unique to them.

www.toomuchawesomeness.comWater is one of the most significant human needs. A human body is 70% water, and requires water before any other need: food, shelter, clothing, encouragement, or love. Our parents, at the most basic level, provided the water from their own bodies to create us, water for us to live in before birth, and water to survive on when we could not provide it for ourselves. (At this point, we started to pour the water.)

Beyond water, our parents have provided us with all we needed to become functional and successful human beings. They often sacrificed their own needs to provide for all our basic physical needs, nourish our emotional needs, challenge us, and provide examples of wildly successful disagreements, partnerships, and families.

We now take a moment to offer a tribute back to our parents in the form of water. We know that a day will come when we will have the honor of providing for your needs as you have done for us, and we now serve you water that we pour together to show our appreciation of all you have done that prepared us for this day and this partnership we enter into. (We served the water to our own parents).

We also acknowledge you, our parents-in-law, for creating and nurturing our partners into the wonderful human beings we marry today. Together, we thank you for all the forms of water you have given us throughout our lives.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was learning how to work together on the same project. We have very different ways of completing things, so we learned valuable practices like setting deadlines, creating “assignments” for each other, and acknowledging each other's needs — practices that have become quite useful in daily life.

My favorite moment: After the ceremony in Mexico, we had a big ol' crying hug-fest with all 19 friends and family. After that overwhelming emotion, Jon and I slipped away for a few minutes to just soak it in before we got back to all the celebration.

My funniest moment: At the Mexico wedding, our functional favors for guests were floppy sun hats and fans. In the run-through of our ceremony with our “friend-ficciant,” he'd accidentally said, “In the interests of protecting this pristine landscape, Jon and Morgan ask you to throw your hands in the air in celebration,” when the line was actually “hats.” We all laughed about how funny that would be in the real wedding… and then it happened. Our guests seemed quite confused until I quickly called out, “HATS! Throw your hats in the air!”

Hannah Frances Photo

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great?
For the L.A. event, we ended up almost two hours later than we'd planned to arrive because a tanker had overturned on the highway. Oh, and it was 105 degrees. I was sure we wouldn't have time to prepare before people arrived (we had to do ALL the decorating), that people wouldn't know what I wanted done while I had my makeup done, and people wouldn't even make it because the event was only four hours long total. Luckily, I'd made detailed instructions so people just followed lists and drawings, all the guests (except the motorcyclists) were affected by the same traffic, and I decided to just skip getting my hair done and stick my hat on.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: If you are planning to get a pre-wedding tattoo, make sure you give yourself enough time to have any changes done and healed. I got mine just far enough from the wedding for it to heal before hitting the beach. In hindsight, I should have gotten it done earlier and had time for touch-ups.

Hannah Frances Photo

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
It was my second wedding and Jon's first. For me, the most important thing was to have nothing based on previous experience. I didn't want to include anything or avoid anything just because of the first time. It turned out that most of my concern for avoiding reactions to the past was unfounded. Our experience and our relationship are so different from the last time that our wedding naturally took on its own life as we planned it.

The only thing that was truly difficult was the invitation wording. I'd kept my ex's last name, and didn't want it on anything, including the invitations. We chose to just use “Jon and Morgan” on everything, which seemed to work out fine.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
MICROMANAGE. I know that sounds terrible, but seriously: I wrote out every word for the ceremony, and told our friend-fficiant to adapt certain parts to his own personality, but included research findings for him to color it. He did a stellar job. I made detailed drawings, checklists, and instructions for the picnic, and it all got done.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

jewelry: Brent & Jess
film: Relentless Weddings

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Morgan & Jon’s multi-location trifecta wedding

  1. What a gorgeous wedding! Totally digging the style and THE GREEN DRESS! I’m doing a multiple wedding as well, and am planning to get a tattoo 9 days before the wedding. Single line, no shading, seems a bit similar to yours! How much healing time did you require? I’m hoping everything will be all healed up yet still sharp and badass looking! Would love to know more about your experience…

    • The artists usually recommend about 2 weeks for fully healed (read: no more scabbing) work. It took about 10 days, similar to the amount of time you have! I would actually recommend doing it a few weeks earlier if you can get an appt with your artist, because I would have wanted to touch a few things up before the wedding, but obviously couldn’t!

      And thank you!!

  2. Oh, that guy getting dance-sandwiched by us… yeah, that would be Ken from Too Much Awesomeness photography…. definitely the most expensive but MOST WORTH IT part of our whole shebang! They are in the “lifelong friends” category now.

  3. How awesome that you were able to celebrate in so many ways. And I love dressing up to do random, normally casual things. 🙂

  4. Could you provide a quick tutorial on how you made the dress with the green paint? I am in love with it! In fact, are you selling it? Kind of kidding, but not really 🙂

    • Hey Jennifer! Thanks for the suggestion- I’ll put a post up on my blog shortly with a quick tutorial, but here are the basics:
      Simply Spray soft fabric paint in lime green and forest green + satin = awesome!
      Did a coat with the lime green, while it was still wet did the forest. Allowed to dry, waited the requisite 72 hrs, rinsed (yay green bathtub!).
      Repeated the coats, waited, rinsed again. Voila!
      Meanwhile, pulled off much of the original beading and added an entirely new green bead-thingie at the top and some green bead- explodey looking things coming off it down the dress (SOOO TIME CONSUMING).

      And… I’d be happy to sell it! I’ll list in the Tribe Classifieds now 😉

  5. Morgan, I love that I was just perusing Offbeat Bride and I saw your wedding on it. Your originality has always been inspiring, even since high school 🙂 And it’s awesome to see you doing so well! I think I might have to challenge my fiance with the “who can spend less” idea also…!

    • Aww thanks Leah! What a cool spot to connect! Congrats on your engagement and I can’t wait to hear the results of the thrifty spending challenge! Be sure to post progress in the Tribe!

  6. Thanks JBear!

    What we’d asked our friend-DJ to say was: “Morgan and Jon now request EVERYONE join them on the dance floor in a group first dance.” I think that would have worked well… except that what he actually said (many tequila shots in) was more along the lines of, “Morgan and Jon are going to do their first dance now. People can join them later.” Then I danced around asking everyone to join! We only had 19 guests, so making the rounds was pretty easy.

    Just make sure you are super-clear in your communication with the person you have DJing- maybe even write it all out- so that the exact wording encourages everyone to do what you want them to do.

    The way it turned out still made it much less awkward than everyone staring at us just dancing by ourselves though!

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