The Offbeat Bride: Brooke, photographer and dog bather (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Jon, Physics teacher
Date and location of wedding: Vazzano's Four Seasons Banquets, Stratford, CT — November 11, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Being huge, lifelong gamers, our wedding theme was Super Mario Bros. Originally, we had wanted to do all video games but we thought people would get it more if we just chose Mario. We made our electronic invitation in an 8-bit template style provided by the website we used.
Our favors were question mark/brick boxes that we bought as a jpg on Etsy. We printed them, cut them, folded them, glued them, and CURSED them by the time we hit 150. Stuffing them with chocolate gold coins was the easiest part. We constructed an 8′ x 8′ Super Mario photo booth background using PVC, ply-wood, paint, and decals. And by we, I mean Jon.
He also AMAZINGLY created our card receptacle. It was two drainpipes mounted to bricks. One was for a piranha plant and the other was for cards. The best part? When you dropped the card into it, it made the sucky drainpipe noise “bloop, bloop, bloop.” I'm actually still in awe of this contraption. I contributed the piranha plant.
I fashioned power flower bouquets for my ladies, and a sparkly brooch bouquet for me as well as painted our piranha plant champagne flutes. I tapped an art school friend for help with centerpieces which we found inspiration for online. We used artificial plants, plastic bowls I found for cheap and sprayed to look like hammered metal, and little mushrooms.
Jon and I even made our own 1-Up cakes and decorated a cupcake stand to match our Princess and Mario cake topper. I want you to think long and hard about making your own wedding cupcakes the night before your wedding, though. I'm so glad we saved all that cake money, but that night I was definitely pretty tired and sick of the smell of cupcakes.
And of course, announcing our parents and the party was all set to Mario music. We, however, walked in to “Welcome To The Jungle.” We both used to really love wrestling and could not let the opportunity of walking in to bad-ass theme song go unused!
Jon's mom made our beautiful Guest Plate for everyone to sign. She's a ceramics maven! Also, my grandfather passed away when I was 10 but had always wanted dance with his granddaughters at their weddings. So I tied a locket I have with his photo in it to my bustle, and he did.
Tell us about the ceremony: I'm agnostic and Jon is a non-practicing Lutheran. Neither one of us really cared how the ceremony came to be. So, we opted for his pastor to do our ceremony on our venue dance floor. Some sat, and some stood, but it all felt really intimate and quiet. I walked in to an instrumental version of “Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins. The song has been sort of an anthem for me over the years, is tattooed on my back, and never fails to give me goosebumps, so it was the natural choice. The best part was after we were pronounced when the DJ played the Super Mario fanfare song you here when you complete the level.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was dealing with the wedding industry itself. It's not really set up for laid back/alternative weddings. We hated how everyone kept prices a secret until you were actually at an establishment. And we definitely got the feeling that some vendors attempted to “trap” us with a quick deposit request. The reason we chose our venue is because they had a clear website with prices and packages. Well, that, and it is within walking distance of our home.
I pretty much credit Jon for even being able to have the wedding. Because by the 10th super frustrating vendor experience, I was ready for City Hall. But he was amazing and calm, and it became more and more evident why he is my soul mate. We really started to think that's part of the planning: surviving the vendor gauntlet.
My favorite moment: My indestructible dad was in a pretty horrific accident while working as a tractor-trailer instructor. It was touch and go on whether or not he was going to get to keep his legs, but thankfully, a year and a half's worth of surgery and physical therapy had him up and dancing with me that day. The song I chose was the theme song to “Punky Brewster” because my mom let it slip one day that it makes him think of when I used to watch it. I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to get my tough trucker dad to cry.
My funniest moment: The funniest moment was when our DJ called Jon and me up to help him intro a Barry White song. We are not really ones for the spotlight and it was a total surprise to us. I don't have much of a poker face, so the pictures from this moment show my reluctance for the event. I mean… frame-by-frame reluctance. Now we love it. We are huge fans of The Office and deemed it our “awkward Office moment.”
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Opinions. You know what they say about opinions. And they come in like a freight train. It got to the point where every time I was asked what I was going to do for anything, someone had a “much better” idea. Then I felt like I had to explain why I chose what I did. I got so tired of defending my wedding. So I basically just stopped sharing details with most people. They were just trying to help, but they don't realize they're actually just contributing to your mental breakdown.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned that no matter how laid back and you are, you better get ready to be even more “go with the flow” then you ever intended. Just try to stay chill, because, for the most part, once the deposits are down, the vendors kind of do their own thing. So make sure you are happy with their style.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: the amazingly talented Justine Johnson, who I found right here on Offbeat Bride!
- Makeup: Jodi Alpert from A Touch Of Color Make Up By Sharon Scully
- Electronic invitations: MyWedding.com. Totally free and super easy.
- Bride's rings: G & S Specialties
- Cake topper: Jennifer Jade
- Favors: By Sherry
- Little mushrooms: Romance Inspired
- Felt mustaches: Sister of a Soldier
photography: Justine Johnson Photography