Shaun & Lauren’s Quaker and Buddhist inspired, Seuss-ian beach wedding

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Cuteness during ceremony
Photos courtesy of Limelight Photography

The offbeat groom: Shaun, Resident Director

His offbeat partner: Lauren, aka Dr. Wifey, D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) intern

Location & date of wedding: Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club on Lido Key, Sarasota, FL — June 20, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was offbeat in a variety of ways. There was a general subversion of gender roles with the groom referring to himself as “the bride” and doing the vast majority of planning, organizing, and fretting. There were the groomspeople and a best person, all women and self-described as the harem of horrors, as well as the man of honor.

First Look
Photos courtesy of Limelight Photography

Our only registry was a donation one through Just Give in which gifts went to FINCA, Oxfam, CPC Watch, Med Students For Choice, Scarleteen, ASPCA, and others charities. While we are vegetarians, compromise with parents led to the reception (although not the rehearsal dinner) including some meat; however, what little meat there was came from sustainable sources.

Wedding Favors
Sand dollar wedding favors!

Etsy was the source of the handmade veil and the bride’s engagement ring which was made from recycled silver and a conflict-free sapphire. The sand dollar favors were handpicked by the couple or their friends and mostly from the same beach we got married on.

Wedding Cakes
Cat in the Hat groom’s cake!!

We had a Dr. Suess theme pop up in numerous places. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was one of the readings. The groom’s cake was a vertical Cat in the Hat hat. Tables were named after Suess characters such as the Lorax and Thing 1. And instead of a guestbook, we used words of wisdom cards with a Seuss character on them for guests to write a wish or words of wisdom about marriage.

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was conducted under a canopy on Lido beach with the Gulf of Mexico in the background. We strove for as egalitarian and gender-neutral of a ceremony as we could.

Our Buddhist-inspired vows emphasized compassion, working for others, and remaining open-minded. Each question of the vows was jointly responded to with “we do.” Our man of honor and best person did our readings, and both of the bride’s parents walked her down the aisle.

The First Kiss
Photos courtesy of Limelight Photography

We incorporated two Quaker traditions: the wedding certificate and the time of silence. The couple signed the Quaker wedding certificate, which was huge – approximately two feet by three feet, during the ceremony and everyone else signed afterward. While a traditional Quaker wedding would be entirely a time of silence, we still had this be a significant portion of our ceremony. We really appreciated the messages shared by our friends and families.

Seussian Words of Wisdom Cards
Photos courtesy of Limelight Photography.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was negotiating with a set of more traditional parents but that’s pretty typical.

The biggest atypical challenge was Lauren bouncing around from state to state for med school until the last month before the wedding. This was compounded by the fact that Shaun has a stereotypical lack of style and thus needed to run most planning items by Lauren so she could veto, approve, or offer suggestions about them. Lots of phone conversations and email were had.

Wedding Cake Toppers
Dino salt shakers for cake toppers!

My favorite moment: The most meaningful part of our wedding was probably, just all the family and friends that were able to make it. Very few of them were from nearby with most being in the Midwest and East coast.

My funniest moment: During the time of silence, one of the boats nearby briefly started playing the Chicken Dance. Everyone giggled a little. What made this particularly special is that Lauren’s grandmother loved that song but she passed away a year before. Lauren and her family took it as a sign that her grandmother was breaking the silence to share a message that she approved of the marriage. Sunset photoshoot

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Even though Shaun spent hours and hours putting together the play list for the dance party, we worried about our friends and family getting their groove on. It turned out amazing though, with our friends dancing to Tunak Tunak, Baby Got Back and everyone getting their Thriller and Safety Dance on.

Dance Party: Thriller
Photo by Limelight.

My advice for offbeat brides: Plan and organize, yet remember not everything will go flawlessly and that’s okay. Have a backup plan in mind for major pieces.

Such pretty feet
Photos courtesy of Limelight Photography

For offbeat grooms that function as personal space heaters and are getting married in hot weather, under armour works very well for minimal sweat visible on clothing. It worked well for us at the end of June in Florida (90s with high humidity).

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? How to balance assertiveness with compromise.

Care to share a few vendor links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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