The Offbeat Bride: Tine, content manager at an online travel agency
Her offbeat partner: Niels, developer
Date and location of wedding: Community centre in the bride's father's home town Diepenbeek, Limburg, Belgium — August 15, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Years before we even got engaged, I told my partner I'd get the Slackers (his favorite band) to play at our wedding. To which he replied, “If you can get the Slackers to come, I'll marry you.” So the next gig we went to I went up to the lead singer at the break and just asked him if the band would play our wedding. He said, “Of course.” We were then unofficially engaged…
When we did get officially engaged, the first thing we did was contact the band, to see when they would be in the country and if they had a free date. They did, so all of the other elements in planning would henceforth be centered around the tour dates of The Slackers.
Another important issue was that we are both vegetarians, and wanted a completely vegetarian wedding. We asked our favorite restaurant to do the catering. Now we had to find a venue with a kitchen, without a set caterer and one that was free on the one date we could get the Slackers at our wedding. We eventually found a community center in my father's home town. We had to buy out a Zumba class to get the place to us the whole day, but we didn't mind.
Some elements we loved especially started with our ring-bear — we tied our rings around the stuffed panda he gave me for my birthday when we just started going out. Other favorites include:
Our dress code color and colorful decoration for the venue. This gave us lots of wonderful pictures with seas of color and a lot of happy people (they didn't need to buy new outfits, altough some loved to go shopping for this wedding).
I folded a few hundreds of origami flowers out of memo block paper. And got big pieces of cheap fabric to hang above the tables.
My dress made by a local designer. I asked her for something special and fairy-like. She said she could make it, but that neither of us would know in advance what it would look like. Sounds crazy, but I loved the idea. It was finished two weeks before the wedding and very special.
My parasol instead of a bouquet was the best idea ever for a wedding on a day where it was 37°C (99°F) in the shade.
The alien plantscapes we made out of terrariums with succulents and cacti. My husband created little Lego scenes in the bigger terrariums.
Pac-Man nomming envelopes. Because nom.
Games. We both love games (online and offline) and we had several kinds at the wedding and encouraged people to bring their own favorites — and they did. This was great for the afternoon reception and for the people who don't like dancing.
On the invitations, we wrote that guests were encouraged to bring their own entertainment (instruments, games, dogs, anything). So one of our friends brought his fire juggling equipment. Free fire show!
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was mainly outsourced. We had four time slots, where groups of friends and family could “do something.” We didn't know in advance what they would do. Here's what they did:
Two friends (brothers) tried to deterimine whether this was actually the most beautiful moment of our life and what that actually meant for our future. At the end they broke a wristwatch to conserve “the most beautiful moment” and gave it to us as a present.
Then my mother told the crowd about my youthful independence, funny stories, and thankfully not embarrassing ones. Next, Niels' father read a religious text, because he wanted to contribute something traditional to the day and because, in his words, “Niels was just too good of a child and there are no silly stories to tell.”
Niels' best friend performed a dramatic reading of a translation/adaptation of a song that gets played at almost any wedding in Belgium, but wouldn't get played tonight (because the band didn't know it). It felt as though it could not have been official without that song.
After these slots I had a surprise for my husband. He said it would be nice if I wrote him a song, so I did. But I lured him on stage, and told him he was expected to play along. And oh look, there were all our instruments within reach: no excuses (hurray for our ceremony backdrop). He takes jazz classes and I had some instructions written on a paper, so it worked out quite well.
We did a spoken word poetry bit with our vows, where we told the story of how we got together and it gradually turned into all kinds of silly promises, like that I would never put pineapple on his pizza and he would always wait patiently when I was distracted by something shiny in a shop window. The real vows, the ones the other partner didn't know, we whispered in each other's ear.
Then we got the rings from the panda and had an Eskimo kiss. That Eskimo kiss had been a part of the story of how we got together and solved the problem of my husband's aversion to kissing in public.
My favorite moment: I have a few. One was setting up the decoration the day before. Another was the ceremony. I also loved the dinner — all those skeptical guests raved that our rabbitfood was actually delicious. And I got to try out every single thing in the buffet, filling up about five plates (including dessert).
Another favorite moment was our opening dance. The Slackers play reggae and ska. We both love folk dancing, so we ended up doing a European folk dance to a reggae song. And it worked! Plus, there were several moments where I said, “yeaaaaah this song is awesome, excuse me I have to go dance now!”
My funniest moment: To me it was my mother on stage, telling people about silly things I did when I was really small (or not so small anymore). Some of which I had completely forgotten. To the guests the most funny moment was apparently when they found out one of my husband's colleagues brought a tin of sausages. Just in case the food was too awful.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? It's ok to give control to someone else. I'm a control freak , but there were several things I didn't control: the dress, the content of the ceremony, and the actual handling of everything at the wedding. It all worked out fine.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?