This BBQ wedding featured a "first rib"

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Photos by Leah Lee Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Veronica (Offbeat Bride Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: John

Date and location of wedding: Marvimon House, Los Angeles, CA — October 2, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We are generally people who like to do things our own way, and we were fortunate enough to have the support to stay consistent with that for our wedding. Tradition for tradition's sake didn't interest us, and glamour and grandeur weren't our priorities. We wanted a good time had by all with good food and great memories. Using the Offbeat Bride book as our guide, we spent a year and a half planning the wedding.

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We elected to not have cake, a DJ, or alcohol — we generally avoid grains and refined sugar, aren't much dancing people, and don't drink (I swear weโ€™re fun). We had no wedding party, and my dress was not fluffy or white. We commenced the BBQ buffet by sharing the "first rib" and included lots of personal touches inspired by Offbeat Bride.

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First rib!

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I wore Converse most of the day, and there was not a single bit of lace, glitter, or tulle to be found. I knitted a shawl for my wedding, inspired by many Tribesmaids. The only flowers I had were fake, and the rest were succulents. Our favors were "muglies" inspired by Ariel herself.

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We tried to stay conscious of waste when we selected VerTerra biodegradable dinnerware, recycled birch utensils, and mason jars for beverages. I created a scrapbook featuring friends, family, and our engagement with lots of white space to serve as our guestbook, and the photo booth was a big hit too.

We also created a "Newlyweds"-styled video to play right after dinner that got a lot of laughs. The centerpieces were designed from scratch and hand-carved by the groom and his father, then planted with succulent cuttings that were given away or are in our garden today. The vintage bottles for decoration were saved by my grandfather over the years for no particular reason, and they were a nice way to bring his memory into the celebration with us.

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Our handfasting cords were hand-braided from strips of a favorite pair of boxer shorts with zombies on them, an old t-shirt, and cords of leather and jute. We chose charms to represent our favorite things, including a tea kettle, eggs and bacon, the Wheel of Time, and a zombie.

I didn't try on or even see my dress until it arrived in the mail a month before the wedding. I flew with my mom to Seattle to the studio of a dressmaker, Wai-ChingThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, to design my dress, and the trip itself was such a treat. I tried on many designs, picked the pieces I liked best from each and a color combo I wanted, and waited eagerly for it to come in the mail (it turned out to be absolutely spectacular).

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Tell us about the ceremony:

With no wedding party, we had all six parents (mine are divorced and remarried) go up the aisle — four carrying our handfasting cords, and my mother and father walked with me. Our officiant was our dear friend, who has a fantastic stage presence.

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My stepmother sang to us to open the ceremony. We passed our rings around for a ring warming so that each guest could send their blessings/positive energies. We used some formal language and structure, asking the audience for their support and giving both formal, repeat-after-me vows as well as personal ones. At the end, we asked everyone to rise and hold hands as we listened to a romantic and moving duet by our officiant and his wife. It is one of the crispest memories of the day for me. We recessed to the Throne Room title credits, and John practically ran down the aisle — I had to slow him down several times.

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Our biggest challenge:

The planning process itself was easily one of the greatest challenges we have faced as a couple, a close second to completely changing our eating lifestyle together. We operate very differently with task lists and deadlines, and communication and compromises were necessary. We got some great advice to have regular scheduled wedding planning check-ins, and to keep them short. We also took the advice of not "poisoning" a space we regularly lived in with the stresses that inevitably came up in the discussions.

Having a day-of coordinator to soothe my worries and assure me with her expertise and guidance was a HUGE help. I recommend one if you can, if only so you have a designated person to be the "bad guy" to do your dirty work for you. She often saved us from clingy or lingering guests, and kept all the issues in the background, allowing us to just enjoy the event.

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My favorite moment:

The time we took just after the ceremony and before the photos when we retreated to the bridal suite and ate a special treat from our favorite restaurant were great. It was just us two, and those precious minutes of really being present with each other were irreplaceable.

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We also loved standing with everyone holding hands at the end of the ceremony as our dear friends (who happen to be professional opera singers) sang a duet for us.

The whole family getting to see my grandmother one more time before she passed two months later was also really special.

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My funniest moment:

We were so worried about having extra food left over to take home to our one-bedroom apartment that we kept telling everyone to take some with them and even had some to-go boxes laid out for that purpose. We apparently excel at salesmanship because we had almost none to take home with us for dinner that night. We never even thought to ask someone to set aside a plate or two for us!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?

I read over and over again that I wouldn't be hungry at my wedding, and how important it would be to stop and take some breaths to be present. I was surprised that I didn't actually feel like a guest at my wedding, and never even saw or used several of the things I spent so long planning and making.

The couple breaks we took were some of the clearest moments of the day for me. It was so overwhelming to go from hidden away in the bridal suite to the emotion of the ceremony to the rush of excitement and socializing of the reception!

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  1. Veronica! Aiee! I'm ashamed to say I haven't kept up with you or our mutual acquaintance SAS for the past few years, but I was so happily surprised to see your face pop up on OBB on my rss feed! Congratulations, belatedly, and what a beautiful wedding. ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm so glad for you both that you made a ceremony that absolutely fits you. Love your hair and dress, and those couple photos! Adorable. ๐Ÿ˜€ Best wishes for you both!

    • Thanks so much, Jamie, and many well-wishes right back atchya! We were very pleased with how the ceremony went! My hair was intended to sort of mimic a laurel, and I was so happy with how it all turned out! I can't wait to wear the dress again, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love the sharing of the ribs! I envision something similar for my wedding some day since I don't eat cake, so nice to see it happening! Great wedding ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Sharing of the ribs! What a wonderful and fun idea! Although I'm sure my SO will sneak a bite from both ribs. ๐Ÿ™‚ The candies looked so yummy too. Sesame ganache, wha!? Where did you get these?

    • My dad actually made all the chocolates- he enjoys making desserts and they were such a hit! He likes to try odd and curious flavors (olive oil, herbs, etc), but we asked him to make some more generic ones ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Natalie –
      thanks so much for your compliments! I worked for months to knit the shawl and add the beading – it was my first lace project. I still wear it, and I'm so pleased with how it came out – even though it ended up hitting 90 degrees at our October wedding, I was glad I still got to wear it!

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