Susan & Matt's handmade and rustic comedy wedding

By on Dec. 30th Photos by Amy Scott
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Photos by Amy Scott

The Offbeat Bride: Susan, comic and writer

Her offbeat partner: Matt, comic and actor

Date and location of wedding: McCormick Ranch House in Camarillo, CA — July 6, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Since Matt and I didn't have a huge budget for the wedding, we approached it the same way we would an indie film shoot. This meant a lot of planning ahead, recruiting talented friends for the things we couldn't do ourselves, and doing as much by ourselves as possible. We saved thousands of dollars doing our flowers (ordered from Trader Joe's), vases (painted upcycled jars), favors, chalkboards, and drinking glasses.

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Our amazing friends really helped: our friend Drew made our delicious cake, cupcakes, and cookies, my best friend Lauren painted our invitation, our friend Johnny DJed, and Matt's friend Tommy played music during the ceremony. We are very lucky to have friends that are both so talented and willing to lend a hand. Doing so much without the help of professionals was a little scary, but seeing it all come together made me so grateful that we did everything ourselves. It felt very much our own.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We didn't want traditional wedding music, so we had our musician play a nice variety of music we actually listen to as everyone was sitting down. Our choices ranged from Buzzcocks to Queen, and I walked in to "Big Rock Candy Mountain."

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Incorporating literature, humanism, as well as the Christianity Matt grew up with was important to us, and reading statements that we wrote to one another before doing traditional vows was even more so. I talked about how we read books about cults in my statement and Matt mentioned my boobs in his vows, but it felt tame enough for conservative family members without feeling inauthentic.

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Matt's father is a Methodist minister and he was our officiant. Even though Matt and I aren't that religious, having his father be such an important part of the wedding was very special.

Both of my parents passed away, but I wanted them to be very much a part of the ceremony. My mother was an English professor, so we had Mark Twain's "A Marriage" and an excerpt from Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" read in the ceremony. This was not only a way to honor her memory in a private way, but it made our wedding feel more inclusive.

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I also wanted my brothers and sisters to be a part of the wedding. My two older brothers gave me away, and my brother Brendan, who I'm very close to, wrote a piece about Eros and Philia, the two different forms of love from ancient Greek tradition.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was money. Though Matt's family surprised us with some help, we needed to figure out how to have a wedding for 180 guests in Southern California without breaking the bank.

DIYing helped stretch our budget a great deal, but the main money saver was research. I researched the shit out of food, venues, booze, and hotels. Not everything was how it would have been in an ideal world, but it worked out in end.

It was also a challenge for me to not have my mother with me to help plan. She passed away three years ago and had only met Matt once, when she was very sick. I would have moments where I just wanted to call her and talk to her about dresses or email her photos of the location and I couldn't. I let myself go through those emotions. When I was mad that my mom wasn't there I'd let myself feel mad, then I'd remind myself that there was nothing I could do to change the fact that she was gone, and I just needed to focus on the positive. There was plenty of positive to focus on, thankfully, and I was floored with how loving and generous with their time our friends were.

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My funniest moment:
Matt cracked me up when he opened his vows by saying that the first time we met I was wearing an "Iron Maiden t-shirt with no bra." It was true, but I had no idea he was going to say that in front of all of our friends and family. It was awesome and set the tone for a the party.

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Matt and I met doing stand up comedy (a job that requires no bra) so most of our mutual friends are also comics. This made the toast portion of our reception really awesome. Our friend Wyatt MCed the toasts the way you would a comedy show. The two women from my sketch group Birds of Prey did one of the most adorable toasts ever, speaking at the same time and veering into delightfully absurd territory. I was worried that the toasts might have too much comedy and not enough sentimentality, but the comic to civilian ratio was perfect.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I learned that your wedding is a chance for you and your partner to throw the funnest party possible. It's a chance to share the music, food, and style you love with all the people you love. I learned that all of the statistics about the "average cost of a wedding" that were stressing me out are totally irrelevant. I also learned that little girls really love brides, and that every time I attempted to dance with my husband or friends, a little girl would jump on me.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!