Miranda & Jake's Themeless, Unrehearsed & Heartfelt Wedding

July 2 |

The Offbeat Bride: Miranda, copy editor

Her Offbeat Partner: Jake, student/IT

Location & date of wedding: San Francisco City Hall — Thursday(!), June 4, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: As a kid, I never really dreamed of "My Big White Wedding." I knew I wanted to marry Jake and I knew my mom would kill me if I didn't have a big party and ceremony, too. So I threw myself into it and tried to make it ours — no white dress, no hairspray, pizza for dinner, "Star Trek" processional, photos at ruins, pawn shop rings, a bouquet made of flowers guests bought at a liquor store or on the street on the way there.

Attack of the hipster polariod chicken.

Our mutual friend married us with poetry and humor. Jake's mom and stepdad read together, my dad cried his way through his speech, my mom gave advice and read a Bible verse, and Jake's dad winged something, and it was all heartfelt, unrehearsed and beautiful. We had sock races at our first reception in SF and did the Macarena at the second in Ohio. We had the now-de riguer Hipster Polaroid Guestbook.

It was amazing getting cards, letters and gifts leading up to and after the wedding, and when I think back on everything people gave — including FLYING IN FROM ISTANBUL! — I still get choked up. I would heartily recommend having A Wedding rather than eloping if for no other reason than it made us feel so loved and supported as a couple and as individuals. Dancing with my high school friends in Ohio was the most fun I've had in my life, like, ever. And it DOES NOT have to be stressful or expensive!

Mismatched plates & too-small table cloth.
Mismatched plates & too-small table cloth.

Our biggest challenge: We decided to buy plates, forks, knives and spoons from thrift stores, wash them, use them, wash them again, and then donate them back. But… we don't have a car or a dishwasher. So… this was difficult.

For this (and almost everything else!) we leaned on our friends, borrowing two cars, making dishwasher borrowing a "Scintillating Saturday Sudfest" with frozen pizzas, tater tots and X-Box , and then using Craigslist to unload the dishes when it was just too far to walk and too expensive to rent a car to deliver them back to Goodwill.

Miranda_Jake_060409_172
The bride & groom at City Hall.

My favorite moment: Jake and I walking to City Hall together with the best man, maid of honor, my dad, mom and sister, and my friend who flew in from Istanbul (mostly) just for my wedding.

Also: I was totally about to bawl my eyes out walking down the aisle with Jake until I heard our violinist playing "Star Trek: The Next Generation" theme as our processional. I laughed right away, and no one besides Jake, the violinist and I recognized how awful and nerdy the song was until we told them later.

My advice for other offbeat brides: I know this is just as cliche as "do what you want!" but… don't sweat the small things.

None of our plates matched, we weren't sure which deep-dish pizza had what on it, our cakes didn't get flowers on top as decoration (our cakemaker got very sick a few days before, but she still made them — with gloves and a mask on!!), we spent our first dance stepping on each others' toes, one of our guests got his car towed, my hem and shoes were completely sandy and grimy after the photo shoot, we missed a flight once and got separated from our luggage twice. And it still was all good.

If you find yourself freaking out on the day of about table numbers, or whether your flowers are fully bloomed, or ANYTHING that isn't, you know, MAKING AN UN-TAKE-BACK-ABLE commitment, take a minute, look at your guests, look at the person you're about to say forever to, your best friends, your family, some guy you don't know who is TOTALLY tearing up the dance floor — they're all in one place, right now, with you, enjoying themselves. So, STFU and party already!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

 

  1. Your wonderful advice made me tear up a little. Also, your dress is very beautiful and distinctive.

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  2. THIS. I love THIS. I love the simplicity of it, it's beautiful and wonderful and what it's really all about.

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  3. Wow. I read a lot (a LOT) of wedding blogs and this is the first entry EVER that made me tear up…. and it included "STFU"…. go figure. :)

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  4. Fantastic wedding. I love the invitations and the description of the day and just everything. Congratulations to the Bride and Groom!

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  5. "If you find yourself freaking out on the day of about table numbers, or whether your flowers are fully bloomed…"

    If your flowers aren't fully bloomed you can put them in warm water and in about 5 minutes they'll be ready for action.

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    • that's smart! i love when there's a simple solution. plants are just amazing that way.

      our flowers were ones the best man asked the lady at one of those flower-selling booths along Market Street to get from the Flower Mart the day of. so the centerpieces were just some tulips in a glass of water.

