Trisha & Matthew's lots of DIY colorful wedding

Updated Mar 15 2021
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Photos by Darren Threlkeld and Mike Soliman

The offbeat bride: Trisha, Optician (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Matthew, Software designer

Date and location of wedding: The Monday Club, San Luis Obispo, CA. It was built in the 1930s and designed by Julia Morgan, the designer of Hearst Castle. — February 19, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We started by deciding what about other weddings we liked and didn't like, and figuring out what we could add to make our wedding reflect us.

Color was an important addition, and not just one color, but lots!

We both love vintage design, especially WWII era, so that was a theme for us.

We also did lots of DIY. My amazing bridesmaid, Alexis, spent probably hundreds of hours with me gluing paper flowers, rolling magazine pages, spray painting various garage sale finds, and sewing dresses. We made all the bridesmaid dresses, invitations, hair accessories, bouquets, centerpieces, and I baked and decorated the cake.

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Instead of a DJ, as a gift, my grandmother got us a jukebox. A full-sized jukebox! We used it as the sound system for the reception, and set up our own playlists for the whole wedding. It now lives in our kitchen.

We took some traditions and tweaked them to fit our personalities better. I've never liked the tradition of the garter removal and toss, so instead of that, Matthew tossed a talking stuffed Chewbacca wearing a garter. Since that was such a cool prize for the guys, the bouquet I tossed included a Sephora gift card for the girls, and the tosses were for anyone who wanted to participate, not just single guys and girls.

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Matthew also designed photo booth software, and we set up a DIY photo booth area with lots of fun props and a printer that automatically printed the pictures. This turned out to be a huge hit. People had so much fun with it, and going through the pictures the day after the wedding was so much fun.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was keeping everything organized and on time. Neither of us are very organized, and we decided a few months before the wedding to hire a day-of coordinator. This turned out to be a very good thing. She helped us set the timeline for the day, helped keep our plans and thoughts in order, and made sure everything ran smoothly while we were busy on the wedding day.

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My favorite moment: The ceremony was very meaningful because our officiant was a dear friend of ours, and he customized the ceremony for us. He ended the ceremony with "where they're going, they don't need roads," and we walked away to the Back to the Future theme (my all-time favorite movie).

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It's supposed to go on the middle finger.

My funniest moment: During the ring portion of the ceremony, Matt kept trying to put the ring on my right hand. I had to correct him and tell him it was the other hand. Then, when it was time for me to put the ring on his finger, he pointed to his finger and said, "this one."

There was also an impromptu breakdancing competition between all the kids at the reception.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was really stressing about the music in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I was worried about having enough music, and that the music we were choosing would be entertaining to everyone because I tend to have really random taste in music. Everything turned out fine though, and everyone had a lot of fun at the reception.

The Cake


A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!

My advice for Offbeat Brides: The most important advice I have for other DIY weddings is to decide early what you really want to do yourself. Figure out what things are most important for you to DIY, and set dates for when they need to be done. Have backup plans for the other things, so if you don't have time to do them yourself, you're not scrambling at the end. We made sure to have all the crafts finished by two weeks before the wedding, so during that last week I could focus on the cake and nothing else since the cake was one of the most important things I wanted to do myself.

Another piece of advice for brides and grooms who wear glasses: if you wear photochromic lenses (the ones that turn dark outside) and you are planning on wearing your glasses for photos, get some clear lenses with anti-reflective coating made for the wedding, even if you are taking photos inside. This way, you will be able to see your eyes in the photos much better.

