Crystal & Mika's rooftop dance-fest DIY wedding

By on Oct. 19th
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The offbeat bride: Crystal, Designer of Commercial Interiors (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Mika, Bakery Owner and Incredible Baker

Date and location of wedding: Spokesman Review Rooftop Pavilion, Downtown Spokane, WA — August 6, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: We're both women! Our marriage was a celebration of both our personal commitment, and our registering with the state as domestic partners. As we planned our wedding, we worked hard to make sure everything we included in both the ceremony and the celebration following held some actual meaning for us and wasn't just done out of tradition or habit. We discussed as many details and traditions together as we could to decided if it meant something to us, or if it was offensive, or simply unnecessary.

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We had the ceremony and reception at the same location, on a rooftop in downtown Spokane. As guests arrived, we were able to welcome them (which was awesome to get to see people in the exciting moments before the wedding — and made it easier to leave out having any sort of receiving line after the ceremony) and then we pointed them to the drinks!

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A good friend officiated our ceremony. Mika had two female maids of honor, one in pants, one in a dress. I had one best man, in pants. We also included our other close friends in our party by having boutonnières for them, including them in our separate "getting ready" parties earlier in the day, and doing some fun group photos with our photographer throughout downtown Spokane during the afternoon before the ceremony, although they did not stand up with us during the ceremony.

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At the end of the ceremony, when we kissed, our officiant and attendants popped open giant bottles of cheap bubbly (thanks Costco!) and our ushers topped off some juice glasses and started handing out mimosas. The best man led an "All You Need is Love" sing-along, and then we got the dance party started.

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We also had a DIY photobooth set up near the entrance of the venue, and a fire pit with s'mores supplies set up in one corner of the patio. Our artist friend, Tiffany, did adorable small sketch portraits of people throughout the evening (Mika traded a gift card to her wholesale baking company for Tiffany's time).

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We did the whole thing for around $8,000 (including our honeymoon) thanks to lots of help from crafty friends who, over several craft nights through the spring, made all sorts of paper decorations. Mika tried to grow flowers in our yard to use for the wedding, but only ended up with two dahlias to add to her bouquet. We were able to get cheap and fabulous cut dahlias at a farmer's market made into fabulous bouquets by two of my best friends from high school (who also helped craft adorable boutonnières from straw flowers we had also found at a farmer's market earlier in the year).

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We also had tons of help from friends and family and were able to do all the food without a caterer, making a spread of cocktail hour-type snacks (served on small mis-matched plates and saucers from thrift stores) that everyone was able to just help themselves to throughout the night.

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We had a keg of delicious homebrewed IPA made by Mika's cousin (with a little help from his daughters), lots of Washington state wine we had bought throughout the year at the Grocery Outlet, and three cocktails we mixed up in beverage dispensers and let people serve themselves.

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Mika and her dad love going to concerts together, and he's made her tons of fabulous mix CDs over the years. We had him put together a CD of songs that we shared with guests as a favor, and he made a longer CD that we played after the ceremony as people were eating and hanging out. Then Old Bear Mountain, a local bluegrass/folk band, played and we kept the dance party going with a long iPod playlist one of Mika's maids of honor put together.

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Both of our dresses were offbeat as well. Mika's mom made her a strapless yellow and lace dress using a lace tablecloth we had found at an antique store. I found a used David's Bridal bridesmaid dress online that Mika's mom dressed up with multicolored stitching on one strap and down the side of the skirt. I added a piece of the same yellow fabric that was used on Mika's dress and pinned it on with a brooch that had belonged to my grandmother.

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Mika's dad made this. For reals.

Mika's dad made the necklace that she wore with a combination of new beads, an old family pearl necklace, and a thrift store brooch on a piece of pink fabric.

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Deers in headlights

We went back and forth about the bouquet toss, but ultimately decided that I would throw a paper bouquet with scratch tickets to the whole crowd (men and women) and that Mika would keep her real flower bouquet.

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Tell us about the ceremony: For the actual ceremony, we had written down quite a lot of stuff we did NOT want in our ceremony (including religious references of any kind or anything about "till death do us part"), and also shared with her why we were doing this, and what the ceremony meant to us. But we left it up to our friend to write the ceremony. We previewed it so it wasn't a surprise. What she had written fit us perfectly.

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Mika spent a long time looking for readings that would express something about love and commitment without any religious references or saying something else we didn't believe in and eventually came up with a handful that we narrowed down to two. My brother, Andy, read an excerpt from Miss Manners found on Offbeat Bride:

While exclusionary interest in one other human being, which is what we call courtship, is all very exciting in the stages of discovery, there is not enough substance in it for a lifetime, no matter how fascinating the people or passionate the romance. The world, on the other hand, is chock full of interesting and curious things. The point of the courtship — marriage — is to secure someone with whom you wish to go hand in hand through this source of entertainment, each making discoveries, and then sharing some and merely reporting others. Anyone who tries to compete with the entire world, demanding to be someone's sole source of interest and attention, is asking to be classified as a bore. "Why don't you ever want to talk to me?" will probably never start a satisfactory marital conversation. "Guess what?" will probably never fail.

Mika's parents read an "excerpt" (we edited it a tiny bit to remove a religious reference) from "Why Marriage" by Mari Nichols-Haining.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was not letting conservative, religious, non-supportive family members distract us from what we wanted to do. Staying focused on the many family members and friends who were incredibly excited for us and supportive of our decision to get married helped keep us positive. In the end, those family members not only attended the wedding, but were nothing but positive and congratulatory.

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My favorite moment: Although we were both looking forward to the big party, I never thought the actual ceremony would be so meaningful. We had already exchanged our vows privately the night before the wedding on a walk together after the rehearsal dinner (and a few last-minute chores!), but the ceremony was my favorite part of the whole night. After we walked out onto the patio for the ceremony together, Mika remembered she had forgotten her bouquet inside and ran back to get it. This meant I had an unplanned moment alone, surrounded by so many of our closest friends and family, all so excited and happy for us. It was an amazing feeling.

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My funniest moment: Of course, I think I'm the funniest. But really, when the band was taking a break, I grabbed the mic and sang "Jessie's Girl" a capella!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Don't do anything unless it means something to you. We even nixed our first dance because, even though we danced all night, we didn't need that awkward moment together.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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