Derek & Joey's neon halloween gay punk beach wedding

Updated Mar 15 2021

So You're EnGAYged readers might be familiar with this wedding, but we are peeing our pants with excitement at the first ever groom/groom wedding featured on Offbeat Bride! We already know you love them. -Becca

October 17, 2010 - Halloween Wedding
Photos by Ashley Stauber

The offbeat groom: Derek, Zappos.com Customer Loyalty Rep (and Tribe member)

His offbeat partner: Joey, Bookseller

Date and location of wedding: Overlook Park, Corona Del Mar State Beach and The Newport Beach American Legion, CA – October 17, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: From the get-go, Joey and I knew we wanted to have a wedding that was reflective of who we are. We figured that since we were gay and getting married, our families would be expecting us to do something different anyway, but man, were we wrong there. We abandoned all the conventional ideas of what a wedding should be and instead embraced our favorite holiday, Halloween, and kicked it up a notch with our punk rock roots.

Monogram pumpkinFor our reception, we were lucky enough to have a beautiful venue on the docks of Newport Harbor. While we definitely wanted our wedding to be a classy affair, we knew a chic white-linen dinner party wouldn't be reflective of us. Instead, we decked out our venue with pumpkins, lights, bright purple and orange linens with spiderwebs, horror movie names instead of table numbers, and the most amazing DIY floral centerpieces, which my mother made for us. We tried really hard to DIY just about everything.

October 17, 2010 - Halloween Wedding

WeddingTell us about the ceremony: We elected to have a spiritual inclusive wedding ceremony officiated by a friend, where we incorporated one of our favorite traditions from Judaism (neither of us are Jewish, but we're big fans 🙂 ) — the chuppah. We spun the idea a little on its side and chose to have our closest family members support the beams of our "spiritual home," and asked them to give the marriage their blessing. It meant a lot to us to have our families stand side by side with us and say they approved of our love.

October 17, 2010 - Halloween Wedding

Skele-TONGSOur biggest challenge: Our road to the wedding day was tumultuous to say the least. Not every family member was supportive of our gay wedding.

However, this event definitely drew a line in the sand for the rest of our family who gave us the most overwhelming love and support. When you are surrounded by that kind of love, its hard not to see the bright side.

Spooky BoozeThere were plenty of other problems as well: our venue's event coordinator didn't show up, it was supposedly destined to rain (it didn't), there was family tension, at the last minute our venue decided we could no longer bring our own alcohol, and a police officer tried to shut down the ceremony. We overcame all of these obstacles by being flexible — the more flexible you are in your plans, the easier the problems are to face.

October 17, 2010 - Halloween Wedding

October 17, 2010 - Halloween WeddingMy favorite moment: Our ceremony by far was the most unforgettable experience of my life. I'm surprised by how little I remember from our reception and how much I remember from that ceremony. It was definitely the part we got the most guest feedback on. We were lucky enough to have a longtime family friend play our processional ("Thirty Three" by Smashing Pumpkins) for us on the violin.

Joey is NERVOUS

Escort Card KazoosBefore the wedding I was definitely having a world class freak out. My Mom (who was my escort) took my hand and squeezed it and said, "This is finally happening. I'm so proud of you," and in that one moment she put me all at ease.

Both of our vows were decidedly silly but still meaningful. My vows to Joey were written as "The ten million things I love about you," which ranged from always saving me the last cookie in the box to his bottomless support and generosity.

Cake CuttingJoey's vows definitely laid a path of tear-based destruction across our entire pool of guests. My favorite line was "you're my sunshine, my only love, my voice of reason, my Charlie Brown." He also promised to never make me listen to Radiohead (with the note that if I gave them further listening I would love them).

Joeys Vows

Maids of honor singing "Fod Good"Other amazing moments were our family speeches, the impromptu version of "For Good" from the musical Wicked two of my Maids of Honor sang, dolphins and seals jumping in and out of the ocean during our photos, and our friend reading "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.

JUMP!

Glow in the Dark Fangs from our Candy BarMy funniest moment: Aside from Joey's vows and our officiant telling the guests to "get it together" when everyone was sobbing, one moment sticks out. We had assembled at Overlook Park and were in our places preparing to go out for the processional when a woman approached my half of the wedding party and said "Is this a wedding?" I was too busy freaking out, but my friend Lara enthusiastically said "It is!" The woman glanced around and said "Where is the bride?" Now for those not in the know, Orange County is shockingly conservative, so my face must have gone straight green. Lara without skipping a beat said "It a wedding with two grooms actually!" The woman laughed and with the most excited face I've ever seen on a stranger exclaimed, "Ooooh! That's even better!!!" She actually stayed and watched the ceremony.

