The Offbeat Couple: Cecil & Paul
Date and location of wedding: House on the Hill, Austin, TX — August 11, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had lots of DIY projects and small changes to traditions that made things our own. We had cupcakes made by friends instead of a wedding cake, tacos catered by a food truck, and locally grown, organic flowers for the few bouquets (my grandmother arranged them the day of!). We also had butcher paper instead of tablecloths, bright blue and orange paper flowers in 79 cent Ikea vases on each table, and each table had a different animal theme.
Paul made a list of the “coolest” animals and I collected toys which we put on the tables. The guests had name cards with table assignments on them such as “turtle table,” “mongoose table,” etc. We didn't do a bouquet or garter toss, but instead we ate, drank, danced, had an epic NERF war, then swam in the pool into the wee hours.
Tell us about the ceremony: Instead of bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc. we had bride's ladies, a chief bride's lady, a groom's dude, a groom's lady, and a chief groom's dude. My aunt, Susan, was the officiant. She used The Lorax as her book to hold her notes.
Paul and I wrote our own secret notes to each other, which we read. But before we read our notes, we played rock-paper-scissors to see who would read first. I won! Also after the exchange of rings, Susan said, “You may now update your Facebook statuses.” At which point our uncles handed each of us our iPhones. We laughed.
Susan is a Shakespeare scholar who founded a feminist, all-women theater group called the Weird Sisters. Paul is also a Shakespeare buff, and we have lots of lovers of the Bard in the family and among our friends. So she read Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no [one] ever loved.
(Note the feminist revision in the last line: man -> one.)
We are also big supporters of marriage equality, and felt that our wedding was a place where we wanted to show that. We pinned White Knots to the programs with a note explaining that wearing them is an expression of support for marriage equality. We also asked Susan to work something into the ceremony:
Cecil and Paul would like for you to know that they think marriage is an ultimate expression of their love and commitment to each other; they look forward to the day when that right is granted to all couples in this country.
Susan also wrote the vows. We loved them:
Paul/Cecil, do you promise to love Cecil/Paul, comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him through all life's joys and tempests, and to respect her/his individuality?
Paul/Cecil: I do!
Our biggest challenge: Staying true to our vision (and our budget). We knew that we wanted our wedding to be fun, really silly, and informal but stylish. However, sometimes the nagging of the what-will-they-think demons got to me and I spent hours looking at chair covers and table cloths I couldn't afford and didn't even want. In these situations I would just remind myself of what was most important to me. Were chair covers on that list? Nope. Then I could refocus my energy on other things.
My favorite moment: I loved when Paul and I started walking down the aisle holding hands and everyone applauded. I couldn't jive with the whole “giving the daughter away” thing. I had anxiety about this choice, especially because my dad was a bit hurt. I thought that some people would whisper and wonder what was wrong with my dad or me. Instead our guests were 100% supportive and they broke out in applause as we emerged.
Just after the ceremony, a group of family and friends ran outside with vuvuzelas (we're big soccer fans) and tooted away as we milled about waiting to take family photos. Total surprise!
My funniest moment: The NERF war! We weren't sure exactly how it would go down. A while after the reception and while we were dancing, the photographer said she was going to have to leave in about 30 mins, so I went and got all the NERF guns and brought them to the dance floor. Everyone went bonkers running around shooting each other.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Communicate with all invitees in an organized fashion to limit no-shows and unexpected guests. I've worked on political campaigns, so I employed some volunteer management methods to handle our RSVPs. I assigned each guest a number on a scale of one to five: 1 = definitely not coming, 2 = most likely not coming, 3 = unsure, 4 = most likely coming, and 5 = coming, barring an act of God. I called all the twos, threes, and fours in the two weeks before the wedding and had a little chit chat. I made sure to work in the hard ask: “I'll see you there, right?” Since I did this, we had exactly zero unexpected guests.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Juliane Masciana
- Bride's Dress: Sue Wong from Bloomgingdale's
- Hair and makeup: Delaney from Method Hair Salon
- Groom's suit: Calvin Klein
- Groom's shoes: Aldo
- Bride's and groom's ladies hair pieces and earrings: Charming Charlie
- Catering: the peached tortilla and Silver Sage Catering
- Biodegradable/compostable dishes: sustyparty.com and branchhome.com
- Rudimentary sound equipment for DIY music station: Rock ‘N' Roll Rentals
- Envelopes for invites: The Paper Place
- Butcher paper for tables: Amazon
- Registry: Honeyfund
- Paper flowers DIY: Instructables
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!