The kiss!

The offbeat bride: Emily, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat partner: Tom, Book Editor

Location & date of wedding: Tom's parent's property in Brackney, PA (near Binghamton, NY) — July 4, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Tom's parents throw a big Fourth of July party every year, so when we were planning our summer wedding on their property, it only made sense to make our wedding the big Fourth of July party for the year. When we realized a wedding on this date would equal free fireworks on every anniversary, it was a done deal.

Lovely day for a wedding


My dress was put together in bits and pieces with lots of help from my “Master of Style” (my costume designer friend Sky). Tom wore the kind of outfit his grandfather would have worn to such an event: khaki pants, blue blazer, and red tie.

First Dance

As Tom and I are both musicians and have musically talented friends and family, we decided to create our own wedding band for the reception. A month or two before the wedding we picked some songs and requested that anyone who wanted to be in our “Brackney Ramblers” band show up at noon the day of the wedding. It seemed like everyone wanted in and we were able to create a pretty sweet set.

The big finale

Ukulele bride

Our musician friends also jazzed up the ceremony. The recorder duet recessional was such a big hit that the crowd demanded an encore. And there were all kinds of fireworks all day.

Sparkler fun.

Our biggest challenge: We were throwing a wedding, which by nature is a bit more formal, in a place where many of the guests were used to attending very informal parties. We had to find a way to clearly, yet tactfully, let people know that some things might be a bit different this Fourth of July.

Sparkler fun.

For example, we offered the option of camping on the property to out-of-town guests who wanted to save on hotel costs (or just wanted to be around for the late night campfire adventures). But we knew we couldn't let all of the campers have open use of the same showers and bathrooms used by the wedding party.

Most of the folks who opted to camp were used to hanging out in Brackney and being able to go wherever they want. I was afraid people were going to hate me or hate our wedding because we couldn't offer them toilets. But as it turns out everyone was cool with it. We were very upfront with the camping guests so no one was surprised. We made sure the Porta-Potties were clean and pleasant and reserved an extra room at the hotel for campers to shower in before the wedding.


My favorite moment: My sister-in-law and cousin decked out a tractor with lace, cans, and a “Just Married” sign. At the end of the ceremony, Tom and I ran up the hill to the tractor and drove off. We ended up in a secluded field covered with butterflies! It was the most perfect place to have a moment of peace before heading back down to the madness of the reception.

The "just married" tractor

My advice for offbeat brides: Remember that you're planning a party. Every time I started to feel bogged down by details, I reminded myself that we were planning something that was supposed to be fun. Years from now your guests aren't going to remember a dang thing about your favors or napkin colors but they WILL remember having an awesome time.

Ready to get hitched.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Emily & Tom’s Fourth of July jamboree band wedding

  1. OMG I love this!!! We are having a campground wedding in August so this is right up my alley!

  2. That petticoat is so fabulous. I love the idea of camping out before a wedding. 😀

  3. Years from now your guests aren’t going to remember a dang thing about your favors or napkin colors but they WILL remember having an awesome time.

    This is very true, and I keep this in mind all the time when I’m planning a party (or two). Sometimes we end up being so stressed that we forget we’re supposed to just have fun!

  4. I can’t get the petticoat link to work, and I’m so lusting over it! Any help?

  5. I think a July 4th wedding is a great idea. Fireworks are very romantic. I love Emily’s dress with the pink ruffles underneath, it adds a lot of flair to the dress. The centerpiece idea with family photos is also a really fabulous idea that makes the wedding extra special.

  6. That petticoat is amazing! And I think Fourth of July is great for a wedding. If you live in a big enough town, you’ll have free fireworks lighting up the sky for your send off!

  7. I love how original and flattering her ruffled wedding gown was. A lot of brides are afraid of color, it’s great to see someone using it so effectively!

Comments are closed.