The Offbeat Bride: Amy, digital media strategist
Her offbeat partner: Adam, content manager
Date and location of wedding: Ray's Boathouse, Seattle, WA — July 21, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to get married in Seattle, because that's where we've built our life together over the past few years. We also wanted our families and friends to experience summer in Seattle and to see why we love it so much. Our wedding was a big dance party love-fest with lots of tearful readings and toasts by our oldest friends and our siblings. We also skipped any tradition that we didn't understand (which was really most traditions): no cake cutting/smashing, no bouquet toss, and definitely no garter.
Since most people were from out-of-town, we wanted to make the wedding weekend as fun and easy for them as possible. We hosted a booze cruise on Lake Washington two days before the wedding so everyone could see the city and meet each other (which really helped alleviate my stress. By the time the wedding came, I had already talked to everyone and was far less nervous). We also created a guide to Seattle on our website and in print form, provided buses home from the wedding, and worked with the car service Uber to get discounts for our guests.
After hearing the common warnings: "You won't get to eat!" and "It's all just a blur!" we were really focused on having fun at our wedding and doing everything we wanted to do. We ate, we danced, we hung out with our friends… it was great.
Tell us about the ceremony: Ensuring that the wedding was an accurate reflection of who we are, we had no religion in the ceremony. One of our oldest friends got ordained online and officiated, we each walked down the aisle with our mom and dad, and we wrote our own vows.
Two of Adam's sisters collected marriage advice from our closest friends and family and read the advice during the ceremony. Adam's brother and one of our close friends (who also helped MC our reception) performed "In My Life."
Highlighting marriage equality was very important to us. We provided white knots for our guests to wear in support of marriage equality. This sparked a lot of great conversations among our guests, particularly about Washington's then-upcoming vote on gay marriage in November (which was passed!). Adam's sister also read a short essay we wrote about marriage equality:
As we sit gathered today to celebrate Adam and Amy's union, it's important that we stop to reflect upon the significance of marriage. Why do we marry? To quote the Massachusetts Supreme Court:
'Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.'
Adam and Amy believe marriage is one of the ultimate gifts they can give to each other. And it is a gift that should be denied to no heart that desires it. Marriage is a fundamental part of the human experience and is a right for all individuals in a free society. Adam and Amy are wearing white knots as a symbol of their support for marriage equality and as a reminder that, while today is an occasion for joy, they are exercising a civil right that is unjustly denied to millions of others.
Our biggest challenge: We knew we wanted/needed a day-of coordinator, but it also wasn't in our budget. We wanted someone objective who would help execute our plan, and we wanted our families to have a great time and not to have to worry about anything. We ended up doing a trade with our friends, who were getting married a month after us. They coordinated our wedding day, and we coordinated theirs. It worked incredibly well.
My favorite moment: It's really hard to choose, but Adam and I went on two walks that were really meaningful to me. The morning of our wedding, we went for a walk around our neighborhood to relax and take it all in. And, after our ceremony, we walked down the aisle and kept going. We went for a brief walk along the waterfront, and I'm so glad we did. It was wonderful to take a moment with each other to be like, "Holy shit! We just got married! We did it!" We had our photographer, the talented Carly Bish, tag along for the walk, and I'm glad we did. Some of my favorite shots are from that walk.
My funniest moment: We're pretty picky about music and opted not to hire a DJ. A friend helped run our iPod, which contained our playlist. Two of the funniest moments came during our dance party. We played a song that was a favorite in college, "Glass Case of Emotion" by the fake band "The Fantastic Menopause." Our friend made this song with the GarageBand app, and we used to play it at parties in college. When the song came on, our college friends freaked out with joy. It was a very fun moment with old friends.
We also crowdsourced parts of our playlist to ensure we had some crowd-pleasers (for the non-indie-rock-loving segment of our guests). For Adam's brother, we played "Party Rock Anthem." Upon hearing the song, he sprinted in from the outside deck, hopped over a railing and began dancing.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I'm a big crier, and I'm terrible at speaking if I'm crying, so I was really nervous about reading my vows. I did two things to help curb this: Adam and I read each other's vows in advance, and I had a back-up plan in which our officiant would read a statement from me (an abbreviated version of my vows if I was totally unable to speak). Fortunately, I wasn't as much of a mess as I expected. I was so happy and high on adrenaline that I was able to read my vows (after one or two brief crying breaks).
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Thanks to reading the Offbeat Bride book, we started planning by setting our priorities: show people an awesome time in Seattle, get married on some body of water, have great photography, have great music we love, and have great booze. These priorities helped keep our budget in check and keep us sane. Whenever we'd start to wish for a more extravagant rehearsal dinner, for example, we'd remind ourselves, "Nope. That is not a priority," and stick with our plan. Stay true to your vision and your priorities, and you'll hopefully be happy with the results.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? DIY what you love. Buy the rest. I'm a digital media strategist. I love making websites and videos, tweeting, writing blog posts, etc., but I'm terrible at crafting by hand. I learned this after trying to make hand fans. That was a disaster. I then bought cheap, lovely ones through Luna Bazaar.
I designed our save the dates, invitations, and programs and had them printed with Vistaprint. I designed buttons and printed them with Zazzle. We created a pretty in-depth wedding website, complete with a Google map guide to Seattle, to make all of the information readily available for our guests. We even had a Twitter hashtag going.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Carly Bish
- Venue and catering: Ray's Boathouse
- Hair and makeup: Shyn Midili
- Dress: J. Crew
- Flowers: Purchased at Pike Place Market and made by our wonderful coordinators
- Decorations: Luna Bazaar
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: