The offbeat bride: Candyce, Stay-At-Home Mom

Her offbeat partner: Lane, Electrician

Date and location of wedding: Mayfield Park, Austin, TX — March 19, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a mad tea party theme. Lane and I both wore top hats, and my grandfather built the sign pointing all different directions from my mother's old fence. There was stacked china on the long dining tables serving hors d'oeuvres and giant china with potted plants on the guestbook table. There was tea (of course!), the officiants read from a vintage copy of “Alice in Wonderland,” and the ring box had a key on it.



The wedding party was “The Adventure Squad:” the bridesmaids were duchesses and the groomsmen were footmen. Our officiants were our “Guides”: my father was The Cheshire Cat (because he has a big goofy grin) and our friend Janis was The Caterpillar (because she loves a good hookah).


The venue was a beautiful city-owned park that has ponds, gardens, a colony of peafowl that reside there, and a Dutch cottage from the 1800s. It's an Austin landmark, and very inexpensive considering how beautiful it is. Our colors were blue and green. I wore a blue tulle cupcake dress with a bottom that snapped off so it went from gown to party frock. It had to be changed to an empire waist while in production because we found out halfway through our engagement we were pregnant!


The duchesses wore non-matching dresses, one blue and one green, and the footmen and my dad had blue and green ties. Lane's hat and tie were also blue. Our processional was to “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” by The Smashing Pumpkins, a beautiful instrumental piece with an unfortunate name. The recessional was to “The Sound of Pulling Heaven Down” by Blue October.


Tell us about the ceremony: I am Pagan and Lane is Christian, so we did a co-officiated, blended faith ceremony we wrote ourselves. The officiants alternated speaking throughout the ceremony, and after prayers the Christians would follow with “Amen” after the Christian part and the Pagans 20110319-131232would follow with “So mote it be” or “Blessed be” after the Pagan part. It was awesome to hear the two groups both participating. This was a big coming out for me for the members of our families that didn't know I'm Pagan, and we wanted to express how important it was that we had the support of our families despite our differences. This is how we and our officiants expressed that in the ceremony:

Doy: The union of Candyce and Lane brings into one marriage two different traditions, two backgrounds, and two sets of beliefs into one marriage, one family, and one trust in the overarching love of Divine Providence. This takes courage, both to make such a decision and to be willing to follow through in the labor of love that is in their future. Two people in love do not live in isolation. Their love is a source of strength from which they may nourish not only each other, but also the world around them. And in turn we, their community of friends and family, have a responsibility to this couple. By our steadfast care, respect, and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are creating today.

Janice: It is always more glorious to try to build a bridge together across a great gap than merely to stand on either side and attempt to hold hands across it. Such endeavors should be met with praise and wishes for success. Will you all encourage and support Candyce and Lane in their union, for better or worse? Will you stand behind them and not between them? Please signify your support by saying, “We will.”

The resounding, unified “We will” was incredibly special.


Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge in planning was that our budget and guest list didn't match up well, so the guest list was a never-ending source of contention. We decided to not invite children under 13 to save money and because there were ponds, peacocks, and delicate gardens, and we were serving alcohol, so we didn't feel it was very appropriate for young children anyway. Most of the guests were very understanding and welcomed the chance to have fun without worrying about the kids, but some of our guests flat-out refused to come because we didn't invite their children.

We also had to draw the line at immediate families, grandparents, and aunt/uncles/first cousins, and couldn't invite any great aunts or uncles or second or third cousins or we would have had 300 family members alone. A few immediate family members got upset that we were “leaving so many people out,” and some of our grandparents didn't understand why their neighbors and friends weren't invited as well. And we did a lot of explaining that we were on a limited budget and the venue itself had a limited capacity.

Our biggest challenge on the day of the wedding was that the cakes ended up being a total disaster. I handled that by being as graceful and appearing as nonchalant as I could possibly muster, but honestly, it still upsets me when I think about it.


My favorite moment: The processional started with my posse on one side behind a garage and Lane's posse hidden in a little alcove on the other side, so that everyone came from each side and met in the middle to walk down the aisle. Our fathers and stepmothers went first because we wanted to honor them, and then the Adventure Squad, and then our mothers walked us to the middle and they walked down the aisle together, essentially giving us to each other to make the journey down the aisle together. We wanted to honor our mothers for raising us and symbolize them leading us through our young lives, and take the final steps together to symbolize our relationship up to that point. It worked out really nicely and meant a lot to us and our mothers to do it that way.

Our wedding party all did readings, and my mother and her boyfriend sang “Anyone Else But You” and “All I Want is You” from the Juno soundtrack, accompanied by a friend on acoustic guitar. Juno was one of the first movies we saw together. Having the ceremony be so personal, saying exactly what we wanted it to say, and having people so close to us perform every part of it was amazing.



