The offbeat bride: Erika, linguistics grad student (and OBT member)
Her offbeat partner: Ben, photography file processor
Location & date of wedding: Hamilton High School theatre in Los Angeles, CA and Santa Monica Bay Women's Club Santa Monica, CA — July 12, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: Since freshman year of high school, Ben knew that he wanted to use our high school theatre/auditorium for his wedding. And when wedding planning came up, I enthusiastically agreed!
We along with our friends and family wrote, directed, and performed the story of our eight-year relationship on stage, complete with dance routines, vocal performances, slo-mo mimed bouncy castle, and a nostalgic photo-montage. Act one ended with the engagement, and act two was the ceremony on stage…which was interrupted by an objector (a good friend of ours) and sword fight! I ended the sword fight by pulling a pistol which was carried by my head security guard (man of honor).
The cocktail reception was held on the upper level of a lovely 1914 hall in Santa Monica. True to the performance nature of the wedding, we opened the reception with a choreographed swing routine.
Besides all the performances, there were several personal touches: we got apple pies (my favorite) and the caterer made several raspberry chocolate cakes (Ben's favorite); Ben designed tickets and playbills with photos and bios for all the wedding party and performers, as well as an article on the hora and several “advertisements” — I made my own wedding bouquet and our friend did the arrangement; another pair of friends hand-calligraphed the ketubah (Jewish wedding contract); a good friend dressed up as a 1920's newsie and did all our photography. Oh, and after the reception we walked to a favorite hangout to play pool in our wedding gear.
Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was worrying about the money for the wedding, and Ben's biggest challenge was getting me to NOT worry. We did several things to keep the cost down: cocktail reception. This allowed us to bring the alcohol, DIY flowers, Whole Foods pies and caterer-baked cakes based on our own recipe, wholesale fabric and candle decorations, iPod music with sound equipment borrowed from my father-in-law, and call EVERYONE to help out–we have awesome friends and family! In the end, it was more than we had expected, it was so US and it was such a perfect evening, I wouldn't change anything. : )
My favorite moment: My favorite moment was waiting backstage during the photo-montage, just before the engagement scene, listening to the audience laugh and “Awww.” I was thinking that we pulled off this stage performance and everything was going smoothly (nothing changes the cause of wedding nerves like turning the whole thing into a show and praying you don't mess up the lines or your choreography). I was leaning against my fiance's chest and saying, “I can hear your heartbeat.” He responded, “That's because I'm alive.” That little exchange was actually a nostalgic repetition from one of our first dates, and I couldn't believe he remembered it. ::sigh:: I love my husband.
My advice for offbeat brides: Plan individual touches that mean something to you, even if it's just putting the mini bride and groom rubber duckies that your friend gave you at the bachelorette party on your cake. The little things will make you smile.
Decide on a few things you're going to design and do yourself (for me it was flowers), and delegate the others to someone else. Having a wedding planner (bless you, Laura!) helped *tremendously* with this, since it basically meant I had a professional doing half of the worrying for me. Even though we still did a lot of our own planning and DIY work, things ran so smoothly during the whole planning process. I truly did not have to worry at all on the wedding day. (Well, except about being dropped on my head during the around-the-world on the swing routine, but we pulled it off with no problem. Ben says he was never going to drop me, no matter how slippery the dress.)
Draw on your support network of family and friends. Everyone has something to offer, and they really do want to help. I worried sometimes that I was asking folks to do too much, but in the end, everyone enjoyed being a part of it!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Enzoani, purchased at La Soie Bridal in Torrance
- Hat and Veil: Bat Cakes Couture on Etsy
- Wedding planning: Laura Guerrie with Rebel Belle Weddings
- Catering: Contemporary Catering – Nathaniel is great
- Venues: Hamilton High School's Norman J. Pattiz Concert Hall and the Santa Monica Bay Women's Club
- Silk fabric for decor (and costuming/sewing for the future) from Dharma Trading Co.
- Invitations by Dawn
- Flowers: the LA Flower Mart downtown
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!