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The Offbeat Bride: Lauren, Elementary School Nurse

Her offbeat partner: Vaughn, Assistant Professor of Math

Date and location of wedding: A friend's farm in State College, PA — July 20, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: It was important to us that our wedding be a genuine reflection of us and our relationship. We are silly and whimsical, and we love colours, kids, and the outdoors, so we did our best to bring these aspects into our wedding.

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I am gluten-intolerant and have family members who have Celiac, so it was important to have food at our wedding that we could all enjoy. We served Indian food, which is often gluten-free, and had both gluten-free cake and a regular cake.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
There are few things that bring as much joy to my heart as watching and spending time with children. We had all the children who attended walk down the aisle before the wedding party tossing pom-poms. It was so cute! My dad did a read-aloud of the picture book “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton during the ceremony and invited the kids to come up to see the pictures.

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As Mennonites, hymn singing is very important to us. Our ceremony was a big hymn sing with all our favorites. In fact, we ditched the traditional Mennonite sermon for more hymns! We also asked people to turn in hymn suggestions with their RSVPs. The songs we chose were a combination of our favorites and suggestions from our friends and family. It was so amazing being surrounded by green rolling hills, listening to the four-part harmonies sung by all my loved ones.

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Vaughn really wanted to do a unity ceremony of some type. I didn't want to do anything too traditional. We finally settled on a non-traditional unity symbol. We combined coloured baking soda and vinegar into a jar. Each of our jars was brought up to us by our moms. The blue baking soda and the yellow vinegar became a completely different green substance and the baking soda and the vinegar can never be separated again.

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Our vows were very meaningful to us. We sat down and wrote them out together the week before the wedding. We had been together for five years and been through a lot of changes and difficulties, so we know each other very well and knew the things we needed to promise to do. They included things like this:

Lauren: I promise not to be jealous of your love for math and books.
Vaughn: And I promise to put you first. I promise not to be jealous of your love for kids, animals, and crafts.
Lauren: And I promise to put you first.
Vaughn: I promise to share my feelings with you.
Lauren: I promise to be affectionate to you. I promise not to try to make you angry.
Vaughn: I promise to tell you when I'm angry. I promise not to shut down when we disagree.
Lauren: I promise not to bombard you when we disagree.

We compromised on the traditional “for better or worse…” lines. I said each part in my own words and then Vaughn echoed me with the traditional words:

Lauren: Through good times and hard times
Vaughn: For better or worse
Lauren: In times of feast and times of famine
Vaughn: For richer or poorer
Lauren: Through all of our maladies
Vaughn: In sickness and in health
Lauren: For now and always
Vaughn: For now and always.

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Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenges were the logistics and time crunch. We planned our wedding in four months, which I found to be a feat. We planned a Pennsylvania wedding while living in Texas, while my parents were living in Wales and Vaughn's parents were living in Manitoba. There were times I felt very isolated in planning the wedding.

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My funniest moment:
My dad and uncle set the trash cans on fire trying to light sparklers with a blow torch! The fires were put out quickly, but it gave us quite a send-off.

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Comments on Lauren & Vaughn’s Mennonite kid-friendly farm wedding

  1. AH! Lauren was one of my counselors at summer camp!
    Children’s time is a regular part of the Mennonite church service. I love that it was Incorporated into the wedding and with reading a great book!

  2. There is so much I think is awesome about this wedding I don’t know where to start! As a PSU alum, I love how naturally your wedding melded with the surroundings. I would’ve never guessed this was planned from Texas. Also, I love India Pavilion, so the food sounds amazing.

    And the singing! That sounds wonderful. Most of my family thinks wedding music should be all instrumental, so I’ve been trying to figure out ways to encourage people to sing along. Any advice?

    Now I really want to go to India Pavilion’s lunch buffet. I didn’t realize they catered….

  3. As a friend of Lauren and Vaughn’s, I thought their wedding was perfectly them. The hymns were beautiful and the vows fit them so well. I miss having Vaughn as a song leader back in our DC Mennonite church and Lauren in the nursery and playing with the kids.

  4. The Indian food is a great solution to the affordable gluten free conundrum many couples run into. Also I adored those handwritten vows.

  5. Mennonites taking hymn requests at their wedding? You must have sung 606 then. 🙂

    • Yes, Ivrienel, we did sing 606! (I’m Lauren’s aunt). And in my 63 years, it was the most fun wedding I’ve ever attended.

  6. This wedding looks so awesome! I enjoy seeing kid friendly weddings. And that non-traditional unity symbol is so awesome and creative!

  7. A beautiful wedding! I especially LOVED your strings of paper lanterns in the barn! Where can I find those?

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