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The Offbeat Bride: Bethany, Camp Director (and Offbeat Bride member)

Her offbeat partner: Brendan, Camp Director

Date and location of wedding: Squashblossom Farm near Rochester, MN — September 20, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our first and easiest decision was the place: we held the wedding at Squashblossom Farm, where we worked together for the happiest season of our lives. This place is not only beautiful, it also feels like home AND upholds our dearest values. The ceremony (which we wrote ourselves with help from Offbeat Bride!) was held in front of the barn, with the cows nearby and the farm poultry weaving in and out. Brendan brewed most of the drinks, and for dinner we had wood-fired pizza straight out of the clay oven and salads, breads, crackers, and spreads. Much of the food was grown right on the farm.

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Since both of our names start with “B,” our favorite mutual endearment is “honeybee.” We took full advantage of the honey bee theme, with honeysticks as favors, bees all over the invitations, signage, etc., and, best of all, a beehive piñata at the end of the evening, full of honey candies!

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The whole thing was truly a community effort, from a cousin's original artwork on the invitations to an uncle doing video. Our family and friends came together to make it all happen, which means it wasn't all professional, but it was all REAL.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was written around the theme of growing things — the nourishment we've received in the soil of our families, the seed of marriage we were planting that day; the water and care we would need to give to our love, and the “good fruit” of love and peace that we hope to produce. The hardest part was writing a ceremony that honors my Christian faith without freaking out Brendan's secular family.

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Here are our vows:

Brendan/Bethany, I choose you to be my husband/wife
and my partner in all of life's adventures.
I promise
To love you with all my heart;
To share with you all my soul;
and to grow with you through all our days;
journeying together for love beyond ourselves
As long as we both shall live.

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Our biggest challenge:
We decided early on not to be perfectionists about the wedding. Our motto was “we're not perfect people, we won't have a perfect marriage, so it would be really bad precedent to try to have a perfect wedding!” What amazed me was that even with a laid-back attitude, it was still SO MUCH WORK — you never think about the little details like “who's going to pick up the ice, and when?” By the last weeks, I was wishing we had eloped. Now that it's over, though, I can see that it was worth it all to share our vows with everyone we loved.

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My favorite moment:
I started crying when I put on the dress, and kept it right up through the end of the ceremony. Truly, I was a mess of tears and snot and happiness. During the ceremony, we worked in a time to step into the gathered community for them speak their blessings to us. We were both crying and laughing, surrounded by the people we loved most in the world; it was really a good way to start off our marriage.

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The dress I wore was really special. It was first worn by my grandma 61 years ago, then by my mom and aunt, so I'm the fourth person and third generation in the same dress. All of those couples are still married all these years later, with beautiful life-giving marriages, and I'm so grateful for their example. I think the dress has some dang good luck.

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Comments on Bethany & Brendan’s honeybee wedding on the farm with cows, chickens, and tears

  1. Just gorgeous, congratulations! I love love love your dress’s story too, what an heirloom!

  2. I always love to see brides who wear family dresses! I also wore my grandma’s dress (also worn by my mother and my aunt). It was so special – I knew I wanted to wear it from the time I was a flower girl in my aunt’s wedding, so it was such fun to get to actually do it when I got married.

  3. I must admit that I’m always a little envious of brides who get to wear a dress that is passed down to them! Though it just inspires me to preserve my gown and pass it on to the next generation for their wedding. 🙂

    I love how laid back this wedding looks and how everyone is just so REAL and AUTHENTIC!

    • Thank you! Really, the most special thing about the day was how authentic it all felt–real people, really loving each other, and the other stuff truly (really, actually, honest-to-God) didn’t matter.

  4. What a lovely wedding post 🙂 I adored your sweet vows and dress story. Congratulations!

  5. That dress is gorgeous!

    (By the time I was a teenager, I was already too busty for my mom’s wedding dress. It’s a really pretty dress! But I’ll never fit in it.)

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