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The Offbeat Bride: Talia, research clerk at a document custody bank

Her offbeat partner: Charles, chef

Date and location of wedding: Green Grove Gardens, Greencastle, PA — May 21, 2012

our offbeat wedding at a glance: I wanted to keep the “wedding noise” to a minimum and have simple decorations. My mother-in-law grew herbs, which we used as centerpieces and gave away to our guests. Each table had a different herb, so it was also our seating chart. As guests entered, they found a bottle of herbal olive oil with their name and table herb on it. Charles called his guys his “sous” and “commi,” and my best guy friend was my man of honor. We were very fortunate to have almost all our services given to us by family and friends, or discounted because we were referred by family and friends.

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We both love to cook and eat, so the caterer allowed us to create our own menu, highlighting my Puerto Rican heritage and his German ancestry. She also did a glazed lemon basil cake for us!

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Along with our bare feet, I wore an orange dress that my mom made. I was able to shorten it for dancing during the reception, which was really nice.

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Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony processional was to “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright, and I walked in to “Everything” by Lifehouse.

We adapted the ceremony to include things that were important to us, even though we kept the basic traditional structure. His uncle did a reading by Albert Einstein:

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

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We washed each other's feet after our pastor read the passage from John about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. A friend sang “All Your Life” by The Band Perry during the foot washing. Our pastor suggested doing a salt covenant, citing the practice of making promises to each other during biblical times by exchanging pinches of salt. We also did a unity cocktail.

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Our biggest challenge: I think planning big events like a wedding can bring out the worst in people sometimes. Our biggest challenge was keeping people from feeling offended. A lot of communication happened through me, even though I tried to put everyone in contact with each other. When relaying messages between different people, it seemed like one of them always took something in an insulting way or felt like their toes were being stepped on. Ultimately, I had to be up front with everyone about how I didn't like being put in the middle. I think it brought to their attention the fact that they may have overreacted at some point over one thing or another. And sometimes you just need to see someone in person to realize they're not the type of person to wound someone else intentionally.

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My favorite moment: As mushy as it sounds, hearing Charles say his vows (from memory) while he got choked up over them was an incredible feeling. Since we'd written our own vows, I knew how sincere he was and I could see how eager he was to make those promises to me.

The toasts from our wedding party were also very moving. Hearing them speak about our relationship from their point of view made me feel, even more than I already did, how right we are for each other.

My funniest moment: The beginning of my man of honor's toast was very funny. I had handed my vows back to him during the ceremony and he still had them. Once he got up the microphone, he pulled out what we thought were his notes, took a deep breath and said “Charles, I promise to love you, respect you, talk with you — wait, these aren't mine!”

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I was married once before, when I was nineteen. I guess the biggest difference was that I picked the right guy this time! Looking back, I didn't really know who I was at nineteen, so even if I'd wanted to be offbeat then, I wouldn't have known which direction to go. I did the traditional white dress thing. The other big difference was my parents didn't support that marriage, so I was left to do most of the planning on my own, which led to poor decisions on things like the amount of food and other logistical issues. It was poorly planned and poorly executed.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: If someone says “because that's the way it is,” ask why or why it's important to them. If you don't get a good answer, explain why you're doing it differently. It was obvious to me that everyone's advice, solicited or otherwise, came from love and a desire to see us happy. I found that if I gave reasons for doing something besides just bucking the system, that was usually enough to quiet arguments.

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Comments on Talia & Charles’ herbtastic foodie wedding

  1. I love the olive oil favors! I saw something similar in a magazine years ago and have wanted to do that ever since. Did you make them yourselves? And if so, where do you get those little tiny bottles?

  2. “If someone says “because that’s the way it is,” ask why or why it’s important to them. If you don’t get a good answer, explain why you’re doing it differently. It was obvious to me that everyone’s advice, solicited or otherwise, came from love and a desire to see us happy. I found that if I gave reasons for doing something besides just bucking the system, that was usually enough to quiet arguments.”

    I will definitely keep all of this in mind! Thank you!

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