Her Offbeat Partner: Red, IT Professional
Location & date of wedding: Registry Office (wedding), Arts Centre (reception), Colchester, UK — 19 December 2008
What made our wedding offbeat: Neither one of us wanted to plan a wedding, really, but we also wanted to give our family and friends an opportunity to celebrate our marriage with us on the day. We were on a really limited budget, since one of us is a jobless graduate student, but we also wanted to be able to provide our guests with a really great night. We saved loads by opting for a Registry Office ceremony (we just had to pay the cost of getting married), and we had our reception in the local Arts Centre. However, the local Arts Centre just so happened to be in a deconsecrated medieval church, so it was by no means lacking in some wonderful character.
We didn't care about things like chair covers or cutlery, so instead we left the chairs bare and served only food that could be eaten with one's hands. We made all our own decorations (that we stole from Martha Stewert and the offbeat brides and grooms that came before us).
For entertainment, we made our own playlist and danced to Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake to our hearts' delight. We put cards, Jenga, and Hungry Hungry Hippos on the tables and bought a fooseball table and asked our guests to have some fun.
Also, with all the money we saved on not caring about what people told us all weddings had to have (e.g., linens, favors, etc.), we had enough money left to provide an open bar from 3:00pm to 10:00pm! Fun was had by all.
Our biggest challenge: For about six months of the planning process (the most important time, really, when decisions are being made about venues, vendors, etc.), I, the bride, lived in the United States. During these months, I went through this crazy wedding phase during which time color coordination and chair covers mattered to me. I blame this on the fact that I was separated from the planning, which just created an amazing amount of anxiety. The more I read about other people's "offbeat" weddings on the internet, however, the more I realized my wedding was just one day in the many of the rest of my married life and that I didn't really care about traditionalism anyway.
I also realized that I wouldn't think about how my chairs were bare twenty years from now, hell, not even after twenty days!
My favorite moment: We chose to have pictures taken in the ruins of a medieval priory around the corner from the registry office before the ceremony (when the light was still out in December!). The bridal party arrived early. While I stood alone on top of a flat-topped tomb to save my dress from the wet ground, my groom and his attendants came walking down the steps from the road and toward the priory ruins. It was a fantastic role reversal, in that he came to me on the wedding day instead of me to him down some aisle. It was a joyful moment seeing him before the wedding, getting to hold his hand and revel in the fact that it was our wedding day. At the wedding itself, we walked down the aisle hand in hand, because we're not into pretenses.
My advice for other offbeat brides: If you don't have a friend or family member with a space big enough to accommodate your wedding guests, do your research thoroughly. Send an email to any and every venue that might even look like it can host a wedding! The Arts Centre where we had our reception never advertised itself as a wedding reception site, but, having been to the space before for other things (beer festivals, gigs, etc.), we realized it would have been a great place for a wedding party and ended up getting the space, a coordinator, bar staff, door staff, and technical staff on a prime day of the week for what was comparatively pennies in comparison to local "wedding venues."
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- Venue: Colchester Arts Centre
- Dress: Alfred Angelo (US)
- Games: ebay
- Kanzashi hair piece: etsy
Enough talk — on to the wedding porn!: