Melissa & James’ Woodland Bohemian European Wedding!

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The offbeat bride: Melissa, Community Health

Her offbeat partner: James, Full-time Homeschoolin' Dad

Location & date of wedding: Medieval Wall Lined City Carcassonne, France – August 23rd, 2008


What made our wedding offbeat: We traveled Europe from England to Italy and stopped for a few days to get married. We didn't pick the exact location until we arrived! Since we were given the freedom to do as we pleased by the site, we did just that…

We found an awesome location in between the two medieval walls and set up “camp”. We sat on piles of coloured tulle, whilst the celebrant stood before us calling all tourists to gather 'round!

We hired a Humanist Officiant whom we flew over from Ireland to marry us which was very serendipitous for her and totally threw her into the “fly by the seat of our pants” lifestyle we lead.


I had my '50s-inspired prom dress custom made and allowed my 10-year-old the freedom to design her own. I wore greens shoes, green ribbon with a white dress and a green lace parasol to spice it up a bit.

A Lovely Love Story

We DIYed so much: kids' wands, flower alternative to ring pillow, flower baskets, my feather wand and fascinator, our tiaras, invites, etc. We also chose a location in France and sent invites to no one! The DIY invites were for my scrapbook and my announcements were sent from France.

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2894891142 3e362f8b5e b alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

We wrote our entire ceremony and vows, which included surprise readings such as “A Lovely Love Story” (which was the very first gift I received from James before we met face to face) and a fun children's book, “I Like You” written by Sandol Stoddard.

We collected as many cover versions of the songs we love and wanted played throughout the ceremony, which ranged from Regina Spektor's “Fidelity” to Dave Matthew's version of “In My Life.”

It was a really incredible thing to walk down the THAT aisle! I felt like I was in a big ol' castle…very bizarre and totally amazing!

I walked down my stone-ledged aisle between the walls of the medieval city to “La Valse D'Amelie” by Yann Tiersen because it seemed very fitting. It was a really incredible thing to walk down the THAT aisle! I felt like I was in a big ol' castle…very bizarre and totally amazing!

"Fairy"~tale flowers

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge whilst planning the wedding is a “nature of the beast” issue. It all started very small and casual, then weeks passed and the brainstorming occurred, then friends added to the idea pot and before we know it we are in full out event planning mode and completely stuck. We lived and breathed this wedding.

Trouble is, being a family, with schooling, work and lives beyond our wedding, we near killed ourselves to get it all done in time! But I have to say, still managed to love every minute of it!


My favorite moment: I would have to say my favourite part of the wedding was the whole bohemian feel! It had a really surreal feel to it. Whilst I was overwhelmed at the amount of strangers that wanted pictures with me and gathered 'round to watch, it soon faded and suddenly it was as if it were just the six of us in the world.

Tender Love s - Copy

My insane Husband!

Center of attention

My offbeat advice: Go with the flow. Everything comes in waves. Some things are overwhelmingly exciting and other things, not so much. Boldly create the images you have in your mind and everything else will fall into place.

There wasn't a single day that I questioned my sanity…and well, neither should you! Ride those waves, baby!

You can see more photos here.


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Comments on Melissa & James’ Woodland Bohemian European Wedding!

  1. Wow. That is one neat wedding. It really makes you realize that a wedding does not have to be cookie cutter and orthodox. This is what mattered to them, and this is what they did.

    Way to think outside of the box.

    And GORGEOUS, too.

  2. First off, HOORAY for Edward Monkton 🙂 And Congratulations! Also, kudos to the homeschooling daddy 🙂

  3. Wow “La Valse D’Amelie”! One of my favourite pieces of music — great choice!

  4. WOW! That’s so cool! Love the place you got married at; all the pictures look AMAZING! Congratulations!

  5. This was one of my favorite weddings so far on the OBB tribe- everything is so beautiful and I love the close-knit, family feeling. And did I say beautiful?

  6. Thank you ladies:)

    Truly an amazing time and pleased to have been featured here:)

    What an awesome community of like-minded couples we have here! xx

  7. Your flower alternative to a ring pillow is beautiful! Would you mind sharing how you made it?

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