Sarah Joy & Joseph's modern and minimalist, welding wedding

By on Jul 6th

Remember when Shrie shared that amazingly offbeat Welding Story about the couple who welded a mobius strip during their wedding ceremony? Well, now you can finally read the rest of that incredible story!

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The offbeat bride: Sarah Joy, pipe fitter (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Joseph, pipe fitter

Location & date of wedding: Farnsworth House, outside Chicago, IL — May 15, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a secular celebration of our union. Because we wanted, more than anything, for the whole affair to feel good, comfortable and right for us, there were a number of elements that might qualify as "offbeat." We DIY'd a lot of the details (invitations and other paper goods, table numbers, centerpieces, etc.). The ceremony was simple, with no readings. The bulk of the text was our love story, retold by our officiant and based on extensive interviews with each of us.

Our party was made up of our closet peeps, regardless of gender. The groom's favorite color is grey, which dovetails nicely with my passion: metal. The dresses were all the same design, in graduated shades of grey. The tux accessories were also in shades of grey. Because the groom is vegan, the tuxes were all non-wool and non-silk fibers. My ensemble, which featured chiffon pants, was soft white and silver with a bit of metallic gold. Jewelry all around featured copper.

Instead of a unity candle or sand ceremony, we had a welding ceremony. Not only do we both weld in our jobs as pipe fitters, we both loved the symbolism.

Welding ceremony


The reception featured both vegan and meaty food (more than 10% of the guests were vegetarians, including half of the bridal party). The cake was made by a friend of ours and entirely vegan.

Our biggest challenge: I think the biggest challenge was the flood. It was unexpected and certainly undesirable! It meant that we couldn't rehearse in the actual ceremony space. Still, we had all the key players assembled and they got the idea of where they were to stand and how fast to walk, etc. Unfortunately, it also meant that we weren't able to make sure the power and the welding machine would work or practice the weld before the ceremony. The flood also meant that the lovely riverside path to the site was closed. We had to reroute vendors and guests down a less pretty gravel drive. I got through it with the awesome support of my partner, family, the party, and by repeating my mantra: "At the end of the day, we'll be married, and the guests will have had a memorable experience!"

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My favorite moment: We put a lot of thought and care into the welding ceremony. The various elements, from the weld itself, to the materials and shape of the object we welded, had significance and meaning to us.

They displayed a replica of the mobius they welded at the reception


The vows were really meaningful, too. Our officiant offered several options, which we ended up editing and combining to be especially personal and meaningful to us. The vows began, "I love you. You are my best friend. I choose you." They continued with promises to listen to one another, respect each other's dreams and needs, and to share together in our joys. The last part, which also means a lot to me was, "As this ring now encirlces your finger, so shall my love forever encircle you."

My funniest moment: There were a couple of funny moments. First, at the end of the ceremony, the officiant led the guests in a call-and-response affirmation of our union. The guests continued to repeat her when she turned to address us with her final words. She told them that it was her turn now, and everyone laughed.
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At the reception, the funniest moment had to be when I failed at cutting the cake. I ended up prying the slice out, and it flopped on the table. Joe put it on the plate, and all was well. But this reminds me of another piece of advice: Cut a wedge, not a rectangular slice!

My advice for offbeat brides: Focus on what's important and let the rest fall away. For me, that meant repeating to myself, "At the end of the day, we will be married and our guests will have had a memorable experience!" This allowed me to deal with the fact that the venue was flooded shin-deep the day before the wedding (luckily the ceremony site was merely soggy by the time the guests arrived) with just a few tears and many giggles. It also helped me to let go of control (you really can't do it all). It allowed me to enjoy our four-left-footed first dance and to embrace the joy of my guests when they mobbed me right after the ceremony was over.

Each guest wore goggles during the welding ceremony to protect their eyes!


Also, write a detailed itinerary for the wedding day that includes specifics for every important person. Make each person their own copy, with their tasks highlighted. Inevitably, there will be things you left off and last minute changes, but being organized and having everyone on the same page really really helps.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!