Mariangela & Ryan's beach brunch vow renewal

By on Nov. 6th
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Photos by Sergio Mottola

The offbeat bride: Mariangela

Her offbeat partner: Ryan, condo facility manager

Date and location of wedding: Alki Beach House, Seattle, WA — April 17, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We catered, decorated, and set it all up ourselves, with the help of a group of family and friends. We strung flowers on fishing twine that we got at the dollar store. We asked friends and family to bring mismatched tablecloths and mason jars for the fresh-cut flowers donated by another friend. And in our invitations, we asked everyone to bring their favorite comfort brunch food since that's our favorite meal.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our friend Brooke traveled from LA to sing her version of The Cure's "Lovesong" for us.

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Our close friend Katelyn officiated the ceremony, as we've left our original faith due to our disagreement with their stance on gay marriage. (We couldn't support a faith that didn't agree in "One Love for all.") Katelyn's sweet words during our ceremony reflected all of our beliefs.

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We walked down an aisle made up of our close friends and family, together with our 14-year-old daughter. We had our three closest friends read writings from various religious paths about love and commitment.

My husband Ryan is a rapper here in the Seattle music scene. When it came time to do our vows, I expected something well-prepared and thought out, like when we first got married. He had nothing prepared at all, but delivered an eloquent and tear jerking set of vows, "off the top" as he said to our guests.

The closing song, sung by our friend Pak, was "Aeroplane over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel.

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A portrait from wedding number one.

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? Our first wedding was 14 years before. And as much as we love my parents, it was all done to their tastes. We just showed up. The thing we did have control over was the religious part, which as I mentioned was important again, but for new reasons.

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Our biggest challenge: It rained for six weeks before the day of the wedding, and it had been a very cold spring. We prayed and joked because the reason for the vow renewal, besides celebrating 14 years of marriage, was also because we left the faith we were originally married in, and were headed down a new path. We wanted to make that spiritual change and to make sure our marriage changed paths as well. The morning of the ceremony it was very cold and drizzly. Then, miraculously, the clouds parted. Ryan said if we ever doubted our change in religious paths, today God let us know He approves.

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My favorite moment: I lost my brother suddenly and tragically four years prior. He was a wonderful guitar player and especially loved the ukulele. We had our friend Pak sing our favorite childhood song: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while playing the ukulele, in memory of my brother.

This beach run: it's a 10!

My advice for Offbeat Brides: In addition to worrying about the comfort of your guests, the size of your venue, and the food, it's important to ensure the comfort and happiness of yourselves too. So often that goes out the window when you plan a wedding. Be sure you listen to your loves, your wants, and your desires.

Also if you have to cut corners in the budget, I'd recommend leaving photography until last, since it's what you'll have to remember the day. You often get what you pay for and photographers are not magicians. Give them what they need to do their best.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? This time was more relaxed. We were open to the help of friends, to taking the cheaper route, and to just let God take control. The weather was our only stress, and once we realized we could have it inside if necessary, we just let that go as well.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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