The offbeat groom: Kyle, doctor-in-training
His offbeat partner: Drew, attorney
Date and location of wedding: Lake Union Crew Club, Seattle, WA — August 13, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: Besides the fact that we're two men, we decided to aim for a wedding that was all about us. We're both very talkative, very casual, and very into cooking (and drinking…), so we decided to make sure that those were prominent and emphasized in our planning and execution.
Our first plan had been for a late afternoon cocktail hour and a reception immediately afterward (seriously, why do so many people do a sit-down meal? Pricier, more complicated, and everyone says you never get to enjoy it anyway), but our search for a venue led us in other directions. We discovered that the venue we loved, a crew club, not only was one-quarter of the price during the daytime, but was available in the middle of August during the day, even though we were booking it only a few months before.
We ended up having a small and intimate ceremony in the morning (aka the time you WISHED you could start drinking) that was in the style of a brunch cocktail hour: Mimosa, Bloody Marys, deviled eggs, etc. After a free afternoon, and a nice dinner with immediate family, we had a nighttime "reception" that was at one of our favorite bars and open to any/everyone who wanted to attend.
We did the ceremony out on the crew club's floating dock. Drew wore a white linen coat, slacks, and boat shoes without socks, and I wore jeans with my vest (and saddle shoes that were featured on Offbeat Bride!).
The only decorations we used for the whole venue were our combo centerpieces/favors. Two months prior to the ceremony, we bought a variety of fruit at the local farmers' market and a bunch of booze (whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum) and made about 20-25 mason jars of alcohol-preserved fruit. We stuck bamboo skewers on the top of the jars we placed in the middle of the tables, and let guests pick at it as they pleased, and take home whatever jars they liked.
Friends of ours who work in our neighborhood bar did the bartending using booze and mixers we purchased ourselves the week of the wedding. It saved us a ton of money, and allowed us to really target the menu to go with our brunch-y theme. We bought a huge variety of pickled and preserved items to stock a make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar (which was a HUGE hit). Other than that, we pretty much kept to champagne-based drinks. Oddly enough, each of our mothers had insisted on a different hard alcohol being stocked for the brunch hour, resulting in a stash of Dewar's and tequila. It did make for a more interesting morning once those were cracked open.
Since it was a brunch, we kept strictly to finger foods. We wanted only things that could be easily picked up by hand and eaten in a few bites. Keeping with that, and the fact that one of us doesn't like cake, we ditched the idea of a wedding cake and bought a few dozen cupcakes and a dozen miniature cheesecakes. Not only did we not even have to think about those items until a day or two before the ceremony, but we just served them off of some of our own serving platters. They were such a low stress part of the experience.
Finally, our use of a local bar for the reception that evening really freed us up to invite everyone we wanted there. We didn't shut the bar down, and it wasn't an open bar, so it was basically just a night out at the bar where the vast majority of the people had a common reason for being there. It was cheap for us, low stress in regard to invitations ("Come on by! Bring anyone you want!"), informal, good for the bar (weddings buy a ton of drinks), and in tune with our low-stress, laid-back theme.
Tell us about the ceremony: One of our friends performed the ceremony and we eschewed the standard bridal party to have our sisters (and a might-as-well-be-sister friend) stand with us during it. Our friend Emmett wrote the entire ceremony, and we wrote our vows to each other the night before (at about 1:00 a.m.). Emmett was even able to find the instant message that Drew had sent to him after our first date (the benefit of having a computer genius perform the ceremony), which gave a really great perspective on the start of our relationship.
Our vows were pretty extensive (we're both quite talkative, like I mentioned), and we made sure to get in a few digs at each other to keep it light-hearted. But we still included some heartfelt moments. Guess it just goes to show that you can still be heartfelt even when you're telling your new husband you're always going to make fun of him for that time he slept through one of your first dates.
My funniest moment: There were definitely two. One was during the morning ceremony, which was on a floating dock on a lake in Seattle. We had gone out on to the dock before, and even done photos with our families out on it without incident. But put another 30-40 people on it, and the floating dock will settle lower into the water. Low enough so that when the wake from a passing boat hits it, it might cause waves to erupt up through the boards all over your shoes as you are in the middle of your vows. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
The second was at our nighttime reception at the bar. While we had a large portion of the bar designated for us, after a few hours, it wasn't being strictly enforced. Our party took up so much space, it simply wasn't an issue. And sometime post-midnight, we had a bachelorette party show up out of the blue. What gay wedding would be complete without some random drunk woman in a tiara we didn't know dancing in the middle of the crowd? It turned out that one of us knew a member of the bachelorette party, and it was a great and fun addition to the night.
My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to stress. Even with us trying to keep it as casual and stress-free as possible, we can TOTALLY see where the stress level could spiral out of control. Focus on the fact that this is something that you want to do and try to let the worries about things that aren't a priority just fall away. Just try to make sure that those things that really matter to you are those that are the most planned out, and let the other stuff fall out as it will.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If you tell people that you have a plan, and things are under control, and you do not need their input, they believe you. It sure keeps down on unwanted input. But more seriously, requesting manageable favors or tasks (e.g. getting coffee, picking up cupcakes, helping with clean-up) from friends before the ceremony results in such an easier time the day of.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Jenny Heath
- Saddle shoes: Bass Buchanon via Zappos
- Rings: Titanium Kay
- Catering: Blueacre Seafood (AMAZING food!)
- Cupcakes: Cupcake Royale
- Cheesecakes: The Confectional
- Daytime ceremony: Lake Union Crew
- Nighttime reception: The Capitol Club
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!