The offbeat bride: Meghann, writer and editor (and OBT member)
Her offbeat partner: Josh, game designer, writer, and editor
Location & date of wedding: Snow White's Grotto in Disneyland — May 5th, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We and both our immediate families are Disneyland annual pass holders, so we decided to have a totally not-approved-by-Disney quickie civil ceremony inside the park on Cinco de Mayo. We paid admission for our minister and her family to join us for the day. We wore t-shirts and wedding-themed Mickey Ears, and had no attendants until Alice and the Mad Hatter crashed our ceremony and made themselves Best Man and Maid of Honor! I carried a Belle light-up wand because she is my favourite Princess. Afterwards we got a giant table at a Disneyland restaurant with a fabulous buffet and had a huge family dinner to celebrate my new husband's impending health insurance.
We are getting weddinged in January, but the civil ceremony ended up being so much more than we thought it would be. Everyone we told about it showed up, including our two-week old niece! The hotel randomly chose us as the Celebration Family of the Day (I told them it was our wedding night when I made the reservation) and so they upgraded our room to a suite, gave us balloons, and announced us to the entire lobby.
We started the morning excited about a day in the park with our families, and ended up with one of the most beautiful and memorable days of our entire lives. Our wedding will be hard-pressed to live up to our civil ceremony, that's for sure.
Tell us about the ceremony: We are Unitarian Universalists, so we had a lot of flexibility. Initially we were just going to make our civil ceremony “vows” be about the legal rights of government-sanctioned marriage, as a social justice commentary. However, in the end we decided to go with a very short sentimental ceremony, written by our minister, that was still conscious of the social issues surrounding marriages.
The ceremony text mentioned our daughter, saying that she “embodies all that is joyful, creative, and fearless about their love.” That really moved me when I read it for the first time.
The vows were succinct yet meaningful enough that I started crying: I embrace you as my wife/husband, to share in my life and my spirit, as lover and friend, from this day forward.
I also really liked that our minister included lines that allowed for us to exist as one of many different kinds of couples committing to each other, and not just another hetero-normative pairing in the legal machine: she said that we had “chosen each other from the many men and women of the earth” and that her authority as an officiant was vested in her by “the power of [our] own love.”
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was wanting to have the ceremony inside the park without paying the Disney premium for permission to do so. Since we weren't having an “event,” we decided to risk it, which meant having to be as flexible as possible in terms of location and time so as not to piss off management.
Our first location choice, the Sailing Ship Columbia, was still in drydock, so we scouted out other places a few weeks beforehand. So the Wishing Well in the Grotto was our new first choice. We hung out for about an hour until it was fairly empty and we wouldn't be causing a ruckus.
My funniest moment: Only a few seconds into our quickie ceremony, the Mad Hatter and Alice saw what we were doing. Instead of reporting us to the management, they joined the wedding as Best Man and Maid of Honour!The couple updating their Facebook statuses to MARRIED!
My advice for offbeat brides: Look at your checklist. For every single thing, ask yourself WHY. If the answer to that is satisfactory, then ask yourself if you can afford it. If you can, great! If not, ask yourself if there is an affordable alternative that still preserves the significance? For instance, I am Belle-obsessed and had vaguely insane dreams about wearing a Disney couture Belle wedding dress and accessories. There is no way I could afford that, of course, but once I figured out that what I REALLY wanted was a way to incorporate an official Disney Belle item into either the elopement or the wedding, I discovered I was perfectly happy with the Belle light-up wand as my “bouquet.”