The offbeat bride: Becca, Writer
Her offbeat partner: Tara, Carpenter
Date and location of wedding: The Publick House Historic Inn, Sturbridge, MA — September 25, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: Starting with the obvious, we're two women. Neither of us wore a white dress. Tara wore black and I wore red. In fact, we asked the bridal party to wear white! I thought it was a fun play on tradition, plus white matched both of our dresses.
We skimped on flowers. Every member of the wedding party got a DIYed calla lily boutonniere and I had a DIYed bouquet. Other than that, there were no flowers to be seen.
We also didn't have a specific theme. Our venue was an early-American inn, some bridesmaids donned 1940s style victory roll hairdos, I wore a birdcage veil, and we had music from 1950 to 2011. Pumpkins, fall leaves, and acorns sat beside oil lanterns for decorations. Our ceremony was a patchwork of old and new. Our ceremony music was indie rock and we were announced at the reception to "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj (I think that might have scared my grandparents).
Tell us about the ceremony: We created our ceremony from scratch with help from our officiant. We didn't have any specific format to play on, since we are both atheists. I knew I wanted a handfasting ceremony incorporated, and Tara wanted us to write our own vows. We did both, and then some.
We walked down the aisle together, as equals. We originally wanted to walk down with all our parents, but the aisle wasn't wide enough for three people at once. We both felt uncomfortable deciding between a parent to walk us down, so we walked in together instead.
We had three readings: "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali, "somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond" by e.e. cummings, and a reading our officiant crafted herself, about our relationship and how it works. She had everyone laughing and crying.
Along with our handfasting ceremony and handwritten vows, we included a wine box ceremony at the end. Our bridesmaid Christen got us a bottle of wine that will peak on our fifth anniversary, and Tara built a box for it to rest in. The night before the wedding, we wrote letters to one another to remind us in five years of why we fell in love. We chose this specific ceremony because it incorporated a strength of Tara's (carpentry in constructing the box), a strength of mine (writing the letter), and something we both enjoy (wine).
Our biggest challenge: RSVPs were a struggle for us from the start. There were many cases of people RSVPing yes, then not showing, or never RSVPing at all, then assuming they could just show up for a plated dinner. The only thing we could really do about that was take a deep breath and forget about it.
The week before the wedding, I had a bridesmaid tell me that not only was she pulling herself from the wedding, but she wouldn't be attending at all. We took the same action as before (deep breaths), but this time we had to make some changes. We had to rearrange the wedding party order, both for the ceremony and being announced at the reception, and remove her from the head tables. Not a lot of work, but there were a lot of individual people we had to notify, which was emotionally taxing and stressful. The 80 programs we had made the week before remained with her name in them.
My favorite moment: The ceremony, even though I was painfully anxious the entire time, was wonderful. I surprised myself by holding it together (not crying) the entire time! However, I almost lost it when Tara read her vows to me. I had heard them before, even helped her write them, but hearing her read them with everyone rapt, her voice shaking a little, her eyes a little glassy… yeah, it got me.
My funniest moment: We had a homemade photobooth we made using a room divider, a table, a chair, and Sparkbooth software. Quite a few unlikely people ventured in there — including my grandparents! The photos were adorable and hilarious, but we didn't get to see those until after the reception when we took my computer home.
People also got really into the dancing — just what I wanted! This was the only time when our families really interacted at all, so it was really great to have people go from not speaking to shouting Lady Gaga lyrics at one another.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Besides the typical guest list drama (which we astoundingly avoided — everyone was on their best behavior), someone stepped on my dress about fifteen minutes into dancing and completely ripped off the bustle. My train was pretty long and there's no way I could dance with it hanging out all night (without further rips). My cousin tried to repair the bustle right on the dance floor, but my bridesmaid Christen came running up and shoved my train into the back of my dress. It looked ridiculous, but it worked. I danced for the rest of the night with my dress tucked into itself.
My advice for offbeat brides: Amidst all the planning craziness, block out one day a week where you can be with your partner alone. Don't talk about wedding stuff. Don't talk about money. Enjoy one another, because this is the reason you're throwing this big party in this first place: because of how awesome you are. Don't forget that.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Ignore everyone else. No, really. Some people really like drama. Some people really like tradition. Some people really don't like your friends, the color they have to wear, or where you're having your wedding. Ignore everyone. You know what you want and so does your partner (hopefully the ideas don't conflict).
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Becca's dress: Wedding Dress Fantasy
- Tara's dress: PacificPlex on Amazon
- Officiant: Elly Jackson
- Shoes: Custom Converse
- Photography: Chelsea Kyle and Conor Sumner
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
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