Lisa & Bill's elegant neon 1980s rock wedding

Neon 1980s cake!
Photos by Traci Wright Martin

The offbeat bride: Lisa, Graphic Designer (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Bill, Computer Scientist

Location & date of wedding: Ceremony at First United Methodist Church, Reception in my parent's backyard, Ardmore, Oklahoma — October 2, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: My husband loves '80s rock, so I thought it would be the perfect theme to get both of us involved in the planning. We threw in as many personal touches as we could and DIYed much of it.

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I designed the invitations (12"x18" posters mailed in tubes), escort cards ('80s rock-themed mixed cassette tapes with old school tape labels indicating the person's name and table assignment), and the favors (t-shirts featuring our faces and our wedding date: Rocktober 2nd, 2010).

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I love bright colors, so we used black as our neutral with accents in neon pink, orange, yellow, and blue. We infused the colors everywhere — in the bridal party outfits, table settings, cake, tent decorations, and at our bar (blue margarita punch, yellow Bishop's punch, and pink champagne punch).

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We also used records albums and album covers to decorate. We made chargers by painting records gold, and strung up the covers in swags along the front of the tent. I also used them to decorate a fence panel for the backdrop of Polaroid guestbook pictures.

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We had an awesome '80s cover band for the reception, which really set the scene, and provided great backup for our first dance number (choreographed to "You Make My Dreams Come True"), and my bridesmaids and my large-scale choreographed dance number, complete with props.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Though the ceremony was fairly standard, we put our stamp on it with the music. Before the ceremony, we had '80s rock covers by Vitamin String Quartet playing. During the ceremony, we had all Billy Joel music, and we even had a reading from a Billy Joel song in lieu of a Bible reading. I also designed the ceremony programs which were mix CDs with music from the ceremony and reception with all the details in the CD booklet.

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Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was reconciling my quirky ideas with my long-held desire to have a classic and elegant affair. In the end, I realized that if I just make sure I love every part of the wedding, it will be great.

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My favorite moment: During our first dance, I finally had a chance to just look at my new husband and let it sink in that we were really married. That was a great feeling.

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When my dad gave me away during the ceremony, it really made me think about how I was now starting my own new family, and it felt a little nerve-wracking, but mostly very exciting!

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My favorite moment of the day, though, was when my husband and I ran through the sparklers to our getaway car. After so many months of planning and worrying about the wedding and reception, it was bittersweet to be at the end of it. But I was just so excited to really start just being married.

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My funniest moment: My bridesmaids and I choreographed a dance to perform during the reception. One of my bridesmaids and I were on the dance squad together in high school, so it was just like old times for us. It started out to Madonna's "Like A Prayer," and then it "rickrolled" into "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. At the rickroll, we busted out our homemade fringe-ring props!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Though we had planned on having all of the music during the ceremony played on piano, our pianist never showed up! The church was really cool about it, though, and agreed to let us just play the music from a CD even though it was non-secular, and it worked out beautifully.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Don't try to do it all yourself. I spent months feeling like I had to do it all and shouldn't ask anyone for help, and in the end it just makes it all too stressful. Finally in the last few days before the wedding, I had to give up control and let some of my friends and family help out. They did an awesome job!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Thanks so much, Offbeat Bride, for featuring my wedding!

    2 agree
    • Thank you for sharing your wedding, I absolutely LOVE your ideas, we are talking about an 80's theme Rock wedding reception and I got so many great ideas from you. Love the idea of the table assignments by album covers. Hope your marriage is still going strong and will continue to be rockin' forever

  2. I love that you used Vitamin String Quartet. They are all kinds of amazing. I also really like your bolero. Congratulations!

  3. Love infinity. My 80s heart has exploded into a neon blob of goo, so I must collect it now. Seriously, can you guys do it again so I can attend it? It's THAT awesome.

    3 agree
  4. Ever since I first saw this cake, I've wanted to ask… how did it taste? Black cake coloring tends to go toward the bitter, so I was surprised to see black fondant.

    • It was super delicious! I didn't notice the fondant being particularly bitter, but if it was the layer of butter cream under it balanced it well. I'm actually really looking forward to our 1 year anniversary so I can have some more!

  5. There is nothing I don't like about this wedding. TOTAL WIN! Wish I knew you so I could've been invited!

  6. Hmmm, I like the black and white posters, makes me think of the A-Ha Take On Me and gives me some painstaking and probably never to be done rotoscoping ideas, lol. On the other hand, PLEASE tell me no good albums were harmed in the making of your decor? I always see vinyl art and get horribly scared that something wonderful has been irreparably harmed in the process.

    • No worries – none of the albums we used were rare treasures! I bought like 300 of them super cheap at a flea market – it was all the unsellable/slightly warped records. I went through all of them, and pulled out anything that seemed worth saving.

  7. LOVE IT SO MUCH!! We too are using music from The Vitamin String Quartet, they do some amazing covers of Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, The Used and tons of other bands I love.

  8. zomg! the colours! the colours! the colours! and i less than 3 your glasses!

    :squeee:

    actually, seeing your bridesmaids black plus neon accent has me seriously thinking about reversing my dress/accessory colour scheme. your wedding goes to 11!

    1 agrees
  9. wow. you made the 80s… classy. that is a feat in and of itself. amazing! and that cake is so freaking awesome.

  10. I love your coloring page–it's super snazzy and looks like a real picture. Would you mind sharing how you made it? Thanks!

  11. BEST. CAKE. EVERRRRRRRRRRRR. I am seriously in love with it. I'm having a fairly onbeat wedding, but I think I've just found my dream cake.

  12. This wedding is absolutely stunning – you are so talented!!!

  13. Stealing the coloring book idea (don't know if I'll use it, but I definitely wanna make one now). LOVE IT. Love the graphic design as well. As a designer, it really bothers me when the graphics are bad, and every component was AWESOME.
    Also, I think this is my future sister in laws dream wedding. I hafta share this story with her.

  14. I am IN LOVE with this theme. In. Love. And the cake is gorgeous.

  15. I am wondering where the bridesmaids' shoes are from? :)

    • I couldn't find any brand that had shoes in all four of the colors I wanted, so I got them all from different places. I know one pair was J Crew, another I found on Amazon . . . I forget where the other two were from, but I found all of them online.

  16. Hi, I love the idea of the escort cards as cassette tapes. Where did you purchase the cassettes?

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