I Didn’t Want a Wedding pt 1 | Off Piste

I have a big week of real weddings for you this week and I couldn’t be more excited. In addition to this amazing wedding with an amazing story and amazing advice (yes, I said “amazing” three times, but it’s true) I’m honored to have two real weddings from a couple of blogger friends of mine: Natalie of Sour Cherry and Alicia from The Charity Wedding.

bride and groom in a corn field

But today we’ll kick off with and Off Piste wedding shot by the amazing Carolyn Scott (yep, there it is again.) One thing I like about Carolyn Scott is her attention to emotional details: the ceremony, the reception, and the guests. You’ll not only find beautiful detail shots and bridal portraits, but also meaningful ceremony and fun reception shots.

And finally, there’s so much talk in the industry (incessant talk actually) about the “true meaning” of a wedding. The default answer: “a wedding is about the couple.” But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the wedding is about, or rather for, the family and friends. Abby and Greg didn’t want a wedding, but they had one anyway–a big one–for the love of family.


succulent and herb wedding details

scrabble and tractor wedding details

meaningful wedding details

short dress and cotton boutonniere

DIY wedding sign

walking to the ceremony

ceremony with colorful chuppa

thumbprint guest book and bookish tablescapes

country boots and bright red bouquet

DIY escort cards and meal tickets

From Abby:

Tell us about your wedding:

I’m afraid this isn’t the happiest answer, but originally we didn’t want a wedding. I’ve never pictured myself as a bride, and we both have a little bit of anxiety about being the center of attention. However, my parents felt very strongly about a wedding and when we told them we wanted to get married with just our immediate families they said no way, I cried, and then we avoided the whole topic for a month. In my partner’s infinite wisdom he said, “We’ve lost the war, but we can still win smaller battles.” So we resigned to having a big wedding (their choice), but tried to make it feel like us in small ways. And in hindsight, I’m really glad we did it their way because they hadn’t had a wedding, so in a way, this was a celebration of their marriage as well as the beginning of ours.

As for the inspiration that made it feel special to us – first and foremost is Grisha’s desire to create as little waste as possible. We knew everyone would be from out of town, so we tried to offset the environmental impact of their travels by lodging them close to the event, using recycled paper, buying local flowers, and re-purposing items as much as possible. At times we felt overwhelmed because since I hadn’t been dreaming of my wedding, I had no ideas what I wanted and it took a lot of time to eliminate options. Ultimately, I think our inspiration was rooted in Russian dachas, Southern hospitality and the early 60’s.


What are three things you’re glad you did?

Is it wrong that the three things I’m glad I did are all choosing the perfect vendors for us?

  • I am glad I had a “day-of” coordinator – it really let me spend as much time as possible with my guests and partner rather than worrying about all the behind the scenes things.
  • I’m glad I had a photographer that jived with my style, because it took a way a lot of that anxiety about being the center of attention but not at the expense of beautiful photos.
  • And lastly I’m glad we found an officiant that was willing to honor our desires for a secular ceremony that felt inclusive to people with religious tendencies – we had a diverse family present and she made everyone aware of the sanctity of the day without using any alienating words or mannerisms.


Three things you wish you had done?

I wish I had:

  • been able to shower day of (wasn’t supposed to on the hair-dressers order)
  • spent more time with Grisha at the reception
  • had dessert (I literally forgot).


Things you wish you hadn’t done or hadn’t worried about?

(All the things I wish I hadn’t done were about worrying).

  • I wish I hadn’t worried about my mom (she took on so many projects and I got stressed that she wouldn’t be able to finish them).
  • I also wish I hadn’t worried about making sure our guests were comfortable, happy, entertained. It’s in our nature to worry about such things when we’re hosts – but they are adults, they can take care of themselves.
  • There were things I consciously made an effort not to worry about during the planning process – like an early frost, which would mean no flowers since all our vendors were local.
  • I wish people would have stopped asking me if I was nervous – because it made me feel guilty that I wasn’t.

What is your very best hindsight advice?

  • Stick to your intuition about what’ll look good – because it’s most important that it looks good to you.
  • On the bus ride in it occurred to me that one of the things I am most grateful for is not taking our honeymoon right away. It prevents the post-wedding blues because it’s something to look forward to and plan for – but it also lets you recover from your wedding, spend time after the wedding with guests and start remembering and reflecting on the day immediately without confounding it with airplanes and luggage and other adventures.


bride and groom at the lake

outdoor bridal portraits near a lake

bouquet and invitations

bride and groom on a hammock

fun family reception

photo booth and family photos

local music

bride and groom with guests at photobooth

Black and white bridal portrait

 Team Wedding

 DIY Action

  •  Invitations+Envelopes
  • Mantle+doors (bought from a gun store in rural NC – quite the adventure!) – we just cleaned them and painted the mantle
  • Place cards
  • Programs
  • Centerpieces (All my mom – collecting for years. Grew the succulents this summer).
  • Family photo board
  • Bouquet and flowers
  • Hair clip and earrings and veil
  • Welcome packets (they were overkill, but epic, I’m sorry you didn’t get to see them Carolyn. I attached a photo).
  • Huppah (made by Grisha’s mom – my favorite detail from the whole day)
  • And of course our wedding blog – which took a fair amount of time, but helped make our guests feel really connected to the day.