0093_5Dii-20120219-0159What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If you had asked me this question before the wedding, I would have thought my answer would have been, "don't try to do too much yourself," but I'm actually really glad we did it the way we did. Doing as much DIY as we did made the wedding all that much more personal, and saved us a lot of money. I also think it was important for me to keep busy in the weeks leading to the wedding. It distracted me from the whole "center of attention" thing with which I have a lot of trouble. I didn't have a lot of downtime to think and get myself freaked out, and I think that was a really good thing.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

    • Thank you! I originally wanted to find vintage dresses for the girls, but found they were so expensive, and it was hard to find the correct sizes, so we decided to make them ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I was going to comment on how beautiful the bride looked in her glasses and then I noticed she was an optician – no wonder she picked the perfect frames! And thanks for the suggestion about the clear, non-reflective lenses – that will come in handy.

  2. It's official. A jukebox is the coolest wedding gift ever. I'm jealous!

    Also, I know what you mean about the music stress. Right now the fiance and I are doing one last comb through of our music choices (2 weeks out) and I hope people don't mind that our music mix is about 1/3 videogame music, 1/3 anime music (in Japanese), and 1/3 other (including standard American fare, as well as music in Spanish and German…).

  3. I adore this wedding! I also felt super nerdy because I did a cheer seeing that your venue was designed by Julia Morgan. I did a paper on her in college and love her architecture! I also really love all of the dresses you and your bridesmaids wore. And what's better than a stuffed Chewbacca with a garter? Congratulations!

    • Thank you! Yes, Julia Morgan is amazing! I was so excited to find this venue, and since it's owned by the city it happened to be the most affordable venue we found, and luckily our favorite as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. On my second read-through I saw that you DIY'd that cake! It's beautiful! Seriously, it looks professionally done. This is by far one of my favorite weddings.

  5. I love love love the dress! Wow. It fits exactly into what I am looking for. I wanted something lacy AND good for dancing in AND a short but with sophistication. I'm going to go look at the site now. Thanks!

    Also -this wedding is gorgeous with great photography.

  6. I loved the boquet and garter toss alternatives! I hated watching a small crowd gather and half @$$ grab at the items. I will definitely consider alternatives to toss! What a great idea!!

  7. What a fun, and beautiful wedding! That cake is amazing. I'm super intrigued by the photo booth software as that's been the one thing I know I want to do – encourage people to play with props and take crazy photos that they can keep.

  8. I wear suspenders/ties/vests on date night the men's style is pretty close to the classic look I strive for, and we love turquoise. I like your paper flowers too, they must've taken forever, I love the jukebox, and the dresses look good. The dress-up corner thing looks like a lot of fun.

  9. Beautiful Wedding. I wish you both tons of love and laughter. The jukebox is freakin amazing, and now it's in your kitchen!! I am super jealous. I loved the ruffled bridesmaid dress as well. I wanted to ask though, what were the rolled up magazine pages for? I know it had a "cards" sign on it, but how did that work? I want to make my own cake, I don't know if I'll have enough patience though lol.

  10. Gorgeous! "It distracted me from the whole "center of attention" thing with which I have a lot of trouble." Brilliant. I feel the same way, so I'll probably go the DIY route.

    The last picture is my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Also in the shots where he's wearing the fedora it's like 'honey I'm home' such a classic vintage look. I just showed my bride to be and she loved everything.

  12. Gorgeous wedding. Wonderful ideas and hope for us DIY brides. I do have one question; we are looking for an alternative to a typical guest book. I caught one of the first photos but was hoping you could explain what you did and how it worked for you a bit more.

  13. Ah, this is gorgeous and you look amazing. Wish I'd seen this before my wedding so I could've stolen, like, ALL your ideas! Cake is so beautiful, I iced mine too (my godmother made it) and it didn't come out anywhere near as cool!

  14. I love love love the BTTF ending! My all time favorite movie. Gorgeous and creative wedding – very inspirational!

  15. Your style is right up my alley. I took a look at the dress on the website — I would have passed it over had I not seen you in it. It fit you so well, it was sweet without being cutesy, vintagey, and just… GAH, I LOVE YOUR DRESS. The pictures are slammin', it all turned out lovely. You have given me hope that my DIY wedding can in fact be done.

    I may buy the dress for myself. :))

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