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Honestly, we weren't sure how the ceremony would go over with more conservative members of our families. We just hoped no one would be so offended that they made a scene or walked out. But everybody behaved themselves and participated.

Also, the wedding was in mid-March, and the week before we had gone to the site to see how the flowers were blooming. There weren't many to speak of. It was a little disappointing, but we hoped that a little rainfall would spur them on. Sure enough, the day of the ceremony, the wisteria had exploded out of nowhere and there were colorful blossoms everywhere you looked. And the weather, which Lane's mother had worried about the entire engagement, could not have been more beautiful.


My advice for offbeat brides: Don't shy away from doing something you really want because you think your families might think you're too “out there.” I thought our families would never go for the mad tea party theme, would freak out at the Pagan-Christian ceremony, and would have fits over me wearing a blue dress and sneakers, but they not only took everything in stride, they embraced our ideas. Chances are your families already know you're a little offbeat, and they won't be surprised or shocked when your wedding is a little offbeat too.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Don't DIY as much or depend on family and friends for so much! We stressed the day of the wedding setting everything up ourselves, and our families started cleaning things up before we were really ready. Our friend made the cakes that ended up being a total disaster, and it really damaged the relationship. We wish now that we could have paid someone to do set up and clean up and had a professional do the cakes, but the budget didn't allow for it at the time.


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Comments on Candyce & Lane’s mad hatter garden tea party wedding

  1. First of all I LOVE your dress! What an amazing color! Second, I appreciate your slight warning about including too many friends or family members. Some people have huge, awesome groups of people who they can totally rely on to do a great job (maybe even a better job than you could’ve imagined!). Some people, well, don’t! It’s important to assess what kind of group you have and what your expectations are (if x task isn’t perfect because of a friend, will you be mad?) before delegating tasks to unpaid helpers. You obviously had a lovely wedding no matter what!

  2. Beautiful wedding and awesome theme! I love everything about it! While I am sorry to read that the cakes were a disaster, your advice is spot on and I couldn’t agree more!

  3. I LOVE your hubby’s hat! What an awesome color! And I love y’all’s coordinating shoes! Custom, I’m assuming?

  4. It was a fabulous wedding and I was so honored to be your maid of honor! I was so proud of how well you put it together! Your cake for your anniversary will be much better! Promise! We love you! You will always be, rylans first wedding!

  5. Awesomeness! Congrats guys! Your dress is wowza! I love the shoes too, so sweet 😀 I’m so happy you have such beautiful pictures to remember your special day. Sorry to hear about the cakes, but I agree with Mandee..having a “make-up” cake was my instant thought after reading about them. I’m really into the cake scene, so would you mind telling me what exactly made them a disaster? ( I totally understand if you don’t). Maybe you can do “Alice Through the Looking Glass” for an anniversary theme? 😉 Also, did you get any feedback about the dress from anyone? I’m really interested in brides’ experiences from those that have gone down that road. I’m envisioning a deeply colored gown myself and curious to know.. Congratulations again!

    • The bride’s cake fell on the way to the venue, and she ended up going out and buying some store-bought cakes, and just slapped what she could salvage from the original on top of them so there would be SOMETHING. That in itself sucked (especially because she didn’t take a picture first so I’ll never know what it was supposed to look like), but would have just been unfortunate and forgivable. But she had barely started on the groom’s cake at all, it looked TERRIBLE, and there was so little of it my poor groom didn’t even get to taste his own cake. 🙁 That’s unforgivable.

      I got tons of compliments on the dress and still do, even from conservative family. When I first told people I would be in blue I got a few, “But how will people know you’re the BRIDE????” Um, I’m pretty sure if they’re at my wedding they’ll know I’m the bride! But when everyone saw it they just loved it and said it was very “me”.

  6. It was beautiful and a lot of fun! The ceremony was heart-felt and well done, and I’m really happy I was invited. Thank you Candyce, it was beautiful.

  7. I love the color theme and especially your DRESS and the venue looks amazingly gorgeous (almost surreal!) and I love your music choices…. awesome wedding!

  8. DRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my god you are rocking that dress so hard. Also, I adore the top hats (both of them) and your choice of music. Looks like such a fun wedding

  9. The venue is absolutely beautiful, and I can only imagine how amazing it’d be to be surrounded by flowers and peacocks! I’m so, so sorry about your cake incident–and actually kind of confirmed a “worry” I’ve had; they say never do business with friends or family. I’m so sorry that happened, and I’m especially sorry that you were disappointed on your wedding day AND lost a friendship. 🙁

  10. What a fun wedding! I love everything about it! One thing I’m dying to know about is your bouquet. It’s GORGEOUS! Is it a combination of real and fake flowers? I see some that appear to be paper, the jeweled one as well, but the greenery looks real.

    • The flowers are all real except for two brooches, the jeweled one, and the other one is made out of layers of satin. I got both on Etsy – a bride’s best friend!

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