Melissa & Phil's Day of the Dead, heavy metal Mexipalooza wedding

January 20 |

Cemetary Bridal ShootThe offbeat bride: Melissa – Grad Student, Office Wench, Heavy Metal Muse, and Tribesmaid Metal Melissa

Her offbeat partner: Phil – drummer of Centaurus, repairman

Location & date of wedding: Our Backyard! Chicago 'burbs, IL — 06-26-2009

What made our wedding offbeat: From the start we wanted to do something that completely embodied our personalities. Dia De Los Muertos was the perfect fit! It is a custom that is spiritual, quirky, morbid, and unique -– just like us!

Our cake!We tried hard to create an event that effortlessly combined all the things we love: GOOD Mexican food, good beer, fabulous décor, macabre imagery, bright colors, good music, heavy metal, and good company.

I walked down the aisle to an instrumental Dimmu Borgir song (Norwegian Black Metal). We had the friend who introduced us get ordained and perform our non-religious outdoor ceremony. He was amazing! He really came through for us and composed a beautiful ceremony.

For our reception we couldn't afford a sit-down dinner, so we had a cocktail-style party with tacos and mexican finger foods (quesadillas, tamales, empenadas, etc.) served all night long. We had a few live musical acts play throughout the evening, and were spinning 70s rock and heavy metal all night long.

And the best part, is that my wedding dream came true -– we ate tacos (my fave!!)! We hired a traditional Mexican "taco cart" guy who showed up with a huge grill and made fresh, AMAZING tacos all night long! It was incredible.

We were unfaltering in our vision and quest for a fun, unique wedding. And, in the end, it was a huge success! We had a blast, and all of our guests continue to praise the event, the food, and the fun!

Our biggest challenge: Our budget was always our biggest obstacle due to my outlandish imagination. It was hard at times to face reality that we couldn't afford fire dancers and live-action "calacas," but you learn to prioritize and to stretch your dollars as far as possible. And DIY anything you can get your mitts on.

Another obstacle for me was a bit of a culture-clash. I knew these "taco men" existed with their mobile grills and arsenal of delicious meats –- but, being that I'm uber Caucasian, I didn't know where to find them! I asked every Mexican person I knew, I posted "help me!" ads on Craigslist, I tried EVERYTHING to get a hold of a Taco Guy. Tips finally started rolling in, but most of the phone numbers I was given lead me to people who only spoke Spanish. No habla Espanol. So that, for me, was a huge obstacle.

In the end, I found a good reference, found a translator, and great tacos were had by all!

Metal Madness!

My favorite moment: First, the moment when I walked into our house, after getting my hair done, and saw how great all my girls looked, that most everyone was ready, and that things were coming together! Everything and everyone looked so good –- much better than I even imagined! It was total relief and complete excitement!

My other favorite moment was during the reception. My new husband and I just got our tacos, sat down (the only time we sat all night long!) and began to eat. We had a few moments to ourselves at the table, and we just soaked it all in. We were married, we were eating tacos at our wedding, it was all happening and there was nothing else to worry about. We were kissing and talking and just like "Wow! It's here! And we DID IT!" All the planning and obsessing was for THAT moment, and we just relished in it and felt so proud of ourselves and so incredibly happy!

My offbeat advice: Keep it small. We had about 130 guests. Now, that's not even a HUGE wedding and I still felt completely rushed. I only spent about a couple of minutes with each guest (if I was lucky!) and I almost feel BAD that some people traveled from far away only to get to talk to us for two minutes. So, if I were to do it over again, I would have made it much smaller -– or, I would have opted for three separate parties (one for my family, one for his family, and one for our friends) to make mingling more manageable.

Your wedsite is an OBB's best friend! If there is a crazy idea or theme you want to incorporate -– do it! Don't be afraid that your guests wont "get it" or that they will think you are weird or morbid. Create a page on your wedsite to EXPLAIN all of your wedding quirks, inside jokes, and offbeat themes!

I was afraid the older relatives might find our "Novios" (skeleton bride and groom) and all the skulls rather depressing and creepy. So, I created a page on our wedsite that explained the Day of the Dead holiday, customs, imagery, etc., etc. We explained that it means we'll be together forever in life and death – and once we did, everyone embraced our theme!

Also, for anyone worried about an offbeat menu -– give your guests some warning on your website! I mentioned Mexican food on our site, just to give anyone who didn't want to eat that a 'heads up' that they might want to eat beforehand.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

  1. Wow, wow, WOW! Y'know, I don't think there are adequate words to describe how utterly gorgeous this is! Not only are you one of the most beautiful brides, but the theme and colour… everything is just amazing! A lot of people don't 'get' Dia De Los Muertos for what it is, a celebration of life and death, but you've nailed it without trying to be trendy or cool having skulls at your wedding. I completely love your cake, topper… oh hell, I love everything.

