The Offbeat Bride: Erin, Academic Librarian Extraordinaire (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Michael, Public Librarian Extraordinaire
Date and location of wedding: Memphis at the Santora, Santa Ana, California — November 10, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When my partner and I started planning our wedding, only two things were important to us: getting hitched, and HAVING FUN. Michael's little brother had a very traditional, fairy tale wedding earlier in the year with many of the same guests attending, so we felt free to do things differently now that it was our turn. I wore a short, colorful dress and my glasses, and Michael sported a skull tie bar. We skipped the big wedding party and stuck with just our best friends, both of whom happen to be men.
We got my dad to get ordained online, and he married us in a ceremony full of references to zombies, boobs, and Parks and Recreation. We recessed to “It's Time to Party,” an Andrew W.K. song edited for me by a fellow Tribesmaid who skillfully removed all the references to masturbation.
Our reception did not include a DJ, an emcee, a plated meal, a father/daughter dance, or a bouquet toss, and everyone seemed to have a damn good time anyway. We had an after-party at our favorite dive bar, where we spent our first date. It was truly incredible watching my mom at the bar with our friends, doing shots served to them by the bikini-clad bartender.
Tell us about the ceremony:
I wrote most of the ceremony from elements found on Offbeat Bride! I was going for a vibe of “sweet and irreverent,” so our main ceremony reading was “Scientific Romance” by Tim Pratt (scrubbed of the time-traveling three-way part, unfortunately). We wrote our own vows, following a similar pattern, and kept them a surprise until the big moment.
While I spent a lot of time crafting a ceremony that would feel authentic to us, I kept the “Do you?” “I do” part fairly traditional — and THAT was the part of the ceremony that made me cry the most! I could feel all the gravity of the moment washing over me, and I actually felt present… a rare and extremely welcome feeling for a normally self-conscious person.
Our biggest challenge:
We planned the wedding cross-country, as Mike and I now live in Wisconsin after moving away in September 2012. Since our families and most of our friends are still in California, it made sense to have the wedding there, but it also meant I had to let go of a lot of my control freak tendencies. I had to do most everything over email and Skype, and for those things that required an in-person visit, I had to send my parents in my stead and just put my trust in their judgment.
While it was great having the reception at a restaurant and having just one contact person for about 90% of the details, it also meant that I was putting a lot of faith in that one person to come through for me. Our contact at the venue did a fantastic job in the end, but our communication styles didn't really mesh, so I often ended up way more freaked out than I needed to be.
My funniest moment:
Mike and I both wrote our own vows and kept them a surprise from each other until the ceremony. Both of us had the phrase “you're my best friend” in our closing lines, but when Mike said it, it came out, “You're my BREAST friend.” He had no idea he'd said it, and he could not figure out why everyone (including me) was cracking up at what was supposed to be a sweet moment!
Also, someone had toilet papered the tree right above our ceremony, so a lovely ribbon of TP waved in the wind over our heads. It actually looks kind of pretty in the pictures, as it turns out.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
When I was married the first time, I was only 24, and I was getting married because I thought I NEEDED to get married — that somehow, getting married was the next step in adulthood, and I had to take it as soon as I had the opportunity. I had a big traditional wedding with a long white gown, and I got contact lenses just for the wedding because “brides don't wear glasses.” I did a lot of things because I thought I HAD to, not because they were meaningful for me.
This time around, I decided I did not give one iota of a crap what was considered “traditional” or “proper.” If it wasn't meaningful or important to me or to my husband, we weren't doing it.
My favorite moment:
I had been feeling weirdly detached most of the morning of the wedding. Everything seemed very unreal, and I couldn't seem to get excited, just anxious. But when we had our first look, and I finally got a chance to lay eyes on Mike and wrap my arms around him, all the weirdness fell away, and all I could feel was joy.
Our wedding happened to fall on my mom's 64th birthday. My mom and I are extremely close (she walked me down the aisle), and so as a surprise at the reception, in lieu of a traditional cake-cutting, I asked our guests to join me in a resounding chorus of “Happy Birthday.” She cried and I presented her with the first piece of rainbow-colored cake. It was a lovely moment!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: David's Bridal
- Crinoline: Swank Underpinnings
- Shoes: J. Renee from Zappos.com
- Venue: Memphis at the Santora
- Flowers: Bella Blooms
- Day-of coordinator: Events by Denise
- Photography: Joe+Kathrina
- Favors: Christine Meahan Designs
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!