Amy Joy & Christian's cozy blended-family theater wedding

By on Feb. 3rd Photos by Impact Images
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Photos by Impact Images

The Offbeat Bride: Amy Joy, Academic and Mumma

Her offbeat partner: Christian, architect extraordinaire

Date and location of wedding: Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, Avoca Beach, New South Wales, Australia — December 15, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We had a light Art Deco theme which helped us tie in our ideas of simple with a hint of glitz and some bilingual elements. We initially wanted to have a surprise wedding. I was totally sold on this idea until the costs started adding up and it just became too hard logistically to get all of our traveling, pregnant, and busy friends in the one place spontaneously. So we ended up going a more offbeat lite route and actually announcing the engagement and letting people know when it would be.

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We had a kids' zone set up, and all of the children received a story book and a party bag as well as activities like crayons and colouring pads. We converted an old long coffee table so it fit the theme and then used our couch throw cushions as seats, so the smaller kids could sit there, too.

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Chris spent the first six years of his life in Germany as his dad is German, so I wanted to involve his German heritage where possible. I also wanted to include my adoration of the Harry Potter series and English literature in general.

We had a golden snitch and a German flag incorporated into the wedding cake/cake pops which then became the favors. Some of the wedding items, such as the program, incorporated German wording as well as English. I had personalised props made for the photo booth including German wording such as liebe and "Team Thunig."

We had 38 adults on the guest list we made. It meant that a small, affordable, and intimate wedding was possible.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
The music that the guests listened to whilst waiting for us to start was important in setting the lovey-dovey vibe:

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I walked myself down the aisle. I have lived by myself since age 15 so I knew it was right for me, and funnily enough no one questioned me about it. We then chose to begin by making promises to each other's daughters. It made sense to start this way so we could get them off the stage quickly. Being three and five years old means they are unpredictable at times, but the enormity of the moment put them into a hush and they just seemed in awe as they were spoken to and gifted with a necklace.

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When Christian began by speaking to my daughter, Esther, he got onto his knees and said:

Esther, Thank you for having such a beautiful heart and for sharing your mummy with me. I am honoured to be your stepdad. Please accept this necklace as a sign of my promise to be the best stepdad that I can be, to love you as you are, and to show you kindness now and forever.

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There was a kiss on the cheek and then it was my turn to speak with his daughter Ava:

Ava, thank you for sharing your daddy with me. I am so excited that I get to be your stepmum. You are a wonderful girl with a beautiful heart. Please accept this necklace as a sign of my promise to love you as you are and to show you kindness always and forever.

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We then had the reading of "To Love is not to Possess" by James Kavanaugh which was read by my sister Kacey.

Our vow inspiration came from posts I read here on Offbeat Bride. There are certain things that must be said for the wedding to be legal here in Australia so we incorporated the lines as best as we could.

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Our biggest challenge:
Vendors became an issue for us. I found that time and time again I would get a quote in writing only to have the prospective vendor double the price when I informed them that it would be a for a wedding. I overcame it by reading Offbeat Bride Tribe blogs and reminding myself that if I don't like or trust these vendors now then how will I ever cope with it when the wedding day is here? So I refused to book them on principal, even if we could afford them and I couldn't find a replacement immediately. In the end, every vendor we chose was so far beyond what I had dreamed that I am still smiling about it. I actually can't wait to send off their thank you cards because they are so well deserved.

We approached several churches that had issues with each of us having been divorced. Then they wanted us to separate and have one-on-one meetings with their people so they could decide if we had justifiable reasons to have divorced. I refused to do such a thing. A few churches also wanted to pre-read our vows and ceremony readings but refused to allow us to pre-read their speeches/readings. In the end, I took to Facebook and discovered that one of my dear friends is a civil celebrant! So we booked her immediately!

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My favorite moment:
Christian and I had our first date at the tiny movie theater next to my house, which happens to be owned by two of my very best friends. We decided to hold the ceremony there. We then got photographs in the seats we sat in on our first date. *happy sigh*

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My father-in-law also made a wonderful speech that had everyone in stitches, making fun of my Facebook addiction, and pointing out how perfect Chris and I are together. Chris is an only child so his father's loving approval and charming stories were so wonderful.

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
We'd both been married before to partners we hadn't lived with prior to marriage. This time around, we got to know each other: our traits, our morning breath, and our bad habits. We knew that we were walking into a commitment that we could not only live with, but actually find joy in. Our parenting styles, where we like to eat, what we like to do: we fit easily together and sure enough our wedding was the same. This was a team project and we had a blast doing it.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We learned to keep others' needs in mind. In our small group of less than forty adults, there were easily five different religions, two of which forbid alcohol consumption, and two of which forbid the consumption of pig or shellfish. I thought of them in the same way I would an allergy: I asked our reception to be sure to keep all pig product from the meals and so we substituted the pork in one of the chosen dishes with duck.

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If there is a will, there's a way! I saw a photo of what looked like blue fairy floss (cotton candy) on top of a champagne glass. I bought bags of pink fairy floss and asked the reception venue to garnish all the champagne with it and hand them out to guests on arrival. As the champagne was in our drinks package, it literally cost me around ten dollars and people really seemed to enjoy it.

Photo booth

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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