The offbeat bride: Jen, professor of English
Her offbeat partner: Henry, restaurant owner
Date and location of wedding: Gershon Fox Room, Hartford, Connecticut — November 25, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I wanted to go away and elope without a wedding because I don't like being the center of attention. His family is very traditional and he's basically only been to big over-the-top Assyrian weddings. When I agreed to have a wedding, I said I wanted a themed wedding. The compromise worked!
We loved and booked the one venue we went to see. We made pretty much all our decisions like that because we planned the wedding in under five months. The venue has a classic Old Hollywood feel, so the theme was an easy choice. We encouraged theme dress for the evening, had photographs taken in a vintage movie theater, and had feathers everywhere. The tables had movies instead of numbers, and the escort cards looked like vintage tickets. We did a popcorn table for favors. I wanted consistency with the theme without being too over-the-top.
We also had dance instructors to teach the fox trot and swing. The instructors did a demo at the end of dinner.
Henry's background is Assyrian so we brought in some of their traditions for the reception. His side danced and sang around us as we entered, and we had a money dance. A few times throughout the reception we played Persian music. Everyone, my side included, joined in for the dancing.
We also eliminated many wedding traditions that didn't speak to us, such as cake cutting, garter removal, bouquet toss, and line dancing. We just wanted to have fun without those distractions.
Tell us about the ceremony: I was nervous and uncomfortable during the ceremony, and as we planned it I knew I would be. We wanted it to be simple and short. The ceremony was at the beginning of the cocktail hour in the mezzanine. One of my high school friends married us so he suggested we do a few things to take the attention off of us and involve more our guests. We had a rose ceremony with our mothers. Part of what our officant said during the rose ceremony was "Jen and Henry wish to honor this blending of the families by presenting a rose to their mothers to thank their parents for the many selfless sacrifices they have made and for their unconditional love so freely given to their children."
Before our vows, we asked everyone to say some vows to us:
Jen and Henry, you do not enter into this marriage alone or without support. I have a special request of all those gathered here today. I call on everyone here to make a promise to support Jen and Henry as they enter into marriage, to supply them wise counsel and words of encouragement if called upon by this beautiful couple.
As I ask the following questions, if you can make the promise to the couple, please respond with the words "We will."
Will you, who are gathered together here tonight, support and aid in any way asked, to the best of your ability?
Will you guide them, the best way that you can, using your accumulated wisdom?
If called upon, will you supply them with words of encouragement and affirm your belief to them that they can overcome any and all obstacles that might come in their path?
Thank you all for your vows of commitment to this couple.
Our biggest challenge: The guest list caused the most fights. We wanted to keep it to 100, but then over 200 people got invited. We had a difficult time explaining to his parents that we wanted a small wedding and that we had a budget. Luckily, we didn't have too many guests, due to some out-of-state travel problems and because it was a holiday week.
My favorite moment: After all the "center of attention" requirements were over and I could relax, I looked around and realized that the people we loved the most and who loved us were all in one room to celebrate. I remember that feeling — there just aren't many moments in life like that.
My funniest moment: My husband got choked up saying his vows. It was sweet. His brother yelled out, "Just say it!" That made him laugh and he was able to continue.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Make sure to spend time with your partner during the wedding. I lost Henry shortly after dinner and don't remember seeing him much for the rest of the evening until the photographers grabbed us for some night shots. Find each other and have fun together.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Sometimes it's worth doing something that isn't quite you to make those you love happy. My parents glowed the entire night. I always thought my mom was just being a stereotypical Italian mom who wanted a big wedding, and I didn't think my dad cared either way. But they were so happy all night. It was worth all the frustration that happened during the planning to see them like that.
A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Nicole Miller
- Headpiece: Etsy seller MillieICARO
- Photographers: Little Fang Photography. They are a wife and husband who are an amazing team. They have a talent for reflecting each couple's wedding and personalities.
- Invitations, programs, stickers, escort cards: Etsy seller Theoriginalpear
- Popcorn: Mother Butters Popcorn. They were great about sending samples and were honest about portions. We ordered just a bit too much which was perfect because I wanted leftovers.
- DJ: Total Events
- Guest book: Etsy seller RedOtter
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!