Lisa & Teri's Fancy Neo-Victorian Parlor Wedding

By on Nov 27th

The offbeat bride: Lisa, Office Monkey (now with grad student action!)

Her offbeat partner: Teri, Grad student and Office Monkey

Location & date of wedding: Harrington Mansion in Minneapolis, MN on October 3rd, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: We came in under our 5k budget, and still got our fancy to-do. We had board games, chess and card games, and a really (really really) tough puzzle instead of dancing — since our buddies don't dance and empty dance floors are depressing.

We also, to spare my allergies, cut down on the flowers to bouquets, boutineers, and just a few bigger arrangements to hide the lights and decorate the altar. Using the fancy games as centerpieces worked pretty good!

We skipped the bits of traditional weddings that we didn't like (who needs white cake? chocolate cakes are better!), didn't see the point in dancing and all that goes into it. Dancing usually bores us to tears and my feet didn't get tired during the ceremony so that's good!

There really wasn't anything about the day that wasn't "us." We paid for and designed the look of the whole thing and left the stuff we didn't have the know-how to do, to the experts. Per did a fantasic job photographing the dark space and Teri's mom did an awesome job with the flowers we picked out!

Our biggest challenge: Well… I'd say that designing the dresses and incorporating our styles into one wedding was the biggest challenge. We both have very strong design and decorating ideas. I'm a bit more dramatic, and was perfectly fine with a dark, gothic wedding. Teri wanted to incorporate yellow and light.

I am perfectly happy to think of my wedding dress as an elaborate costume (and really wanted something i could wear as a nifty costume to conventions and masquerade-type balls later), where as Teri had a slightly more solemn, traditional idea of the wedding dress as a piece of ritual clothing.I think we managed nicely, the amber and citrine necklaces helped bring in the yellow and lightened up the dark, gothic mansion. Our flowers went from bright colors to a more dusky palette (again with the amber!)

And we loooved our dressmaker, who was a saint of patience and helped us work through various re-designs of the dresses as we figured out that duponi silk doesn't DO what we wanted them to. And those sleeves? – they don't actually look good in real life, and that dress shape? – not so good with this fabric. Oh, and it's a bit plain. Can we add…uhm…something? We may also be a bit picky. As far as I, personally, was concerned, the dresses were the most important.

My favorite moment: Oh, definitely the ceremony. Teri was shaking with joy. I've never really seen her quite that happy. I can't tell you if the guests were even paying attention, all of my focus was on her and her joy!

Her favorite moment was watching me come down the aisle toward her. She certainly had a fantastic smile on her face! (She's got a really detailed post up in her Offbeat Tribe Blog about the day if folks want to hear her side of things.)

My offbeat advice: If you can, for the love of the FSM, skip the RSVPs. It's not practical advice in terms of money-saving, and isn't good advice for everyone; but in terms of sanity and time probably the best damn idea we had. Out of our potential 65 guests, 10 RSVP'd. We work full time, do a webcomic, were dealing with stupid family drama, and were at crunch time for the wedding. We looked at each other and how much we were being charged for food… and decided that our time and sanity was totally worth having extra dessert to take home. We assumed everyone was coming, told the caterer that, and didn't worry about it.

Another thing I'd say was to get rid of traditional "wedding colors" and go with a palette of colors, and have a solid idea of what the overall "feel" of the wedding should be. Don't sweat the small stuff. Just make sure the tone is right and it will all look perfectly planned.

Let the experts be experts (especially if you have a talented and awesome group of expert buddies!). Give that palette and tone you are going for to the experts and let them have at!

Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: