Nicole & Chris' rockabilly bowling wedding in Las Vegas and Texas

March 30 |
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Photos by Tara Swain Photography

The offbeat bride: Nicole, Benefits Coordinator and Colorguard Instructor

Her offbeat partner: Chris, Office Manager

Dates and locations of weddings: The Grove in Las Vegas and Splitsville in Dallas — June 27, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We chose a rockabilly theme for our wedding because we really enjoy that culture. My motto is "go big or go home," so we went big! We had our ceremony in Vegas and our reception at a bowling alley in Dallas. We included details like a brooch bouquet, bowling-themed groom's cake, custom cake topper, DIY cupcake stand of records, old fashioned candy table, DIY handmade boutonnières, our own retro playlist at the reception, and DIY ice cream sundae centerpieces. We also encouraged people to dress in our theme for the reception.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We chose Vegas because we were on a tight budget and thought it would be cheaper (it wasn't in the long run). We also wanted a more intimate ceremony so we could recite our vows without a million eyes on us. We had our closest friends and immediate families in attendance. Since it was a destination ceremony and we were having a reception back home, we were able to accomplish what we had envisioned without hurting anyone's feelings.

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We chose The Grove once we found out that several of the chapels in Vegas would not let us bring in our own photographer. They were very nice and easy to work with. Our personalized vows included cheese, cars being towed, and computer meltdowns.

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Our biggest challenge: We had two big challenges. Money was the first one. Trying to capture all of your ideas, needs, and wants with a limited budget is very difficult. The second was my vows. I guess being together for eight years put more pressure on writing them. I didn't procrastinate, but actually wrote four different versions. I kept going back and forth with favorite lyrics, poems, promises, and just telling him how I felt. After hyperventilating the day of, I was able to combine everything into a cohesive arrangement on the ride over to the ceremony location.

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My favorite moment: The most meaningful moment for both Chris and I, was my walk down the aisle. He was excited to see me in my dress and walking to him, and I was finally able to relax once I saw him standing up there.

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My funniest moment: Three funny moments come to mind for us. Chris pieced together our ceremony and forgot to put the kiss in. So the officiant joked around a bit once we got to that part, and everyone got a good laugh out of it. Second was our day-after shoot at the Neon Boneyard. We thought it would be fun to use bubble gum. It was more difficult than we had expected. At first we had too much gum in our mouths, then I couldn't blow any bubbles, then one popped all over my husband's sunglasses and got stuck. We just laughed the whole time.

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Third was our "thank you" picture. We had decided to take a picture of us holding thank-you signs at our reception to use as our cards later. We grabbed some candy cigarettes to try and look tough (neither of us smokes) and we ended up making fools out of ourselves. Everyone watching who did smoke was cracking up about the way we were holding our fake cigarettes, which made us start laughing.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I wanted pink in my attire and I had a really hard time matching my dress, shoes, hair flower, bouquet, and petticoat. Especially since everything was coming from the internet. There are a lot of different shades of pink out there!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The date is important. We had several people miss the reception because it was a holiday weekend. I'd read online not to plan your wedding near a holiday. I figured it really wouldn't be a problem, but it was. We also did not use a coordinator for expense purposes. I thought I could do it all! And I did, but it was very stressful. If you choose not to use a coordinator, appoint a friend as a helper and be super organized.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Ahh, I love the look of EVERYTHING at your wedding–flawless! Question on the date: did you guys notice certain types of people missing based on the holiday weekend (out of towners, young people, etc.?), and/or did you send out Save the Dates? We're getting married Memorial Day weekend (May 25 2013) for a variety of reasons (it's his parents anniversary, and there's going to be a full moon PLUS a penumbral lunar eclipse viewable from where we live)… but I get nervous when I see "holiday weekend" issues!

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    • So sorry! I'm just now seeing your comment! We did send out save the dates. It was mostly the people who live "busier lifestyles" that were unable to attend. I think they had to choose between several events to go to or family vacations etc. Best of luck to you two!

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  2. Nicole & Chris,

    My fiancee and I are also planning a bowling alley wedding (inspired by a Bar Mitzvah I attended once in reinforced by this website).

    My main question is, did people bowl? Our crown will be a mix of 20's and 50's folk. Did your guests bowl? Did only certain age groups bowl?

    Thanks!

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    • Yes! Everyone bowled and loved it, young and old!

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  3. I agree 100000000000000% with the matching pink problem. I have a "raspberry" petticoat and i've literally been carrying it everywhere saying, "does this match?" it's driven me to insanity! LOL

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  4. a little jealous of the neon boneyard pictures! they look fabulous, congrats

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  5. Love, Love, Love the style of this wedding. I really & truly most love the bride & bridesmaids hair- it is so spectacular! Anyone know of a Pinup Hair artist in Brooklyn let me know!

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  6. OMG- your two are adorable!! I LOVE all those touches of pink in your outfit. Congrats.

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  7. This is gorgeous! You said it was hard work, but BOY did it pay off in the end Nicole. Mentally saving up all the delicious details for future use.

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  8. Chris & Nicole, Congratulations! You're wedding is simply beautiful & I hope you don't mind if I draw some inspiration…wishing you a Happy Ever After!

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