Lesley & Nick’s laid back, vegetarian, Buddhist wedding

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Photos by Anna Christine Photography

The offbeat bride: Lesley, Gardener at Zoo

Her offbeat partner: Nick, DJ

Location & date of wedding: Great Oak Commons Park/Art Box Art Gallery in Stutz Building/Lockerbie Pub, Indianapolis, IN — September 4, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We cut costs by skipping the favors, cake, guest book, fancy invites or programs. Instead, we had postcard invitations with an email rsvp. We DIY’d bouquets with flowers from the local farmer’s market. We only spent ten dollars a piece. We made our centerpieces for the reception out of found items in nature. (Moss growing on rocks in Mason jars, allium heads, pine cones, river rocks.)

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I wore a 1950s, ivory, tea length vintage dress. Nick and I wore matching peacock shoes/saddle oxfords. I wore my grandmother’s wedding ring, which she wore for almost fifty years.

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We didn’t have any set bridesmaids’ or groomsmen attire. Everyone wore what they wanted. We had mixed wedding parties. (Nick had a best woman and I had two best men.)

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Our ceremony was performed by our friends and we exchanged Buddhist vows. Then we had a vegetarian brunch with fresh local food. No alcohol! Later, we had beer and fun for whoever wanted to come to a dive bar that night. Also, we had fifteen flavors of cupcakes. I got henna on my hands and feet. I had to be still for twelve hours and couldn’t bathe for twenty. It was well worth it.

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We planned our wedding in three months. We didn’t pay any rental fees. We just showed up at the park guerilla style, had a quick ceremony and then headed off to the art gallery, which was borrowed from a friend.

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I have five friends who are DJ’s, so they handled the music for the party at the bar, complete with a cheesy first dance. We only used a photographer for the ceremony and we used a high school student who is aspiring to be a professional photographer. I think she did great!

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Tell us about the ceremony: We didn’t do a procession and no one gave me away. We had remarks from our friends who were the officiants about us as individuals. Then one couple and then a friend sang a song a capella. Another good friend read Nikki Giovanni’s poem, Resignation. We then exchanged Buddhist wedding vows, exchanged rings, presented each other with katas and we were married!

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Our biggest challenge: The guest list. We wanted to keep it small because we were paying for it, but we also didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We kept the wedding and brunch reception at around ninety people (vegetarian and no alcohol) and opened up the bar to anyone who wanted to come. Everyone was somehow included and there was no elbow rubbing of grandma and our drunken friends.

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My favorite moment: Realizing we were really doing it! The speeches our two friends (officiants) gave were so heartfelt and wonderful. Our friend, Bashiri Asad, sang one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs, “You And I,” and caused a few tears to be shed. Having our closest friends and family gathered around us on an unusually cool morning in a park was humbling and comforting.

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My funniest moment: Our officiant said we were not officially married until we took out our iPhones and changed our status to “married” on Facebook. Also, we were forced into doing an awkward first dance to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at the bar that night. We don’t dance together, so it was really amusing.

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My advice for offbeat brides: The internet was my friend. I found a wedding band, dress, shoes, petticoat and decorations (lanterns) for the reception, all online. Also, if it doesn’t get done — it just doesn’t matter. I wanted a photo booth and to do mad libs, but we ran out of time. Things went great anyway.

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I have, Nick has not. I had a civil ceremony and no fanfare of any sort the first time around. Coincidentally, it was telling of my marriage as a whole. This was perfect and amazing. I hope our marriage is just as joyful!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To calm the f’ down! I spazzed more than I should have. I would fixate on something small and it wasn’t worth the stress. Everything fell into place. Also, to not hold grudges just because someone doesn’t want to help out with the wedding. It’s all been a lesson in letting go and living in the moment.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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