The offbeat bride: Melaina, hospice nurse and cartoonist
Her offbeat partner: Nick, mobile software developer
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our theme was "He Colored Her World," as Nick and I met when I hired him to color the black and white comics that I write/draw. With both of us being very creative, we had an abundance of DIY projects for the wedding. I made felt bouquets for each of my bridesmaids with matching birdcage veils. Each bridesmaid had a different color combination, and I bought vintage gloves in each of their colors. I made our own cake topper and learned how to use a bandsaw in the process!
I love collaborating on creative projects, which we did with our card box. Nick built the card box, and I painted it in a Super Mario Brothers' mystery box design.
We are both big kids at heart, so we incorporated a lot of play into the day. For starters, we made pop-up invitations. This required soliciting the help of many friends and family members. Again, I got as much out of the collaborative creative process as I got out of the outcome! I was a little self-conscious with how child-like some of the elements of our wedding were, including the Lego centerpieces and the Lego keychain favors. But we invited everyone's children to join us, so having them there seemed to give me a good excuse.
Our other playful elements included an activity book full of wedding-themed games to keep the children entertained, a "Guess what comic this wedding is from" game, and an abundance of silly props for our photo booth.
Tell us about the ceremony: Nick is a big football fan, so we played NFL music by Sam Spence as people were arriving and finding their seats. We asked Nick's cousin to officiate the wedding, so he got ordained online to make it legal. The wedding party walked down the aisle to "Win One for the Reaper" from the TV show Lost, which was one of the first TV shows Nick and I watched together from beginning to end.
I walked down the aisle to the song "There's No Place Like Home," also from the Lost soundtrack. I liked how the title reflected both my relationship with my parents, who walked me down the aisle, and joining with Nick at the altar, whom I have created a home with for the past three years.
I liked the romanticism of the blusher veil, so I asked Nick to lift my veil when I arrived at the altar. We borrowed the different elements of our wedding from various sources. For our Declaration of Intent, we borrowed wording from the Definition of Marriage from Goodridge et. al. vs. Department of Public Health, where gay marriage was first legalized. As a bisexual woman, this nod to gay rights was important to me. We only had one reading, "A Lovely Love Story" by Edward Monkton, but I changed a few key words to "iPhone" to reflect Nick more accurately and "Facebook" to reflect my obsession more accurately.
We borrowed the wording for the ring exchange from "Firefly: Wiccan Advancement," which made reference to the rings as a symbol of the cyclical nature of everything in life, including relationships which can ebb and flow in their own rhythms and our commitment to ride things out through thick and thin.
We included the Serenity Prayer from 12-step literature, and asked our guests to hold hands as it was said. This meant a lot to me since, due to my recovery in Debtors Anonymous, we were able to have an abundant wedding without incurring any unsecured debt, which is truly a miracle of that program. I wanted to acknowledge that in a small way in our ceremony. As my cousin is Deaf, we also hired a sign language interpreter who was great!
Our biggest challenge: My fifth bridesmaid role was jinxed! Both of my choices for that role had issues with the dress, among other things. My original fifth bridesmaid did end up agreeing to be one after all though. Then Hurricane Irene hit, which trapped two of our guests in New York City where the airport had been closed. One of these guests was an usher and the other… my fifth bridesmaid! Fortunately, I had the extra dress and all of the accessories with me to give to the bridesmaids the night before the wedding. In the end, one of my cousins participated in the wedding, and it was really special.
My favorite moment: There were so many meaningful moments! The hand blessing was very moving for me. And my sister tearing up during her Matron of Honor toast was super touching. Seeing the tears in Nick's eyes as both of my parents walked me down the aisle was a sweet surprise and really warmed my heart on a deep level.
My funniest moment: The week before the wedding, everything that could go wrong went wrong — and then some. Nick took this pretty hard. That said, my funniest moment actually happened two nights before the wedding. One of Nick's cousins said to him, "Wow! Melaina seems so relaxed about the wedding. She doesn't seem stressed at all." To which Nick responded, "No, it's not her, it's me. I'm Groomzilla!" I won't list all of his Groomzilla moments, but as an example, he made his mother return the flowers and buy new ones because the first set weren't in bloom enough. Suddenly, with that one word, it all made sense! And I love him all the more for it. I still giggle over the fact that he cared enough about our wedding to go Groomzilla over it.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Nick and I don't expect to have children of our own, so I appreciate more the children in our extended families. We wanted to incorporate the children at the wedding into the ceremony, so we started things off by having them walk down the aisle ringing bells to let everyone know that the wedding was beginning. Shortly before the ceremony, my sister cautioned me that we may be hearing the bells before and DURING the entire ceremony. I could immediately imagine trying to say "I do" over top of a cacophony of bells. Fortunately, a cousin agreed to hand out and collect the bells right before and right after the kids' performance and it worked out beautifully.
My advice for offbeat brides: Start saving up money to pay for the wedding as soon as you even dream of getting married. And don't be afraid to ask people to help out financially by either giving early monetary wedding presents or to give money in lieu of gifts for any and all holidays they'd be giving gifts for between today and your wedding day. These things helped us tremendously in having a debt-free wedding! You, too, can do it!
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I've been married before, but Nick hasn't. For starters, at my first wedding, I married a woman. This time around, I married a man. That was pretty different! At my first wedding, my partner was opposed to our wearing white dresses, so we wore pant suits. This time around, I got to wear the white dress I'd always dreamed of! There were many other differences as well. Each wedding reflected the people who were in them, and I have changed a lot in the 14 years since my first wedding. In addition, this time around, I had the advantage of all of the resources on Offbeat Bride!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Ceremony Dress: Once Wed
- Felt flower starter kit: Princess Lasertron
- Photographer: Megan Schley
- Wedding cake & cupcakes: Melissa Lamont Cupcakes
- Hair styles: Angie from Ascension Salon in Annapolis, Maryland (She also happens to be my godmother)
- Bridesmaid dresses: Bettie Page Clothing
- DJ: Bob Proehl of AutoMatic Buffalo
- Guestbook: my cousin/bookbinder, Elizabeth Singh
- Groom's ring: Etsy seller Eternal Bond
- iPhone cufflinks: Cufflinks.com
- Wooden ampersand: Etsy seller DwellingOnline
- Ring pillow: Knitted by my cousin Denise Speight
- Officiant: Nick's cousin Jeremy did an amazing job and is now ordained. Let me know if you want him to do your wedding. He lives part-time in Florida and in New York state.
- Sign language interpreter services: Deaf Adult Services
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!