Tamara & Peter's Offbeat meets Onbeat wedding

By on Jul. 30th


The offbeat bride: Tamara, Building Inspector and Nail Tech

Her offbeat partner: Peter, Architect

Location & date of wedding: Our backyard, Salinas, California — June 19, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Well, first of all, I am heavily tattooed and finally came around to not trying to cover it. I got caught up a bit in the whole traditional wedding "thing." However, I realized I shouldn't cover my tattoos. That freedom came from my groom who asked "what do you think your doing?" It's a part of me–who he loves–and I should fly the colors on such a wonderful day. DSC04825

Our original plans were quite different actually, but melding me with a rather straight-laced groom made for some rather traditional changes.

He is very conservative but allows me to be me and every part of the day was composed mostly of my personality–from the polkadot cake to the garden theme, complete with bugs and birds. It all was DIY'd by me because I just can't help it. If I saw one more matchy matchy wedding with a white cake, I would die of yawning.

We had original music composed by my stepson, a surprise (fab) menu by the caterers (friends), grandchildren involved, puzzle placecards, hosted bar with our signature Gigglemakers and everyone wearing what they want! IMG_3924

What a warm, relaxed and wonderful day!! Peter wants to renew our vows next month so we can do it again!

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was fairly traditional. We wanted the traditional words. We also wanted very much to add references to God in our vows so reworked the vow samples given to us by the judge. We felt that this is such a sacred ritual that references to picking up socks or sharing housework or other such "promises" make silly something that isn't.

Also, we originally wanted the Rabbi from Peter's temple to at least say a blessing (he wouldn't perform the ceremony since I'm not Jewish), but our wedding took place on the Sabbath and his being very orthodox meant he could not attend. Now we aren't sure why we didn't reset the day for Sunday.

DSC05276Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was my dress! I ordered what I thought was going to be a beautiful red one, but it turned out hideous and arrived only a month before the day. I had such serious indecision because I felt like a bratwurst in all the dresses I tried on. No one else seemed to see me that way, but I'm my own worst critic. I finally had to just let it go–and think about my groom's face when he saw me.

We didn't have any real budgetary constraints but in the beginning of the planning stages, I started to get really overwhelmed with the little details so our friends who catered our wedding just took over. They handled absolutely everything but the table decorations. So I was able to do the fun stuff and fuss about my dress.

My favorite moment: To see my groom's face when he first saw me. Then when I reached him, I saw that he was already crying. He has such a tender heart.

We were married by a friend who is a judge and had civil type vows for us to choose from. God is very important to us–Peter is Jewish and I am Christian–so we rewrote the basics to include our God in our most sacred day.


The toast Peter gave was a total surprise to me. He spoke about how we met and how he was smitten from that first date. How he had had the usual goofy ideas about tattooing, but now can't imagine me "plain" and thanks God everyday for bringing me to him when he was ready.

Peter gave me so much freedom to have this day just as I wanted it, but I did change a few things to be more conventional in deference to him. It was OUR wedding after all and as it turned out — just perfect!


My funniest moment: My granddaughter bringing the ring nest to the altar when the judge asked for the rings. Since she is so young — eighteen months — we weren't sure if she'd do it or not. But at the appropriate time, she walked down the aisle wearing her favorite pink tutu (she insisted) and nearly wrestling with her two older brothers who were sent to "help" her! All you could see was elbows and shoving and her yelling "No! Me do it!" I wasn't really sure where that nest was going to land!


My advice for offbeat brides: The idea is to examine what you really want. Make sure what you're doing it for the right reasons–that it really is a reflection of your personality and not just to be different in the same different way. There were several aspects of a traditional wedding that suited us both well so there was no need to be different just to be different. What we ended up with was a perfect blend of both our personalities.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Planning this wedding was all joy and excitement, love and anticipation. It showed me that my husband is exactly who I thought he was and I would marry him again any day!


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: Oleg Cassini at David's Bridal — they were awesome helping me with my indecision and having something for me two weeks before the wedding!
  • Caterer: Portobello's in Salinas, CA. I gave them freedom to serve whatever they wanted and they came up with a meal so fabulous that people are still raving about it.
  • Cake: Layers Sensational Cakes, Monterey, CA. Best chocolate cake I've ever eaten and I've eaten a lot of chocolate cake!
  • Hair flower: eBay
  • Paper flowers on cake: etsy
  • Table flowers: McShane's Nursery
  • Bouquets and altar flowers: Swensen & Silacci Florists, Salinas, CA. Very helpful and didn't cost a fortune.
  • Decorations: Mostly came from inside my house and various online sources.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!