The offbeat bride: Jenifer, artist/c0-owner of The WonderCraft

Her offbeat partner: Shawn, sales consultant

Date and location of wedding: Our backyard, Austin, Texas — April 8, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had already planned a birthday party for that weekend, and it was Shawn's idea to move the wedding up from October to Easter weekend. This gave us seven days to plan! I thought I had a dress but it didn't work out, so I went to Charm School Vintage and prayed they still had the vintage 1950s dress I wanted that I had seen several months prior. Luckily, they had it and I managed to get it fitted three days before the wedding.




I scoured Pinterest for quick decorating ideas and spent the week cutting out felt for the decorations, climbing trees to hang ribbon, and stuffing the piñata. We hosted a brunch the morning of the wedding and played washers in the backyard after. My mom made the cake, my best friend made the bouquet and did my hair and makeup, and I had a lot of photographers available because almost all of my friends are photographers. We also had a homemade photo booth made from PVC, a laptop, shower curtains, and a printer for the guest book.

The best present ever

Shawn's book

Tell us about the ceremony: We had one of Shawn's oldest friends as the officiant. I told him I wanted something simple, but mostly traditional and short. Shawn surprised me with a mini book he made telling the story of how we met. Shawn had been very secretive about my birthday present. My theory is that making it spurred his idea to move up the wedding.

trying to be serious

Before we took our vows and exchanged rings, Martez, our officiant, addressed the crowd in his very don't-mess-with-him way, and told them that what happened under our roof was our business and that was that. He basically told our family to just love us and don't meddle. It was pretty funny, and sweeter than I can make it sound here.

The End

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was time and timing! My birthday was on Easter this year and we only gave our friends and family six days to figure out how to get there. If we hadn't already been planning a party for Saturday night it would have been a bit harder to get everyone there on a holiday weekend.


My funniest moment: Shawn says it was when he smashed icing on my face and licked it off. I say it was when I almost fell down after the kids spun me around blindfolded before trying to hit the piñata. Almost everyone else thinks that their pictures from the photo booth are a riot.

Guest Book

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The brunch beforehand was a question mark. We had no idea how many people were actually going to show up. We could confirm about 40 but I think it was quite a bit more than that. Luckily my mom and brother picked up some extra food and our friend Beth brought a French toast casserole. We also had some sort of egg concoction and Shawn made biscuits, gravy, and bacon. There was enough food to go around after all.



My advice for Offbeat Brides: Make sure you address your partner's personality as well. It is easy to get caught up in the idea that the wedding is all about the bride. Also, plan everything like it's a photo shoot, as much as you can. I tried, but the time constraints made execution a little difficult. But I still loved getting amazing photos from the day.


alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? This is Shawn's third time and my second. This time I think we managed to make it more about who we are as a couple and less about family expectations. We have both found a partner who looks at life the same way, and we both want the same things out of life. It makes it much easier.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Bride's dress: Charm School Vintage
  • Cakes: Blue Note Bakery. They make this chocolate chipotle cake with salted caramel buttercream and butter rum fondant. Just get a pair of bigger pants because you won't stop eating it.
  • Photography: Brianne Corn, Adam Glick, Jen Bryan, Margaret Lamberson, Aurora Armada, and Kim Sae-Eua (all friends of the couple)

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Comments on Jenifer & Shawn’s last-minute backyard BBQ wedding

  1. I absolutely love the boutonniere and the felt decorations. I think this was an awesome wedding just for the fact that you didn’t get all obsessed about every detail and instead focused on the fact that you both as a couple were uniting in front of friends and family. Also your dress is absolutely gorgeous.

  2. OMG, I can’t believe you pulled off such a lovely event in a week! You look beautiful and the decor is super-cute! Great job, and thank you for the inspiration. Stories like this make me feel better when I start panicing about my 4 months left to go. 🙂

  3. In LOVE with your dress, there is no such thing as too many pics of that dress (hint hint)

  4. LOVE the photobooth guest book! Wish photobooth rentals weren’t so pricey!

  5. Lovely! I have a little under 4 months and I’m totally inspired by your wedding. Quick question, what software, if any, did you use for your photobooth? We’re trying to DIY one. Thanks!

  6. I love the photo booth idea. We are having a graduation party for our daughter and want to do the same thing. Did you use a certain program to import the programs into?

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