Anya & Lu's colorful allergy-friendly Brooklyn beergarten wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Photos by Sylvester Zawadzki, INNY Weddings

The Offbeat Bride: Anya, Set Decorator (and Offbeat Bride member)

Her offbeat partner: Lu, Digital Experience Designer

Date and location of wedding: t.b.d. beer garden in Brooklyn, NY — September 27, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The very first decision we made was to ask our friend who introduced us to get ordained and be our minister. We are now officially married both by the State of New York and The Church of the Holy Mermaid! Some traditions were very important to us, like having a first dance together and a dance him with his mom and me with my dad to honor them. We did not see one another the night before the wedding and we had a traditional wedding party including our Frenchie, Dr. Chaos, as ring bearer. Other traditions we took very lightly, for instance we gave everyone seating suggestions and didn't define specific times to take part in the activities. The food was available the whole time in the garden, dancing and drinking all evening at the bar, and games were scattered everywhere.

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Some traditions we ran from like an outbreak of Ebola. I didn't wear a garter or throw my bouquet. I made a game day decision that both of my parents would walk me down the aisle, but nobody "gave me away." My mother has trouble walking and was feeling uneasy walking alone, so I grabbed her hand and said she was walking with us.

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There were no fresh flowers at the wedding, either. Since I do a lot of flower arranging at work, we decided to do all of the flowers ourselves. I couldn't spend the day before the wedding at the flower market and stay up all night making arrangements, so we made all of our own paper flowers beforehand. My girls and I made hundreds of paper flowers, and over the course of three months Lu's mom made over a thousand.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was a perfect-for-us mix of tradition and comedy. Lu's cello professor played through the ceremony for us, starting with a Beatles medley, our friends walked in to Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends" and I walked in to Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."

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We started the ceremony with a moment to remember those who were no longer with us and moved on to the portion of the ceremony that was quoted from the "7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life."

In our knot-tying ceremony, we exchanged a paper flower with the other's mom for a piece of rope. With the two pieces of rope, we tied (well, attempted anyway!) a double fisherman's knot. We wrote our own vows (thank you Offbeat Bride for lots of ideas!) and had loved ones read e.e.cummings "i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)" and Robert Fulghum "We're All a Little Weird."

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Since Lu created and printed all of the graphics himself, we were able to make little booklets for our vows and programs in English and Spanish, so everyone could follow along. One of the best moments for us was when our friend asked all of our guests to take a vow before we took ours "Do you offer your blessing and promise to support them? Will you encourage them, their love and their marriage in the years ahead? If you agree please say, 'We Do!'" It was very powerful to hear our closest friends and family all promise to encourage our love.

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Our biggest challenge:
We planned our wedding twice in 18 months. The first plan completely fell through when the venue went through a major change, but luckily we were able to get most of our money back. I am just a few steps away from bubble-girl status when it comes to my food allergies, so we had to find a place that could accommodate my allergies or allow us to bring in a caterer who could. We turned to our favorite beer garden just a few blocks from our apartment and they were wonderful. Our caterer made a gluten-free, nut-free, shellfish-free buffet with all potential allergens clearly labeled as many of our friends and family have allergies, too.

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We found a fantastic gluten-free, nut-free bakery who made us a delicious chocolate raspberry cake with fresh lavender decorations. We hired an ice cream truck as well, and they cleaned out the truck so none of the flavors that contain nuts could cross-contaminate the ice cream and send me to the hospital!

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My favorite moment:
It was all very surreal. I get stage fright, and knowing that there were close to 100 pairs of eyes on me was scary. When I got to the altar, Lu stood in front of me reminding me to breathe and holding my hands. A thousand people could have been looking at us in that moment and it didn't matter, all that mattered was that we were together. As we walked out of the ceremony, we had our cellist play the theme from Doctor Who and we really felt ready to tackle a new adventure together.

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My funniest moment:
We both know how to tie knots — I have to know for work and he learned in military high school and during his days as a volunteer firefighter. We practiced and practiced and had our knot tying ceremony down. Our nerves got to us, and instead of tying our two ropes together, we both tied the same rope and it totally didn't work! One of my coworkers heckled us a bit and everyone started laughing. It was a great moment, and now we have our perfect practice rope and imperfect wedding rope in a frame together.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Having your friends and family take a vow, too–how absolutely amazing! I think I need to go email our officiant now. 🙂 Tears are in my eyes over how happy everyone looks and how stunning this wedding was.

  2. sure, i love all the cute little details (AND THAT FRENCHIE!) but what i love most is the genuine happiness and emotions on all the faces <3.

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