Unbridled wedding

Some brides just aren’t that into it—until they make it their own

Personal touches at Rachael and Wade Tullar’s wedding included her stepdad as officiant and flowers by her aunt.

Personal touches at Rachael and Wade Tullar’s wedding included her stepdad as officiant and flowers by her aunt.


Some brides and grooms just aren’t that into it. They’re not into the hoopla, the “industrial wedding complex” that tends to include things like overpriced floral displays, white wedding dresses and three tiers of attractive though inedible fondant. Or maybe they like the idea of flowers, dress, cake, etc., but they want their personal stamp to be all over them, preferably at low cost.

“We just kind of picked a location and, other than that, everything wasn’t terribly important,” says Rachael Tullar, who married her husband, Wade Tullar, this past July. “We weren’t all into making it into some big extravagant thing.”

The Tullars had a small wedding of about 55 guests at The Chism House, a historic estate and event venue by the Truckee River in Reno.

“I didn’t necessarily think the wedding should be a big deal, but just something that came together,” says Rachael. “My mom, she had all of these grand ideas, and I was like, ‘Whatever.’ I kind of pretty much went with whatever she wanted to do.”

Rachael only became more interested in the wedding plans as they became more personalized. For instance, her aunt did the flower arrangements, which included some of her grandmother’s roses. A friend took the photos, and her stepdad was their officiant. They also made their own invitations, had the local but now defunct Brickhouse Bakery make them a vegan cake, her mom created some decorations, and their rehearsal dinner was a barbecue at their house.

“I liked that it wasn’t such a commercial wedding, and then I did kind of get into it a bit more,” says Rachael.

The Tullars chose some “conventional” routes that helped them keep their sanity, especially given that they weren’t particularly excited about wedding planning. For instance, holding it at a location geared toward weddings took a lot of logistics work out of their equation. They also hired a caterer rather than do it themselves, and when a friend couldn’t DJ at the last minute, they hired someone to do that, too.

“I think I’m kind of a middle-of-the-road bride,” says Rachael.

Other couples go clear to the other side of the road, opting for red or purple dresses, punk rock processionals or bare bones ceremonies (a daring feat in itself). While major bridal magazines haven’t yet caught on to the needs of these couples, the blogosphere sure has. From antibride.com to anotherfuckingwedding.com, brides past and future are posting their ideas and inspirations for making a wedding truly their own.

Some of the best “unbride” ideas we’ve found

Fingerprint rings. The artists from Brent Williams Designs send you an impression kit for your fingerprint. You send it back, and they make a wedding ring out of it in white gold, yellow gold or platinum silver, all for about $140 bucks with shipping. Search “fabuluster” at etsy.com. Tattooed wedding bands are another option.

Get a Flickr account and have guests take photos with their digital cameras and post them to the account.

A Rice Krispies cake, decorated with fruit or flowers. See it at thebrokeassbride.com.

Vampire-themed wedding: The Twilight craze has extended beyond the cinema and bookstore. It’s turning up in weddings, with red and black color schemes, red goblets, red lipstick, and lots of vampy poses. One guess as to what will happen when it’s time for “You may kiss the bride.” See it at theunbride.com

Find out how to spend just $50 on flowers at tenthousandonly.blogspot.com.

Shoes: They can be neon green if she wants them to be. He can wear sandals, Converses or cowboy boots. Along with a fancier dress or suit, they look cute and fun, not cheap and foolish.

Walk down the aisle together. Or dance! See jkweddingdance.com.

Bridesmaids carry giant lollipops or balloons, rather than flowers.

Hold a storybook wedding where the ring bearer and flower girl dress up like Little Red Riding Hood or Max from Where the Wild Things Are. Encourage your guests to get into the spirit of it with their own costumes. Great shots of this idea are at helmutwalker.blogspot.com

“Just focus on what you really want to do,” says Rachael. “It can be overwhelming with everyone trying to tell you their ideas of what they think you should have. Focus on what you and your husband want.”

Great websites for “unbrides,” the budget-savvy and the inspiration-seeking: