Offbeat partner: Cassie, Parks and Recreation Professional
Offbeat partner: Matt, Assistant Loan Officer
Date and location of wedding: Orr Street Studios, a non-profit artist studio/gallery/artist guild in Columbia, MO — March 25, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The theming was a bit all over the board but it came together swimmingly. The look was super vintage starlet, the venue decorations leaned to a glam nature look but set in an industrial (literally a converted warehouse) art gallery/studios, which already had art on the walls and string lights which made decorating a breeze. Each of the doors in the gallery space lead to rented studios. Some of the best artists in the city rent spaces there!
My husband was born and raised in Columbia, MO, so the idea of having the wedding downtown was something he was very invested in. Our rehearsal dinner was at a locally (state-wide probably) famous pizza place where we spent many late nights in college playing D&D and Munchkin. Given that it was low-key local, all friends and family, traveling or not, were invited to this "Weekend Wedding Kickoff" event, complete with cookies delivered later in the evening.
We had a relatively small list of guests, with final attendance around 85. My maid of honor custom made her dress (altered and applied appliques), and she also served as bridal party makeup artist. Also it RAINED! We didn't skip any beats (known hazard of a March wedding) and got some AMAZING umbrella pics. At the end of the day, we just had so. much. fun. Everyone was happy, drama-free, well fed, and well boozed.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony took place in the reception space and was preceded by drinks and hors d'oeuvres and followed by more drinks. We kept our wedding parties very small, with one attendee each — Matt's brother served as Best Man and my high school bestie was my Maid of Honor. I have a cousin with seven beautiful children, and we had the three oldest girls as flower girls, in sparkling capes and crowns handmade by my mother and aunt.
Since I do not have a relationship with my biological father, and while I love my step dad, they've only been married about seven years, so it was a no-brainer to have my beautiful mother walk me down the aisle. The songs leading up to the ceremony included themes from Harry Potter, and my processional music was "Concerning Hobbits" (a lifelong LOTR fan, and I was lucky enough to visit Hobbiton during a semester in New Zealand).
Our officiant was our shared best friend and former roommate. He absolutely slayed his duties and made well-received jokes about his internet ordained title of "Reverend Father." We both wrote our own vows for our secular ceremony that included promises to shirk responsibility in favor of cuddling on the couch and loudly singing '90s jams in the kitchen. My maid of honor read "A Lovely Love Story" by Edward Monkton, appropriately capturing our passion for dinosaurs. We performed a unity salt ceremony, which the officiant explained for the guests with a beautiful salt cellar from Etsy. Finally, our recessional was "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oats.
Tell us about your reception:
Tablescapes included hand dip-dyed silk scarves as table runners, upcycled cylinder vases saved from a work event, ceramic animals made by a good friend/coworker, and the florals included ornamental kale which is SUPER my aesthetic and provided the basis for the purple/green color scheme. The lavender, boutonnieres, and bouquets were ordered from an Etsy vendor in Montana.
My mother sourced the chocolate cows to pay homage to Wisconsin, my home state. We spent nearly half of the wedding budget on food and bar — we're big foodies so this was VERY important. I worked with the head pastry chef of a beloved local donut shop to create custom donuts, a "Sweet & Salty" for my tastes, "Cookies & Cream" for Matt's, and a "Horchata Bismarck" because who doesn't like horchata? We also served mini pies from another awesome local businesses in lieu of cake. A little Yoda figurine (actually a Disney Infinity toy!) graced the pie display.
After dinner, Matt and I snuck outside to have a lightsaber battle with my awesome Force FX lightsabers — his, a "battle damaged" Darth Maul and mine, a smaller sized Yoda. The sneaking was unsuccessful and we ended up with quite the crowd of spectators. Inside, we had a caricature artist drawing portraits of guests, which was a huge hit and a welcome change from the classic photo booth. These served as our wedding "favors" as well.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Don't underestimate the power of a good vendor. They WILL be worth the price. And go with your gut — I was very unhappy with the communication and planning from my caterer, so I fired him about a month before the wedding. My replacement caterer (who was actually neck-in-neck for the original booking) blew me away. I don't regret a single dime spent with them. They went so above and beyond, stayed well after their duties were done to clean up, were professional, and complimentary of everything.
My photographer was also just mind-blowingly amazing. She was flexible, sweet, talented, and just everything I ever could have wanted and more. Everyone from my wedding who got engaged/married after me in Columbia has booked her, too.
If you can, get someone to coordinate your ceremony/wedding. I thought I could wing it, since everything was pretty simple, and honestly it probably would have been fine, but my sister-in-law stepped up the day before to make sure everything was timed correctly and went smoothly and it was a huge help. Finally, going on your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, if you can afford it (we went to Disney World), is a great treat to reward you for all of your hard work.
Photography: Rebecca Allen Photography • Lavender: Paula Jean's Garden • Dress: Alfred Angelo via Breeze Boutique • Venue: Orr Street Studios • Catering: Bleu Events • Baked goods: Peggy Jean's Pies & Harold's Doughnuts • Furniture & linens: A1 Party Supply