The Offbeat Bride: Shana, Speech Language Pathologist
Her offbeat partner: Micah, Illustrative Graphic Designer
Date and location of wedding: Queen Anne Victorian Mansion, Portland, Oregon — October 5, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We are both hopeless romantics who wanted a night to remember — while still remaining authentic with our ideals, priorities, and budget. We ended up having a pretty amazing, down-to-earth wedding at the Queen Anne Victorian Mansion. We love antiques and time-traveling, and thought that a Victorian-inspired wedding would be just the ticket.
We used nature and light to decorate most of the venue (gorgeous and FREE). The gardens were still in bloom and the trees were just starting to turn colors — plus everything smelled so fresh thanks to an entire week of rain before our wedding. And we were blessed with total sun, which was a miracle!
The table centerpieces were lanterns and sprigs of fresh herbs and plants from my mom's garden. We decorated the venue's altar with grape leaves and ivy, the aisle with flowers from the garden wired on the chairs, and we even used a bunch of tree branches that I rescued from the side of a road after a rainstorm.
We also used lanterns that lined a raised flower bed to commemorate the loved ones who we wished were there. One of my sisters decoupaged them with pictures, papers, and ribbon. Finally, my mom ended up sewing us about 100 yards of gorgeous bunting that we strung up all the way around the venue.
Micah: We made Shana an eight-foot-tall wooden moon to symbolize her late father at the wedding. It took a lot of labor and love from all of us, but it was worth it to see her so happy. Plus, the dad-moon actually seemed to come alive during the course of the evening! So many photos were taken with the moon that it really did feel like he was there smiling and having a great time with us.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We wrote it ourselves and tried to integrate verbiage that was spiritual and meaningful without being religious. Originally, our officiant urged us to write letters to each other to read as vows for the ceremony, but we were way too emotional to read through them on our own. So, we took the letters and used Micah's for the ceremony and mine for the vows.
We decided to skip the unity activity and instead integrate the Celtic tradition of ringing a big bell, our wedding bell, as we kissed at the end of the ceremony. The tradition says that your wedding bell should be placed on the hearth of your new home. Then in the future, should you become angry with each other, you must ring that bell again and it will remind you of how you felt on your wedding day and of the love that you have for each other. Plus, we used it as the signal for our surprise hidden bagpiper to blast our recessional anthem song, “Highland Cathedral,” right as we kissed. The guests were handed ceremony programs and homemade ribbon wands with bells attached so that they could join in with the ringing of the bell.
Our biggest challenge:
Micah: the first challenge was that we lost our original venue. We ended up booking a spot two hours away and coordinating with our vendors that we had already chosen which ended up being quite hairy for communication at times. We ended up making most of it work out.
Shana: My challenge was identifying what I needed to do, and then processing my feelings of being pretty isolated for most of the actual planning. Micah was finishing school and away for days in a row, and although he helped a lot, I felt a lot of pressure to make things work and ended up spending the majority of the summer on my laptop planning. My bridesmaids were all two hours south as well.
My favorite moment:
I anticipated a large challenge in doing all the decorating ourselves, but the owner of our venue was lovely and allowed us access to the venue two days before the wedding in order to decorate. As extended family arrived, more and more hands pitched in, helping us set up lights, bunting, and chairs. They really helped with personalizing the venue. I was delighted to stand back and watch relatives who had never met, laughing and working together. It was during this time that I would share one of the last phone calls from my beloved aunt who couldn't make the trip. She would only live a month longer, but I feel like she was able to be there in her way, too.
My funniest moment:
Micah: I thought it was cute that Shana's grandpa chose the reception to ask me what Shana's last name would be. I got a kick out of that, for sure.
Shana: My grandpa was pretty adorable. It was really cute when he and his girlfriend danced all night long to our band. They were joined once in a while by other couples, but they pretty much kept our band busy and the guests entertained.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Micah: No matter how much you plan to take it easy and enjoy something, inevitably you will get swept up in the details and you just have to keep reminding yourself to slow down.
Shana: I am still learning the important lesson of not letting things that went wrong negatively affect my memories. Although there were some toughies, the reality is that I married my best friend surrounded by the people we loved. I feel so fortunate to be able to say that.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: David's Bridal
- Veil: eBay
- Hair/Makeup: Maegy Does Hair
- Jewelry: Nordstrom
- Rings: Jewels For Me and Kay Jewelers
- Purse: vintage, originally owned by Micah's grandmother
- Suit: Men's Wearhouse
- Top hat: Hollywood Vintage
- Vest: Gentlemen's Emporium
- Pocketwatch: Amazon
- Boots: Corcoran
- Venue: The Queen Anne Victorian Mansion
- Photography: Harvest Moon Photography
- Videography: Starlight Films
- Flowers and bouquet: Forte Flowers and Artistry
- Cake: Laurie Clarke Cakes
- Band: Calamity Jazz
- Bagpiper: Jon “Pipey” Moritz
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!