The Offbeat Bride: Christine, Event Coordinator & Entrepreneurial Housewife
Her offbeat partner: Derek, SysAdmin/IT Professional
Date and location of wedding: Superhuge bayfront backyard property in Pensacola, FL — October 19, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We knew from the outset of this engagement that we were going to have an offbeat wedding. We're queer-identifying (well, Derek insists on "heteroflexible") vegetarians who love all things nerdy and ridiculous, and our friends are much the same.
We planned the wedding within a very tight budget, but thankfully, we know a lot of talented, generous people who love us. My day-of coordinator (read: Manager of Honor) made my dress. The third partner in our polyamorous triad, our awesome boyfriend Treyson, stepped in to lead the small culinary team that catered the reception.
I used to run the Muggle Outreach Conference at my alma mater, so the new kids in charge let us borrow the quidditch hoops for the reception. We also had a Dark Tower groom's cake, a flower girl in her twenties, and a karaoke dance party to round out the festivities.
Our biggest challenge: It feels like damn near everything went wrong leading up to the wedding. This was a major test of my anxiety and usually unfaltering sunshine-and-rainbows attitude. We lost the seemingly perfect venue that we had booked a year in advance, and had to settle for a lovely, but highly inconvenient location at the last minute. We lost the dream caterer that we had also booked a year out and ended up stressing about food until the very last minute. My hair and make-up girls had to be replaced less than a week before the wedding. None of our parents could be at the wedding and many of our RSVP'ed guests failed to show up.
Very, very little about our wedding ended up going as planned, and it took me a long time to get over the fact that my wedding had so many disappointments. Thankfully, time and supportive friends helped heal all nuptial wounds. Several months later, looking at the photos that our photographer Angie of Milestone Images took of the zillions of happy moments that occurred, I can finally smile at all the mayhem.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was the most perfect part of the whole wedding experience, which was honestly a surprise for me. After everything that had gone "wrong" leading up to those 10-15ish minutes, it was unexpected that the ceremony would be so flawless.
Only a few days before the wedding, Derek and I decided we wanted to incorporate more nerdy humor into our otherwise romantic and fairly standard ceremony. Since our wedding party was a mix of hardcore gamers and total non-geeks, we came up with a cute little skit that we hoped would showcase our personalities and appeal to the masses:
Officiant: Christine and Derek have written their own vows. In order to determine who will begin, they will now roll initiative.
Boyfriend: Hold on, I'm assisting the Bride…
Groomsman #1: Wait, you can't aid another on initiative!
Groomsman #2: I am the Dungeon Master; I will allow it.
Bridesmaid #1: Oh, come on, guys! This is a wedding!
Bridesdude #1: I reveal as a Cylon!
Groomsman #3: I reveal as a President Admiral Cylon Helo!
Groomslady #1: Wrong game!
Bride: walks back down the aisle in an exasperated huff
Groom: Wait, wait, wait. Come back!
Groom: It's okay, I'll just go first.
Our gaming group is composed of board game geeks, so this skit pays homage to both Dungeons & Dragons and Battlestar Galactica, one of our favorite games and tv shows. Speaking of which, our processional was "Roslin and Adama" from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack, and we rocked out to the Protomen's "Light Up The Night" as the ceremony ended.
My favorite moment: I spent some anxious time on the porch of the bed & breakfast after getting glammed up, before leaving for the venue. I was nervous about every little thing — worried about how everyone else was doing. A very close friend of mine (James, the mohawked heartthrob in the pics) recognized my panic and quietly, beautifully started serenading me with Roger's part of "Light My Candle" from RENT. I picked up my side of the duet and all was right with my world for the first time that day.
My funniest moment: My favorite moment of the day occurred near the end of the reception when a highly intoxicated wedding guest slipped me a very conspicuous, very NSFW wedding gift. Needing to get it off of my person ASAP, I grabbed my Lady of the Flowers and pulled her into the bridal green room to laugh with me as we hid the gift away.
Then, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to invert a bottle of champagne, which proceeded to explode all over me, my dress, my flower girl, and pretty much the whole freakin' room; we were soon joined by the ever-vigilant Manager of Honor. Two of my best friends and I absorbed the crisis with paper towels and a set of Ravenclaw robes, delirious with fits of "oh thank the gods this day is almost over" giggles.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I didn't expect anything about my wedding to be a total disaster, but so much of the planning and preparation felt like just that. There were, however, a lot of great things about my wedding that surprised me: that entire ceremony that went off without a hitch; my unexpected houseguests throughout the weekend who turned out to be exactly what the proverbial doctor ordered; the photographer who, I happily discovered, is the guardian angel of frazzled, well-meaning brides everywhere.
For every little detail that didn't go according to plan, I can count at least ten things that made me smile on my wedding day. I married a man that I love and want to spend the rest of my days with; we were surrounded by so much support and love for our wacky little relationship, and everyone in attendance had a great time. I think that counts as a win.
My advice for Offbeat Brides:
- Use the Offbeat Bride Tribe!
- Try not to give yourself too much time to plan.
- Focus on the 3-5 most important elements of your wedding, and let the rest come together afterward. Try not to get caught up in minutia that you and your partner don't really care about.
- Be prepared to maybe be sad/anxious/disappointed about some things after the wedding, and don't be ashamed that things weren't perfect. Things may go wrong, and you're allowed to be a little upset about them as long as you make sure to appreciate the good things about your wedding day, too.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I should have used the Offbeat Bride Tribe more. I was so excited when I signed up for it, but I got so overwhelmed by finishing my M.Ed., adding a third partner to our relationship just a handful of months before our wedding, and planning the wedding itself, that I didn't bother using the tools that would have saved me half the heartache. The Offbeat Bride Tribe is a priceless resource and I am kicking myself like crazy for not using it more!
Also, a long engagement was ultimately not right for us. After he proposed, we waited over two years to marry but I began the planning process too soon. I planned too much too far out and my priorities changed when it was too late to Ctrl-Z the whole shebang. Whoops.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Flowers: Four Townes Florist
- Rings: Romas Banaitis
- Garter: RomancingJuliet
- Invite Stamp: babyjewels
- DJ: Michael Fletcher @ Magic Music
- Cake: Bella Notte Bake Shoppe
- Officiant: June Watkins
- Photography: Angie Gaul, Milestone Images
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
This post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides: