Allycen & Lisa's intimate road trip wedding

May 31 |
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Photos by Nadine Ohara

The offbeat bride: Allycen, Pharmacy Technician (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Lisa, Shipping Genius

Date and location of wedding: Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA — April 1, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We held our wedding on my late father's birthday in my hometown, 800-plus miles away from where we live now. We drove to San Francisco, turning our wedding (and honeymoon) into an epic road trip.

We designed our wedding with the goal that, if a random stranger stumbled across our wedding photos, they would have a good idea of what we are like as real people. I wanted color and resisted all attempts at matching. I wanted Mexican food; Lisa wanted Italian food. We found a caterer that served both for us, buffet-style.

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Driving allowed us to bring a lot of DIY décor with us too. I made the centerpieces from thrifted vases and pictures of trips we've taken together. We hand-painted empty jars to look like Moroccan lanterns, which served both as table décor and favors. The best man (Lisa's brother) painted us a piece of canvas to hang behind our sweetheart table, and I painted our toasting glasses. The only flowers we had were the ones the caterer brought; I made my bouquet and my maid of honor's bouquet from ribbon.

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I had a hard time finding a dress I loved on its own merit, so I found a simple dress I liked and had a lace overskirt added. There was enough lace left over to make a little bolero – so I have a little piece of my wedding outfit to throw over my summer dresses.

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Tell us about the ceremony: My 91-year-old grandmother walked me down the aisle, which pleased her to no end. She asked me if she could carry her purse with her while she did it, and I said she could. My sister tried to get her to put it down, but she said: "NO. Allycen said I could carry it and I'm going to."

My niece officiated. I wrote most of the ceremony myself. Originally, I wanted a very non-political wedding, but when I was writing, I felt like there was an elephant in the room. So I ended up writing about why a gay couple would choose to have a non-legal ceremony.

wedding 302Unlike in a heterosexual ceremony, Allycen and Lisa will not leave this building today with any more rights than those that they entered with. Why marry when there are no legal benefits for doing so? Why marry at all? To share joy. And also, to share sorrow. To share experiences. To share hopes, dreams, goals, whether these are dashed or realized. And of course, there is one ultimate reason to marry: to share love.

Allycen and Lisa may not have the right to legally marry, but they have the right to love each other. This is a vital and sacred right, and it is their love that brings us together today. Love transcends boundaries. It transcends gender. It transcends law. The right to love is a right that can never be taken from you, by any person, under any circumstances.

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My favorite moment: A lot of very tiny little gestures from strangers made our day really wonderful for us. When Lisa called me frantic because her driver couldn't find our first look location, the gift shop clerk grabbed my cell out of my hands to give her directions. The caterers brought us beautiful china to use instead of the disposable plates we'd ordered to save money. They said it was a wedding present! Two passers-by came up to us outside the reception to congratulate us. They kissed me on the mouth and I was so lovedrunk I thought it was fabulous.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Frankly, I was a little worried that the whole wedding was going to suck. We had a tiny guest list and a number of people simply couldn't make it. We weren't able wedding 557to have a tasting with our caterers ahead of time, so I had no idea what the food would be like. Our venue was this huge white room that I wasn't confident I could decorate well. For awhile we thought it would be just the two of us and our moms eating crappy food in a dark room that was too large for the amount of people we had invited.

But, everything went perfectly. The small number of guests meant we got to talk to, dance with, and enjoy everybody. Between the caterer's decorations, the DJ's dance floor, and my own efforts, the venue looked great. And the food was AWESOME.

We did have a whole empty table at the reception. So Lisa asked the catering staff if they would sit at that table, and eat and drink with us. Once they agreed, the whole event became that much more intimate. It was very moving to us that they were willing to put aside their professional boundaries to break bread with us. They told us how excited they were to be asked, and they felt more like guests than vendors.


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!

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Carve out as much alone time with your partner as you can on the day before the wedding, and on the day of. It's so easy to be swallowed up by all of the excitement going on around you. Create a wedding day schedule early. Our biggest time-suck was coordinating who needed to be where when, and I wish we'd addressed that earlier.

Do not fall into the "DIY = Inexpensive" trap. Sometimes doing it yourself is cheaper, but I spent just as much on my bouquet as I would have paid a florist for real flowers.

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? The first time I was married, I eloped to Vegas, wore a dress I disliked, and married a man. So I guess you could say I did absolutely everything differently.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Oh, please plug your caterer! I'm in the SF area, and while our wedding food is planned, I'd like to give such an awesome and apparently delicious company some business if I can.

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  2. It was a beautiful creative and touching wedding. The bride's choice for a partner is perfect. I enjoyed reading "The offbeat Bride" story written by my beautiful and talented daugther,Allycen.

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    • May I just say how lovely I think it is that you are posting here to support your daughter? :) It sounds like it was a wonderful wedding with so much love involved, and I think this is just one more wonderful moment!

      4 agree
  3. I absolutely adore the Moroccan jars. Fabulous wedding!

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  4. Nice job on the jars, Love the lace over the dress and jacket!! Beautiful cake!! Congratulations!!

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  5. It was a beautiful wedding, full of laughter and love! We are happy that Lisa is part of the family. You picked some great pictures to showcase and of course your writing is impeccable. I'd forgotten about the purse going down the aisle. We should say that it was quite a large purse…it looked especially large given that our grandmother is such a tiny woman. :)

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  6. Love love love your photos venue twin – you all look so utterly happy :)

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  7. "Love transcends boundaries. It transcends gender. It transcends law. The right to love is a right that can never be taken from you, by any person, under any circumstances."

    Your ceremony made me cry. The words are so perfect. Congratulations to you both!

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  8. Absolutely beautiful wedding! I love what you wrote for the ceremony, and I hope that soon we will have marriage equality for all. Love is love :)

    2 agree

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