The Offbeat Bride: Nicole, Bartender/Writer

Her offbeat partner: Josef, Bartender/Musician

Date and location of wedding: Our backyard in Bellmawr, NJ — June 22, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had just bought a beautiful home, so while financial restrictions didn't allow us to plan a huge event, we didn't let that stop us. Choosing to do things right in our own backyard not only saved us money, but it made things a lot more intimate. We had a handful of our closest family and friends there for the ceremony, then the rest were invited to celebrate at the reception.




Almost everything was DIYed: food, centerpieces, and decorations. A bed sheet served as tablecloth for our couple's table. We ate off paper plates and drank out of kegs, but none of that made it feel any less like a wedding to us. The focus was on us, on family and friends, and on the reason all 75 of us were gathered there.



Tell us about the ceremony:
A 100-foot-long piece of red cloth ran from the front of our driveway down to the arch under which we were married. We kept our officiant waiting while we finished writing our vows. The poor woman was in 90-degree weather, with a boot on one foot following recent surgery. She was so patient and kind.



I walked down the aisle to “You Are Mine” by Mutemath. My father and grandfather were on either side of me, and I was bawling my eyes out before I even saw Joe. The entire thing felt so surreal. I barely remember reading our vows — only kissing Joe and smearing lipstick all over his face while everyone cheered.





Our biggest challenge:
With so much DIY, there were definitely some stressful obstacles. The few hours before the ceremony, and the few hours before guests arrived for the reception were extremely hectic. If there was one thing I could change, I would go back and hire a caterer. Bringing in the food from elsewhere would have taken a lot of stress off of not only our shoulders, but the shoulders of those who helped us. Although money was tight, we should have splurged for dinner!


My favorite moment:
We don't often talk aloud of our feelings for each other, so writing our own vows was a huge deal. I practically ran down that aisle, waiting to hear Joe tell me exactly how he feels about me in front of a large group of people. We all laughed and we all cried. I've never felt so much love in one space.


Another unforgettable moment was the father/daughter dance. Not expecting us to stick to any form of tradition, my father was extremely surprised when I invited him up for a dance, to his and my mother's wedding song. My dad does not like anyone to see him cry, and he made me turn him away from the crowd as we held each other.




My funniest moment:
Hands down, my best friend's speech. We talk in the strangest voice to each other, and she demonstrated it for all, into a microphone. She called herself “Joe's second wife” (she and I spend a LOT of time together) and talked about all the foods we make for him. It was funny and heartfelt. Every word was so genuine and filled with love.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The most important lesson we learned was how important it is to take care of even the smallest of details ahead of time. Things were so rushed leading up to the ceremony, I thought we were all going to have nervous breakdowns. Thankfully though, everything fell into place and the day was simply magical.


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Comments on Nicole & Josef’s intimate gothic backyard wedding

    • Mitzi,

      Thank you! And that is hilarious – I have been told I resemble her several times, and I was also her character from The Craft (Nancy) this past Halloween!!!

  1. YOUR DRESS!!! I have no words for your dress! Wait, that’s not right, I have every word for your dress: GORGEOUS, AMAZING, SPARKLY, UNIQUE, SASSY, BEAUTIFUL, PERFECTION, LOVE!!!!

    I so love a backyard wedding. It’s intimate and personal. Congratulations! Lovely, lovely wedding.

    • Kerry,

      Thank you so much!!!! I fell in love the moment I put it on. It was right around prom season (and sometimes I look like I could pass for 17), and a woman walking by said “So pretty! When’s your prom?”. I laughed and said “I’M GETTIN’ MARRIED IN THIS BABY!!”

  2. Everything about this wedding is so awesome! Your dress was gorgeous & I have a total soft spot for black, red & gray color schemed weddings. Congrats!

  3. Love this wedding! Gorgeous aesthetic, and I’m really impressed that you even made your own food. Do you mind sharing what was your budget and were you able to stick to it?

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