What's that over there

The Offbeat Bride: Megan, Advertising Coordinator (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Joe, Chef

Date and location of wedding: The Lodge at Schooley's Mountain Park, Long Valley, NJ — September 15, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted a relaxed atmosphere with good food and good times, where we could see and talk to everyone. Joe doesn't dance, and I didn't want to be on display in front of everyone, so we cut the dances and the speeches.

Signs of love


On the porch

I chose a daytime reception for a few reasons: so children could come, so that we could leave and still have some daylight to drive with, and so we could see the beautiful views at the location. A nice view was important to me. I don't take many photos in regular life, but having some lovely wedding photos was something I wanted.


Joe's priority was good food. Being a chef, he would have liked to be able to feed everyone himself, but that just wasn't practical. We found a restaurant local to the location and were both won over by their wood-fired grilling. The salmon and the mashed potatoes were the standouts. Ooh, those mashed potatoes…


We chose an assortment of cakes and got them from a big box store. The cakes are always consistent and taste good, so we skipped anything too fancy. There was cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, vanilla, chocolate, lemon, carrot, and cookies.


Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was in front of the beautiful, giant-size fireplace, and we had the ceremony dinner theater-style. Our minister was from a local Unitarian Church. Neither of us were interested in writing our own vows, so we just let the officiant write something and I did a little editing. We don't plan to have children, so we removed anything about starting a family.

Hands to hold

Joe's mother was our ring bearer, and my cousin made a special plate to carry it on, which made it feel more like a community event.

Flower pot

Our biggest challenge: Oh, the trials that were the centerpieces. I didn't want traditional flowers, so I tried to grow herbs at one point, but it was too soon and they all died. I kept staring at the empty little pots I planned to use and just sighing. When either of our mothers would ask how it was going, I'd get huffy. I finally accepted some help from my mom who had found some lanterns. I really ended up liking them in the end.

We were also able to use the flower pots in the end, too. We wrapped them in burlap and filled them with tiny potted mums for only 25 cents each!

Signing in

My favorite moment: Getting there early to watch everyone set up, seeing the room come together and having the feeling of “this is it!” washing over me again and again. I was so relaxed by then, because we were there at that point and there was nothing left to do but go through with it.

The photo from Dad's wallet

Also, I think my dad is more sentimental than he lets on. He rented a tux so he would look more special than in just a regular suit. Then during the reception, he was showing everyone the baby pictures of my sister and I that he keeps in his wallet!

Hug line

My funniest moment: The “hug line” was funny. Whenever I'd stand still for a minute, someone would come over to hug, and then two, and then a whole line would form. It was amusing and heartwarming at the same time! It would be fantastic if hug lines just formed in our everyday lives.



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was concerned no one would like the construction paper “yay” flags. I worried that they might think they were half-hearted, since it was only glued construction paper, and not the fancy sewn kind. But no one did! I was happy that so many people used them and that they showed up in so many photos!

Cookie snag

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Find a day-of coordinator, if you can! Two of my mother's friends agreed to handle this for us. They were in charge of setting up the decorations and the schedule, then cleaning everything up at the end, and transporting it there and home. After months of worrying and planning and arranging, it was so nice to have it all handled. They were magic wedding fairies!

And when they come to tell you it's time to do something on the schedule, listen to them. I thought, “Oh, we can do that group photo later.” Cue to five minutes later: people started going home, and we missed getting it. If I had bothered to make that schedule and plan everything so hard, I should have listened when it was time to follow it.

The field

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Comments on Megan & Joe’s relaxed daytime wedding with a hug line

  1. LOVE this. So many things are so right, but especially the cardi-wearing bride. Much like we have posts of bride in glasses, can we have one of brides wearing cardigans? Or even better–cardigans AND glasses. I will be wearing both myself. 🙂

    • THIS! Hooray for brides in cardigans! (And this lovely wedding, in general!)

  2. Totally agree with the advice about day of coordinator- I’ve seen brides frantically getting the space ready when they need to be getting ready and then when it’s all said and done, they haven’t even thought of all the clean up and packing!
    Looks like a great wedding!!! Many happy days to the happy couple! Yay!

  3. I found your wedding to be an inspiration for my own. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. What are the odds! This is my hometown! I had my 16th bday party at that lodge and I go hiking there all the time in the summer! I never thought to see this on OBB but I am so glad that it is! This is a truly a lovely location made even more so by this simple and very beautiful wedding!

    • Ha! I grew up here, too and was shocked when I opened my email this morning to read about Schooley’s Mtn Park and Redwoods! What a beautiful wedding, indeed.

  5. My photographer has one of their photos featured in her slideshow. I keep seeing it and thinking “I WANNA SEE MOAR!” I am so glad this was featured. I got to now READ about this wedding, not just see photos.

  6. Eeeee! It’s Us! Thank you OBB for featuring us & all the well wishes

    Between -disaster- & -advice- That’s his younger brother trying to steal a cookie. Oh you!

      • Nowhere fancy, David’s Bridal. I looked in some local stores, but they had ball gowns or short knee length, & nothing tea length. I found tea length online, but didn’t want to guess about sizes & buying that way.

        DB was very helpful, I looked online & chose some, made an appointment, & it went easy & smooth. Go during the week or early on a weekend, bring your list of idea dresses for them.

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