Her offbeat partner: Ben Francka, writer and cook
Location & date of wedding: Riverwalk Jazz Café, Ozark Missouri — September 19, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: Neither of us were caught up on traditions or thoughts of “we have to do this because that’s what you do in a wedding.” A lot of it wasn’t intentional, as my experience with weddings was very limited and I had no knowledge of the “do’s” and “don’ts”, so we made it up as we went along. And it was cheap!
Because of budget restraints (the whole thing cost around $2,500) we did as much as we could by hand or asked our friends to help. I made our invitations and found most of the decorations. One of our friends was taking cake decorating classes, and we asked if she could make our cakes. I’ve always hated wedding cake, so we insisted on Carrot cake and Texas chocolate sheet cake.
I designed my dress with the theme of “every fancy dress I’ve ever wanted to wear but haven’t” and had my mother make it. She also made the tablecloths. We asked friends and family to take photos. Another friend of the family was a retired florist and agreed to make the arrangements for free if we bought the silk flowers.
We didn’t have a wedding party because we didn’t want to choose some friends but not others, so they were all unofficial wedding party members. We made playlists on my iPod and borrowed some sound equipment from a friend who has a band.
The result was a very personal and intimate event!
Our biggest challenge: Doing it all ourselves! I had very limited experience with weddings, so I didn’t know what the “traditions” were, or how most people go about doing weddings, and I often felt like everybody else in the world knew how to do this except for me. I felt like we were re-inventing the wheel a lot of the time, and the fear of “what are we doing” was pretty much constant. Luckily both of our families were behind us, and if they objected to any of our decisions they graciously kept their mouths shut, hah hah.
Finding a venue was also difficult. We had decided to move our wedding up a year, so instead of planning a wedding in a year and a half we ended up planning on in four months. That kept our options for wedding venues very small, but luckily we found the Riverwalk Jazz Cafe in the little town of Ozark, which was inexpensive, friendly, and absolutely perfect for what we wanted.
We just had to keep reminding ourselves that no matter what we did, the important part of the wedding was actually getting married, and if we got that part right the rest of it was just extra fun. That helped to keep me from getting completely insane about the little details. This way of thinking came in handy for the actual wedding day, as it rained and ruined our plans for an outdoor ceremony. We just moved it inside!
My favorite moment: Getting married! The whole wedding could be summed up as my favorite moment, honestly.
Between all the friends and family who showed up (my best friend from Canada was even able to make it!), the kids (and adults!) playing with the dinosaurs, the music, the cake, and the dancing, I’d be hard-pressed to pick a single favorite moment.
We made a cheap wedding from scratch and included everything we wanted and nothing we didn’t. When I said the wedding was going to be dinosaur and skeleton themed, nobody told me I couldn’t do that (although if they had I probably wouldn’t have listened!). It was insanely gratifying to see everybody have a good time at a party we basically invented. Everybody got into it and helped out. Our friends and family arrived early to help put all the dinosaurs together and set up the decorations. It was perfect!
My advice for other offbeat brides: Don’t panic! The higher your expectations for the world’s perfect wedding the larger your disappointment will be when those expectations aren’t met.
And have a back-up plan if something goes wrong. We were supposed to have our ceremony outside in a gazebo, but it rained! So we threw a ceremony together inside the restaurant, and the end result was much cozier and more intimate than the gazebo ever could have been.
- Dress – Upholstery remnants and half-off sari fabric from JoAnn’s Fabricks, sewn together by my mother!
- Scarf – My mother!
- Hair Fascinator – Topsy Tervy Designs
- Boots – PFI Western
- Guest Book – Grimm
- Dinosaur Skeletons – eBay and the City Museum
- Plastic dinosaurs – Amazon.com
- Candles, flowers and moss (for the centerpieces) – Hobby Lobby
- Papel Picados and Cake Topper – Mexico (courtesy of my mother)
Enough talk — show me the dino wedding porn!: