Juliette & David's rock 'n' roll finger foods wedding

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Photos by I Luv Photo

The offbeat bride: Juliette, writer

Her offbeat partner: David, Sales by day, bass player by night

Date and location of wedding: Hard Rock Hotel, Chicago — August 20, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our main goal was to hold a wedding that our guests would have have a ton of fun attending. We started by selecting a venue that wouldn't mind us getting a bit crazy — the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. They worked with us on every level, from accommodating a seven-piece rock band for our reception, to dealing with my different food requests.

Cocktail Hour

Ceremony - smores "cake"

I didn't want a sit-down meal, so I worked with the head chef to create a menu of dozens of finger foods including tofu lollipops, mini chicken lettuce cups, and a station where a chef steamed dumplings to order. I was also dead set against a wedding cake. Instead, we had s'mores!

Wedding location

Ceremony

Tell us about the ceremony: David and I are not religious, yet having a special ceremony was important to us. We knew we didn't want a stranger to be our officiant, so I asked a former college professor (who has an amazing history of multi-faith mission work) if he would handle the ceremony for us. With his help, we wrote personal vows AND kept the ceremony under 25 minutes.

I'm also a huge Disney fan and wanted to be able to give my passion just a small nod in the wedding. So for our ceremony, we had a violin player learn "A Whole New World" from Aladdin for the processional, and "Kiss the Girl" from Little Mermaid for the recessional.

Floral arrangement at reception

Our biggest challenge: I'm not an especially crafty chick, nor am I very good at decorating. So choosing colors and themes definitely made me a bit twitchy. Plus, David and I have very different ideas about colors. I wanted purple to be a part of the "scheme," but beyond that I was clueless. I finally picked yellow as a coordinating color. When we first met with our florist, I'm not sure I made a lot of sense. I kept saying things like, "I just want the flowers to be funky. And fun. And not boring. And colorful. But not big. Or white." Fortunately, Allison at Stems was able to ask the right questions to create the perfect not-too-traditional arrangements I knew I wanted, but didn't quite know how to describe.

First dance

My favorite moment: David and I are both music freaks. He's a musician, and I've written about musicians for 15 years. There are tons of songs that we love, but when it came time to choose one for our first dance, Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" was our first and only choice. David had hired a violin player to perform the song when he proposed, and we asked our band to learn the song for our first dance. Being alone with him on the dance floor, hearing lyrics that we have loved, was amazing. I will always be amazed at the way he "helps me sing my song."

Ceremony

My funniest moment: The best moment was during our ceremony when I was attempting to put the ring on Dave's finger. He has larger knuckles, and my hands were shaking fairly hard from nerves, so it took a bit of jamming and cursing and pushing to get that ring on him. Once I did, our officiant made a quip about not needing to worry about the ring "falling off" ever, and the whole room erupted.

Guest favor - rock candy

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Non-crafty me decided to get all crafty to save money on guest favors and a gift box. After an initial disaster ordering chocolates by mail as favors (hint: chocolate doesn't mail well in July), I decided to go with purple rock candy sticks. They arrived unwrapped, so I was forced to brave our local craft store to find cellophane wrappers and twist ties, as well as old fashioned candy jars for the display. I added some crystal pebbly things to the bottom of the jars, packaged up all the rock candy sticks, and hoped for the best. It turned out just fine.

Gift collection

For the card box, I used one of Dave's old cases for his bass. We laid it out on a table with a small sign and used it to collect all our envelopes, and had my maid of honor latch it up before the reception and carry it to our room.

Reception

My advice for offbeat brides: The one thing I HATED hearing from people while planning was, "In the end, your wedding is just another day." It wasn't for me. It's an important day that you naturally want to be special. However, the sentiment, to take it easy and have fun, is useful. Just breathe, and work with your partner to create a day that makes you both happy. Don't do anything that's unnatural to you. For example, I hate wearing a lot of makeup. And everyone, from my mother to coworkers, were insisting that I have it professionally done. That's just not me, and I knew that looking back, I'd hate seeing myself in pictures that way. So, I did my makeup myself, and I look exactly like myself in my pictures, which was exactly how I wanted to look.

Wedding band - Libido Funk Circus

Reception

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Being flexible was the biggest thing that kept me sane during preparation. We initially lost our first wedding venue choice after having booked it, and we'd even sent out save-the-date cards for it. So, we had to go back to the beginning, find a new venue and send out re-save-the-date cards since our original date wasn't available anywhere in the city. If either Dave or I had gotten upset or angry, it wouldn't have been worth it. In hindsight, we can see that being flexible helped us find an even better venue that was able to help us plan the wedding we wanted.

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  1. SUCH a cool wedding! I love your advice about letting your wedding be a special day while still taking it easy, being yourself, and staying flexible. I, too, can't stand it when people say "It's just another day, anyway," (which I've been hearing a lot lately) and I kind of want to print out what you wrote about it on little cards so I can just hand them to people instead of trying to calmly explain how I feel πŸ˜› Last but not least, I'm pretty sure that any marriage that starts out with a band called 'Libido Funk Circus' playing the soundtrack will be all kinds of rock 'n' roll fantastic for eternity. Congratulations!!

    1 agrees
    • I'll try to get some more food pics up, but here's the menu:
      Truffle Infused Goat Cheese Profiteroles
      Prosciutto with port wine fig crostini
      Chicken lettuce cups with chili plum sauce
      Brie grilled cheese with cherry preserve
      Braised short ribs
      Tofu lollipops
      firecracker wonton shrimp

      The dumpling station had three kinds of dumplings with coordinating dipping sauces.

      Good luck with your wedding! πŸ™‚

  2. Love love love it. My original post was deleted for some reason. I am stealing the guitar case idea as the FH will LOVE that. Also wanted to say thank you for listing BHWM for your dress because I just got my dress from there for $270… I still have to try it on but Thank you for all the wonderful ideas and leading me to my potential dress for cheap!

  3. "That's just not me, and I knew that looking back, I'd hate seeing myself in pictures that way. So, I did my makeup myself, and I look exactly like myself in my pictures, which was exactly how I wanted to look."
    This! Is what I've been trying to tell my bridal party! I want myself and them to look like our beautiful, normal, quirky selves.

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    • This!

      Seriously, my friend had pro makeup done. She is half black/mexican, half white…gorgeous caramel skin. THe girl that did her makeup made her WHITE! She didn't look like herself at all, and when I saw her wedding pics it was even more pronounced. Go natural if that's how you roll!

  4. Thank you for such nice comments, everyone! This site was truly my best friend in planning the wedding.

  5. Congratulations, Juliette & David! It looks like you guys had a blast. Love the bass case idea to gather cards — so perfect for your venue.

  6. This is awesome! As another huge Disney fan, I must say I grinned from ear to ear when I read about you using "A Whole New World" and "Kiss the Girl" in your ceremony. πŸ˜€ "Kiss The Girl" is my all-time favourite Disney song!

  7. DUMPLING STATION! BRILLIANT! Love the philosophy on make up- every time somebody has done my make up 'properly' or for a special occasion, I've wanted to yell, 'get it off! What have you done to my face!' because I'm so used to wearing hardly any. Anyway, the bride looks absolutely gorgeous. I'd give anything to be able to smile that brightly without looking goofy.

  8. Oh man, my boyfriend and I LOVE Maybe I'm Amazed. Especially screaming "…WHO COULD EVAR HEEELP MEEE!" in high-pitched falsetto whenever it's on. It's kinda our thing πŸ˜› Beautiful wedding all round.

  9. Amazing wedding "story", love the disney music being played by the violinist, love the card "box" and love that you were so laid back and flexible – most bridezillas often end up stressing out and forgetting to enjoy every moment of the wedding. Congrats! (p.s. omg, the smores!!)

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