Vanessa & Derek's geeky vintage bear-y jokester wedding

By on Jun. 1st
Sitting in Mcdonald's

The offbeat bride: Vanessa, Artist/Secretary

Her offbeat partner: Derek, Mortician

Date and location of wedding: Milwaukee Domes, Milwaukee, WI — March 19, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: It was important for us to have a wedding that represented who we are: a quirky, vintage-loving, and arty couple. I love architecture, so the location of our wedding was very important. "The Domes" at Milwaukee's Horticultural Center are three glass dome buildings that were built in the '50s, fitting our theme perfectly. Each dome has a different environment — a show dome (filled with trains and fairy tale scenes), a desert dome, and a rainforest dome. Our guests loved it, and had a great time exploring the domes.


One of the things that made our wedding offbeat was doing exactly what we wanted to, no matter what anyone said. We had a Ring Bear and whoopie cushions that said "I had a gas at V&D's wedding."

I had a gas

We also chose to have a Best Person instead of a full wedding party and walked in together to 'All is Love' by Karen O and The Kids.

Love this one

I love headpieces so instead of just picking one, I had six different headpieces that I changed throughout the night.

Getting Ready

The budget was also a big concern, we didn't want to go into debt and we wanted to pay for it ourselves, so we gave ourselves a budget of $8000 and actually came in under budget!

Show Dome

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was written by our celebrant and us, about our love at first sight.

Vanessa: I will always love you.
cutestersDerek: I will always love you.
Vanessa: I vow to give you the best of myself and respect you as your own person
Derek: I vow to always hold your hand
Vanessa: To always laugh at your jokes
Derek: To read you bedtime stories, even when I am really tired
Vanessa: To make heart-shaped everything
Derek: To take you treasure hunting at thrift stores forever
Vanessa: To wear my heart on my sleeve
Derek: To always watch bad TV shows that you love
Vanessa: To appreciate everything you do for me
Derek: To always know you are my constant
Vanessa: To buy you anything and everything with robots and dinosaurs on it
First KissDerek: To hunt down every mold-o-rama known to man and complete your collection
Vanessa: To watch animated films with you even though I hate them
Derek: To seek out photo booths so we can always remember our adventures
Vanessa: To always pick up your socks no matter where you leave them
Derek: To always take care of you
Vanessa: To always have dance parties in the kitchen
Derek: To take you on date nights for the rest of our lives
Vanessa: To invent a time machine so we can be together forever
We are married!Derek: If the opportunity arises, to get robotic transplants in the future, so we can be together forever in robo-matrimony
Vanessa: To plan great adventures for us
Derek: To always be your partner in crime
Vanessa: To make out with you forever and ever
Derek: To always kiss your kneesies
Vanessa: To take over the world with you
Derek: To get that light-headed, room spinning, love birdie, soul mate feeling every time I see you
Vanessa: To spend the rest of my life in your arms
Derek: To spend the rest of my life knowing that this is the greatest love story ever told

Our favoriteWe had a ceremonial signing of the marriage certificate during our ceremony and called both of our moms up to sign the certificate as well as our celebrant and Derek's brother, Craig. We also wanted all our guests to know that we support marriage equality.

Head TableOur biggest challenge: We wanted a very small wedding so this caused some tension with my family. But I stuck to my guns and only invited family members that are a part of my life.

Additionally, Derek is a mortician so he's always on call. His challenge was being too busy and trying to find time to help with the DIY projects.

Let the tears begin

My favorite moment: My favorite moment was watching Derek cry while we were reading our Both Cakesvows (he never cries — ever). After he started crying, everyone started crying.

We also had everyone give us away. When our celebrant asked who presented the couple to be wed, all our guests shouted "WE DO!" And of course, we loved reading the vows we wrote.

(Husband's note: I loved seeing Vanessa the happiest I've ever seen her in my life.)

Bear Bride

My funniest moment: Our vows contained some "LOST" references. Other funny moments included the Ring Bear and ending the wedding with Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson.

Mustache Socks

We didn't have a bouquet toss but my friend really wanted to catch one, so she put together one of the centerpieces and had me throw it to just her. Derek's Grandparents were wearing temporary tattoos of our faces and one of our wedding cakes was a scene from "Where the Wild Things Are."

Where the Wild things Are

I spyWas there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was worried about the disposable cameras we had on the tables. I have shot many weddings, and I used to work at a photo lab, so I was pretty scared about what we might get. But the results ended up being amazing.

Sweet Heart Table

Cake CuttingCare to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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