Goth wedding party photo

October 17, 2010 - Halloween WeddingWas there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The aforementioned rain forecast. Our entire wedding was 95% outdoors and there was an 85% chance of rain that day. Our venue had told us this wouldn't be a problem and we could move the festivities indoors; however, they double-booked that day and had a singles meet-and-greet in the indoor space. The solution they provided us with were these awesome pop up canopies, which gave our space a tent-wedding feel while still keeping everything open so our guests could enjoy views of the harbor.

First dance to "Brand New Colony" by Postal Service

Non Traditional Toasting GlassesMy advice for offbeat couples:

  • Never forget it's just one day.
  • It's okay to have a breakdown if you need to, so long as you do it privately and are never rude to those who are helping you.
  • Be good about your Thank You cards. You may be burned out, but people's feeling get hurt.
  • For gods sake don't do that "spend the night apart" stuff — there is way too much stress going around prior to the start, and you are taking away your most valued support.
  • Finally, resist the urge to elope 3/4 of the way through your planning. At the end its worth it.

Husbands <3

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To stick with your gut about things you care about, but be open to other people's awesome ideas. Also, we learned that our families love us more deeply than we ever knew.

October 17, 2010 - Halloween Wedding

Homemade Limoncello "Alice" inspired FavorsCare to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Flowers: My Mom
  • My amazing photographer and maid of honor: Ashley Stauber
  • Our exceptional cake: Cinderella Cakes
  • Decor: Most of our decor came from Michael's, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and elbow grease

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Awesome awesome awesome!
    What a lovely wedding – I love the big group shot (so colourful!) the decor and the story of the exciteable stranger. So sweet!
    And thank you for the advice about not spending the night before apart. I needed that reassurance!

  2. The colors in this shindig are fantastical and the bringing together of love and support brought a tear to my eye!

  3. So punk! I love the combination of the colors, so pleasing to the eyes. And the decorations are so cool. Congratulations guys!

  4. Definitely using this as inspiration for my Oct. 2012 wedding. I'm hoping to do a bit of a spooky Halloween theme. 😀 My mom is all for a costume party—love that she realizes I'm not a traditional girl. I'm lucky.

    • I'm having a Halloween themed wedding in October 2012 too! I love looking here for inspiration. My family is behind the idea 100% which makes me so happy. Good luck with your wedding, I hope it is everything you dreamed and more!

  5. Just a tiny question: Should it be "his offbeat partner" rather than "hers"? Don't want to be a gender nazi, but also wasn't sure if that was a typo.

    • Eeek! Yes it should (and I just fixed it). Since this is our first groom/groom wedding, our template is a little gendered and we were all just so excited that we didn't catch that. Thanks! – Becca

  6. So much love, so much happiness, so much color! Cool!
    It's especially wonderful to hear that your families support you for the people you are, even in the face of disapproval from other family members.
    Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy marriage!

  7. OMFG!!! Love, love love this. So much to love. The details, like the labels on the bottles, the skeleton-hand-salad-tongs, the decorations in general, omg! Also, love the "I'm gonna eat your face!" photo. So cool. Congrats guys, you done gooood!!

  8. I love that you chose to play Smashing Pumpkins at your wedding! And I hear ya about Radiohead. My fiance likes them, but I can't stand them at all.

    I love everything about your wedding!

    • This is our first ever groom/groom wedding SUBMISSION. If the guys keep 'em comin', we'll keep posting them! – Becca

  9. What a fantastic wedding! Your color combinations blow the mind! I am loving the black dresses, bright neon tights, the black and neon in your groom attire. Your Chuppah..say what! That looked like something that should have been floating in the wind your party just picked up, it looked so ethereal! Congratulations on your lives together.

    PS – Smashing Pumpkins on violin….owls on your cake?! SQUEEEE!

    PSS – Offbeat Bride….yes, more groom/groom weddings ASAP!

    • I come from a long line of theatre nerds and 2 of my maids of honor were former castmates as well. At performance in High School they sang that song and I've always loved it. We had no idea they were going to do it, but it really meant the world to us.

  10. YAY! I knew there would come a time when male weddings would be featured here. When I asked about it a while ago I got the answer that the site was for brides.
    So what happened, did you just receive this wedding and decide to post it? Is this gonna be a regular feature now? Anyway, I'm really excited about it!

    • The site was never *just for brides* — as Ariel says here, "… while I work to make Offbeat Bride inclusive … I just can't do it all! Men are welcome, but ultimately my mission has always been to create a community to support women."

      Offbeat grooms (including Derek!) are members of the Tribe. There's always been a policy to be as inclusive as possible. It just wasn't something Ariel & Megan et al were super focused on.

