The Offbeat Bride: Stephanie, Financial Analyst
Her offbeat partner: Jonathan, 5th Grade Teacher
Date and location of wedding: The Casa Real at the Ruby Hill Winery in Livermore, CA — July 6, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we started wedding planning, we were most concerned about how we wanted the wedding to feel. We wanted our wedding to feel like our relationship — joyful, kid-at-heart, quirky, whimsical, breezy, with a dash of mischievousness. We came to the realization that these were all adjectives that described our beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic series — one of the first things we bonded over, when we met five years ago! We decided to have fun with it and drew all our inspiration from the comic.
We started with Calvin and Hobbes wedding inspiration with an engagement session that our photographer Junshien Lau gave us the artistic vision for. The photos featured us as well as a stuffed Hobbes doll. That doll was the first thing Jon had ever sewed and took him 13 hours to complete! In his enthusiasm, he also made an awesome Transmogrifier (which, in case you didn't know, is what Calvin uses to transform himself into anything).
We also incorporated Calvin and Hobbes into our stationary details. I designed our wedding invitations, programs and escort cards, save the dates, menu and guestbook with Calvin and Hobbes in mind (with illustrations by Emily Chen). We also had our wedding dinosaur bubbles to be blown after the ceremony (Calvin's favorite thing to daydream about is dinosaurs).
However, my most favorite Calvin and Hobbes decor was our awesome “Calvin” ring bearer, flower girl and Hobbes as well as our cake toppers (designed and hand painted by Jonathan)! We then relied on our amazingly beautiful wedding venue, Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery and beautiful California weather to provide an elegant contrast to our quirky wedding.
Tell us about the ceremony: We are religious Christians so we featured a short sermon by our pastor and we took communion. We then said our first prayer as a married couple. We also wrote and said our own vows.
Our biggest challenge: The DJ forgot the music and realized only about an hour and a half before the ceremony. His hard drive was at his house — located about an hour away from the venue! Naturally he freaked out and had to drive back and forth, breaking numerous speeding laws and practically giving my day-of coordinator a heart attack! However, to be honest, it was not a major setback since the ceremony only started about 20 minutes later than anticipated.
I highly recommend any bride to hire a wedding day-of coordinator because thanks to mine, I was completely unaware of the delay. In fact, I was stress-free playing Battleship with my flower girl, Ruby, and hanging with my ‘maids. My advice is to let someone else take the reins of your wedding day, so you can enjoy it!
My favorite moment: We had so many family and friends come from across the country and from overseas, which meant so much to us. In order to honor our guests, I handmade colorful ribbon flower boutonnieres which also served as escort cards. Each ribbon color signified 1) whether they were on the bride's side or groom's side, and 2) how they know us. For example, Blue was for friends from Bolivia and gray was for groom's friends, so a friend from Bolivia would have a gray/blue ribbon boutonniere. Of course, each flower boutonniere was outfitted with a Calvin and Hobbes picture, too!
Though it felt so short, we really tried to spend quality time with our guests during the wedding, especially those who had come from out of town. We also hosted two parties the days prior, one for family and one for out-of-town guests, so we could spend quality time with our loved ones!
Lastly, we were also lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family that supported our wedding. My auntie Mimi was the amazing florist, my auntie Yolanda owned a printing company which printed all our stationary, our friend Steve was the awesome fist-pumping DJ, and our other friend Vince had a photobooth company. It was very much a collaboration of love!
My funniest moment: The funniest moment was when the Latin music came on and one of Jon's groomsmen started teaching Zumba dance moves to a crowd of ladies (old and young!). Some of our friends also started a Conga Line and a human limbo pole, which ended up being an awesome dance party for all ages!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was fairly certain that I would get negative criticism on the Calvin and Hobbes theme or that people wouldn't “get it.” However, I have only gotten positive comments about it, and at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what others think. Everyone had a great time, regardless of the theme!
My advice for Offbeat Brides: I mentioned this before, but I would encourage everyone to give up a little bit of control of their weddings. I actually was sent to Australia to work for six months (no visits) during my year-long engagement. I came back only two months before my wedding. Though I am a control freak, I knew that if I were to pull off long distance wedding planning, I was going to have to give up control and allow others to help me.
This meant relying on Jon and my family to go to all the tastings and pick out vendors and that I would not always see the finished products before they were sent out (e.g. wedding invites). We also used tons of friendors who had lots of great ideas! Though I was nervous, in the end I felt that this made my wedding special because it truly was a collaborative creative process! Also, because I wasn't the only one in charge, I was able to truly enjoy my day without worrying about all the details!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Junshien International Photographers
- Ceremony Venue: Casa Real Winery in Pleasanton, CA
- Hair & Makeup: Ann Ho
- Wedding Dress: Robert Bullock from Bo Lee Bridal Couture
- Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew
- Flowers: My Aunt Mimi provided all flowers
- Wedding Coordinator: Sanli Yang
- Videography: Tyler Mayeno
- Cake Toppers, Card box, escort boutonnieres: All painted and created by us
- Cake: Cakes by Bev
- Photobooth: Ultimate Photobooth
- Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's
- Illustrations for invitations, programs, escort cards, save the dates, menu, and guest book: Emily Chen
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!