Kimi & Paul's Jug Band, Critter-Filled Wedding

April 16 |

L1000665The Offbeat Bride: Kimi, artist and designer

Her Offbeat Partner: Paul, artist and museum worker

Location & Date of wedding: Audubon Boathouse, Prospect Park Brooklyn — 9/12/2008

What made our wedding offbeat: I'm half-Japanese Hawaiian and half Jewish, and my now-husband is an ex-Mormon, so tradition was out the window. All we wanted was a good party that felt like us. We splurged some, we scrimped lots. We made everything, except the building and catered stuff, by hand. So on the day of our wedding everything was pure us.

I spent $68 on my dress and spent the entire summer decorating it. The wedding and party was in an Audubon Center in a 19th century venetian-style villa, next to a lake, in the middle of a dark forest that happens to be in the middle of Brooklyn. There were seagull mobiles and tiny scruffy-looking stuffed birds everywhere. We made matchboxes with two kids riding mice printed on it, or a table number that was a plastic tiger with flowers sprouting out of its back, or the maps we printed that showed foxes wearing crowns.

invites
The invites, maps, rsvp's and thank you's that Kimi designed, all incorporating foxes.

I had made over a hundred bright red paper flowers that everyone put in their hair or on their jacket or down their cleavage, it looked like a glorious hibiscus explosion.

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This is what a hibiscus explosion at a wedding looks like.

And even though it poured that day and we couldn't do the ceremony outside in the trees, it was a beautiful teary-eyed ceremony (groom) and a laugh riot (me) next to a huge fake bird's nest and a giant fiberglass chipmunk. Our vows were the last five lines of a Walt Whitman poem that ends with "Shall we stick together for the rest of our lives?" Now that was something I could say a big Yes to.

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I love how they coordinated the enormous bird statue with their paper flowers. Some brides think of everything.

Some people got lost trying to find this place hidden deep in the park, one even had to catch a ride with a cop, but we rewarded them all with tons of food, booze, and laughs. Half the people were thrilled by a friend's original composition for a string quartet, the other half were thrilled by the audience-must-participate jug band headed by the groom's father. And those who didn't like either got to play with the giant fiberglass animals, dance 'til their feet hurt, and come with us on the subway to a bar to get really really drunk in downtown Manhattan.

And somehow through all of that I was juuuuust sober enough to look around, see almost every single person I've known throughout my life, see all these people I'm coming to know, and think "Whoa. This is really weird." And then laugh. And pig out. And then drink some more.

Jugs arent just for drinking out of at this wedding.
Jugs aren't just for drinking out of at this wedding.

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No miniature animals were harmed in the making of these table numbers.
Our biggest challenge: Trying to keep costs down for a 90-person party in New York City makes you think you're going to have a double aneurysm. I don't think "challenge" is a strong enough word. I thank every god there is I have generous parents who popped for a place big enough for everyone, and the wonderful food to fuel the party. But I didn't want my them to have to pay for anything else, so I made everything else by hand, from invitations to thank you cards.

The other challenge was that we had 17 relatives coming from Texas, almost half of whom had never flown before, and 12 of whom couldn't afford hotels. So we borrowed many Aerobeds and cleaned the floors and it was a giant slumber party at our apartment and at an incredibly generous friend's, who loaned us the use of her apartment since she would be away for the wedding. How can things not go right when you have friends like that?

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My favorite moment: I can't decide if my favorite moment was watching our friend in stiletto heels and a fake coonskin cap try to get a musical note out of a big ceramic jug, stealing a moment together on the dock by the lake when two ridiculously romantic swans swam up next to us, or taking the subway in my wedding dress and big shit-kicker boots.

I wish I could say my favorite moment was when we said our vows, but that's all a blur. Except for the groom's sweet but complete inability to put the ring on the correct finger.

My advice for other offbeat brides: I had a huge panic after my now-husband popped the question, because I could not imagine myself as a "bride". So I spent 2 months personalizing a cheap dress from Target. And the night of the wedding I didn't feel like a bride—I felt exactly like myself.

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I think it's less important to feel bridal or like it's your "special day" and more important to feel like yourself. And I don't just mean "Have a wedding that reflects your personality!" because who hasn't heard that before. I mean think about the one thing that's really you, and find a way to make it happen. For me it was having animals on my dress. For somebody who loves sky-diving it may be a bit harder.

Enough talk — here's the wedding porn:
Click the photo below to see the entire set…

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  1. What a fabulous dress! And this looks like a very fun party!

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  2. One of my new favorite couples on offbeatbride. Love the bride's sense of humor and crafty skills!

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  3. Love love love everything about this wedding!!
    The crazy awesome dress, the locale (I had no idea there was such a place in Prospect park!), the gorgeous paper flowers, the jug band!!, everything!
    Love, love, love!!!

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  4. Brooklyn! Prospect Park! One of my favorite places in the world!

    GORGEOUS dress! Such a fun-tabulous day for you two!

  5. "And the night of the wedding I didn't feel like a bride—I felt exactly like myself" – LOVE IT

  6. that dress is so beautiful! seriously the aesthetic for this wedding is really inspiring to me, yay forests and animals!

  7. I also love the dress! Would love a few DIY inside tips on how it was created!

  8. I would love a tutorial on those amazing animal table numbers!

  9. Thank you so much for posting. Your words are a great comfort. I, too, had a major major panic attack post proposal, because I just couldn't envision being a bride or planning a wedding or anything. But we're slowly making it all come together. It's nice to know through your example that throughout it all it's possible to remain myself and still throw a party entertaining enough for my friends and family.

  10. Love it, love it, love it. Your sense of humor is awesome. I love your dress! I second the request for tutorials. We are all stealing your ideas.

  11. KIMI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Only the best wedding of all time (and one of the best designers of all time too, really really really).

  12. OK, I hope I'm not breaking any rules here (Ariel, please delete this post if so), but lookit what I found!
    http://www.printablepress.com/
    The very talented bride sells invites! Or rather, the design of invites, and then you print them yourself. I don't know the bride, so I'm not pimping her business for her. I just really love her style and was excited to see she shares it, and thought y'all would like the info, too.

  13. Congratulations! And, absolutely beautiful dress. How inspiring.

  14. This is the best wedding ever.

    Seriously.

    (Giant fiberglass chipmunk, OMGWTFBBQ! Awesome.)

  15. I just wanted to say this:

    Your wedding is the epitome of AWESOMENESS!!!!

  16. Perfect. Just perfect.

    I must admit, I got a little misty when I saw the detailing on the dress – the initials, the animals, all the love that must have gone into it… Amazing!

  17. Love the fox motif! Plus, those centerpieces are amazing! Have a wonderful life together!

  18. THIS is exactly what I'm looking to accomplish in my wedding! Congrats, Lady!!

  19. Help! Google couldn't find the Whitman poem, and I would loooooove to see it!

    And, your wedding looks so perfect – not "this is the most important day of your life ever so spend lots of money and obsess over it" perfect, just HAPPY perfect.

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  20. So beautiful! Would SO appreciate DIY tips/tutorials on the dress, flowers, and where you found all those great animal graphics. How did you do it?

  21. Miya,

    The Whitman poem is called Poem of the Road in his collection Leaves of Grass. The last stanza is:

    Mon enfant! I give you my hand!
    I give you my love, more precious than money,
    I give you myself, before preaching or law;
    Will you give me yourself? Will you come
    travel with me?
    Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

    Hope that helps!

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  22. I love the subway shot – I was going to do that too!

    I would also LOVE LOVE to make the paper flowers! I was going to buy flowers for all the girls, but it would be lovely to give everyone flowers.

  23. Oh good grief this is absolutely my favourite OBB wedding thus far… I adore the dress, the invites, the fibreglass f*cking animals… the jug band… my gawd you all look so happy and it looks like it was a total blast. Happy happy happiness to you.

  24. The most gorgeous dress I've ever seen! I second Kate's call for a DIY on the dress.

  25. Since I first saw this wedding (on livejournal I believe) it has been one of my favourites!!! The dress is just the best thing ever, and animals?!!! I'm in love. I want to know where the giant fibreglass ones came from!

  26. Holy moly… crazy about this wedding! Great graphic design — loving the modern woodlands theme!!!

  27. Just gotta jump on the dress-loving bandwagon – you look stunning and everything about your wedding looks so great. Congratulations to you both!

  28. Hi, this is Kimi, very belatedly as this came out while I was on vacation! All these comments are so amazing. As for the dress, what I did was take latex-backed black velvet, cut out tons of shapes with scissors, laid the dress on the floor and attacked it with a glue gun freehand. I know, not that helpful!

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