First Song
Photos by Fernando Gonzalez

The Offbeat Bride: Julie, artist

Her offbeat partner: Tim, Software Developer

Date and location of wedding: Rochester, NY — July 20, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Before our wedding, Tim and I had been together for 15 years. In those 15 years, our families never interacted. We live in Boston, his family is in Connecticut, and my family is mostly in upstate New York. The wedding was more for us to bring our families and friends together in once place, at one time, meet and get to know each other, and have a huge summer garden party blow-out. We called it the “Beck-O'Keefe-Krueger-Ricotta Family and Friends Extravaganza,” and it was held in my parents' yard in Rochester, NY.

fans were a necessity at this summer wedding

The cocktails began as soon as people arrived. The ceremony was only about 15 minutes by design. There was no planned seating, just food stations and some tables and high-tops. Some of the table decorations were made by me and my friends at my bachelorette party (colorful paper origami flowers and a fun box for cards) which gave it a personal touch. Instead of a wedding cake, we brought the world famous Mike's Pastry cannolis all the way from Boston.

Mike's Pastry cannolis from Bosotn

made at the bachelorette party

standing in front of our friends and family

Tell us about the ceremony:
We had really simple non-religious vows, which I actually found on Offbeat Bride. The officiant ended with the Apache Wedding Blessing, which is beautiful. Overall, it was very non-traditional, but the officiant took the time to get to know us and made everything very personal.


Simple but colorful decorations

Our biggest challenge:
My biggest challenge was to not get swept up in the hype! I can see how people can end up being overwhelmed and getting way too serious about the smallest of details. Especially as a designer/artist, it's hard to let go of having control over everything and just letting people do their jobs and enjoy the process.

Father and Step Father walking me up the hill

My favorite moment:
My father and my stepfather both walked me up to the ceremony. They are both equal fathers to me, so this was extremely important on my end.

Julie playing ukulele

Also, instead of a first dance together, we decided to play a song together instead. Tim has always played guitar and I recently took up the ukulele, so we picked “Friend of the Devil” by the Grateful Dead. While probably an odd choice for a wedding song, it was a song that was easy for me to play, allowed Tim to show off his fancy guitar skills, but we could also harmonize while singing.

Tim Playing Guitar

Proud Mary Dance

In place of a father/daughter Dance, I had a mother-daughter-sister choreographed dance. My mother's favorite movie is What's Love Got To Do With It, so my sister and I knew it by heart. My friend Kristen is a dance teacher and I had her make up choreography using classic Tina Turner moves. It was really fun.

Proud Mary Dance 2

9549956098 1fce7cf721 h alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

My funniest moment:
I had a three-foot cut-out of our dog made as a joke, since our real dog, Zoey, couldn't be there. It would have been too stressful for me to be worrying about her the whole time. We ended up using the cut-out in the ceremony and she became a prop for the photo booth. Half of our photo booth photos have our Flat Zoey in them. It's hysterical! My mother loved it so much she kept the cut-out and is now taking pictures of Flat Zoey doing weird things and texting them to me daily. It's like the wedding never ended.

Photobooth with flat zoey

beautiful scenery

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Be comfortable! I bought a very affordable dress (under $200) so I wasn't paranoid about getting anything on it during the reception. I also had halter straps added to my dress so I could wear a bra and I wouldn't be adjusting “the girls” all night. While my heels were incredibly comfortable as well, I slipped into my sneakers towards the end of the night to get my dance on, and it all felt pretty amazing.

Also, interview vendors whose portfolio you like, but hire people you feel a personal connection to. I felt like my photographer, DJ, and caterer were personally invested making the day as fun as possible and were as excited as we were.

Candy Bar

Dance floor

late night

happy couple

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Julie & Tim’s garden party family and friends wedding

  1. I love the beautiful bright colours, the photos of people having a good time and, most of all, the mother-daughter-sister dance …. how cool! 🙂

    • One of the benefits of these “performances” was the time we spent together practicing. So many laughs and memories just from rehearsing the dance!

  2. OMG, I’m a NC transplant from MA, and I’d forgotten about Mike’s Pastry until just now…I may have to have some cannolis shipped.

    This looks like it was a hella fun wedding, and you were such a gorgeous bride! Congrats!

  3. Oh my god! I’ve been working on making a wedding like this! My sister is big into traditional but I just wanted my wedding to be outside, surrounded by those I love. But as time has been ticking down, I see someone else, and its absolutely beautiful! Congrats <3

  4. I love your colors, and flowers! You’re absolutely beautiful in that dress. Where did you get the cardboard cutout of your dog?? I might want to do something similar with my cat. 🙂

    • I ordered the stand up from Party Standups online. I was happy with the quality!

  5. Flat Zoey!! I think I’ll steal this. We have a beagle who couldn’t handle the ceremony without sniffing everything and eating anything. Great idea!

  6. I must know, where did you get flat Zoey made? Totally want to do that with my cats now.

  7. Pretty sure I have the same dress! I’m delighted to see how great it looks with the colored crinoline, also the sneakers!

Comments are closed.