The Offbeat Bride: Jessica – Sr. Office Assistant

Her Offbeat Partner: Lantrel – Business Services Manager

Location & date of wedding: Father of the bride's backyard, Stockton, CA — 06/20/2009

What made our wedding offbeat: At the tender age of 18, my husband and I snuck to the county clerks office and tied the knot, without our family's blessing or knowledge. Thirteen years later we decided we would love to reaffirm our vows and love for one another and have our families witness it this time.

3838408126 f566019dca m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)As I begun my planning, I realized there was a lot more websites and information out there for first weddings, but not so much for vow renewals. I didn't know what the correct etiquette was for a vow renewal. Finally, I decided I didn't need to follow whatever that correct etiquette may be and I could do whatever I wanted!

I, a mother of two, wore a tea length WHITE dress with a black petticoat and black high heels. My husband and our children wore Chuck Taylors. Wedding cake? Cute little matching cupcakes? NOPE! I decided to get all gourmet cupcakes in a variety of delicious flavors. The term “vow renewal” is not exactly what we followed. My husband listed all the things he loves about me, like how I make the BEST chocolate chip cookies, and I decided to let him know that, although I went into our first wedding day with my eyes closed, I could not have made a better decision. It was sweet, simple, and we made it work under $1500 TOTAL!


Our biggest challenge: Cost was our biggest challenge, as I am sure it is for a lot of couples. Times are hard. I had to dim out a lot of the ideas of what I thought this day would be. Even the cheapest venues can still be quite pricey if you don't have a lot of money to work with. We wanted to keep the total cost under $1500. That was dress, shoes, food, everything.

3837617299 928b6d5325 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)After months of checking out and researching different venues, I decided to have it in my dad's back yard. He has a water way in his backyard and I thought it would be a nice background. I knew I wanted a retro inspired wedding dress and found lots of amazing sites that had beautiful dresses, but most were out of my small budget. I finally found a site that had the perfect dress at the perfect price and also sold the crinoline slip for underneath! I am lucky enough to have a retired caterer in my family that said she would do all the food for me as a gift. My father-in-law bought all the meat and cooked it for us. You'd be amazed once things get rolling how much everyone offers to help and everything falls in to place.

3837621783 38f9acbbb7 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)My favorite moment: My favorite moment of our beautiful day was walking down to my husband, holding our youngest son's hand, while our older son played an acoustic version of the song “Running,” by No Doubt on his guitar. Looking into my husband's eyes, full of love, and knowing that after thirteen years of marriage we are more in love than the day we got married and that we loved each other enough to want to do it again.

My advice for other offbeat brides: It doesn't have to be that expensive wedding you have ideas for in your head. If money is tight, you can make it work and things can turn out surprisingly well on not much money at all. The hard thing is changing how you have always envisioned the day in your mind. But if your able to do that, you will still be very happy. You can do different versions of the expensive things and just change up the norm.

3838413538 786646aa1a m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
My dress was from a website I found that has lots of unique dresses to choose from at reasonable prices: Unique Vintage

My photographer happens to be a friend. She is amazing! AND very affordable!: Bella Mena Photography

The cupcakes were seriously a huge hit! I think everyone enjoyed that there was such a variety. Some tables of guests were cutting there cupcakes in quarters so they could all share and taste the different flavors of yumminess!: Cupcake Craving

Enough talk — show me the vow renewal porn!:

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Comments on Jessica & Lantrel’s sweet & simple vow reaffirmation

  1. This is gorgeous all round. The people, the cupcakes, the dress and the sentiments. I love that one son walked with you, whilst the other played you in. Beautiful.

  2. I love Unique Vintage! I'm lucky enough to be near their brick-and-mortar store, so though I haven't bought anything from them (yet), I've tried on quite a few. I didn't know they sold crinolines, though, I'll have to check that out.

  3. How beautiful. I love that all the weddings on your blog focus primarily on the enormous love between a couple and them expressing that to their friends and family. Any frills and bows are extra, exactly how it should be.

  4. So beautiful…just from the pics you can feel the love. Looks like an amazing day!

  5. Your family is just BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I love vow renewals, especially when they fit the couple so well… wonderful day!

  6. "thirteen years of marriage we are more in love than the day we got married" Oh! We should all be so fortunate. I wish you another 13 years of pure love! And another and another and…!

  7. aw. everything about this is gorgeous. especially the children. wishing you major love and warmth for the next thirteen years, and far beyond. reading about this wedding was a great way to start the day!

  8. I completely teared up when I read the eldest son played guitar. So beautiful. So sweet. Snuffle…To another 13 then!

  9. Sweetest OB post I’ve seen in a while. I hope my husband and I can be that lucky 13 years from now 🙂

  10. Jess, everything looks so beautiful! I probably told you already, but I’m proud of you, and happy you had such an amazing vow renewal!

  11. Crying again 🙂 So glad you guys had your day and we were all there to share it with you guys this time. It couldn't have been any better…

  12. hey! i recognize you from the l.a.m.b LJ communities!
    GORGEOUS vow renewal! you look absolutely stunning 🙂

      • 🙂
        how did the ceremony go? like, did you have an officiant? can you give me the run-down? lol
        i've been very curious how it would be led or what would be said at a re-affirmation.

        • We did have an officiant. I went back and forth on the idea of an officiant. I had asked my mom to officiate, she did not feel she would make a good one. We tossed around asking his dad, but then we thought that our family and friends would like to witness, so it would be best to find an actual officiant. We did not really renew vows. There were no "I promise to…" We wrote our own things we wanted to say to one another and we both had very different formats. He said all the things he loves about me. I don't mind posting what I said:

        • Trel, on our first wedding day my eyes were closed. On that day I did not quite understand what a marriage was really suppose to mean. On that day I did not realize the joy you would bring to my life. I didn’t know it, but on that day my dreams were answered. On this day I stand here with my eyes wide open. I believe in our marriage more strongly than ever. I am proud to stand here with you, before our family and friends and recommit ourselves to one another. You were, are and will always be the love of my life. My love for you is endless.

          You are an amazing man, a wonderful father. I am so thankful to have had these two beautiful children with you. We have so many amazing memories together from the last 15 years, and I look forward to making many more. I love you.

          The ceremony was quick. I walked down to him. The officiant talked (can't even remember what he said) we said a prayer, we each said what we had written for eachother. We did not exchange rings. After we each talked, the officiant said a few more things and then "you may kiss your bride… again!"

  13. Aaawwww… got me teared up again 🙂 Love love love this story and this celebration!

  14. The story behind this vow renewal ceremony is very touching. I'm glad to see that all went well and I wish the couple further happiness in their marriage.

  15. The picture of your family in a group hug nearly made me cry and I'm not generally prone to tears. Very very beautifull <3

  16. Can I just say? Your husband is HAWT. I have my own hottie and you look gorgeous as well, of course. (I LOVE Unique Vintage.) But seriously? Well done, woman. 😉 Happy reaffirmation!

  17. WOW, thanks so much for the link to Unique Vintage. I just spent almost an hour on there looking at dresses, I'm definitely getting mine there! I'm in love 🙂

    PS-You have a beautiful family, and I loved your pix and tips. Thanks for sharing!

  18. What a wonderful model of marriage for your children. Your beautiful kids are very blessed to have parents so in love with each other and with them.

  19. Oh so cute! This is something I'd love to do a few years down the track as it was just the 2 of us on our wedding day.

    Congratulations on your second wedding!

  20. very nice…love it. makes me realize the most important part isnt the money and classy things it can be simple and nice and still be a dream

  21. How lovely & inspiring! We’re considering renewing our vows someday too. Our wedding was fun but also very stressful, and that took away from our day a bit (though overall it was a lovely wedding).

    It will be nice to have a more relaxed day that truly reflects our happiness & commitment to one another.

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