Rebecca Isaac

The Offbeat Bride: Rebecca, Artist/Art Teacher

Her offbeat partner: Isaac, History Professor/Artist

Date and location of wedding: Wine Cellar Park, Dunbar, WV — May 3, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We are both artists and have a lot of creative, amazing friends, so we pretty much crowdsourced our wedding. Our photographers are both friends of ours, and we also had friends snap photos with their smartphones and cameras. Also, our amazing cake was made by a friend of mine who is an avocational baker. He completely blew us away with this cake. I think there are more photos of the cake than of us. True story.

wedding party


guest globe

My brother, father, and I cooked all the reception food, which was tricky with all the last-minute wedding chaos, but we saved a lot of money that way. I created all the bouquets, centerpieces, and flower girl crowns, and a friend created the flower girls' tutus. We also hired an artist friend to paint a picture of our wedding, putting our guests into the picture.


first look6

Tell us about the ceremony:
Isaac is a pagan/syncretist and I am Episcopalian. Though our core beliefs are very similar, we had to find a way to represent both our faiths in one ceremony. This meant basically constructing our ceremony from scratch. We wrote everything, not just the vows, with the help of our celebrant, Staci, and my attendants. The result was a sort of unusual ceremony: sort of a handfasting with elements pulled from our faiths (and even Pablo Neruda!). Here is an excerpt:

For years, Rebecca and Isaac traveled toward each other; journeys that took them across four continents, thirteen countries, and twenty-seven states. They've encountered enormous obstacles, had amazing adventures. They've seen incredible things, from the Taj Mahal to the Sydney Opera House. They've had triumphs over difficulty, had to walk away from failures, learned important lessons, and said hello and goodbye to people who have changed their lives. They've taught in classrooms and created art and made music and participated as active members of their communities. They've brought children into this world — children who stand with them today as a new family, at this exciting milestone along their journey. So many things had to happen just so for these two paths to cross at just the right time for this love to happen at all. But that is the miraculous thing about love — it happens, despite incredible odds. Love perseveres.


And here were our vows:

I promise to speak to you with honesty and listen to you authentically. I will never lose sight of my immense respect and admiration for you. I will trust in you as my best friend and equal. I will support you in being your best self and realizing your dreams. I will love your son as I love my own children, and nurture these relationships through all the bumps and craziness that blending families brings. I will make our home always a sanctuary of peace, and a refuge from all the chaos of the world around us. With this ring, we begin our journey together.


I promise to always strive to treat you as you desire to be treated, with the utmost of concern, care and humility. I will be your collaborator in matters of the heart, family and most importantly happiness. Together we can work to better everyone's lives around us, including ourselves. Through the crazy and detrimental whirlwinds of life, as well as calmer times, I will support you as a lover, friend and confidant. Even when your faith in yourself falters, I promise to remain by your side to remind you of your strength. I promise to respect, love and guide your children as if they were my own. Mo Beannu, you truly are my blessing. With this ring, we begin our journey together.


Our biggest challenge:
I think the biggest challenge of our wedding was putting together a wedding that was fun for everyone. I'm not really sure why weddings have to be formal, but I found that it's surprisingly difficult to convince people that they're allowed to have fun. For instance, we set up games to the side of the ceremony site so little ones could play while the grown-ups were being boring (and so parents could watch them and watch the wedding at the same time.) But it was difficult to get people to realize that it's OK for kids to play during the wedding and to make noise. It really wasn't a distraction, but some moms still stressed out about their kids getting fidgety during the ceremony.



Also, at the end of the ceremony, we high-fived, the song “Say Hey, I Love You” came on, and we danced back down the aisle, high-fiving everyone. We made sure a few people in the audience knew we would do that so they would respond accordingly so others would catch on, but there were a few people who seriously did not know how to deal with that.



My favorite moment:
I created a wedding day itinerary that I sent to everyone involved in the wedding, from the celebrant to the attendants, to family and friends. This made everything go more smoothly, because everyone knew where to find everyone else, and it was easier to stick to the schedule because there wasn't any confusion. This also allowed me to schedule 30 minutes of “decompression time” before the ceremony. We hid out at a park bench on one of the hiking trails in the park and waited for the procession to start. It gave us a little bit of time to talk. We had barely seen each other all week! and just chill out before the wedding. It was such an awesome 30 minutes to take it all in and get centered.

