The Offbeat Bride: Diamond Minx, Burlesque Performer (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Jack O'Diamonds, Professional Yo-yoer
Date and location of wedding: The Metro Ballroom, New Westminster, BC, Canada — May 18, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we got engaged, J had some strong opinions about what he didn't like about traditional weddings. Making the guests wait around in between the ceremony and reception was a big no-no for him, so we designed the event around the idea of a VIP pre-show reception, a “show-emony” (with performances by us and our friends), and an after-party.
I had champagne taste and a beer budget, so we got creative and very DIY. I made most of my dress (the corset was a collaborative effort with Lace Embrace Atelier, but I made the skirt, crinoline, veil (which I forgot to wear! DARN!), panties, and garter). A friend and I made the bouquets and boutonnieres, my maid of honor and mother-in-law did the venue flowers, I made the backdrop, card box, and signage, wrote the ceremony, got the liquor license and booze, and then there was the food…
My chef friend Chris had offered to do the catering. We've thrown big parties before: we plan the menu, I shop for the food, he cooks it. But when my mother-in-law tripled the cocktail party guest list, we decided to split the effort. Chris and I dealt with the hot buffet items, the large salads, and the candy buffet, and my mother-in-law and her team of helpers did the charcuterie, cheeses, antipasto, fruit and vegetables, and desserts.
All told, the wedding cost less than half of what it could have cost, thanks to a lot of hard work by our friends and family!
Tell us about the ceremony:
Being able to have a traditional celtic handfasting meant a lot to both of us. J loves the sentiment behind “As Long as Love Shall Last,” and I have always felt a deep affinity to the ceremony of the six cords.
Our officiant, Nikiah Seeds, is a Celtic Shaman and Interfaith Minister, and she wrote this lovely blessing that we used at the beginning of the ceremony:
In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to elements representing the four cardinal directions; East, South, West, and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.
Waving feather over hands: ‘Blessed be by the element of air. May you be blessed with communication, intellectual growth, and wisdom.'
Pouring water over hands: ‘Blessed be by the element of water. May you be blessed with friendship, intuition, caring, understanding, and love.'
Taking candle and passing it over hands: ‘Blessed be by the element of fire. May you be blessed with harmony, vitality, creativity, and passion.'
Sprinkling sand over hands: ‘Blessed be by the element of earth. May you be blessed with tenderness, happiness, compassion, and sensuality.'
Each of the blessings from the four elements emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union – yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek as a couple.
Our biggest challenge:
We handed an extremely difficult job to our photographer, Aura: a 45-minute time window between the end of the ceremony and the cake cutting in order to take the formal photographs. She came through in SPADES! She set up a photography area and her lighting rig in an upstairs room, grabbed people as she could (the solo picturess of me, and the ones with my bridesmaids and dad were taken before the ceremony while we were waiting), and motored through the list we gave her. I think most photographers who didn't know us would have turned down the challenge, but luckily, Aura was up for it.
As for unexpected challenges, the big one would be the music. There was a lot of trouble with the music tracks at the start of the show. I ended up doing my number a capella, and J's yo-yo number was performed to a random song the DJ threw on instead of the music that was edited together for it. I wish we had time for a sound check (or that the tracks had been checked in advance).
My favorite moment:
Bar none, my highlight was my 83-year-old dad being able to attend and walk me down the aisle. He suffers from Alzheimers and is quite frail, so it was very tiring for him to be out at an evening event. Major thank-yous to J's dad for being my dad's personal chauffeur and making sure he got home safe (he had to leave the wedding right after the pictures to drive him home and then come back).
Having the entire event in the same venue over the span of an evening was challenging in some regards (tight timeline!), but SO wonderful in others. It was great having aspects of the event just naturally flow into each other, people didn't have to move from space to space, and they could just relax and enjoy the food, the entertainment, and the dancing.
My funniest moment:
An awesome moment was getting dragged out on the dance floor to “Vogue” with my friends from the burlesque community. I even managed to borrow a fan so I could do my best tipsy “Madonna at the 1990 MTV Awards.”
Our drag queen MC, Symone, coming into the audience and sitting in J's cousin's lap during the show was also a highlight. The first thing I did after J proposed was to ask Symone if she'd MC, and she just about stole the show!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Formal photography: Aura McKay
- Fabulous show and photo booth photographer: Frankie Panky
- Venue: The Metro Hall
- Corsetiere: Lace Embrace Atelier
- Officiant: Nikiah Seeds, Red Moon Ceremonies
- Hair: East Vanity Parlour
- Makeup: Angie Balbon
- Invitation design: Paul McEwen from TribalYell Marketing & Design
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!