Valarie & Lon's bike messengers meet Mexican familia wedding

November 10 |

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The Offbeat Groom: Lon, FileMaker Developer

His Offbeat Partner: Valarie Torres

Location & date of wedding: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco — October 12th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: She's punk rock; I'm mope rock; we're both geeks. Our wedding party and guests were drawn from equal parts giant Mexican family and an extended bicycle messenger family.

We broke tradition starting with the rings. Her engagement ring, and the wedding bands, all have black diamonds.

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Most aspects of the wedding were DIY, drawing from our personalities, and taking cues from the venue. Gocco printed invitations, programs, and napkins, hand dyed tulle skirt, centerpieces, table number photographs, seat assignment tickets, table plan — about the only thing we didn't make ourselves were the groomsmen's suits.

Bow ties, ascots, vests and satin were definitely out. We wanted punk rock; we wanted Reservoir Dogs. The guys wore suits with skinny ties, braces, and Chuck Tailors. As a nod to tradition, we all wore boutonnieres with hand crafted Mexican Milagros incorporated into them.

Mongoloid
Devo cover band!!!

Music. Wedding procession came down the aisle to a string quartet version of "Don't Stop Believing"; Wedding Singer dorks. Our first dance was a re-enactment of the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest from Pulp Fiction; Tarantino dorks. Mariachis played during the cocktail hour. However, we had a concert venue to take advantage of, and what's could be more geek than a Devo cover band? Three costume changes later (for the band), there was a full blown mosh pit.

A significant number of our guest arrived by bike, so we had valet bike parking at the door. Come time for us to make our exit, it was by tandem bicycle.

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It was a memorable event that, a year later, people are still talking about.

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Dia de los Meurtos Cake Topper

Our biggest challenge: The dress. My bride found THE dress she wanted from a designer on Etsy. Before checking reviews, a check had been sent off. We ordered it over six months before the wedding. Weeks of waiting turned into months. Soon we were being contacted by other Etsy users asking if we'd received our merchandise.

This woman was apparently cashing a lot of checks, but not delivering goods. Several very pointed calls from me and several ranting voicemails from her later, we did receive the dress with corset.

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The dress, however, was half my bride's size and, it was poorly constructed. Oh yeah, it was a week before the wedding. So, a very dear friend basically took the corset apart, altered, and rebuilt it. We ditched the skirt, purchasing a basic black one to replace it. A tulle skirt was dyed to match her shoes.

She was exceedingly happy with the result; however, seethingly angry at the Etsy seller who nearly ruined her wedding. What she wore down the aisle was a result of good friends and last minute ingenuity.

Lesson? Sites like Ebay and Etsy have user reviews for a reason — so that people can have confidence in the sellers. We were distracted by something shiny and neglected to check the reviews (or lack there of) before making a purchase. Lesson learned.
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My favorite moment: My vows, definitely.

I rewrote the Monty Python Lumberjack sketch; "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK" became "I'm a geek in love, and I'm OK". My groomsmen filled the role of the Mounties, from the original, as the chorus.

My bride was completely surprised; she had no idea.

Geek Love

My offbeat groom advice: A lot of my advice is rhetoric, but worth repeating:

  • If you're planning to go big, plan early and well in advance (a year and a half in our case).
  • DIY and do it together. Not only does it save money, but doing things like making your own invitation and centerpieces gives you a sense of ownership in your wedding, as opposed to being in attendance. Involve your partner, but don't make it a chore.
  • Stay sober!! You're gonna want to remember this day.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Etsy — Lots of handcrafted goodness to be found here. From Etsy sellers we got my bride's corset, veil, our boutonnieres, Milagros, and… I think that's it.
  • Craigslist — The wedding forum specifically. We found our photographer through a recommendation here. You'll find lots of advice and once people have their weddings, you'll find items (like centerpieces) for sale here.
  • Six Star Sales — This is where we got the ostrich feathers, vases, and lights for our centerpieces.
  • The Great American Music Hall — the venue
  • Tiny Water — the photography.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

  1. It was the BEST WEDDING EVER! The vows were PRICELESS. Everybody had a great time, it was well worth all MY money…..yeah, I'm her mom! I wish everybody we know could have been there, nothing will ever be as exciting. Well, if they give me a grandchild I'll be more than happy! Great wedding and an absolutely stunning bride and groom. Viva la Geeks, or something like that…….

  2. would ove to see a close up of your boutonnieres with hand crafted Mexican Milagros incorporated into them.
    Raddest Wedding Ever!!!

  3. I cannot tell you how happy the groom's vows have made me. However, I will be singing "I'm a lumberjack" for the next week, so damn you, creative groom!

    1 agrees
  4. Is it just me, or are those wedding pictures JUST THE BEST EVER!

    I love that feel, both in post processing and composition.
    Oh and a Devo cover band – tre cool.. :D

    Pity that there are so few weddings in my neck of the woods like this..

  5. @ linoleum – posted two pictures in the flickr group:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/83358874@N00/4096117

    @Alex – agreed. Caroline and Dan really are the best, and are just genuinely awesome people… gooble, gobble, geeks like us. Mongoloid, the Devo cover band, was simply beyond great; there were passers-by at the door trying to pay a cover to get into our reception. Awesome.

    • I TOTALLY agree about Caroline and Dan! They just photographed our Halloween wedding and I can't wait to see the photos!

    • Hi Lon,

      I’m a student journalist at the University of Connecticut and I’m writing an article about Do-It-Yourself weddings for my Magazine Journalism class. As part of the assignment, I’m going to try to get it published. I was wondering if you might be willing to help? I would so love to get a groom’s perspective!

      If so, please e-mail me at crystalmaldonado@gmail.com and we can schedule either a phone or e-mail interview. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated! Thank you so much. :)

      Best,
      Crystal Maldonado

  6. How cool that you got married at the GAMH! One of my favorite places on earth.

  7. In addition to everything else, those photos are amazing! I want to move to SF just to have those photographers.

    • Katryn –
      Yes, our photographers were amazing. We stay in touch and lan to have them there during the other great moments in our lives together. They DO travel. They are based in Sacramento; travel to the Sacramento area, SF, Tahoe, and I believe LA are included in their fees.

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