We saw the fathers of this couple performing a Monty Python skit in a recent Monday Montage. With a detail like that, how could this not be amazing? Check it out.
The offbeat bride: Lydia, writer and editor (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Johan, high school English teacher and musician
Date and location of wedding: Kasteel Montfoort and the Commanderije of Sint Jan (a desecrated chapel), Montfoort, the Netherlands — October 11, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: A lot of our wedding was Offbeat Lite. I wore a (mostly) white dress, and Johan wore a suit. But there were geeky and personalized elements in the details: I referenced Doctor Who and the zombie apocalypse in my vows and got my dress from Etsy, while Johan quoted indie singer/songwriter Songs: Ohia and proudly wore his beard.
The most meaningful details for me were those contributed by our friends. We asked my best friend to bake the cupcakes we had in lieu of a wedding cake, while another friend designed the beautiful cake toppers. We had buttons instead of boutonnieres for the guests, designed and made by two different friends. Finally, a friendly couple who do bookbinding for a hobby offered to make our guest book. Most of them got carte blanche or only the bare minimum of instruction, and none of them let us down. They all created beautiful products that made our wedding feel that much more personal, because they had been crafted by people who love us.
Johan is also a big fan of metal and other loud music. He's the bass player for black metal band Terzij de Horde and sings in Break Character. Although his favourite songs didn't feature heavily in our wedding day (for fear of scaring away the grandparents), there were some touches of it. The buttons for the day guests featured a design of our two names, intertwined like a lot of metal band logos, our favours were mix CDs with homemade cover art that featured some of our favourite music (including some of the heavier stuff he likes), and at the end of the party the dance floor became a mosh pit for him and his friends to rock out.
Tell us about the ceremony: As is common in Dutch ceremonies, ours was about 45 minutes long and officiated over by a special civil servant, who we didn't know until about a week before our wedding day. She welcomed everybody (with special attention for my grandparents, which really pleased them) and then proceeded to tell everyone a bit about how we met. In general, the ceremony was quite lovely, but the officiant did get a few details wrong. I can really see now why a lot of Americans prefer asking someone they know well to get ordained online and be their officiant, rather than a stranger.
The part that really mattered to me was our vows. Dutch ceremonies traditionally don't really have vows. The officiant just gives a small summary of the rights and obligations you have when marrying someone, and then asks you if you agree to that. And then you say "yes." It's functional, but not necessarily very personal. We did this legal bit, of course, but also reserved a bit of time for the things we wanted to say to each other. It was really touching for me to hear Johan say how he felt about me and how he wanted to grow old with me, in front of family and friends.
Our biggest challenge: Overcoming (and ignoring) expectations of how a wedding should be planned. Although we were very lucky that all of our family and friends were supportive and thought that we should do what we wanted as much as possible, there were still expectations from society at large to be dealt with.
Traditional wedding magazines gave me a lot of anxiety and I got a lot of flak online for ordering my dress, sight unseen, from Etsy. This in turn got me worried that my dress wouldn't be good enough, compared to the traditional dresses bought in shops with several appointments for alterations and fittings. In the end, just not opening the wedding magazines was the best way to battle the anxiety, and my dress was just what I wanted.
My favorite moment: It meant a lot to me that a fairly large number of people had made time to come to the ceremony as well. We had intentionally invited only a small number of people to the ceremony during the day, and then a large number for the party in the evening, because we didn't want to leave people with a hole in the day while we went to have dinner with the closest guests (a common Dutch practice). But lots of people had ignored that and came to the ceremony anyway. We had about twice as many people there as expected, and it felt great that they cared and wanted to see us get married.
My funniest moment: Skits or sketches are quite a common occurrence in Dutch weddings and other celebrations. Usually these are songs with new words to a well-known melody, or the infamous "Alphabet" ("A is for amour, which you so well portray, B is for bride, which you are today," etc.). It's a fun tradition in theory, but in practice, Johan and I don't really enjoy it. So we had asked people not to do any funny skits during our wedding day. Our parents, however, completely disregarded that, and in the end I am very glad they did!
When we were having drinks after the ceremony when our mothers got up to do their piece. Since we are both big readers, and Anglophiles to boot, they retold the story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist. They told it in two types of Brabants, the dialect of the region we grew up in. The funniest part was when my mother initially misread "Capulet" as "Catapult."
Our fathers did their own skit during the party, when they suddenly burst into the room wearing costumes and using coconuts to imitate the sound of a galloping horse. They portrayed the Knights of Ni from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and proclaimed they were the keepers of the sacred words "marriage," "passion," and "Ni!" It was short, but absolutely hilarious.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: I worried so much about getting everything done in the days before the wedding, and even on the morning of. But after the day-of coordinators arrived, I really tried my hardest to relax, stop trying to control everything and just let my very capable friends handle it. By the time the DJ was late for dinner, nothing was fazing me, because I trusted they would make sure everything worked out and it did. There would have been a million little things that could have stressed me out on the day of, but they didn't, because I was adamant that they were no longer my problems to solve.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Koen Tornij
- Bride's dress: Etsy seller Dig for Victory
- Bride's shoes: Wolky
- Groom's suit: Bos Men Shop
- Rings: Etsy seller CocoandChia and Etsy seller JewelrybyJohan
- Bride's necklace: Etsy seller CoolMix
- Bride's hairpiece: Etsy seller ClassyWedding
- Venue: Kasteel Montfoort and the Commanderije of St Jan
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!