Jessica & David's offbeat lite meets piñatas and Halloween wedding

October 31 |
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Photos by Susan Miller

The offbeat bride: Jessica, Teacher

Her offbeat partner: David, Writer

Location & date of wedding: Timothy's on the Riverfront (the restaurant where we had our first date), Wilmington, DE. — October 12, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted our wedding to basically be a fun party, so we decided on Halloween, our favorite holiday. However, we felt like we should incorporate some more traditional elements (read: poofy ivory dress) to appease our less offbeat family members. All our decor was DIY or from the Target Halloween aisle. For example, I made up baskets filled with apples, little rats, skeleton hands, and lotion (put the lotion in…), and we bought a bride and groom skeleton couple that sang "I Got You Babe."

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There were lots of spooky lights, spider webs, and a black altar where we said our vows. Our friend performed the ceremony dressed as Dark Oberon. My sister, the Most Special Person/Flower Girl, wore fangs and carried a cauldron of rose petals.

We took pre-ceremony pictures in a local cemetery. We rocked our way into our venue, which was the restaurant where we first met, to the theme from "Kill Bill." Our path was lit by jack-o-lanterns and orange lights.

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In lieu of traditional wedding favors, guests were provided with costumes such as pirate hats and peacock masks. Instead of a bouquet and garter toss, we smashed bride and groom piñatas to the song "Smack My Bitch Up." Our crooked, orange, red, and black cake was topped with Jack and Sally from "Nightmare Before Christmas."

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Tell us about the ceremony: Part of our officiant's speech:

Welcome everyone who traveled to be here. Without you, we would have shown up at the Justice of the Peace dressed just like this and probably have been searched thoroughly. Welcome everyone who navigated their way into the building while wearing rubber masks, and managed to find their seats without tripping over anything or anyone. Welcome ghosts, ghouls, goblins, spooks, heroes, villains, vampires (sparkling or classic), and wizards. Welcome Cesar Romero Jokers, Jack Nicholson Jokers, Heath Ledger Jokers, and Batmen from every Batcave. Welcome to the kids who show up at the doorsteps wearing no costume that we give candy to anyway. Because they know where we live.

Welcome pirates and ninjas, Army men and hippies, fairy princesses and witches. Welcome all who have chased away evil spirits with nothing more than masks and an ever-filling bag. Welcome those who have embodied more than most dream. Welcome trick-or-treaters. If you are looking for a wedding ceremony and have found yourself instead suddenly surrounded by cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns and headstones, rest assured that you may have wandered into unfamiliar neighborhoods, and you now find yourself in the right place to settle in and compare your candy hauls. We are supposed to be here. Today in this place we are gathered together to witness and celebrate the vows of David and Jessica, as they unite their love in matrimony and commit to share the rest of their lives as one.

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Our biggest challenge: I struggled with the idea of marriage. I never wanted to be someone's wife, so when I decided to get married, I felt much anxiety. Marriage seemed patriarchal, unnecessary, and it was never something I dreamed of. I was terrified of losing my independence. That was combined with the fact that I was living in Manhattan, teaching at a high-needs school all the way in Brooklyn, working towards my Education MA in a very challenging Returned Peace Corps Volunteer program, and planning a wedding in Delaware.

I felt like I was doing something wrong because I was so much less excited by the prospect of being a bride than everyone else. I was constantly being asked if I was excited, and feeling like a failure because I wasn't. I didn't want a bridal shower. I was given one anyway. I didn't want to register. I was coerced into anyway. I felt very aggravated for a long time. I wasn't very good at overcoming my negativity. Looking back now, I see it was only nine months, and everyone only wanted me to be happy. It's all about being grateful and going with the flow!

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My favorite moment: Planning a wedding can be challenging. No matter how laid-back I tried to be, no matter how casual we intended our wedding to be, there were times in the weeks leading up to the actual day where I felt overwhelmed and broken down. But seeing all the people in our bridal party come together and knowing they were all there to support my now-husband and I was an amazing feeling. They were willing to wear the clothes we dictated for them and to dance around a cemetery on a chilly Halloween night. They traveled! Put on elf make-up! Drove around in a limo looking for a Taco Bell to go to Free Taco Night!

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My funniest moment: When we horrified a few more conservative audience members by beating piñata effigies of ourselves.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I wasn't sure about taking pre-ceremony pictures in a cemetery. Would everyone be too embarrassed to be natural? Would we offend anyone? Be arrested? But in the end it worked out great, and those are my favorite pictures.

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My advice for offbeat brides: As soon as people hear you're getting married, you'll be bombarded with questions like "Where are you registered?" and "What are your colors?" Stay calm. Forgive people for their assumptions. Don't overreact when people tell you things are "weird" or "impractical." Try to avoid traditional bridal magazines and websites, lest they make you doubt yourself. You can have a wonderful, memorable day without spending the equivalent of a down payment on a house. You will not regret not having a wedding cake. You might, however, regret being talked out of the donut cake you wanted. Not every woman dreams of "Her Big Day."

Be nice and grateful for all the help you are getting. It's amazing how many people really care about making your wedding special. Don't have regrets if everything doesn't go to plan. It is, after all, one day out of a lifetime.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Flowers: Kirk's Flowers did a great job on our blood-red rose bouquets. And no one blinked an eye when I requested faux rhinestones, either.
  • Sweets: Desserts by Dana actually answered the phone when I called, and worked around my crazy schedule.
  • Bride's dress: Bert from Simon's Bridal Shop helped me find a dress a month before the wedding, which is apparently a big no-no in the wedding biz.
  • Costumes and decorations: Oriental Trading Company, the online store that provided us with Halloween costumes and decorations galore.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. I am completely in love with the pinatas! These pictures are fantastic, everyone seems to be having so much fun.

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  2. I am so glad I am not the only one who didn't want to get married and/or dream of this day all my life! It is rather daunting to plan something you never really thought about! I agree though- people suprise you by being so comforting and helpful. I certainly never thought my family would think my harry potter/steampunk/geek/pub/outdoor crazy theme was hilariously me. BTW, pinatas are awesome!

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  3. the cemetery pics were amazing! it just looked fun :)

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  4. I love seeing other Delaware weddings, it's so helpful to read the vendors. Everything looked great, it seems like you all had a great time!

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  5. I totally needed to read this description of your feelings about being a bride and advice right now. Rock on.

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  6. Hey Jessica, fellow PC Ukraine 27 what what!! Congrats and cheeeeers to an awesome halloween wedding!!

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  7. Thanks so much to everyone who commented! After I got married there was a big "now what" feeling and it's wonderful to finally be able look back on our wedding and feel nothing but happiness!

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  8. "Not every woman dreams of "Her Big Day.""

    So very true! I actually never seriously wanted to get married until the last six months of my life. Which is ironic because I've been engaged once before, but I think it was more for the novelty of being engaged for both of us than seriously getting married.

    I've always felt out of place among my female friends and coworkers due to my thoughts on marriage. I never even played "wedding day" as a kid.

    I agree, it is so scary finding yourself in the position of getting married. I've been terrified since before my fiancee proposed when we would talk about it. Now that it is a reality, I'm scared my anti marriage sentiments of old will somehow screw everything up and it won't be what I want. But seeing this post, from another bride who never wanted to be one, gives me hope. Your wedding turned out beautifully. :)

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