The Offbeat Bride: Risa, web product magicker (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Jon, nonprofit development manager
Date and location of wedding: Picnic House, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY — August 22, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our theme was “sustainable.” We wanted to have all of the stuff we used for the wedding either be reused or reusable, including our outfits. Our colors were purple and orange, after our favorite colors, and we also wanted an event that reflected our maker-style, our love for public areas and green space, and our geeky aesthetic. So we ended up with a melange of aspects from wine and beer making, the NYC subway, and science-fiction and fantasy.
I had an incredible time working with L'Atelier de LaFleur creating my outfit. I started off simply wanting a corset to wear under a dress or suit (I hadn't decided at the time) that would support my hips while dancing, and once I got to Mina, the idea bloomed into this magical thing that included a TIE so I could represent my gender quirks.
The centerpieces were made from grapevine wreaths with re-purposed wine and beer bottles, NYC subway line logos, sci-fi/fantasy books we both loved, recycled silk bookmarks, and remote control LED candles that ended up being a real hit for the children involved. They changed all the colors on everyone's tables and had a lot of fun.
We (inadvertently) did a lot of things with circles. Instead of having an aisle, everyone who attended the wedding sat at circular tables arranged in a circle around an open area, facing a dais. This had the great benefit of not making anyone choose a side.
One inadvertent moment of gender-quirkiness: Jon had the pale outfit, and I had the dark one. We loved that.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Since we had no aisle, our parties came in from either side of the circle of tables and headed up to the dais. Our party included people with physical restrictions, and we didn't want a hierarchy of party members, so our parties sat in two semi-circles. We arrived on our own, met each other in the middle of the circle of tables, and then proceeded to the middle of the circle on the dais, surrounded by our parties' love and good intentions.
We went into the ceremony barefoot. Originally we planned to have the wedding outside, due to my desire to have our feet on bare ground, connected to the park. But we're both generally lovers of going barefoot, and so when rain changed our plans, we kept the bare feet.
Our ceremony was performed by the amazing Reverend D, and included a wine/beer ritual and a string-tying ritual instead of exchanging rings. The wine/beer ritual included stuff we brewed ourselves specifically for this, and we used a two-sided glass that had been gifted to us from one of my party. We also had a reading of the poem “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog,” by Taylor Mali. Our pup was ailing at the time, so it was very poignant for us.
We had one hiccup in our ceremony: our recessional music never played! We waited on the dais for about five minutes before I said “F*@k it,” and we ran off hand-in-hand. That's our single regret: we didn't get to leave to the theme from the A Team!
Tell us about your reception:
In our reception we had a raw bar for the cocktail hour, which was one of our favorite parts of the reception. I had to fight a bit to get some for us.
We also had decided not to do a registry. What we wanted from our friends and family were gifts of skills and memories. Therefore we had two memory boxes for the event, made by my talented stepfather, and they were labeled for our first and fifth wedding anniversary. We received some amazing cards and gifts as part of that process.
My stepfather and stepsister also sang Cris Williamson's “Soaring” for our first dance, since we used to love to sing together when we were young, and that was a song that can still make me cry.
I also decided that not only would I do a dance with my stepfather, I would also do a dance with my mother, since one of my favorite memories is us spontaneously dancing in the kitchen to our shared musical favorites. We danced to “Loves Me Like A Rock” by Paul Simon.
Finally, I wish we had photos of the ice cream bar! We decided not to have cake, due to a wide variety of allergies in our party, but the ice cream bar was splendid.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest wedding planning challenge we had was managing major pet illnesses while still trying to do everything ourselves. The moment our dog got as sick as she did, I should have discarded any of my plans that Partner didn't mind one way or the other, since delegating wasn't going to be easy. We didn't precisely overcome it — a lot was lost the eve and day of, and the sparseness of the decor shows it — but the wedding was terrific despite that, so there was joy in discovering that love and kindness can cover a lot of mistakes.
The most important lesson I learned was to overcommunicate — to myself as well! A lot of wedding eve and wedding day headaches could have been avoided if I had written a list of everything I wanted to do and had handed it over to my partner and my party, and then made a copy for myself and posted it on the bathroom door.
- Photography: Nicki Fietzer, De Nueva Photography
- Dress: L'Atelier De La Fleur
- Suit: Ryan Lee Levinson and Ted Baker
- Venue: Prospect Park Picnic House
- Catering & Coordination: Bartleby and Sage
- Officiant: The Reverend D
: De Nueva Photography
: The Reverend D