The offbeat bride: Beth, Production Project Manager and Belly Dancer (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Todd, Designer and Rock Drummer

Location & date of wedding: The Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley, CA — October 31, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Todd and I got married on our twelve-year anniversary: Halloween 2009. I wore a red and black corset dress and he wore a three-piece very fitted suit. We asked our friends and family to come in costume–and all but three did!


We had an uneven wedding party and didn't care. No one had to match. Our ringbearer carried a bat pillow and was dressed as batman. I made my and my girls' bouquets the day before the wedding. Todd's mom did all the table flowers.


We did the Thriller dance as our (surprise) first dance with a group of our friends — not just because it was Halloween but also as a tribute to a singer whose songs most of us had grown up dancing to.


Tell us about the ceremony: I loved our ceremony. I loved being walked down the aisle by my father in his crazy bird costume.

We had our friend, Ray, officiate our wedding and he worked with us to create a non-religious ceremony with tons of personal details I recommend writing your own ceremony to everyone. It was really challenging, but it was so worth it.


We had one reading. Our friend, Tina, read “Falling in love is like owning a dog” by Taylor Mali. It felt right for us — funny, light-hearted, and appropriate for two animal lovers. Tina got teary at the end and almost made Todd cry, which I loved; he is not a cryer at all!

We noted that we hoped some day everyone would be able to get married. Especially in the Bay Area (but all over CA, I know), the fallout from Proposition 8 has been pretty devastating. I can only hope it will be reversed soon.


My favorite moment: I think my favorite part of the day was our ceremony. We'd asked [our officiant] to highlight that we are two individuals choosing to be in a relationship and working to be together rather than the “now you are one person” approach (that wording always makes me gag a little).

We kept our vows to each other a secret until the ceremony, and ended up both including vows about Todd's football watching habits and our love for our two cats. He also included a vow about appreciating the little things, like getting Chinese takeout and watching Project Runway together (aw…), and I included a vow about always remembering to replace the paper towels on the roll.





We also loved seeing everyone's Halloween costumes. We'd requested that guests not tell us what they were coming as, so we could be surprised, and we were totally blown away by how creative everyone got.


My advice for offbeat brides: Try to do things as early as you can. We bought a ton of decor on sale after Halloween the year before the wedding and it was one of our best decisions!

We also had so many last-minute projects that could have been done earlier; we let go of a lot of ideas (like the dry ice) in order to save our sanity, and you know what? It's true, I didn't miss them.


The final cliche/truth: take help when it's offered. You'll need it! We had a huge crew of helpers and we needed and appreciated every single one of them. Oh, and if you can get someone to be your day-of coordinator, DO IT. We hired a friend to do that for us, and we were much more relaxed having someone else keep us on schedule, deal with the vendors, answer questions, etc. Money well spent!


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The week before the wedding, I was sick and frantically assembling a cupcake tower, carving pumpkins, and buying and arranging flowers, and in the midst of all that I got a card from my friend Linda that told me not to stress out about the wedding–that it was just a big party and really it was the marriage that was worth working on. That was exactly what I needed to hear! The wedding was incredible, and I'll remember it forever, but more than that I'm happy to be married to my best friend (finally).



Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photographer: Amanda Brooks. I met her backstage at a burlesque show, and then when I saw her featured on Offbeat Bride, a light went off–we'd found our photographer! We loved working with her and I now consider her a friend.
  • Dress, necklace, and bracelet: Dark Garden. Working with Autumn and the staff at DG was a dream. If I could afford it, all of my clothes would be custom-made by DG!
  • Suit and striped tie: Armani. Our sales consultant Phil Toy worked with us extensively to get the super slim fit Todd wanted, and even helped us custom order a vest since they didn't have a 3-piece available in the right cut.
  • Cupcakes: SIbby's Cupcakery. They were professional, enthusiastic, and fun, and — OMG — the cupcakes were delicious. Some guests told me later they'd had 8 cupcakes!
  • Venue: The Bancroft Hotel. This beautiful national historic registered landmark hotel was perfect for a Hallowedding! They were very accommodating about all of our requests.
  • Skull cufflinks: Dedalo on Etsy. Todd wanted “subtle Halloween bling,” and these sterling silver cufflinks were perfect.
  • Boutonnieres and Corsages: April Hiler Designs on Etsy. I was going to make all the corsages and boutonnieres the morning of the wedding, but Todd looked at me and said, “You really aren't going to want to do that,” and I realized he was totally right. April helped us out immensely and created adorable bouts/corsages out of dried pumpkins, feathers, and leaves.

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Comments on Beth & Todd’s costume party, anniversary wedding

  1. “We’d asked [our officiant] to highlight that we are two individuals choosing to be in a relationship and working to be together rather than the “now you are one person” approach (that wording always makes me gag a little).”
    Love it! I feel exactly the same way. Lovely wedding! 🙂

    • YES. I came here to say exactly the same thing. B/c you are two separate, lovely, people, working together as a team.

  2. “…in the midst of all that I got a card from my friend Linda that told me not to stress out about the wedding–that it was just a big party and really it was the marriage that was worth working on.”

    Phew. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not stressed about anything, as if that proves I’m taking the day less seriously than other brides/than I should, but the truth is that my focus is on the forever marriage part and not the one day wedding part. Thanks for the validation, friend Linda!

    • Corrine, as one of the wedding guests, I’ll tell you, it was SO much fun! The most fun wedding I have ever been to, and also touching.

  3. Absolutely fabulous! This wedding makes me sad my hubs isn’t as much into halloween as I am, or our wedding would look a lot like this! Congrats!

    (pst, the link to dark garden doesn’t work!)

  4. Thanks everyone! It’s so fun to see this posted as we approach our one-year anniversary!
    And I can’t thank Offbeat Bride enough for support, inspiration, and common sense as we planned the wedding…it was really invaluable. So much so that I still read the blog even as an old married lady! 😉

  5. I love so many ideas from this wedding. The officiant, the vows, the non-religious ceremony, the theme… I also liked that you were sensitive to the fact that not everyone has the right to marry. That was really touching. At first I thought I wasn’t quite offbeat enough to do a Halloween theme myself (even though it’s like my Christmas) but you have me broadening my horizons for sure! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. beautiful dress, does anyone know if dark garden work with people in the uk? i love the table centre decorations too.

    • Hi Jackie,
      I asked Autumn at Dark Garden about working remotely, and here’s what she said:
      “Yes indeed, we do work with people all over the world. We’ve developed a very successful method for doing remote fittings as well as working through the design process. It’s all thanks to the modern technology we have now. We mail the mock-ups and then lots of photos get emailed back and forth. Thus far we’ve always had very happy (and usually offbeat) brides.”
      I loved working with Dark Garden, so I can recommend them without reservation!
      Good luck!

  7. OMG, the turkey-mom! I totally laughed out loud! What a cool lady!

    Your wedding looks awesome, I love the guests in costumes! 😀

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