The offbeat bride: Kate, Office Manager
Her offbeat partner: Nate, Math Grad Student/Teacher
Date and location of wedding: CatchLight Studios, Des Moines, Iowa — September 19, 2009
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Nathan and I had been together for seven years so we already felt married, but we decided to make it official and wanted a party!
I had to play super detective to find our venue. I'd seen some brides online mention CatchLight Studios, but they were nowhere to be found aside from a quick mention along with other vendors on a photographer's website. I ended up calling a catering business a bride had also mentioned and asked them for CatchLight Studios' contact information. It is truly one of Des Moines' best-kept secrets.
We also loved our photo booth. Nathan and I got photo booth pictures taken before the wedding and put the best ones on our invitations and guest book frame.
I designed the invites, announcements, and programs myself. We added champagne confetti poppers to the programs for the guests to use in lieu of rice. My bridesmaids addressed the envelopes for me, made origami flowers, and personalized glasses for the wedding party/family members.
I wanted a cobalt blue dress, which was actually a bridesmaid's dress (my inspiration). It started out strapless, but I don't do strapless. Instead of using the blue ribbon it came with to lace up the corset back I ordered an extra black one for lacing and had my seamstress use the blue one to fashion a halter strap.
Tell us about the ceremony: Nathan's sister Satara married us. We didn't do any kind of rehearsal. I just lined everyone up in pairs and told them when to start walking. I chose two Cole Porter songs to walk down to: the wedding party walked down to "De-Lovely" and my dad and I walked down to "Let's Fall in Love."
Nathan and I wanted our family involved in the ceremony, but we wanted to keep the wedding party numbers small. We have four brothers and one sister between us and we already had three friends each who we wanted to stand with us. We chose to make our friends the bridesmaids/groomsmen and to incorporate our families by giving them special seating.
I had the bridesmaids choose their own black, tea-length dresses. Instead of tuxes, we simply had all the guys wear black slacks and button-down shirts, and ties that matched my dress.
Our biggest challenge: We were all headed to the capital building to get pictures done. The girls piled into one car and the boys in another. The girls and I had just gotten parked when Nathan calls me. They had been in an accident on the way there! I kept my cool (my photographer has a shot of me on the phone during this conversation), no one was hurt, but he was very upset. Our best man thought I would be mad at him! I was just happy everyone was okay and sad his car got banged up.
My favorite moment: There were so many things that made our day special. I loved seeing all my friends and family come together, seeing my parents having a conversation together after so many years, and especially having my grandmother there. I come from a big Catholic family with over 25 grandchildren. It meant a lot that she flew from far away to be there for us.
My funniest moment: The funniest part of the night by far was playing "The Shoe Game." Nathan and I take our shoes off and exchange them so we have one of each. We stand back to back (so you can't see the other's answers) while our maid-of-honor and best man read off a series of questions. For example: "Who hogs the covers at night?" or "Who has more junk?" or "Who made the first move?" and answer by holding up the corresponding shoe. My favorite was the last question: "Who wants to live happily ever after?" We both held up both shoes.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Despite not having any practice and just making it up as we went along, our first dance went well. We danced to "Dark Blue" by Jack's Mannequin. I loved the lyrics in the chorus:
"Slow down… this night's a perfect shade of dark blue (dark blue). Have you ever been alone in a crowded room when I'm here with you."
My advice for Offbeat Brides: There is always room to negotiate. Venue rent, amenities included with your venue, entertainment, delivery, food, drinks, photography packages, hotel accommodations/transportation, etc. For example, I got a great photography package from an out-of-town vendor because he wanted a blue dress in his portfolio. I got an extra day of decoration/prep time with my venue for cheap because they didn't have anything else booked that day, and I got my cupcake lady to give me a discount because I let her set out a couple of business cards.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: CatchLight Studios (Contact: Chris Hennessey, 515-282-3405, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Photographer: Jamie Owens. Jamie was awesome and has a great eye for details.
- Photo Booth: Matt Burns, Iowa Photobooth
- Reception accessories: Beyond Elegance
- Music: Roxi Copland
- DJ: Karl Pothast, Action Multimedia. Karl did a great job. He even upgraded his light equipment at no extra charge.
- Table/chair rental: A to Z Rental Center (1220 73rd St., Windsor Heights, IA 50311, 515-274-3455)
- Wine: Trader Joe's
- Beer/keg rental: Central City Liquors
- Rings: Steve, Bacon Jewelers, Boone, IA. Steve was awesome. Never the pushy salesman, he spent lots of time making sure I got just what I wanted. Love him!
- Groom's Ring: Tungsten Carbide. I picked these guys because they have a great replacement policy and super fast shipping.
- Dress: The extremely nice ladies at Elegant Repeats helped me pick out and order my Alfred Angelo dress. They were so much nicer and helpful than David's Bridal who ignored me until they found out that I was a bride shopping in the bridesmaid section (like a scene from Pretty Woman).
- Alterations: Kerri Heinz, Transformations by Kerri. Kerri did a fantastic job in transforming my simple bridesmaid dress into the wedding gown of my dreams.
- Bouquet: WedIdeas.com. I LOVE THEIR WORK! You tell them exactly what you want, they customize exactly to your specifications, and send you a picture for you to proof and approve.
- Earrings: The Ear Vine
- Brooch and Bride and Groom wine flutes: Stitches in Time, Perry, IA
- Hair and makeup: The Sage Tree Salon
- Ties: Box-Gifts. These guys were amazing. I had a hard time finding the right ties to match my dress. Some places wouldn't even send me a swatch at all. These guys sent me a whole tie and told me if it works, order more, and if not, just keep the tie on the house.
- Abacus cufflinks: Meritline
- Floralytes: Wholesale Flower Supplies
- Invitations: VistaPrint
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!