The Offbeat Bride: Madelinne, professional photographer and marketing student
Her offbeat partner: Doug, network guru
Date and location of wedding: The Whaley House, Flint, MI — November 11, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Doug and I had the "shiniest wedding in the 'verse." If you know your great-but-cancelled-in-its-first-season sci-fi shows, you'll recognize our wedding as Firefly-themed with Doug starring as Captain Malcolm Reynolds and myself as Inara Serra. We were just joking around one day when I suggested the themed party based on our favorite show, and it stuck. On our invitations, we invited everyone to come to "the shiniest shindig in the 'verse" and to dress the part. We provided links to clips from the show and costume suggestions.
The wedding was very detail-oriented. I am a numbers person, so the date was important. We got married at 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11. Our reception ended at 11:11 p.m. We had 1000 hand-folded cranes strung, with 500 white ones made by Doug and me and 500 colored ones made by family members who were unable to attend.
We started the wedding day with the ceremony at a local house-turned-museum in Flint, MI called The Whaley House. It is a charming Victorian-era house with gorgeous rooms and decor. It is tiny: we crammed 25 people in there, some standing, but it was perfect for what we wanted.
We took the bridal party out to lunch at our favorite Lebanese restaurant. We are big foodies, and wanted to make sure good food was incorporated throughout the day. After that, the bridal party left to finish decorating the reception hall and Doug and I went for some "alone time." We got to chill out for a few hours and then went to the reception hall around 7:00. We danced, ate, and goofed off until 11:11 p.m. when we were sent off by a flurry of glow stick waving in the dark, a surprise orchestrated by my mom!
In accordance with the Firefly theme, we had dinosaurs all over the tables at the reception. The food was all appetizers with various ethnic influences: Asian, American, Lebanese, etc.
Tell us about the ceremony: We held a ring warming, where the ring is passed from person to person while they pray over it/bless it/send good thoughts our way.
We wrote our own vows, each with three things we loved about the other person and three promises we made. We read them back and forth to each other and both ended with our favorite "I love you" statement. Mine was "I love you for forever and a day" while his was "I love you to the edge of the universe and back."
Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was to keep the wedding ours. A big part of it was learning to say no, not only to family members, but also to myself. As an avid reader of Offbeat Bride and a member of the Offbeat Bride Tribe, it was hard not to want to include awesome things that others were doing that just didn't mesh with us. There's just so much cool stuff out there. You can't do it all, and trust me, you don't want to do it all. [Related post: When to stop looking at wedding porn]
My favorite moment: Before the ceremony, Doug and I had our first look. The photographer came in and took pictures, and then left us alone for a few minutes. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to go through with this, and he looked me in the eye and said "Absolutely."
My dad walked me down the aisle and then turned around and married us. He is not ordained, but he agreed to marry us, which is the most blessing I could ask for. Walking me down the aisle included walking down a flight of stairs where no one could see us. He told me that I would always be his little girl, and we both started crying. I cried all throughout the ceremony. We felt very loved.
My funniest moment: The funniest moment was when I asked my mom to request "Baby Got Back" from the DJ. She had no idea what it was about, and the look on her face as she heard the heavily innuendo-laden lyrics was priceless — until she busted a move herself!
Other than that, all of the random Nerf gun wars that broke out across the room pretty much made my night.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Firefly is a relatively obscure show (only 14 episodes) and so no one besides my immediate family knew what it was. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to actually dress up, but people did! It was about 25%, but those who did really put some effort into it.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: As a photographer, I bartered a lot of my own services: the cake, decorations, the hall rental, my wedding jacket, and part of the catering costs were all covered. Some cases involved three-way bartering. I photographed another girl's wedding in exchange for her helping the caterer, who then gave me a lower rate because he didn't have to hire servers. People are very flexible and generally want to make things work. Just know what you want and what you can bring to the table in exchange.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Nothing is going to be perfect, and according to Murphy's Law, it never will. We forgot the cake topper and the signs for the food/dessert/drink tables. We had tremendous technical difficulties trying to show a couple of videos at the reception. The thing is that I had no idea any of that was happening. I didn't notice because it wasn't important once we were married. So I let go and just relaxed.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Selah Photography
- Ceremony venue: The Whaley House
- Bride's jacket: Handmade from Simplicity pattern #2172
- Brown coat: AbbyShot.com
- Nerf guns: Tutorial here
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!