Rachael & Dustin's Goth Buddhist Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

The Offbeat Bride: Rachael, Neurobiology grad student and researcher (and hard-workingOBT mod)

My Offbeat Partner: Dustin, Writer and English major

Location & date of the wedding: Wyndham St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio, TX — 06/07/2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Those that know us personally, really got it. Allow me to explain: Dustin is the very essence of a hippie writer, but taken in the tradition of Hunter S. Thompson, and I have always been the crazy Asian goth (I play with brains all day — it doesn't get any more gothic-mad-scientist-y than that!).

Granted, looking at our wedding photos, you don't quite see that or get that vibe. However, those that know us expected us to have the most shocking wedding ever — in a big creepy cathedral, draped in black with gargoyles, etc… and for me to wear either a blood red or a black dress, and to have a jamfest reception shortly afterward. Being people who hate to disappoint, Dustin and I went the opposite route and added subtle details that were either gothic or hippy, with heavy Victorian influences.

I wore a white dress in the Victorian tradition, because I simply could. The dress itself and Dustin's tux had many Victorian elements, but with a very modern influence. My bouquet was of the goth/Asian influence — black roses and mini callas with white orchids. We utilized very minimalistic Asian decor, and very rich colors (scarlet and gold) to complement our venue, a historic hotel (that is reportedly haunted). By doing so, we saved a bundle on decoration costs. There were many other Asian/goth influences including our beckoning cat card box, and our bleeding red velvet cake. Dustin's hippy influence was primarily utilized in our lucky bamboo favors, Skittles, and the intimate feel of the wedding.

[editor's note: check out their awesome looking Skittles-dyed champange! It's enough to make my ultra-conservative mom stop in her tracks and go "That's cool, what is that?"]
Just a small portion of the 1000 paper cranes.
Just a small portion of the 1000 paper cranes.

A few traditional elements from my culture were also incorporated into the wedding, including folding 1000 paper cranes and having a Buddhist wedding, complete with a sake ceremony. Although I am actually Filipina, Dustin and I decided to incorporate these Japanese traditions because of our deep connection with Rissho Kosei Kai, our Buddhist organization. We felt by including these elements, we could share a part of us that is dear to our hearts and spirituality.

The Grooms Skittles instead of the Grooms Cake.
The Groom's Skittles instead of the Groom's Cake.
Our biggest challenge: Apart from the obvious financial challenge, Dustin and I had a wedding that is nearly unheard of in South Texas — less than 10K and Buddhist. Finding vendors willing to work with our limited budget and what we wanted was a challenge in itself. In the end, we went with people that took us seriously, and I DIY'd a huge chunk of it.

The biggest challenge, however, was dealing with our families and tradition: very white and Southern tradition vs Filipine/Asian tradition. Instead of arguing and fighting with them about the wedding and how it should be, we just smiled and nodded graciously, and did our way instead.

The bridal party & their beautiful fans.
These bridesmaids hate bouquets.

On a side note, I am eternally grateful that being an interracial couple was not an issue!

My favorite moment: My maid of honor caught the bouquet and in trying to deny it, handed the bouquet to my 3yr old daughter. To which, my daughter, thinking this was a game of catch, promptly chucked the bouquet right back at my head. She's got quite the arm. It's a good thing I ducked.

My advice for other offbeat brides: "To thine own self be true"

Don't worry about your wedding being not offbeat enough or too traditional, just have a wedding that is true to you. That's all that matters.

If anything, I hope by sharing my wedding, it shows that offbeat is really just perspective. So don't be hard on yourself. Be a princess for a day (or not) and love it!

Enough talk — here's the wedding porn:

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  1. Beautiful! I love your bouquet, love the dress, LOVE the skittle-colored champagne, and the origami- it's all fabulous! Congratulations on a truly unique and beautiful wedding!

  2. I hadn't seen that detail picture of the aisle before, the cranes, lanterns and tissue half-poms are so neat and beautiful. And the rest of it is awesome,too.

  3. Hee hee! Thank you for all the lovely comments and thank you so very much for featuring us!

    I'm so excited that I'm actually speechless. 😉

  4. Love the aisle decor! This wedding was so incredible and I love how subtle but amazing all the details are!

  5. I did my fully customized Texas wedding for the same amount of dough and it turned out incredibly beautiful (in our own wierd way) as I could have imagined! DIY is the way to go. We had no wedding planner (it seemed a waste of money since they never really 'got us' anyway). Congrats and keep cool! –Austin, TX

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