Adri & Bobby's damask riverboat wedding

September 2 |
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Photos by Anna Joy Photo

The offbeat bride: Adriana, Administrative Assistant

Her offbeat partner: Bobby, Plant Technician

Date and location of wedding: Serra Cross Park, Ventura and Oxnard, CA — March 19, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: We had a completely secular ceremony. Our choices of décor were pretty diverse as well. Our decorations were a mix of black and white damask accents, red and black Dia De los Muertos colors and imagery, and as much vintage-y goodness as we could fit in. My mom also walked me down the aisle. And finally, we hosted our reception on a boat! A bitchin' old-timey paddlewheel riverboat, to be exact.

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We also made a few of the more antiquated wedding traditions our own. For example, we had a Polaroid guest book where our friends and family could get their picture taken with a wannabe Polaroid (Fujifilm) instant film camera, place it in an album, and write a cute little message to us.

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Also, instead of rice or bubbles thrown/blown at us after our ceremony, I made "yay" flags for people to wave around in the air (which I won't deny that I totally stole from an Offbeat Bride DIY tutorial!)

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I made a ceremony greeting sign which was a collection of photo booth pictures that Bobby and I have taken over the years and arranged in a giant, ornate frame. We really tried to stay true to our own beliefs (or lack thereof), style, and personalities while still including some typical wedding traditions.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We had our ceremony at Serra Cross Park, which is a historical public park with a massive wooden cross/monument. The park sits on top of a mountain overlooking Downtown Ventura and miles of Ventura coastline.

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We chose our ceremony location because it is known throughout Ventura County for being a scenic, romantic, and kick-ass spot to go. It's where Bobby popped the question, it has one of the best views around, and it also has the smallest price tag in our area. All in all, it was the only place we could imagine our wedding taking place. It was also super convenient that my religious mom got to have her Catholic imagery without us regretting that we had a typical church wedding. Two birds with one stone, baby!

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Our biggest challenge: Like every other family in the world, we fight. Not only do we fight, but we hold grudges. We avoid one another. We have awkward stare-downs. It's lovely. So, our biggest challenge was definitely keeping track of both of our families' Jerry Springer ways, and seating everyone accordingly. The seating chart was an intricate puzzle that could only work a few different ways, and it drove us insane. It could have turned out horribly, but ended up mending five decades' worth of misunderstanding. It's a Christmas-fucking-miracle.

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My favorite moment: Bobby's grandpa must be some kind of wizard, because he has made it to the amazing age of 96 literally without any kind of illnesses besides random outbursts of obscenities and his addiction to bacon. Naturally, when he told us that venturing out of the house for hours and being around dozens of people was too much of an adventure for him, we were beyond bummed, but respected his wishes.

The most meaningful part of our wedding was when we pulled up to our reception venue after the ceremony and saw Grandpa standing on the sidewalk ready to greet us and take a few photos. Although he didn't make it to the reception, we were so surprised and excited that he got to be a part of our big day. He really is the most amazing Grandpa anyone could ever have, and we love him LIKE WHOA. And P.S. He got his first tattoo at the age of 94. That's just how he rolls.

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My funniest moment: The funniest moment of the whole day was during our joint speech at our reception. Bobby and I had written a really great co-speech and had printed it on a tiny piece of paper, and naturally, I forgot it at the hotel along with a handful of other things.

We figured we knew what we were supposed to say, and decided to do the best we could without our notes. When it was our turn, we walked up to the front of the room, the DJ gave the microphone to Bobby and Bobby completely blanked. He looked at me and I knew I had to pull this shit together without his help. So I grabbed the mic, spit out our entire speech in about 30 seconds, and ran away. It was really hilarious, and I don't even remember what came out of my mouth. But it must have not been that bad because I think I heard clapping…?

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? For the entire two weeks leading up to our wedding day, the weather forecast said rain. Heavy rain and thunder. I was pissed, sad, and going insane because our ceremony was completely outdoors, and we couldn't afford to rent a tent. I basically just had to be okay with it because there was nothing we could do but hope. And do a sun dance, if that exists.

To add to my stress level, it poured cats and dogs the entire night before the wedding day and the entire morning while we were getting ready. Magically, at 9:00 a.m., the clouds parted, the sun came out, and I shat my pants with joy. Even though there were a couple of things that slipped through the cracks, I was stoked because we had a dry ceremony!

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My advice for offbeat brides: Remember why you're getting married in the first place. Don't let family members, money, or details take over your mind. You're only one person, and you can only do/take/handle so much. Give yourself a break and give yourself a mental high-five for pulling everything off. Its kind of a big deal, and you kind of kicked ass.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? On the wedding day, it's not an issue of IF there will be a disaster, it's about how many and how bad. There is always some small fiasco that pops up, and you can't prevent it. What you can prevent is how much it affects you.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. My sister had an outdoor wedding/reception in her back yard. The whole morning before the wedding, the sky was full of huge, menacing, August thunderheads. My brother, sisters, and I did an anti-rain dance and it TOTALLY WORKED. There was no rain. And we got to jump around like fools and spin in our Renaissance dresses.

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    • All that to say, a sun dance is a totally valid idea, and your wedding is rockin'.

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  2. I'm worried about the rain issue too. Our ceremony is set to take place in a century old park where my fiance proposed. We have a back-up plan (our maritime center reception venue) but I really, really, REALLY, want to be married in the park. We'll see. I'm glad it worked out for you!

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  3. This woman is my idol!! Her relaxed and bad ass attitude towards wedding planning/day is amazing!! Also love the idea of a joint bride/groom speech x

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  4. First: Love your attitude. Rockin'.
    Second: My grandpa let me know he wasn't up to the ceremony and tons of people too, so I can appreciate how sad you were about that. How lovely that you had a few moments with him on your day :)

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  5. Regarding rain on the wedding day, my uncle is a meteorologist and he HATES when people go by the Farmer's Almanac or other folksy ways to determine whether it will rain or not. He's the type of meteorologist that doesn't lie to your face…he'll admit any weather patterns past 3 days he can't accurately predict. BUT, for all the brides out there, he recommends getting married in September. Not because it doesn't rain, but since the U.S. has studied weather patterns, September consistently has the LEAST chance of rain of any month.

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  6. Wow, so that car is the first car I've ever seen to come close to the badassery of my planned getaway vehicle. Serious props on an absolutely gorgeous vehicle!

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  7. Your "biggest challenge" sounds exactly like my FH's family. i'm dreading the seating chart… but maybe it'll work out like your's. "A christmas-fucking-miracle" (that made me lol)

    and the car. Ok, i was in love with your wedding. Bad-ass BMs and the whole lot. But the car…whoa. I peed myself. Amazing.

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    • My dress is from David's bridal- an Oleg Cassini design. I bought it almost 2 years ago, so I doubt they still have it in stock :[ Sorry!

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  8. Thanks for all the comments guys! We really tried to make our wedding reflect us as a couple, and I'm so glad all our guests and all you readers appreciated our style! We're so stoked to have been featured on here! Good luck with all your upcoming weddings, and just try not to stress out and remember: If you're marrying your hot, best friend, you totally win!!!

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  9. Congratulations!

    It is super great that your Bobby's badass grandpa could come see you guys!

    PS. That car is badass!

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  10. Can we be friends? Seriously, this made me laugh and wish I could have been at the wedding. Awsome car, awsome dress, awsome grandpa.

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