      That said, this is our first ever groom/groom wedding SUBMISSION. If the guys keep 'em comin', we'll keep posting them. I doubt they will be a "feature" though — just regular wedding porn profile posts.

  11. I love this wedding!!! It's delightful to see two grooms creating a ceremony and sharing an experience with their families and friends (and now the world). And since you're fans, "Mazel tov!" 🙂

  12. I have a hard old grizzled heart, but dammit if this wedding post didn't make me cry.

    Sending you both love and best wishes from New Orleans.

  13. Not only does this wedding look amazeballs fun and wonderful and meaningful and fantastic, but every single piece of advice from Derek was EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now (especially the "don't freak out and elope partway through planning" bit!). I hope these two have a zillion happy years together. <3 Also, your amazing cake makes my heart go pitter-pat. Hurrah!

    • We had initially planned for the ceremony to be on top of the sea rocks down on the beach, which they didn't require a permit for, but due to a variety of worries about our elderly guests being able to actually get up onto the rocks we moved it to the park directly above the beach. This of course had very different permit laws than the actual beach. The cops didn't actually care very much but a conservative passerby found out about the gay wedding and called them. After speaking with several guests who pointed out the lack of police involvement in a straight wedding going on about a block down, they essentially turned a blind eye.

      • Seriously? Someone called the cops on your wedding, strictly on the fact that you're both dudes? What a douchenozzle…

        On a positive note, everything looks awesome. I love the Limoncello bottles especially!

  14. AAAAAAaaaaaand, I cry. Love this. Newport is so fabulous; I didn't know it was conservative in the OC. SO glad that even strangers honored your love!!!

  15. The cops didn't really try to break it up. We didn't have a 'permit' ("I don't need no stinkin' permits") and some residents complained. The police drove by, winked at us, and told us not to do it again. 🙂

  16. Ahhh!! This wedding is so beautiful and is the DEFINITION OF LOVE. I love all the colors (as if Derek didn't know) and I just love everything about it. When I think of this day it warms my heart, I'm glad this profile really showed that.

  17. YAAAAAY! I love this wedding so much, it was one of the first weddings I saw on the Tribe and I still love it! You guys are adorable, and the whole thing looks amazing!

  18. Oh, but that black-and-white photo of the two luvverly grooms leaning against each other by the water gave me a serious case of the Warm Fuzzies.

    !מזל טוב לשניכם, והמון ברכות

  19. I absolutely love the advice for couples in this post! The rule about it being okay to breakdown as long as you are private and not rude is the perfect antidote to the whole "don't be a -zilla! be 100% calm!" narrative. All of his advice is spot-on.

  20. LOVE this wedding. Kudos to you boys for this.
    Things I love about this wedding:

    The positivity in his words about the day, so true.

    The bright colors, especially the converse shoe pic. As a photographer I love this picture. (may steal this idea)

    In every picture of you two I can see real love. Love is love and it is clearly written all over your faces and in your body language.

    The mention of the lady who stopped and asked about a bride but then got excited finding out about two grooms, and then stayed!

    Congrats and may you have a lifetime of happiness. 😀

  21. I am so lost for words. You can just feel the love in your pictures! Congrats to you both!! I wish you both a long happy life together.

    PS- you guys are rocking the converse!! love it!

  22. Congratulations!
    The chuppah being tugged on by the wind seems like an even further extension of your family being 'the beams of our "spiritual home"'.
    Also,what a touching moment the random singing of For Good must have been. I simply swooned when I read about that.

  23. Wow, this is absolutely fabulous! I don't think my life will be complete until I attend a gay wedding! Congrats guys! <3

  24. How did I miss this!? I have been looking forward to Derek's wedding profile since I fist saw his planning on the tribe. I love this!!! And reading about all the details just made me choke up even more. Congrats guys!

  25. OH. EM. GEE. I got a bit misty looking at the flickr set, and the decorations are so wonderfully detailed. A Halloween wedding has never looked more awesome. 😀 Congratulations, sirs!

  26. Awesome, and more awesome! Love the bright colors accented with the black, and of course the All Star Chucks 🙂

    It's great to see grooms who are interested in sharing their creative wedding with our group! Hopefully, more groom couples will follow your lead!

  27. Congrats on the amaaaaazing wedding! I love how you rolled with the chaos and pulled off something fabulous. I also appreciate your advice on resisting the urge to elope, because I ask my fiance every day if we can just elope. And also, Radiohead is best served in the right atmosphere – just youtubing them may not do the trick. But sweet Thor they are incredible.

  28. OMG. "Finally, resist the urge to elope 3/4 of the way through your planning. At the end its worth it."
    Exactly that.

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