The offbeat bride: Megan, Children's Theatre Producer
Her offbeat partner: Jim, Designer Toy Distrubutor
Location & date of wedding: Rancho Simi Park, Simi Valley, CA — October 10, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We just made sure it was us every step of the way — color and love and laughter. We wrote our own ceremony, forewent flowers, and questioned every tradition to only include what actually mattered to us.
The all-female wedding party struggled with the idea that they could wear whatever they wanted and somehow, accidentally, all ended up in something blue-ish.
The ceremony included sanctified coffee and ice cream sandwiches.
We had homemade paper flags, pinwheel and crayon centerpieces, a cacophony of musical instruments played joyfully and skill-lessly, a pirate ship moon bounce, and the most amazingly colorful cake ever conceived.
We welcomed everyone and introduced our families and superfriends (attendants). This was a good opportunity to pay some joyous respect to the three of our four parents who have passed away and Jim's grandparents who couldn't make the trip.
Our officiant (and best friend) explained the audience-participation aspects of the wedding and taught everyone their lines. He also instructed everyone to grab a musical instrument if they wanted one and/or a flag.
We asked our families for their blessing. Then we asked our assembled friends if they would affirm our marriage and give it their blessing.
We explained the symbolism behind our gorgeous wooden rings — purple heartwood with inlays of olive, maple, and pear to symbolize trees in our family's yards and our own yard together. Then, we explained how those rings didn't make it in time for the ceremony! Next we explained the symbolism of our stand-in rings — Blue and Green Lantern Rings.
We sanctified a cup of coffee: our daily bread; and an ice cream sandwich: our food of celebration.
Finally, everyone present joined voices in shouting "We, your family and friends, now pronounce you married!" And we began our marriage, inspired by Ariel, with a quiet walk together in the park.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was probably sifting through generously and lovingly-offered brainstorm ideas for the nuggets of gold within. Also, balancing our super-tight budget with our desire to make sure we weren't being ungrateful or ungenerous with people who give us so much, both for the wedding and every day.
To the first point, it was important to remember to be grateful for ideas — even bad ideas — because someone took the time to think about us and what might make our wedding even cooler. That kind of love is worth a lot, and we needed to be respectful in our consideration of those sometimes truly terrible ideas. To the second point, we really needed to remember that we didn't want to cut every corner. It was ok to splurge on 6" Togo's sandwiches in the picnic boxes instead of 3". Our guests were giving us their weekend, going along blindly with our crazy ceremony, and even giving us gifts on top of everything, the least we could do was feed them well.
My favorite moment: It meant a lot to us to include our parents, even though three of four have passed away. We took time to introduce our families and attendants (Superfriends) and made sure to mention those who were not in attendance, but absolutely present in our hearts.
Then, in the ceremony, we began by speaking of how each of our parents stood in a similar fashion years ago wondering what would become of their lives together. How part of the answer stood before everyone now in the person they called "son" or "daughter." We thanked them for their part in our marriage and asked Jim's mother, and Megan's brother and sister if we could have their blessing.
My funniest moment: We knew that trying to include an ice cream sandwich in an outdoor ceremony could go terribly awry. Despite the ice-pack-filled cooler and the valiant efforts of the friend assigned to cooler duty, the ninety degree day took its toll.
By the time the ice cream sandwich took the spotlight, it was a tad bit soupy. That didn't matter in the least to Jim — he LOVES him some ice cream sandwiches (which is why we included them). After we each took a genteel bite with our fingers, Jim stuck his face in the plate and licked up a nice big chunk, which inspired Megan's nephew to shout "ice cream, yum yum!" in the hopes that he might get to lick the plate too.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? When our officiant first read the ceremony we had written, he warned us about the possibility that people may not cheer or play their instruments in the places where we wanted them to, and that they probably wouldn't remember to say the lines we had written for them. It had never occurred to us that the audience might not participate, and this friendly, constructive criticism seemed like a scathing indictment of everything we wanted out wedding to be.
Luckily, we held fast to the idea that as long as we created the right environment, everyone would get and go along with our vision. Ultimately, the cheers and responses and joyful musical cacophony we inspired went even beyond our hopeful imagining. One of the best moments of the whole day was the giant unexpected cheer that erupted when our officiant mentioned Megan's parents. They may not have been with us physically, but their joy echoed in every heart present!
My advice for offbeat brides: Imagine what you want the day to feel like — for us it was honestly joyful — then embrace the things that evoke that feeling.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We are capable of so much love and surrounded by even more — no one cared or noticed that we didn't toss a bouquet or have any champagne toasts. When we said we were doing our wedding our way, everyone smiled and honestly looked forward to seeing what we would come up with. We learned how lucky we are to have friends and family that respect our weirdness. It may be trite, but if your heart is true, anyone can see its beauty.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Greenaid Seed Bomb favors: The Common Studio
- Shoes: Medieval Moccassins
- Pirate Ship Moon Bounce: Sky-Jumpers
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!