Rhiannon & Erick's Santa Monica Pier Wedding

June 17 |

The Offbeat Bride: Rhiannon, Office Assistant and writer of unpublished fiction

Her Offbeat Partner: Erick, Apple Creative and Graphic Designer

Location & date of wedding: Historical Santa Monica Pier Carousel, Santa Monica, CA — 4/18/09

What made our wedding offbeat: The goal of our wedding was to have as much fun as possible. We didn't have a huge budget to blow on fancy dinners or decor and that didn't really suit us anyway so we decided to just have the most extravagant kids party possible.

Yummy looking bridesmaids in all different colors!
Yummy looking bridesmaids in all different colors!
I google searched historical landmarks and found the Santa Monica Carousel and it totally fit the bill. For dinner we brought in old fashioned food carts and served mini pizza's, hot-dogs (and veggie dogs), churro's and cotton candy. This saved literally thousands of dollars and I was one of my favorite details. All our candy and flower centerpieces were d.i.y. We had friends fill posts such as DJ, officiant, photographer and coordinator. We were even lucky enough to have several other friends donate their talents by creating original artwork for us, providing additional catering and working make-up magic. We absolutely could not have done it without our amazing friends and family.

Our vows were written in the style of a children's story by our friend and officiant Jonathan. We let our guests eat immediately afterward while we took our first ride together on the carousel. We had very little structure to the reception, guests were free to ride to carousel, dance or get food or drinks from the carts as they pleased throughout the night.

The ceremony outside of the carousel building.
The ceremony outside of the carousel building.

Our biggest challenge: Time! No matter how long you have to plan, some things just cannot be done until the last minute. We had very limited time for set-up at our location and because so much of the wedding was being brought in it was very hectic for a few hours before the ceremony. If you can't afford a coordinator ask a family member or friend to help out on the day of. Lucky for us my new sister-in-law was up for the challenge. Be ready to completely give up control the day of. You will have a much better time and nothing is more important than that.

My favorite moment: Due to traffic and some unforeseen problems Erick arrived at the Carousel stressed out and late. He had very little time to get ready and no time to relax. Our plan was that we weren't going to see each other once we had started getting ready that day but as soon as I heard him in the other room I went, fully dressed, to be with him. I helped him get ready and we had alone time. The wedding started late and we never got all the bridal party pictures we had planned but spending twenty minutes alone together before we became husband and wife was totally worth it.

My advice for other offbeat brides: Keep your cool baby! This is supposed to be fun! Do not go over your budget, do not get too wrapped up in what's going to make your guests happy or unhappy, do not forget why you are doing this. The people you care about sharing this with are going to love sharing it with you no matter what you serve them or what you wear or where you have it. Love is the most amazing thing in the world, celebrate that and you'll have no regrets.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

  1. This might be the most perfect wedding I've ever seen!!!

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  2. GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG- I loooooove everything! This is one of the prettiest weddings I've seen yet. The colors are beautiful and it's all so classy and fun at the same time!!! And those candy topiary centerpieces are to die for. *swoon*

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  3. Man, I'm jealous! I sooo wanted to have my wedding there. Oh well, looks beautiful!

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  4. So jealous you had such an awesome location and theme! I love the pics with the Carousel. Congrats!

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  5. How fun! Those centerpieces look awesome! The carousel is beautiful…what a great venue and ideas!! Congrats to the couple.

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  6. What a great location and perfect attitude!! Sounds like the party was a blast. And the carousel is so timeless and romantic. Congrats!

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  7. R & E,

    I'm so excited to see your wedding profiled here. The colors! The candy! The carousel!! But most of all…the smiles! Everything came together exactly as you imagined it and it looks like an absolute blast. Much love and major congratulations to you both!!!

    Laura

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  8. Adorable ideas, fabulous wedding! Your advice is spot on! Congratulations :)

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  9. Oh my god I LOVE this wedding!! I feel like I could cry! Fantastic pictures too! Well done, it really looks so gorgeous and fun!!

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  10. Awesome job!! I love ho you made the wedding theme so fun and CLASSIC!! I am planning my daughter's 1st bday and cant stop looking at your pretty wedding pics! Can you tell me which vendor you used for the food carts, please? (Like the pizza and cotton candy carts?) Thanks!!

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    • Hi Dian,__The food cart vendor was a place called Barts Carts out of Culver City. They are really nice and super reasonable with pricing.

      Thanks everyone for the comments!

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  11. hello Rhiannon,
    I love your wedding so much that made me decide to get married at the same venue! do you have any tips, anything about it that i should know?
    I would appreciate if you could share your experience with the venue!
    thanks in advance and congrats!

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  12. Omg! Absolutely adore!

    I'm in love with carnival infused weddings and that classy and vintage type style. I've been trying to find a location that has a ferris wheel and carousel! I haven't been to the S.M. Pier in years and don't live in Cali anymore. Do they have a band stage? And how did renting the place work out? Was it just the Carousel building or the whole park?

    Also what are the colors of the Carousel building? Sorry if these are a lot of questions to ask. But I love the location for my reception! :] Any further advice would be awesome! Oh… and how many hours did you rent it for.. and if you don't mind.. a ballpark price for the venue. Thanks!!

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  13. Giselle, thank you. The hardship of this location is that there is no kitchen and limited space to set one up. Due to time and space constraints I had to look for a very alternative way to feed people. The food carts worked really well. They fit the location perfectly, offered a ton of options and were super fun. I also hired a few friends of friends who work as catering staff to help with the little stuff since there is no staff there. i would highly recommend doing this since you are bound to need something cleaned up or set up or something. It's a fairly inexpensive service and really worthwhile. Also, I rented tables and chairs from an outside company but would probably just use the ones the pier offers free if I were doing it again. Take a look at them and if you like them and there are enough for your party, save yourself the extra work.

    Harmony,
    All we rented was The Carousel building. There are a few different places to have weddings at the Pier including the amusement park area, the carousel and a few restaurants but I don't know if you can rent the whole thing. They have an area that would be ideal for a band although it's not a stage. The building is rented by the hour, I'm not sure what it runs exactly anymore but it's REALLY reasonable. During regular operating hours which I think are 9-6ish the price is considerably higher than after hours so if you have an evening wedding you save a ton of money. The greatest part of renting it is that rental fees help keep up restoration on this building and last year it celebrated it's 100 year anniversary and it's an official historical landmark. The building is tan with blue trim. It lights up with round white lights in the evening.

    If either one of you have any other questions feel free to ask! Congrats to you both and good luck!

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    • Thank you so much on taking the time to answer my question!
      I really appreciate it! I hope my wedding is as cute as yours!

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