The Offbeat Bride: Stefanie, writer (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Zach, musician
Date and location of wedding: The Hamill House in Georgetown, CO — June 9, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
“Reception and trial to follow.” We live in Colorado, so I could not imagine doing this indoors. We’re also both history nerds, so we picked the Hamill House Museum, a gorgeous historic home in Georgetown, an old mining town that is still home to a few hundred people. Then the outlaw theme was born!
I write fiction, and Zach is a musician. So I wrote a backstory for the whole thing: we were outlaw bank robbers who had been hiding out in this house for months, came out to hit one more bank together, and got caught. Our friend dressed up as the sheriff to marry us, and we wanted to be married before we were put on trial and our fate was sealed together. Our wedding invitations were Wanted posters with our mugshots on them, we were handcuffed during the ceremony, and at the end, our outlaw bridal party shot cap guns into the air!
Zach wrote our wedding processional music on the banjo and played it for me the first time I was walking down the aisle.
Our budget meant we couldn’t afford a photographer. But then my friend Stevie, who was building her portfolio, offered to do the whole thing as a gift. That ended up being perfect. She worked so hard for us, plus she did a wonderful job of making us feel comfortable.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was written entirely by us, interspersed with some short readings we found online. The outlaw theme was present throughout; our officiant, the “sheriff,” explained:
These two notorious criminals, who have wreaked havoc on the state of Colorado and its neighbors, as they face their trial and possible conviction, have decided to seal their fates together permanently and by law, and shall henceforth from today, no matter the outcome of the proceedings to follow, move forward together as a couple forever united by the promises they make.
We also wanted to do some kind of unity ritual, but we weren’t happy with any of the ones we found, so we decided to create our own, based on our theme. We called it the handcuffing ceremony, and the officiant said this as he handcuffed us together:
These handcuffs represent your union together against the external, and your vow to stand united against the outside forces each of you must face. They also represent the dual nature of your relationship. While one hand is bound together and cannot be undone, signifying the unbreakable union you enter today, the other hand is free and separate from the other. Though you have joined yourselves in marriage today, you will continue to be individuals. When one person moves, the other is bound to them. But by leaving one hand free and facing forward together, you signify that your trust and unity of spirit will lead you, nevertheless, in the right direction.
The cap guns shot off at the end were a perfect closing: silly and cathartic.
Tell us about your reception:
Our “DJ” was just an old stereo system and an iPod playing bluegrass music, and it worked perfectly because neither of us really wanted to dance. Instead we had lawn games (horseshoes, cornhole, and giant Jenga), board games, and after the cake-cutting, a game of pub trivia for the whole wedding. We bought some dollar store prizes and Mickey ears for the lightning round and final winners. It was relaxed and comfortable (well, apart from my giant dress, which I promptly changed out of as soon as the cake was cut).
We had a handful of the most delicious cakes in the world instead of one big one, and we cut the cake with this awesome knife forged from a railroad tie.
My dad was wonderful. Just as he was about to walk me down the aisle, I said, “I think I’m going to start crying.” “Not yet,” he said. I laughed, and then I was a rock. Afterwards, my dad pulled me aside, tearing up, and asked for a copy of our ceremony. “That was the most beautiful ceremony I’ve ever seen,” he said. “You guys did a fantastic job.” My dad has never been big on emotional displays, so this was a wonderful, intense moment for me.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Set clear expectations for yourself beforehand and talk about them with your partner. Talk to each other about what kind of day each of you wants to have: intimate and full of attention between the two of you or wild and immersed in your loved ones. And, as has been said a million times, try to enjoy the day instead of focusing on details. I had what felt like an enormous hangover the next day (without a drop to drink), and it was all stress. I couldn’t even bring myself to think about it immediately afterwards, because I was worried I had neglected a bunch of our guests, but talking to them later made me realize that none of them held me accountable; they were just happy to be there.