The offbeat bride: Jenny, Office Manager
Her offbeat partner: Damon, Customer Service Rep
Date and location of wedding: The Historic Treasury Ballroom, Portland, Oregon — April 14, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: After ten years of being together, we finally decided we should get married. We picked our wedding date first: April 14th, because we wanted to get married on our ten-year anniversary. April 14th just so happened to fall on a Thursday, so a Thursday evening wedding it was!
Our goal from the start was for our wedding to be a big party with all our close friends and family. I did a lot of the things for the wedding myself. I made our save-the-date magnets, response cards, and the wedding programs (with glow stick bonus!).
I didn't want a white dress, and ended up going with a silver one I found for $60 at Nordstrom Rack. My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law tailored and added detailing to the dress. They also handmade my awesome matching birdcage veil!
Damon wore a top hat and tail coat ensemble that we rented from a costume shop. I got a lot of his accessories like his cane, pocketwatch, and monocle from Etsy vendors. Etsy is also where I found my very snazzy paper flowers made out of sheet music to use as table settings, bouquets and boutonnieres. I loved it since I have played the piano for 25 years!
I made the favor boxes that held our customized blueberry lollipops and fortune cookies. All of the vases and candle holders I gathered up for cheap from second-hand stores. I made the ceremony arrangements out of dried sticks and milk cartons.
The guest book I made out of an old picture I had cut out of a magazine many, many years ago and a piece of cardboard.
My crafty husband-to-be made our card box monster out of a few boxes we had around the house and some blue felt. Damon did not want to have a wedding ring of his own, so instead he bought me a ring to wear on my right hand. We DJed our own reception and ceremony with music from our laptop.
For our cake, we had bride and groom doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts.
My mother, mother-in-law, aunt-in-law, and one of my friends were my bridesmaids. We had no groomsmen. They all walked into the ceremony to "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer. Rather than be already waiting for me at the end of the aisle, Damon made a grand entrance into the venue with the Halo video game theme playing in the background! That definitely caught some people off guard!
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was a Buddhist one, which included chanting and the recitation of the Lotus Sutra, a Japanese sake ceremony (San San Kudo), a simple exchange of vows (no rings), more chanting, and then done. We wanted a short ceremony and I think it took no longer than 20 minutes total. Our officiant was someone who had known me since I was born, so it was nice to have her do the ceremony for us.
She read a few Buddhist readings, including:
A man is like a pillar, a woman like the crossbeam. A man is like the legs of a person, a woman like the trunk. A man is like the wings of a bird, a woman like the body. If the wings and the body become separated, then how can the bird fly? And if the pillar topples then the crossbeam will surely fall to the ground. Love is not two people gazing at each other, but two people looking ahead together in the same direction. A healthy relationship is one in which two people encourage each other to reach their respective goals while sharing each other's hopes and dreams. A relationship should be a source of inspiration, invigoration, and hope. If you genuinely love someone, then through your relationship with him or her, you can develop into a person whose love extends to all humanity. Such a relationship serves to strengthen, elevate, and enrich the inner realm of your life.
Our biggest challenge: I was constantly getting flack for not doing things the traditional way or "how you are supposed to do a wedding." It was hard at times to fight through the critical and sometimes hurtful remarks. We held true to ourselves though and decided that if they truly cared about us, they would accept how we wanted to do our wedding.
My favorite moment: We had several friends and family who flew in from very far out of town just to attend our wedding, which meant a lot to us. There was one couple we had not even met before they came here, but we had been friends online for years. It was very exciting to meet them finally.
Also, for me, it was very nice to finally get to take some pretty pictures with my husband. He is very anti-camera. He knew that these pictures meant a lot to me, so he worked really hard to make sure they came out nicely.
My funniest moment: Part of our wedding ceremony involved a sake ceremony. Since I am not a big fan of most sakes, I decided that we would just use water. Apparently, one of our friends decided that we absolutely had to have sake to use, so he ran all the way through the city and back to find us a bottle while Damon and I were taking pictures.
As I didn't know about this, when it was time to do the sake ceremony, I took a big gulp of what I thought was water (I was really thirsty!). As soon as I tasted it, I just made this horrible, awful, disgusted face as I tried to get the sake down. Everyone just started cracking up! Each time I had to drink it, it was just horrible. But at least everyone found my disgust amusing.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was actually very concerned about doing a Buddhist ceremony, especially since a lot of our friends and family are not. I really didn't want to make people feel awkward or out of place. In the wedding program, I wrote out how the ceremony was going to be carried out so people could follow along. Thankfully, everyone said that the ceremony was very interesting and different.
My advice for offbeat brides: The internet is your friend! Without it, I would have been completely lost. I looked up practically every aspect of the wedding online and got some great ideas I wouldn't have even considered without.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Putting together a wedding mostly by yourself is hard, but worth it in the end. I started a year out and I'm glad that I did. I don't think I could have done it in six months or less. Also, it's good to have some really good friends around you to help out. I normally don't let stress get to me, but the few days before and the day of the wedding, I was so stressed I'm surprised I didn't cut someone's head off! Luckily, I had my friends to keep me somewhat cool, and they also took care of the last-minute problems for me too.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Jessica Watson Photography
- Officiant: Debbie Liptan, representing SGI-USA
- Venue: The Historic Treasury Ballroom
- Doughnut cake: VooDoo Doughnuts
- Food: Vibrant Table Catering
- Paper sheet music flowers: Etsy seller Parlevliet
- Groom's outfit: Costume Avenue
- Pocket watch: Etsy Seller GlazedBlackCherry
- Favors: Oriental Trading Company
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!