The Offbeat Bride: Alia, Designer
Her offbeat partner: Mig, Googler
Date and location of wedding: Padua Hills Theatre in Claremont, CA — July 9, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
I wanted our wedding to transport our guests to a magical fairy realm of wonder and enchantment so that they could share in the magic of our love, and Mig joined in the endeavor. Our setting was filled with beautiful trees that we used as a recurring symbol. I love the personal touch of handmade things, so we included a lot of our own projects. My favorite project was my handmade dress I crafted using handmade silks and beaded embroidery work on the bodice.
This was my dream wedding with my dearest love, and as someone whose dreams frequently need adjusting due to chronic illness, it felt truly awesome to bring this dream into reality.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was outside under the trees and began with my uncle John playing the penny whistle, which he learned just for us. He played Picard’s solo from “Inner Light,” a very special Star Trek the Next Generation episode. Both my matron of honor and I carried lanterns containing live monarch butterflies as we walked down the aisle. My bestie/bridesmaid/flower girl carried my little nephew in his dapper tux.
There was a swing festooned with lush greenery made for me to sit upon during the ceremony. It was such a fun way for us to accommodate my inability to stay standing upright due to one of my conditions, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
Our interfaith, spiritual, and nature-loving ceremony was lead by a beloved pastor. He shared that Mig and I were joyous that we were being married during a time of relative marriage equality in our country. My aunt Linda did a lovely reading from Corelli's Mandolin in which the nature of love is described as trees growing together. We had a tree planting ceremony and our parents participated by bringing us soil from places of family history to symbolize the foundation they have provided throughout our lives.
Our ceremony concluded with a flourish as live butterflies were released and an instrumental piece from the movie The Last Unicorn, a long time favorite, guided everyone off to further revelry.
Tell us about your reception:
Our ballroom was a converted historic theatre and we had it transformed into an enchanted woodland wonderland with trees, moss, glowing lights, and iridescent accents — very Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We gave out fairy wings, animal ears, and masquerade masks to get our guests in character, and for the photo booth, of course. We also gave each guest a small plant, symbolic of growth and to tie in with our tree planting ceremony. The baby plants were each in glass bottles that I painted by hand.
The highlight was definitely our first dance to Electric Six’s “Danger! High Voltage,” a song Mig loves. What a lot of people don’t know about my condition, POTS, is that while I can’t stay standing very long, I can sometimes do fast paced activities for short durations (well, on a good day, but pay for it later). Mig and I love going dancing (especially in our tall boots!) and we’ve been missing it, so I had to try. A fast dance was our best shot and it worked out:
What was your most important lesson learned?
Often, people tried to protect me from taking on too much as I insisted on making my own dress, butterfly lanterns, jewelry, and so on. Indeed, my health was slipping and there were some things I couldn’t get to. It was great finding the talents of others to help with the rest. Family and friends helped out with many of our handmade projects — even Mig decoupaged table numbers!
I took care to select vendors who were open to working with my ideas. Everyone did a great job. Friends, family, and vendors all have their own way of doing things, so getting them to try something different sometimes involves compromise on both sides, and a few things may fall between the cracks. The joy about planning all of the details is that they come together like brush strokes in a painting and the end result is that much more special because so many wonderful people created it together.
- Photographer: Pixie Vision Photography
- Dress and bride's jewelry/accessories: Bride
- Bride reception boots: Hand Painted Fluevogs by the bride
- Venue/Caterer/Cake: Padua Hills Theatre
- Florist: Aquafuzion
- MC/DJ/Lighting: Entertainment Express
- Groomswear: Bride
- Groom boots: Doc Martens (vintage)
- Bridesmaids' and mother's dresses: Jasmine
- Bridesmaids' and mother's jewelry: Bride
- Makeup and Hair: Fairytale Hair and Makeup and Jennifer Taylor
- Groomsmen/Fathers/Ushers: Menguin
- Top hats: Village Hat Shop
- Butterflies: Swallowtail Farms
- Bride/Groom Reception Masks: Falcon Moon Studio