It was also very meaningful to me to have my daughter stand with me as a junior bridesmaid. Just hanging out with her and my two best friends for the day was a blast. We went for pre-wedding sushi after getting our hair done, and the four of us had a lot of silly fun all weekend.

ring security

Isaac and I both have children. My youngest son and his only son served as “ring security” for the wedding. Originally, we decided to do this because we didn't want to lose the rings, but it ended up being a very meaningful (and hilarious) part of the service. To see them walking together, as brothers, to bring the rings, which are the symbols of our marriage (and, if you think about it, the official joining of their lives as brothers) brought a lot of happy tears. These two also caused a few laughs because they took their jobs VERY seriously and wouldn't let the photographer get a pre-wedding shot of the rings.

Another truly meaningful moment was when Isaac's sister, Sarah, toasted us. She has Prader-Willi Syndrome, and she and Isaac are so close. She wanted so badly to give us a toast, but got too emotional and couldn't get it out. We went to her to hug her and let her know how much we love her, and that was such a cool moment.


My funniest moment:
The funniest moment of the wedding was when Joshua, one of the groomsmen's sons, had had just about enough of not being able to go to his dad, so he tore away from his mom, ran up to the front of the service, yelled “DADDDYYYYY!” and he had on this tiny baby kilt just like his dad's. It was seriously the cutest moment of the entire day.


Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
My first wedding was a really big deal. It was a huge event with a lot of guests and food and imprinted napkins and wedding favors and all those things you think you just HAVE TO HAVE or it's just not a wedding. And that was an awesome wedding, but it was exhausting, and I really didn't get to experience most of it because I had so many guests to greet, photos to take, etc. Isaac's first wedding was a much more informal, but more personalized event. We really wanted our wedding to be something we could truly enjoy, together, and to be comfortable and stress-free for everyone involved. We also didn't want to spend as much money on things that wouldn't really matter to anyone. So we prioritized a few things and didn't worry about the rest.

photo (3)

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Comments on Rebecca & Isaac’s kid-friendly forest handfasting

  1. Oh my goodness, this is exactly what I want out of my wedding. A fun, relaxed, atmosphere that’s still full of glamour and personality. How gorgeous.

  2. I have never seen that colour scheme before: Grey, coral and peach – it’s absolutely gorgeous. And your ring security! So cool and so cute!

    • This color scheme just sort of happened! We actually started with coral and turquoise. Being flexible worked out!

  3. I love everything about your wedding! The color scheme is really pretty and the ring security boys are so cute! How is the family doing blending into one unit? Everything looks so relaxed and fun! Congratulations!

    • Thanks!!! The family is blending really well. There have been some rough spots, but we have been really open and communicative at every stage, so that helped. Isaac actually asked my kids about marrying me before speaking to my parents. I think it helped a lot that they had a voice in the decision. Although, the two little guys were trying to get us married a year ago, so they’ve always been on board!

  4. Thanks for sharing your wedding. You can feel the love, warmth and silliness. Congrats!

  5. It looked like so much fun! So sorry I couldn’t make it, but I’m glad you had such a wonderful and special day!

  6. Beautiful! I hope our wedding gives people the feels like yours did me! And the painting, what a wonderful way to preserve the moment!

  7. Wow, your flowers are spectacular! As soon as I saw that first pretty photo on the OBB homepage, I thought: “THOSE FLOWERS! … I bet she’s a super-creative person and did them herself.” Yep! You did a wonderful job of choosing colours and arranging all the bouquets, in addition to planning what looks like a warm, fun, expressive ceremony and reception. 🙂

  8. How beautiful! I love the pic where your sons seem to be doing good cop-bad cop thing with their ring security roles- cute!!

  9. I absolutely loved this ceremony! I have been looking at OBB for a couple of months now and it is honestly one of the most charming and wonderful that I have seen. It invokes exactly the type of relaxed and beautiful vibe that my FH and I hope to achieve with our own ceremony. Congratulations on your love and life together.

  10. I love, love, love that painting! What an awesome idea, and you’ll have it forever to display. I love the warmth of your wedding.

    • Thank you! The painting is awesome. It’s so fun and happy, and every time I look at it, I see Ian Bode versions of all my favorite people. I love that he painted my brother at the grill, and little Joshua in his baby kilt! It’s so much better than a guest book that would go in a shelf and probably never get picked up again.

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