Anna & Mike’s Eff It Wedding

I’m wildly excited to share Anna’s wedding story with you. It’s one of the coolest things that’s landed in my inbox for awhile, period. This story somehow 100% captures what getting married felt like to me, and what I learned while I was planning our wedding. I could go on and on, but instead maybe I should just give you Anna:We got married on August 15th, and had planned a awesome BBQ picnic on a ranch in a meadow by a lake in the Colorado mountains. Think ribs, potato salad, home-brewed beer & apple pie, followed by an epic dance party. Nice, right?

I say “had planned” and “supposed to” because all that didn’t actually happen. Why? Well, two hours before the ceremony was set to start, it began raining. Then an hour later the temperature dropped to 37 degrees and it started hailing. Did we have a Plan B? Nope. We’d planned pretty much everything EXCEPT a Plan B because it’s usually 95 degrees and hot as h-e-double-hockey-sticks during this time of year. Snow? That wasn’t on our wedding radar. No way, no sir.
So. Our guests were set to arrive in 15 minutes, and as Mike and I watched torrential rain blow chairs over and tablecloths away, we let go of the wedding we’d worked to plan for so many months. We decided to move the whole shindig up the hill to an old barn, and hoped for the best. The most important thing was that we got married that day, and we were going to DO IT or ELSE.

But here is where things got good. Here is when our wedding actually happened. Because when the guests arrived and saw us – wearing jeans & rain slickers — moving food, supplies and tables up a muddy hill in the rain, they got to work. They created an assembly line to get chairs up to the 2nd floor of the barn for the ceremony. Mike’s brother brought the car over and started bumping Michael Jackson. The caterers moved all their equipment inside, set up the bar, and started passing whiskey around to warm everyone up. People hung lights, lit candles, and set jars of flowers (that were supposed to be for the tables) up all over the place.

And look what they did: rad, right?! Mike got dressed in his truck, and I got dressed in a horse stall. We didn’t use the tent we’d rented. Or the tables. And most of the plates/cups/dishes didn’t even get unpacked from their boxes. My dress (which I made), had 6 inches of mud on the hem. Ceremony programs? Didn’t happen. The table runners that Mike sewed? Forget it. But did we get married? Heck yeah! And did we have a good time? Absolutely! I’ll remember everyone laughing, helping and pitching in as some of the most wonderful moments of my life. Despite the rain and the mud and the cold, everyone had an amazing time. Mike and I feel that our wedding was so much more meaningful and fabulous than we ever could have planned or imagined, because the people we love most in the world came together and literally helped us get married. We couldn’t have done it without them. And the epic dance party? That totally happened. The little guys got it started off right with the “Bare Necessities,” and we closed it down at midnight with George Michael’s “Faith.” Cause that’s how we roll. I think it’s actually pretty cool that the universe rained on our wedding par
ade. It encouraged me to let go, to sit back and focus on what was REALLY happening – that all our favorite people were together in one place, & that I was promising to spend the rest of my life with my very best friend. At that moment I was able to see that things couldn’t possibly go wrong, because the most important stuff was so very right. And that’s all that mattered. All our pictures were taken by the lovely, fun, friendly and awesomely-talented Traci Griffin & her incredibly fabulous assistant Molly Watson. These two are photographer ninjas: everywhere all at once, capturing everything without being noticed, and making the whole event look magical. We have major crushes on them.

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  • Minta

    Woah. While I won't hope for rain, I can't help but hope that my friends and family will be so willing to rally to help us. Beautiful wedding, touching story.

  • She MADE her dress???? It's incredibly beautiful. Anna, if you are that talented, I'd love to see you do more with this! Sewing is quite a talent (that is not reveared any more), and you've got it in spades my dear!

    Lovely wedding! I'm only sorry I couldn't see the table runners your husband made!

  • amazing, one of the best real weddings i have ever read – thank you so much for sharing!

  • Note to self: bring a sweater, a plan B and an insanely great attitude. This wedding made my morning. Congratulations to you both!

  • This is fantastic! And perhaps proof that a "what went wrong" prompt for graduate emails will result in fabulous "eff it" stories like this one?

  • Sounds pretty awesome to me. I think she ended up with an even more memorable wedding than the one she originally planned.

  • This made me cry. In a good way. Well done :)

  • awesome. just awesome. what an amazing spirit in both the couple and their guests. i too agree that our wedding happened as everyone pitched in to bring it together. that is community, not frilly dresses and pink rose bouquets.

    ps. anna's dress is amazing, however.

  • Wow. That barn is amazingly gorgeous. And what a story to tell!

  • Aww…LOVE reading this while I watch the remnants of a typhoon soak our town 4 days before the wedding! Is it sick that we're just as excited for our 'eff it' plan B (also in a barn)? :)

  • This is a story that everyone who has ever had a hissy fit over minor details in anything (not just wedding related) needs to hear. Or anyone who is prone to hissy fits (I am not discluding myself in this statement, by any means!). Thank you guys for sharing this! And congratulations!

  • This wedding rocks! By the pictures you can't tell it was an it was an impromtu plan b, the pictures are amazing & really capture how much fun this wedding must have been.

  • Anonymous

    Can I just reiterated that she MADE that dress? It's amazing.

  • My goodness, that gave me chills! (The good kind.) What a perfectly perfect wedding. This helped me refocus a little better. :) Thank you for sharing.

  • This post is pretty mindblowing and awesome. Congrats you two!

  • K

    oh i loooove it. congrats! :)

  • do you know how much a barn like that would cost to rent out in Los Angeles!? I think mother nature just decided to restyle your wedding for you…she's so like David Tutera in that way.

    Congrats on a beautiful and meaningful wedding! And awesome photogs!

  • What an amazing bride! I hope that if things go wrong on my wedding day I can stay as calm and collected as Anna.

