The offbeat bride: Brigitta, Management Assistant (fancy word for secretary)
Her offbeat partner: Wouter, System Engineer (fancy word for computer lover)
Location & date of wedding: All over the place! Day one was in the city hall and the reception was at Wouter's mother's place. Day two's ceremony was in the basement of our reception venue, a huge renovated barn. Limberg, Belgium — September 24-25, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We both balance on a fine line between traditional and offbeat. So in the end, we decided that our wedding should be just that. We divided the wedding weekend into two days: “Our Formal Wedding” and “Our Own Wedding.” On the first day, I wore Skunkfunk and on the second, I wore a white, lacey, traditional dress.
We had a truffle and black chocolate LEGO cake and a Bailey's Lego cake at Wouter's mom's house. We had a wedding ceremony with an aisle, candles, and rings, but we had it in a basement and my father (an ex-Catholic priest, but still Catholic) officiated. We had our good friends perform the music and we had a sign language interpreter, but also got showered with rice. We took our pictures at the fun fair (where we fell in love), but we were in our formal wear. In the end, the fine line between the traditions and our choices became blurry.
Tell us about the ceremony: We thought it would be great to have a ceremony where we would honour our beliefs and talk about our own view of religion by referring to it as “love.” So we paraphrased Kahlil Gibran's “On Marriage,” and wrote some vows of our own. We had lots of live music played by our friends including Elvis, Florence + The Machine, The Turtles, and Cat Stevens.
We asked my dad if he would officiate. Luckily, he did and even wrote some more readings because he is a great man and a great man of faith.
Our biggest challenge: Family conflict. We had some guests who did not want to see each other ever again. But we really wanted both of them there! They ended up being civil and it turned out well.
My favorite moment: I was so afraid my dad was going to bawl his way through officiating, but he held up really well. So while I was stressed out in the beginning, the ceremony meant the world to me. I loved hearing Wouter speak his self-written vows (and laughing when he unexpectedly started by addressing me with my full name).
My funniest moment: The moment my beloved ex-collegues and friends turned up with a basket with two pigeons in it. Grey, pooping pigeons. Not white, slender doves. And they asked us to get down with tradition and chuck the poor little (did I mention pooping?) things into the air after the ceremony.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our buffet. We started our reception rather late and didn't know how we would go about feeding our guests. We had a buffet, but mostly an elaborate set-up of desserts. That way in case people already chose to eat before the wedding, they could just have dessert. I was so afraid everyone would be stuffed before they came, but they weren't. And it was great that they had a choice and could top their pasta off with chocolate mousse if they wanted to. 🙂
My advice for offbeat brides: When family issues arise, be sure you talk them over in detail with all those concerned. Didn't find a solution? Let it go. Seriously. You don't have to be holding your family's hand in this matter. They're older and presumably wiser than you, so you can only do that much. It's up to them to be adults about their difficult relationships.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? People keep telling me that marriage doesn't change anything. But for me, it did. It gave me a different perspective on my partner. And for me, the wedding was celebrating just that. At times when the going gets rough, keep that in mind. You're planning a celebration!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- I looked for a dress at a chic wedding dress store in Hasselt, Belgium and I had the most horrible experience. But then I came along a mannequin doll wearing my dress and was in love. So I'm not really promoting the vendor, but this is the dress.
- First day dress: Skunkfunk Primavera Verano (off the rack).
- Location: I hugely recommend for you Belgian brides ‘t Speelhof, Sint-Truiden, Limburg, Belgium
- Photographer: Wesley Nulens Fotographie
- Ring designer: Smellenbergh
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!