On day four of farm week we find ourselves headed to Siler City, North Carolina where Charlie and Kristen had quite the afternoon affair at Celebrity Dairy Goat Farm. Their day was filled with lawn games, a petting zoo, a photo booth and more! – Coco
The offbeat bride: Kirsten, Communications for a nonprofit
Her offbeat partner: Charlie, Paramedic in training
Location & date of wedding: Celebrity Dairy Goat Farm B&B in Siler City, NC — November 7, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: Neither of us are into the traditional dinner and dancing thing, so we immediately decided that we wanted an afternoon affair with games and lots of ways for our guests to entertain themselves. We had bocce, croquet, lawn bowling, a tree swing, goats and other animals to visit and pet, a photo booth with lots of props, and no seated dining to encourage guests to mingle and have fun.
We stuck to a very reasonable budget but managed to pull together an entire weekend of activities. Our families are all from out-of-town and we wanted to spend as much time together with them as possible. We had a out-of-town-guests dinner, the ceremony and reception, two bonfires, and a Sunday brunch of made-to-order crepes.
There were no traditional wedding flowers or a first dance or anything else we didn't consider extraneous. We are treehuggers, so we made sure our wedding reflected that (real plates and glasses, recycled paper invitations, local food, decorations from the local farmers' market, and we supported a great dairy farm by having our event there).
It was a very homemade affair. We bought a lot of things on Ebay or Craigslist. My dress was a simple J. Crew “Rebecca” dress. I did lots of things myself (invitations, corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, bridesmaids” gifts). Our families and friends were paramount to getting everything ready and everything turned out perfectly.
Our biggest challenge: Getting our families, friends, and the businesses we worked with to understand our vision. Our families really didn't understand why we wanted lawn games or why we chose to serve heavy hors d'ourves instead of a seated meal.
We compromised on things that were unimportant to us, like the menu and flowers (our families wanted them but flowers are usually grown in a hot house or travel across the country or the world and that's not eco-friendly even if it is beautiful — we ended up letting them buy a few nice bouquets and putting them together into one big arrangement for the bar), but we saw our vision through and in the end everyone told us it was the most fun wedding they'd ever attended.
Interviewing potential vendors was difficult and hilarious. One hairdresser told me it would be easy to give me extensions… Why would I want to change something so drastic about myself for my wedding? Many vendors just didn't understand that we weren't going to have a black tie affair with a big band and dance floor. But when we found the vendors we clicked with, everything went smoothly.
My favorite moment: The Thursday before the wedding when everyone started arriving (our bridal party and our families) was when I realized that all these people had traveled here for us. It was the only time that all the people from our different spheres of life came together and that made the whole weekend even more incredibly special (beyond the actual getting married part).
Also, listening to our parents and other speakers imparting their wisdom during the ceremony was amazing. There was funny moments, touching moments, and moments when we looked at each other in awe. “This is it!”
My last favorite moment was a slide show my dad and my step-mom created for us. It was made up of pictures of Charlie and myself growing up and then us together. They are not the most technologically inclined people and they put a lot of time and effort into the slide show. It showed! And it made my cry.
My advice for offbeat brides: Think outside the box. So many weddings are ceremony, dinner, and then dancing for an hour before the venue closes down. I think that anything you can do to invite guests to entertain themselves is great. I know that this is your day, but your guests have traveled (sometimes great distances) to be there. They deserve lots of fun, “encourage them to mingle” things to do while you're busy cutting a cake and slow dancing.
Find a place and time and setting that really speaks to who you are as a couple. If that's casino night in “Monaco” — great; if its having a picnic in the park — great. Think about the mood you want to portray and then set about capturing that.
Also, be very wary of the industrial wedding machine! Just because so-and-so has a ring that costs $$$, that doesn't mean you need to follow, starry-eyed and tripping, down the same path. You are a bride and you're planning a wedding, but be yourself too! Be who you are as a couple and don't look back.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- I made my birdcage veil using DIY tutorials I found online.
- I also made all the corsages for myself and the ladies, as well as the boutonnieres for the groom and the men.
- The Inn at Celebrity Dairy is fabulous! Brooke was amazingly helpful and couldn't have been friendlier.
- The Q Shack in Durham, NC, catered our rehearsal dinner and was insanely delicious.
- Coffee and Crepes in Cary, NC did the Sunday morning brunch and was lots of fun and sooo good.
- We used the Raleigh farmers' market to purchase pumpkins, mums, apple cider, and other decorations and goodies.
- Shane Snider was our photographer. His photos are incredible and working with him was a pleasure.
- Down River Bluegrass Band is great. They kept the whole crowd tapping their feet. They're out of Durham, NC.
- The photobooth was run by Celebration Photobooth and we would highly recommend them as well. They're out of Cary, NC.
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!