The offbeat bride: Stephanie, teacher
Her offbeat partner: Matthew, strength & conditioning and track and field coach
Date and location of wedding: Les Zygomates, Boston, MA — July 14, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted our wedding to reflect what we do best: drink wine, eat cheeseburgers, and go to concerts. At the time of our wedding, Matt and I had attended 47 concerts together. We got engaged at a wine dinner. We were fortunate enough to have worked with Natalie Pinney and Moira Thompson from Whim Events and Jen O'Donnell from Cut, Paste, Love who completely understood our vision and created the most unbelievable day we could have ever hoped for.
Our wedding invitation had the words “booty shaking” and a silhouette of a cow. All of our tables were named after bands that we had seen with a Polaroid of the band and a lyric that Matt and I had chosen for each. Whim then designed the floral centerpiece to reflect the band. All of the artwork at the wedding reflected the invitations, with the image of the cow prominent. The seating chart was a concert poster.
As guests arrived, the first image they saw were two posters of us from our engagement shoot eating cheeseburgers and cupcakes. I cannot say enough about our photographer, Yaritza Colón, who never batted an eye when we told her we'd like pictures of us stuffing our face. I found gorgonzola cheese in my bra after the engagement shoot — it was that good.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our friend Roger was the officiant. He was chosen for his wonderful impersonations, including Crocodile Dundee and Mr.T, and his love of meat. We had a really hard time writing it, so we turned to the music. We came up with 30 minutes of pre-ceremony music that would set the tone for the ceremony. Artists like The Boxer Rebellion, An Horse, Lori McKenna, and Arcade Fire were played.
Matt and my son walked into “Reckoner” by Radiohead, our flower girls and my daughter to “England” by The National, and my dad walked me into “Cosmic Love” live acoustic by Florence + the Machine. Our sisters each did a reading, “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, “Hug-O-War” by Shel Silverstein, and a reading from Song of Solomon.
Roger is actually a national Rock, Paper, Scissors Champion, so we decided to use that to decide who was going to say our vows first. I lost and had to go first. We wrote our own vows, and didn't talk about them at all with each other.
My sweet, sweet Matthew:
I still wonder how we found each other. And I don't mean finding each other in the physical sense, I mean emotionally finding our true selves. You were one of the few to see behind the Happy Steph smile, to probe about the traces of pain and sorrow in my eyes. From the very beginning, our connection was one based on being genuine, celebrating blissful moments, navigating pain, fear, and sadness and providing a safe place to share our dreams, our fears, and questionable senses of humor.
I have so much to thank you for. Being loved by you and loving you has made me alive again. I live in the moment, feeling all it has to offer me. You have made me a better person, friend, sister, daughter, but most importantly mother. You have no idea how precious a gift you have bestowed upon me. For so long, I was scared to love freely and unconditionally after losing my mom the way that I did. To me, love equaled loss. You taught me through your listening, compassion, empathy, and love that the only way to love is to love freely despite the risks.
“I'll be there to hold you, you look like you need to be hugged, and you look like you need to be loved'” are words you tell me every day. You have been the most wonderful partner in my journey of rediscovering life and love.
But you don't only love me. You love my kids. You once told me you wouldn't love me the way you do if it weren't for them. I remember looking at you like, “Is he for real?” Yes, you are.
Thank you for your love, your hugs, and making me laugh every single day.
I am truly blessed to be able to call you my husband.
You are a beautiful, intelligent woman, but I love you for much more than that.
In your eyes and arms, I've found home.
I used to be alone and sometimes a little lost, but in you I found my angel.
Our love and loving you is so natural, so undeniable, so comforting.
There are many things I love about you and life with you.
I love the glow of your face and smile in the morning light.
I love the sound of your voice, and even your lack of height.
I love that we share things we are passionate about together.
I love that we support each others individual passions.
I love that we enjoy time together with friends and with our families.
I love that we enjoy time together with nothing to do at all.
I love you amidst all the noise of life and I love you when everything is still.
Through good times and bad, I promise to honor that love and cherish you and yours.
Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was definitely feeling like even though this was my second wedding, it was okay for me to have this (and I'm 11 years older than he is…), and also wanting to give Matt the big wedding experience. He's the only son from a Southern family, so I really wanted to give him a big ol' Steel Magnolias in a Boston wine bar wedding.
I also wanted to make sure my kids felt involved, too. Matt and I just weren't getting married, the four of us were becoming a new unit. They have a fantastic dad, and throughout the entire process we kept reassuring them that Matt was just going to be an extra special person in their lives.
My favorite moment: Amanda Oakleaf (of Food Network Challenge and TLC's Fabulous cakes) designed our cake. she also designed a six-foot Stormtrooper cake that my son and I had seen at a sci-fi convention. We all went to meet Amanda together and decided on the flavors and design (the four of us in our pajamas). To see their faces when they saw the actual cake was priceless.
I lost my mother on 9/11, and knew that I wanted more than just a memory candle to remember her. The Whim Team came up with a Hall of Fame Wall that tied into our music theme. It had framed pictures of my mom in different stages of her life surrounded by candles and a box for our guests to donate to the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund. In lieu of favors, Matt and I donated money to this organization that has helped my family so much. I felt like my mom was such a presence all night.
My son also played “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix on the guitar to honor of his late grandmother, a huge Hendrix fan. Watching him play was one of the proudest moments of being a mom.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Music of course was key, and Matt and I spent hours creating the playlists for before the ceremony, ceremony, cocktail reception, and dinner. When it came to the dance floor, we told our DJ, Dennis McCarthy at Boston DJ, “we give you complete control.” Even we couldn't believe we did that. The dance floor was packed, and we found out that Dennis was a genius at reading the dance floor and keeping the booties shaking all night.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? As Katharine Hepburn said, “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” Our invitations didn't have the address of the venue (that's what Google is for), we were introduced at our cocktail reception (why wait until dinner — we would have totally missed our cheeseburger sliders appetizers), and we started dancing during dinner.
Also, don't be scared of hiring a wedding coordinator. I had visions of Franck from Father of the Bride and instead got a funky organic gardener and two hip, stylish women who love Bon Iver and The National.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: Les Zygomates
- Dress: Anais Collezione from La Reine Bridal
- Shoes: Badgley Mischka
- Event coordination and florist: Whim Events
- Photography: Yartiza Colón
- Invitations and artwork: Cut, Paste, Love
- Hair and makeup: Christy Lavallee
- Cake: Amanda Oakleaf
- DJ: Dennis McCarthy at Boston DJ
- Limo: Le Limo
- Tuxes: Men's Warehouse
- Bridesmaid dress: David's Bridal
- Flower girl dresses: Nordstrom
- Hotel: Hyatt Regency Boston
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
photography: Yartiza Colón