The offbeat bride: Casey (Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Ari
Location & date of wedding: Stroudsmoor Country Inn, Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania — October 17, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: Ari and I chose from wedding traditions and our families' cultural/religious traditions and dropped the ones that didn't feel right. It was pretty Offbeat Lite in the end. A lot of little things were offbeat, though: We had a Best Woman instead of Best Man (or as she chose to be called, the Best Dame), and I called my 11-year-old cousin my "Flower Tween."
Best Dame and her sister actually made us our big "sack-o-buttons." The button idea originally came from "The Godfather." I wanted to make my off-the-boat Italian father a button that said "Ask me a favor" (The Godfather cannot refuse a favor on the day of his daughter's wedding). And then funny inside jokes were made into buttons for the rest of our families and the bridal party. Other funny button phrases included: "One Man Wolf Pack" (The Hangover reference) and "Maid of Horror."
Our DJ, Roots and Groove, was awesome, especially for finding a way to accommodate our conflicting tastes ('90s alt-rock and singer-songwriters meets heavy metal and classic blues rock), while still getting people off of their butts and dancing. Our photographer, Love Me Do Photography, took more journalistic style photos and less "posey" ones (Ari hates posing for pics) and put up an awesome photo booth. Our venue put together awesome table decorations with lanterns, black magic rose petals, and moss.
I wore a birdcage veil with my grandmother's headpiece from her wedding. I wore red shoes since I have a bit of a Wizard of Oz thing.
Things we nixed: receiving line, bouquet/garter toss, priests and/or rabbis, and matching dresses and tuxes (though the gals wore dresses from the same designer). Things we kept: a few cultural traditions, parent dances, and CAKE!
Tell us about the ceremony: Neither of us are very religious, so we embraced more of our heritage rather than religion. It was an Irish-Italian-Jewish extravaganza. For the ceremony, we had a chuppah, did a Celtic Handfasting, had a unity candle, and Ari broke the glass. Ari's dad did a reading from Madeleine L'engle's "The Irrational Season," my dad walked me down the aisle, and our moms lit the tapers for the Unity Candle ceremony.
Our officiant was my rocking cousin-in-law, Seth, who had performed a whole bunch of weddings as a Reverend of the online Universal Life Church. The ceremony he wrote was so perfect, so US, and even brought up how much of a conglomeration of different cultures it was. At the rehearsal dinner the night before, I addressed that fact there were so many different beliefs in attendance and then asked everyone to do a ring warming by saying a prayer, chant, Family Guy quote, etc. over our rings, and just wishing us general good luck.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was definitely the budget. We decided on a location in the Poconos because it was much more affordable than NYC or Philly (where we are both from). Our small budget lead to some pretty heated guest list issues. Who we wanted to invite — as well as who our families wanted to invite — and who we could afford were in two completely different ball parks. So in the end, feathers were ruffled and parents grumbled, but we eventually had to cut people. Hopefully they still like us.
My favorite moment: I truly loved our ceremony. The traditions we chose to use and the vows we chose to say made it really special and meaningful for us. Our officiant's words were really meaningful, funny, and touching all at the same time.
I also put a lot of time into making the ambiance and decor really fit. I love the color red and I came up with this kind of vision of a red, bohemian, "autumn in the woods" wedding. The colors and flowers complimented the beautiful weather and it was awesome seeing everything look amazing as I walked down the aisle.
My funniest moment: I'd have to say that the horah was the funniest part. Not only was my side of the family (the Italian/Irish side) totally confused about what to do at first, they ended up having a freaking blast doing it with the help of Ari's side of the family. I had been totally afraid of being lifted up into the chair, aaaand it turns out, I had good reason.
Apparently either my bodacious booty got the best of them, or those lifting my chair have very teensy arm muscles. I could feel my chair starting to dip to one corner and I thought to myself, "Casey, if you don't just jump off now, you're going to fall off." And so, I jumped! Ari was up in his chair, having turned his head to grab a napkin and when he turned back, his bride was no longer in her chair! Luckily, some of my big Italian relatives came to help, and I was back up in the chair in no time.
My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to get too stressed out. I know that can be next to impossible. But just remember that this whole thing is about you and your future spouse. Don't worry about what other people think or what other people expect of you. Have wine handy. Have friends handy. Try not to yell at your friends! Make sure the people involved are really people you care about and who care about you guys. And again, have wine handy.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Sottero and Midgley by way of Kelly's Kreations in Brooklyn
- Headpiece: My grandmom's from the '50s!
- Shoes: Target
- Bridesmaids dresses: Bill Levkoff
- Ari's suit: Joseph Abboud
- Guys' shirts and ties: Jones New York
- Venue and decor: Stroudsmoor Country Inn
- DJ: Roots and Groove
- Photographer: Love Me Do
- Programs and Save-the-Dates: Etsy seller Envymarketing
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!