  • LPC

    Thanks for giving an old lady goosebumps.

  • Amazing, amazing, amazing. The dress is fantastic, and it looks like you had tons of fun despite Mother Nature's best efforts. What a great attitude! Congrats!

  • LOVE IT! While nothing happened anywhere near this extreme for our wedding, we had a few snafus and problems and everyone was SHOCKED by my "oh well!" attitude. This is exactly what I keep trying to impart on all my engaged friends from the beginning "If the napkins dont match, you wont care, but if you spend your whole wedding fretting over it, you'll never forgive yourself!"
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • oh my god. brought tears to my eyes. Tears of happiness!!! I love love love love hearing about this wedding, thank you so much. It sounds (and looks!) absolutely amazing.

  • I read your blog all the time, and I have to say, this is by far the most touching wedding you've posted from other women yet. It really moved me. The entire wedding literally from beginning to end was all about LOVE, and continually brought the focus right back to the heart of things.

    Thank you for posting this.

  • This rocks.

  • Beautiful! I didn't have a hail storm at my wedding, but thats just how I felt too.

  • You just made me want to get married again. No srsly.

  • I must stop reading this blog at work. Here I am, out in the open, tears down my cheeks…

    What a beautiful wedding story. Things always work out just the way they are supposed to, don't they? I think the universe has a way of letting us know what is important and what to simply forget.

    We had the worst rain of the year at my older brother's wedding this past summer. We had a tent, but didn't plan on the wind (people pitched in to close the walls quickly) or the grass floor of tent becoming a small lake. Everyone kicked off their shoes and danced in the mud until the lightening kicked off the power for the last time. We ran around with flash lights packing things up and laughing. The unexpected is the most special.

  • Sooooooooooooooooooooo awesome! Beautiful, gorgeous wedding and that attitude is brilliant! I mean I heard of one poor bride's mother-in-law-to-be throwing a complete hissy fit because all the tables in the marquee were round and they just *had* to have a rectangular top table or, I don't know, disgrace would enuse. This gorgeous event just puts it all into perspective and I'm sure I'll be thinking of it more and more as our wedding draws nearer!

    Thank you for sharing :D

  • Love it. What a fab attitude and that barn looked AMAZING!

  • Wow. This post made me tear up. I love the sense of perspective and maturity. And what a gorgeous photo of the meadow and clouds!

  • Oh, Colorado…how I love your crazy weather! And how I love this incredible wedding that teaches such a powerful lesson. To roll with the unexpected and still have fun. This wedding totally made my day!

  • I love, love, love how your wedding turned out! It was beautiful and the unexpected weather forecast makes the story even lovlier!

  • Wow. Really. Wow. That was the most inspiring story. I think it is good enough and I am dorky enough that I may just print it out and post it on my fridge through these remaining months. F*ck the backup plan. If your wedding is really a reflection of yourself it sounds like Anna and Mike are going to have the most amazing life together.

    Best Wishes!

  • That dress totally rocks too….

  • Love that wedding. That barn. That dress. Gosh, it's awsome…

  • Amy

    So that is seriously awesome and touching!! I love the way resilence and perserverance pulled them through and they didn't let a little rain ruin their day.

    Not perfect? Oh yes! It was. It's a perfect story.

  • this is such a great post that affected me emotionally (read, I'm a little sissy, who got all weepy). It is such a huge reminder to blow off the "disasters" and focus on the shit that really matters. Huge applause for remaining positive. You are an inspiration, and I will definitely reflect on your story on my wedding day so I can keep it real :)

  • I absolutely love this story! I live in Colorado (Summit County) and I vividly remember that day in 2008. In fact, I went rafting the day before. Story here:

    Where exactly is that location in Colorado? It is stunning! I love the barn and wish we could find something like it (if not IT). My fiance and I are getting married in August next year and I will remember to keep as sane as you did if the crazy Colorado weather moves in on us as it did you, since we are also planning an outdoor ceremony and reception! Congratulations on your enduring love and bright spirit.

    (And, seriously, I would really love to know where that location is if you're willing to disclose the info!)

  • Molly Lotz

    ruth, the barn is my family’s and if you are still looking for a site, please, let me know.

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  • Erica

    So awesome. AWESOME!! You guys rocked your wedding. I love this post. What a fabulous celebration.

  • Valentina

    wow, i loooove this story… as unpredictable as life can be, and as we are reminded of it daily – this is the kind of story/event/thing where you actually stop breathless to realize how beautiful life really is and how priceless are the moments of total surprises it has in store for us… moments that actually make you feel grateful, even if the event doesn’t really have anything to do with you (me) personally.

    thank you so much for sharing this.

    i am wondering – how surprising for you was the realization that what was happening at the time was actually perfect? i know you saw it was perfect – you wrote so yourself… i just wanted to know were you surprised to realize that you actually lived a story that many others would dream of having on their wedding day? how did you feel at that very moment? :))


  • I just had to come back and read this post today… it’s been hot as hell all week but the forecast looks like a balmy 55 and rainy for our wedding this Saturday. Here’s what I’m hoping to focus on:

    “But did we get married? Heck yeah! And did we have a good time? Absolutely!”

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  • Leslie

    The photos are amazing. Can anyone tell me who the photographer was? Love it!

  • Kerry

    Really and truly inspiring attitudes! My wedding is planned for this coming August in Colorado. We want bbq as well and I was wondering if you can recommend the caterer you used? Thanks!!!

  • Emmy Lou

    Amazing. I love it all…Eff it.

  • Ris

    This might be my dream wedding.

  • Tilia

    This is my favorite wedding grad post ever.

  • I loved this story! It’s inspirational and fun. Sometimes you get so bogged down in details you forget what it’s all about. Thanks soooo much for sharing your experience!