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      • And if that doesn't work, you can always scold them for not blooming correctly. Or frighten them into blooming.

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  6. Wow, congratulations! Thanks for all the awesome advice.
    Also, I can't say I haven't dreamed about playing the Next Generation Theme as we do the walk… or having Data as a bridesmaid…
    <3

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  7. This is exactly the type of thing I want for my wedding…pure simplicity. It's all about each other and that's the most important thing to remember. Thank you so much for sharing! Oh, and the Star Trek theme song made me think that my fiance and I should walk down or up to the MST3k theme song…

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    • dude, go for it. we went through thinking about a mariachi band, a ukulele (the guy with the chicken mask up there said he'd play for it, but ONLY if he got to wear the mask while performing… which… haha), etc., and at our friends' wedding four days before we asked our friend the violinst if he'd mind playing. he said sure, asked what we'd like, we said whatever. so he started playing the TNG song, jake calls me over to listen, jon asks, "what do you think of this?" and he and jake are beaming, and i'm like, "wait… OH MY GOD!!" i think they'd thought i would be like "NOT A MY WEDDING" but i was like, "DO IT!!"

      i didn't think he really would til i heard it as i was walking in. it was an AWESOME surprise.

      i would say that that's the only truly silly thing we did at the ceremony and i'm glad we did. it was good to take the thing seriously but still have something we knew was hilarious (since it was on violin, no one could tell til they watched the video later!)

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  8. Wow, what a wedding! Getting married in six weeks and feeling under immense pressure to conform to the fairy tail princess wedding. You're story has given me confidence to do my own thing! Thanks.

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  9. Goregeous. This is sort of what I'm hoping our wedding will be – just us affirming our love in the presence of those who mean most to us. *sniffle*

    And that DRESS….!

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  10. Sweet!

    I love Wai-Ching dresses. I cannot wait until mine gets here.

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    • you know what's funny? i saw a wai-ching on this site and thought it was HIDEOUS. so i clicked through to the site and was like… oh…actually… i kind of like these. the inca looks red on the site and that's what i was into but it turned out pink! and i loved it anyway. i like that they're one-of-a-kind. sort of like a kid, no matter what you get, it's JUST YOURS so you have to love it anyway!!!

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      • Funnily enough I really disliked that dress until I saw it on you. But you look amazing in it. The pink color is gorgeous on you.

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  11. great advice for all…really enjoyed reading this. love the plate/silverware idea.

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    • it was SUCH a pain to go to various thrift stores and get all reused stuff (forks were the hardest to find, especially since we ended up getting 100 of them and we didn't want any with plastic on them) but i felt all good about myself not using disposable things. if you have a car and/or a dishwasher this will be 1000% easier. i spent 35 minutes sweating my ass off in line for an earth day sale on one of the hottest days of the year in SF waiting for the clerk to scan 100 plates!!

      later i saw that renting them would have been about the same price but i felt nice about passing them along, kind of like a $300 donation instead of giving that to a rental company. i think the person who took them afterward worked with a food bank.

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  12. This is the first wedding I've read about on this site that has made me go beyond liking details to wishing I had been there!!! Great description too!

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  13. Sounds like fun!!
    You had a gorgeous wedding.
    Seems a fair bit like my one. It was like "meh, why sweat the small stuff?"
    We didn't rehearse. Kinds made it up as we went along. My poor bro became MC 1 min before we did speeches! Formalities are there for the parents – the fun is there for us, nes pas?

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    • Thank you!!

      I hadn't heard anything from the officiant about what he'd say until he said it. We talked to him the other day and he said he actually wrote most of it the morning of! Which is great. Breaking updates from our relationship, haha. Jake and I said over and over what an awesome choice he was. He's a songwriter, so he definitely has a way with words, and he's the only person who knew us both before we knew each other, and he's not really "Jake's friend" or "Miranda's friend"… I don't regret AT ALL having chosen him, and not knowing a single thing about our ceremony other than what I'd say to Jake was pretty much perfect. I didn't wear mascara because I knew it would be running all over my face!!

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  14. I LOVE THIS !!! I just got married December 4, 09 and my wedding was at a courthouse also and I couldnt be happier !!! We didnt plan a reception so that is what I am working on now I love the non matching plates and silverwear idea becasue our wedding was an unrehearsed as it gets… My husband made everyone bust up laughing because he thought he was supposed to I do after every sentence the magistrate said so he ended up saying 3 or 4 times I was like I guess hes in hurry to get married….

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