Jessica & Robin's cafe wedding with a musical surprise

Updated Oct 12 2015
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The Offbeat Bride: Jessica, Producer/Animator

Her offbeat partner: Robin, Musician/Composer

Date and location of wedding: Mercury Cafe, Denver, CO — July 13, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Robin had his heart set on a top hat and tails, and I ended up falling in love with a lace corset gown from David's Bridal — which was surprising because I was dead-set against wearing an all-white dress! But not only did the gown fit me perfectly, I came across the same dress, in my size, being sold second-hand. At that point, we decided to run with a Victorian theme, covering everything with roses, lace, and damask fabric.

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We were so lucky to find a venue like the Mercury Cafe. They were amazing, and helped us with everything! Not only did they cook the food, which was 100% local organic and absolutely delicious, they brought in the beer we wanted from a brewery in our hometown, made the cake (again, organic, flour-less, and amazing), and even ordered our roses from their florist! They were amazing, and completely willing to work with us on our budget.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
I loved that Robin wrote our ceremony music. It felt so personal and romantic! A friend of his is a very talented violinist, and she played for us as part of a string quartet. Honestly, I hadn't planned to have my dad walk me down the aisle; that's one tradition I didn't particularly care for. My dad said he was fine with it, and that he was happy to do (or not do) anything I felt comfortable with. But, the day before the wedding, I decided to ask him one more time if he wanted to walk me, and he immediately said yes — almost before I was done asking the question!

Our officiant, a friend of ours who was ordained just for our wedding, was holding the Printer Bible, and explained that it was the only bible he had! I thought that was hilarious. Also, Robin's sister performed a handfasting for us and recited a beautiful poem she had written to go with the occasion. We had two readings: "i carry your heart with me" by e.e. cummings, and an ancient letter written by a Roman soldier to his wife (Robin is a big fan of European history, especially ancient Rome).

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Then came the vows. I spoke about how I fell in love with his passion for music the first time I met him, and how happy I was that he chose me to share that passion with him. Robin promised to always have my back, to keep climbing and striving for our goals in life, so we could stand together at the end, shouting "we did it!" to the world. Our shared vows were a play on the more traditional wedding words: we promised to love, support, and inspire each other, and stick together in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, from this day until our last.

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Our biggest challenge:
On the actual day, we had a huge, unexpected surprise: it didn't just rain, it began to POUR right before the ceremony! Not only did we plan to take ALL of our wedding photos outside, but I was still at our hotel, in my wedding dress, makeup, and everything, and I couldn't get to the venue! The streets were absolutely flooded with water, and the hotel had a huge lawn between the front door and the car. My poor bridesmaids all got completely soaked trying to get me to the car without ruining my dress and shoes. The owners of the hotel were so sweet — they carried umbrellas over us and shielded us as best they could.

The worst part was when we finally got to the venue, and I slipped climbing out of the car and fell onto the pavement! Fortunately, I caught myself with my hands to avoid getting my dress too wet, and ran inside as fast as I could. Somehow, we managed to only be five minutes late starting the ceremony.

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My favorite moment:
Most of the meaningful moments had to do with music. Robin's ceremony music was amazing, of course, and after the ceremony, my maid of honor surprised us by bringing a band and full choir up on the stage to sing "Last Night On Earth" and "21 Guns" for us (both songs were written by Green Day, and they performed the musical versions from their Broadway show, "American Idiot"). She even got the string quartet in on the surprise!

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Later, Robin's former band played for us during the reception, opening with "She's the One" by the Ramones and closing with "1,000 Hours" by Green Day. Robin even sang "1,000 Hours" because he had always wanted to sing it to me. My cousin Will played the piano and sang "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds.

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To conclude the live music at the wedding, Robin provided yet another musical surprise: he and a friend learned to play "Ih-Ah!" by Devin Townsend, and he invited me on stage to sing it with him. "Ih-Ah" is a very meaningful song for us. Two years ago, we hit a rocky point in our relationship and almost didn't survive it. Robin clearly remembers hearing this song and being inspired to pull us back together. He had me listen to it, and we decided not to give up just yet. The rest, as they say, is history!

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Another moment that meant the world to me came at the very end of the night, when we were playing the last song for the wedding, "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" by Flogging Molly. Our friends and family formed a circle around us and sang along, and Robin started spinning me in circles. I remember watching all the blurry, smiling faces of our loved ones spin around and around, and feeling so overwhelmed with love!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
First of all, I learned a lot about creative solutions. Weddings are, um, a tad bit expensive. It was actually really fun coming up with DIY ideas for the big day, like making our own invitations out of scrapbook paper, finding a used wedding dress, and of course, calling on friends to lend us their skills.

But the most important lesson learned from the wedding was to always remember how much love surrounds us. We had family come from every corner of the country, even if we hadn't seen them in years! And we had friends helping us every single step of the way. Our friends provided the music, did my hair and makeup, made the bouquets, performed the ceremony, did the alterations on my dress, took the pictures, decorated the venue, and helped us with countless other errands and favors leading up to the big day. Weddings really do bring out the best in people (and unfortunately, sometimes they bring out the worst), and it's important to appreciate those who are really there for you. I've always known I'm lucky to have so many great people in my life, but the love that helped our wedding come together was something I will cherish forever.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I appreciate the Green Day but not the song choices…though it's cool your friend was in the musical, it's what kicked off the worst era of Green Day! / bitter fan rant

    Now that I got my music snobbery out of the way, I love everything else! I've also been trying to think of ways to incorporate Green Day into our wedding, as we met on their fan club's message boards 🙂

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