The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, Tribesmaid

Her offbeat partner: Bryan, Customer Service Rep/Illustrator

Date and location of wedding: Scappoose Creek Inn, Scappoose, OR — September 8, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we got engaged, we both knew that we wanted a wedding that felt like it was a representation of who we are as a couple. We also wanted to focus on our loved ones and keep them included. It was also important to us to keep a tight budget, not go into any debt for the wedding, and not be wasteful.



Food was also really important. We love to explore the amazing local food that Portland has to offer, so we decided to invite one of our favorite food carts to serve at our wedding. In addition, we wanted an awesome dessert table, so we got cupcakes made by our favorite cupcake shop, and had a mix of voodoo doughnuts complete with custom bride and groom doughnuts.


We also wanted to add a little cool treat, so we found a great Italian Ice cart to serve as the guests arrived (this was extra special to us because I am from Philadelphia and water ice — you say it “wooter ice” — is such a wonderful part of my upbringing).


We couldn't decide what kind of cake topper we wanted because he wanted robots and I wanted manatees, so our amazing friend Holly offered to make our topper a bride manatee with a robot manatee groom. It was awesome! She even made a sandy base with our initials written in the sand.


Our venue was an amazing bed & breakfast about 30 minutes outside of Portland, OR. We were married in a beautiful field and then had our reception inside of the old barn. The best part about the B&B was that our whole family and wedding party could stay together and have our first breakfast as a new family together the next day.


We are both pretty big nerds and we wanted to be sure that we brought a little nerd into our big day. The bridal party walked down the aisle to the Doctor Who theme song and we had a TARDIS cookie jar (Doctor Who spaceship) on the bar to collect our drink tickets. Our drink tickets were actually small key charms with a little note letting our guest know that it was their “key” to their first drink on us.


Bryan is a comic artist and both of us are fond of independent publishing and zines, so rather than a traditional program, we made a mini-zine for each of our guests which included a comic strip about how we met, little sketches of each of our wedding party members, and information about our vendors. We packaged up the programs with bubbles, the drink ticket key, and some sweet treats in a little goodie bag that we placed on each chair when guests arrived.


I am really passionate about canning. It's something that I learned from my mother and grandmother as a child and it is near and dear to my heart, so I wanted to have perserves as wedding favors. It was a quite a project to make 75+ jars of jam, but I also reached out to a few fellow canners to help me make that happen.


We've always had a particular fondness for vintage postcards, so we decided to use vintage Oregon postcards instead of a traditional guestbook. We invited our guests to fill them out and put them in the mailbox on the table or they could save them to surprise us in the mail later. We absolutely loved getting sporadic cute notes of love in the mail in the weeks following the wedding!


Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was short and simple. We are not religious, so we asked a friend to get ordained online and marry us and we kept it short and sweet. We also used the ceremony to get a little nerdy. The wedding party walked town the isle to the Doctor Who theme song and I read my vows from a replica of River Song‘s journal that I had made for Bryan. We also insisted on a high-five after we kissed.



Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was probably finding a balance between our sort of non-traditional ideas and also staying on budget. The entire wedding came in on budget, but it took a lot of hard choices to get there. We DIYed some of the food and the flowers, and got creative in a lot of areas — which was a lot of energy, but well worth it.


My favorite moment: One of my favorite moments was dancing with my new husband, new family, and our friends, and having an awesome sing-along belting out Bryan Adams, and just realizing that we were so lucky to be surrounded by so much love.


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was worried our plan to DIY our music instead of hiring a DJ would be a disaster, but it was actually perfect! We spent a long time each making lists of “chill dinner music” and “dance music.” This was tricky because Bryan and I have pretty different tastes when it comes to music. Bryan didn't want to play anything that was traditional dance type music or most anything from the '80s (which is my favorite), so we had to get sort of creative and I was hoping people would still get out and dance. We ended up with a great list of songs we both loved and people danced their tails off.



My advice for Offbeat Brides: The biggest thing for me was that I took some time toward the beginning of the planning process to sit and write out what our priorities really were with our wedding. It was sort of like writing a mission statement of the wedding. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, had trouble deciding on something, or just felt a little stuck — I referred back to our priorities and asked myself if my choices were aligning with them. It might sound a little cheesy, but it really helped me during the process. Our priorities were:

  • family (our family all live far from us and we wanted to maximize our time with them and build our new family),
  • intimacy (we wanted real time and connection with our guests, so we kept it small),
  • personality,
  • fun, and
  • community (involving our incredibly talented friends and family).


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Comments on Sarah & Bryan’s nerdy barn bash wedding

  1. Okay, those shoes are amazing! What a great idea. The invitation is also adorable. I want to color it.

    • Thanks so much! They were actually just painted with a little bit of acrylic paint and a paint pen and they were pretty easy to do, but it does help to have a artist as a husband because I am sure I would have made a mistake! 😉

  2. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this and submitting your profile! Your style is exactly like mine, down to the body shape and dress. I’ve been on the fence on whether to get a lace bolero similar to that or just use what I have. Seeing it on you convinces me!

    This looked like so much love when into the details. I adore it! Probably one of my top favorites.

    • Thank you so much! I am so glad it was inspirational and that the love shows because that was my one big goal! 😉

      My dress came with that bolero which was really great for me. I definitely had some body image quirks to deal with, but being purposeful about my dress just made me feel so pretty and comfortable on the big day.

      Good luck on your wedding and I hope it is amazing!!

  3. The manatee bride cake topper is so cool!

    You can really tell you and your husband put a lot of thought and love into all the details of the wedding, it looks amazing!

  4. What an amazing day, there is so much about this wedding I love! So many items are similar to how I’m trying to plan mine too 🙂 . One of the hardest, right now, is the music, we are not going to have a DJ and I totally forgot about Dinner music, any advice. I’m struggling alone with just the dancing music.

    • Hi Crystal!
      The music was hard for us too, we spent a lot of time working on it to try to compromise.

      You should choose things that you love, that on your wedding day YOU are excited to hear. I loved that. I listen to a lot of indie rock and it’s just not something that I ever get to hear out and about very often, so I loved so much to be able to dance with my friends to those songs that I love. If you want, I can send you our spreadsheet of music so you can kind of see how I organized it and check out things I picked. Then we just went into Spotify and my husband added and removed things as we kind of saw fit with the flow. Email me : [email protected] & I can send it to you! Good luck!

      • Sarah,
        that would be fantastic, thank you. I have sent an email out 🙂

  5. Wow! I am unintentionally having a very similar wedding at the Scappoose Creek Inn as well! What did you do about getting speakers for music? Do you have any tips about the venue?

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