The offbeat bride: Rebekah, Personal Assistant to a Make-Up Executive

Her offbeat partner: Ben, Photographer/IT Guy

Location & date of wedding: Mansfield Reformatory and the Ripley Church, Mansfield, Ohio — June 19, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: One of the most offbeat aspects of the day was our reception location: a historic 250,000 square foot prison in Mansfield, Ohio. The prison has been the set of several films and music videos. Most notably, it was the setting for The Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One.


Our guests had the opportunity to take a “movie tour” during the cocktail hour if they desired. We definitely wanted this venue and actually booked it the day we got engaged!

We decided on “Old Hollywood” as a major inspiration for the day. Everything from our flowers (centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnières) to custom-designed clothing and jewelry was chosen with that era in mind.


In keeping with the Tiffany blue and white color scheme, the guys wore bright blue Chuck Taylors, and Ben had a custom-made ascot/pocket square set. I wore fishnet stockings, and had earrings and a hairpiece custom-made as well.


We did much of the work for the day ourselves. I designed the papergoods, candy buffet, and centerpieces, which were constructed by my husband-to-be and Maid of Honor.


candy barrr

My best friend, Aaron, stood on my side during the ceremony. I've known both Ben and Aaron for many years, and have always said that they both had to be standing with me on the day I got married. Ben obviously had no choice (haha), so Aaron also ended up standing with me!


Tell us about the ceremony: Ben and I are both Protestant, so we had a traditional Christian ceremony. We did, however, include some unique readings and songs.

My favorite passage was the poem “I Do,” originally from Sex and the City:

His “hello” was the end of her endings.
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle.
His hand would be hers to hold forever.
His forever was as simple as her smile.
He said she was what was missing.
She said instantly she knew.
She was a question to be answered.
And his answer was “I do.”

We also had “Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany's (a major inspiration for the day) played on violin during the ceremony.


Our biggest challenge: While we were very lucky and had very few snags during our planning, we did hit a major roadblock only three days prior to the wedding. The photographer we had booked almost a year ahead of time backed out for personal reasons.

Thankfully, my husband is a photographer, so he stepped in and did the majority of the details/getting-ready shots himself. We were also able to find an amazing replacement on incredibly short notice in Bree Fidler. She is so talented, and did such a wonderful job stepping in to shoot our wedding at the last minute!


My favorite moment: Saying our vows was incredibly meaningful to us. We wrote them ourselves and had no idea what the other was going to say prior to the ceremony. That was a touching moment for us.


Other than our vows, the time I found most meaningful was the few moments we got to steal for ourselves in our getaway car (a pristine '50s Bel-Air) on the way to our reception. These first moments as husband and wife were perfect, and it gave us a chance to let the excitement of the day sink in!


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was really concerned about our ring bearer making it down the aisle since he was only two years old at the time. Though I was in the back and didn't get to actually watch him, the photos show him running down the aisle with a huge grin on his face, and the entire crowd thoroughly enjoying his “performance.”


My advice for offbeat brides: Have a clear vision of what you want your day to look and feel like, and capture that aesthetic.

Also, even if you don't splurge on anything else, make sure to have a good photographer documenting the day. Even when the festivities are over, you will always have the photographs to remind you of all the moments and memories, both small and monumental, that made your day special. We ended up with three photographers, and I will be forever grateful to have the photos they captured to help me remember the day.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned how lucky I am to have truly married my best friend. Despite the occasional stresses of planning the wedding, every issue that arose only served to strengthen us.

I also learned that I am so blessed to have some of the most loyal friends anyone could ask for. We live scattered throughout several states, and having everyone together the week of the wedding was the most amazing wedding gift.


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Comments on Rebekah & Ben’s old Hollywood historic prison wedding

  1. Wow, the Masfield Reformatory makes a very dramatic setting! I’ve never been there, but I have been to the nearby Malabar Farm State Park (here, too, are some old Hollywood connections). Yay Ohio! Very beautiful, congrats!

  2. Oh man, I love that place! My grandparents live in a small town near Mansfield, and they used to take me to the old reformatory for ghost tours and Halloween. And even beyond the awesome location, your wedding looks amazingly fun and beautiful!

  3. Holy crapballs!!!!! Amazing venue! And I love the Tiffany Blue touches, especially the bouquet!

  4. Thanks, Mindy! My bouquet was one of my favorite touches, too. The florist did an amazing job.

  5. That bit about your photographer backing out must’ve been nerve-wracking! I’m glad you found a wonderful photographer anyway… look at all these gorgeous photos!

    Best wishes to you both!

    • Aww, thanks!

      I had a minor panic attack when we found out because I was convinced no one else would be free on such short notice…haha. Thankfully, we found Bree and she was completely amazing!

  6. Awh thats where my Fiance proposed to me at (under the decoration from someones reception the night before), its a beautiful place and fun to explore. This makes me wish I could have my reception there, such a beautiful wedding.

  7. Wow!! Everything was absolutely beautiful! So super jealous of your getaway car ( I LOVE Bel-Air’s…they make me all giggly and drooly lol) Yay for awesome ohio Brides!


  8. Thanks, ladies! I was soooo excited about the getaway car, also. It was a stroke of luck that we found it…my MIL just happened to know someone who owns several.

  9. Congrats on ur wedding! It was gorgeous i just loved all your ideas and i hope i can make mine half as beautiful

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