Lizbeth & Rip's friendor-fueled dive bar wedding

By on Aug. 9th Photos by Samantha Emerson

The Offbeat Bride: Lizbeth, Health and Wellness Intern (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Rip, Survey Data Processor

Date and location of wedding: Cheesman Park Pavillion and Tooey's Off Colfax, Denver, Colorado — October 13, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My goal for the wedding was for it to be as stress-free as possible, for everyone, including me. If something stressed me or Rip out, we just didn't do it. There was no garter, no bouquet toss, and we didn't shove cake into one another's faces. Rip and I didn't write our own vows because we didn't feel like sharing those very personal, lovey moments with everyone. We also had a completely non-religious ceremony. Our officiant was ordained by Ralph Steadman (aka Hunter S. Thompson's artist friend) when she worked for Stranahan's Whiskey (a local Denver Whiskey distillery).

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We didn't have an actual theme, but the unofficial theme was "friends helping out." My invitations were drawn by a friend of ours who is a comic book artist. Our DJ and photographer were friends who donated time, my sister made our cake, and one of my bridesmaids who is a cosmetologist did my hair and makeup. My boss at the police department even made sure that I had my own patrol at the park in the morning!

Our reception was at a bar that a friend manages. We got to reserve the space for free with a cash bar. We had amazing buffet-style tamales for everyone to eat, which we got from a co-op of women who are recent immigrants. Their organization defends migrant workers rights and the wives make tamales. They were delicious, and all the profits went to their organization.

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Tell us about the ceremony: My officiant also married my sister and brother-in-law two years before, and so she had some notes from my sister. She included a few quotes that my sister wrote, making it very personal and sweet.

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Even though I have some issues with patriarchal leanings of being "given away," it was important to me that my dad walked me down the aisle. My mom walked before us with one of my best friends from childhood, and Rip walked with his mother. It wasn't about being given by my father to another man, but having a special moment with my dad.

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Our biggest challenge: Like I said, my big goal was to be as stress free as possible, but in a way, that ended up being a challenge. There were a few things that I cut out that I originally wanted to do just because I was sure it would be too much stress for someone. Especially since we had so many people helping us with everything, I was nervous about "looking the gift horse in the mouth," so to speak.

Honestly, writing my Offbeat Bride Tribe blogs and having lots of other Tribesmaids tell me that I wasn't asking too much helped me a great deal. I also kept all lines of communication as open as possible with friends who helped, so that they always knew that I was doing my best not to ask too much. It turned out fine, and most of them were willing to do much more than I asked.

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My favorite moment: We had a few hours between our ceremony and reception when we checked into our hotel. Rip and I were both really tired, so we just laid down on the big, king-sized bed and watched a rerun of Friends. It was just nice to be kind of blissfully zoning out and giggling for a little while before going back out into the party.

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My funniest moment: I didn't really plan who would be in charge of our music for the procession or recession before the day of, so when we got to the park, I just threw my phone with the music on it at one of the girlfriends of a groomsmen. She wasn't super familiar with my phone, so when I got to Rip at the end of the aisle, she just cut the song off right in the middle. It was so abrupt, everyone laughed.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The best thing I learned from the wedding was that Rip and I have an amazing support group in this city. It seemed like every friend we talked to wanted to volunteer to do something. It will make it very hard to move if we ever decide to.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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