Pugs, brooches, and glamour: Catherine & Chris' quirky pug lovin' wedding

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Photos by Elegant Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Catherine

Her offbeat partner: Chris, software developer/magic enthusiast

Date and location of wedding: Lafayette Hotel, North Park, San Diego, CA — February 13, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

I wanted this whole thing to have our stank all over it. The hotel is a historical building where Bob Hope and Ava Gardner used to roam — SO COOL! And the giant big band clam shell in the ballroom sort of got the ball rolling. I'd say it was "quirky glam," with a lotta pug and DIY touches.
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We had no real flowers — I made everything! My brooch bouquet was made of goodies from friends and family and clients all over the county (I'm a makeup and hairstylist and I used to travel the US for work). The thing ended up weighing a billionty pounds, but it is SO special to me.

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Chris' side had flowers made of playing cards and guitar picks (because Chris ALWAYS has a deck of cards or five on his person for spontaneous magic tricks, and he's also never met a stringed instrument he couldn't play), and my girls had giant crepe paper roses with sparkly brooch centers. I even made corsages for the moms and boutonnieres for the officiant and my piano-playing bestie. The centerpieces were the giant crepe paper roses, as well as more playing card and coffee filter flowers placed in antique silver pieces, which my mother provided from her private collection. I was crazy about the juxtaposition.

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Tell us about your ceremony:

My idea for the decor was a little bit Sunset Boulevard with a twist. I found a 24-foot vintage-y rug to use as an aisle runner as well as another big rug for us to stand on, and also found an antique Chinese screen to use as our "arch." The venue already had these very whimsical colorful parasols hanging from the ceiling, and a smattering of old movie posters. The "pigs" (Zuhl and Elphaba, our pugs) stormed down the aisle in custom couture and snort-breathed through the whole thing.

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Our officiant was a very old friend from high school who declared me the first (and last) girl he fell in love with! We did a ring warming where we passed our bands up and down the wedding party, which I loved. Another girlfriend played an incredibly touching and romantic Ani Difranco song on the guitar, "Albacore." We're not religious per se, but the parents of one of my bridesmaids are both Christian reverends, and they've been sort of adoptive family to me for the last almost 20 years, so they gave us a blessing just before we were pronounced man and wife.

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Tell us about your reception:

The reception was wonderful! We had a 14-piece big band in that fabulous retro clam shell, and our amazing best man (who is also kind of a rock star) accompanied them on Santo and Johnny's "Sleepwalk" for our first dance (it pays to have unbelievably talented, wonderful friends). The band and the music definitely made our wedding. People danced their tushies off!

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We toasted our marriage with the same silver toasting goblets my parents used on their wedding day, and we cut our wedding cake with the set Chris's parents used at their wedding. It was a wonderful way to honor and include our parents, particularly since both my dad and Chris's mom are no longer with us.

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We have a thing for fortune cookies, so the escort cards were little silver ones, and I'd also had real cookies with custom fortunes made. We ended the night with milk and cookies donated from a friend's mom's bakery, who's also a wonderful sort of adoptive family.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Any other advice for Offbeat Bride readers?

I DIYed my brains out, which was a lot of work, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We struggled with budget, and the demands of challenging family members. The last month especially was rough. If I could recommend anything to fellow Offbeat Bride readers, I'd say to hold your ground, and decide what is important and makes sense to you. A lot of friends were seriously horrified that we passed on traditions like the bouquet and garter toss, but they just weren't meaningful to us. And everyone thought we were nuts to include our pugs in photos and the ceremony, but that's just us and I LOVE the pics we have of our whole family.

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  1. Everything looks amazing! Your bouquet is gorgeous and I love all of the pug touches. I also really liked the colors of the reception and the little touches of playing card flowers, everything looks so put together, congratulations!

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  2. You had me at "stank." I love all of this! The flowers in particular are wonderful, for both the bride and groom's sides. And "Elphaba" is a fabulous name for a pug.

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    • I'm not sure how old this post is but I actually made that as well! I sketched it and then using tracing paper was able to get it on the canvas without having a nervous breakdown, lol. Thank you!

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