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  2. Love the fashions, so romantic! (Especially his!)

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  3. How Awesome! I love the pictures that were taken in the cemetery! And i just giggles when i saw the couches! Just wonderful!

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  4. Hi! I'm Lynn Fosbender, the florist from Melissa and Phil's wedding. I had such a wonderful time working with them! Just wanted to post a comment here, because since doing Melissa and Phil's wedding, I've started Pollen, a floral design studio. So glad that their fun, unique and personal wedding is getting the attention it deserves!

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  5. Is that Viva la Muerte?! I LOVE her! Lucky bride to have such gorgeous bridesmaids. I love the hair pieces they wore- very pretty!

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  6. Thanks for all the wonderful compliments!!

    Yes, That's the lovely Viva!!! She and all my other girls are amazing ladies!!

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    • ::sniff:: thanks doll! I'm thrilled that Melissa gave me a (good) reason to get my hair styled like Dita Von Teese! aaaand an excuse to buy a pair of the world's sexiest shoes to wear with the dress. lol

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  7. I am with you on the tacos! The best wedding food I ever had was Mexican food made by the bride's family. Yum.

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  8. EEEEEEEeEEEeeEEE!
    One of my favorite brides I ever had the delight to work with & now to learn there were street tacos too….
    *DROOLS*
    Love your head girl!

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  9. Melissa is also featured on Maggie Sottero's website as on of "Maggie's Brides!"

    http://www.maggiesottero.com/viewBride.aspx?pageS

    I KNEW I recognized the awesome purple hair & amazing hat from somewhere! :)

    This is the perfect example of how you can make your wedding completely amazing without spending ridiculous amounts of $$$! Very, very beautiful & creative wedding

    I love the Street Tacos!

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  10. what an amazing wedding! It has really inspired me.

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  11. The couches are such a LOVELY idea! Brilliant!

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  12. Love this wedding. The cake totally rocks. And I am so jealous, 'cuz I love tacos X D

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  13. I think that is the best cake I have ever seen! Amazing looking wedding- congrats! x x

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  14. you guys look spectacular!! I never understood the day of the dead stuff (I'm aussie) but now i do! so sweet!! :D thanks for the tip on umbrellas too, ive been searching for one for months!

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  15. "I walked down the aisle to an instrumental Dimmu Borgir song"

    YES!!!!!!! m/

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  16. kudos on bringing dimmu borgir into the mix…was it the instrumental version of "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" by any chance?

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  17. Major kudos. This wedding… from the Bride, the food, the colors, EVERYTHING effin' ROCKS!

    Congrats on pulling it all off and THANK YOU for the advice. I was so worried about how to explain our Buddhist wedding and offbeat reception to our (mostly Catholic) families. The website was a fabulous point that I had never thought about. Thank you!

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  18. OMG and your reception setup is AWESOME! We want an outside/tented reception with about 150 people… I love the sitting area and the way it's all set up. Without sounding weird your wedding pics and advice has helped answer A LOT of my questions and concerns. Thank you!

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  19. That wedding cake is fantastic! What a great way to celebrate a clearly unique couple!

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  20. Sara: No, that's a good guess tho! The song was "Fear and Wonder" off of Puritanical. m/

    Glad to help to anyone who liked my advice!! :)
    A tip: If you're interested in doing the couch/lounge thing – CRAIGSLIST! I started looking there for cheap couches in our wedding colors about a year before the wedding. And hoarding them in our basement. Then, after the wedding we sold them all on Craigslist and made all our $$ back! :)

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    • Now that's brilliant. On top of all the other brilliant things. Beautiful job all around. Congratulations on your wedding. I wish you and your new husband all the best.

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  21. Metal Melissa if you are still hanging a round here, I wanted to ask where the Bridesmaids dresses came from, they are awesome! Also I love your wedding, it looked like so much fun.

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    • Hey Devin!

      The dresses came from this site:
      http://www.therosedress.com

      Its actually a kind of tacky site, with some cheap dresses. It was a total fluke that I found these dresses! The only downside is that you CANT try them on and their return policy is really crappy.

      Here's a link to the dresses.
      http://www.therosedress.com/shop/products/itemFI….
      We removed the sparkly thing, and had a seamstress take up the hem to make them more "pin-up" like,

      Hope that helps!!!

      1 agrees
  22. LOVE the colours and the set-up (sofa's!!!), LOVE the way you two look (in love!!!), love everything about these pics – congrats!

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  23. I completely adore this! I am a big day of the dead person have been in love with skulls and when i pitched the idea my family did a eeek but my fiance loved it. I am so excited to find a couple that also did it and i looove the details i can only hope i get my wedding to be this awesome.

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  24. I love your hair! You both look awesome! I'll be sure to check out your new hubby's band :)

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