Offbeat partner: Kim, editor
Offbeat partner: Jamie, reporter
Date and location of wedding: Tim McLoone's Supper Club, Asbury Park, NJ — 09/15/2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Basically, we set out to A) make our vows to one another legally official, and B) have a really, really fun party for all of our favorite people. Along the way, we came up with an "enchanted library" theme for the reception, to reflect our love of writing and reading.
The ceremony was a simple, intimate, nonsectarian beach affair. We didn't have specific themed flowers or colors. We kind of just went with what we liked and, with a whole lot of help from some very talented people, pulled it all together into one fantastically fun day. I was so keyed up from the amount of love and energy in the room that I didn't sleep until the NEXT night, after the wedding night.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We decided to get married on the sand in Asbury Park, NJ, a quirky seaside city we both grew up close to and love dearly. We've had many dates here, from beach days to candlelit dinners to the annual Pride festival (and, one time, a group paranormal tour). McLoone's, our reception venue, secured the ceremony chairs and all necessary permits from the city.
For decor, we kept it simple: just some white folding chairs for guests and a white arbor with some artificial flowers affixed to the top. Jamie's uncle played acoustic guitar for the ceremony music, and he rocked.
This really was a friends- and family-focused wedding. From the ceremony musician (Jamie's uncle), to the officiant (mayor emeritus of the town where we live), to the florist (my cousin), to the photographer (a former coworker at the newspaper where Jamie and I met), we felt so lucky to be surrounded by our people.
Jamie's mom walked her down the aisle, and my mom and dad walked with me. My brother and Jamie's cousin (who's like a sister) were our best man and matron of honor. We wrote the ceremony from scratch. Our respective best friends each did a reading: a poem I chose, and selected quotes from The Wonder Years that Jamie arranged.
Jamie has a tattoo of two birds holding a red string in their beaks; it represents the red thread of fate. During the ceremony, our officiant draped a red rope around our shoulders to symbolize that idea — that our souls are forever connected.
Tell us about your reception:
The vibe was seaside-meets-enchanted-library, and I was living for it! We stained an old card catalog and filled some of the drawers with seating cards, and others with fake moss and tea lights. Our friend who has a calligraphy side hustle created some framed literary love quotes to scatter around the room. We had wildflowers, greenery, and succulents all over the tables, and Jamie's handmade ceramic coasters as favors. The centerpieces were stacks of vintage books we bought at local library sales. We also filled empty wine bottles with fairy lights and put one on each table, because wine goes with every theme.
My brother and Jamie's cousin gave two awesome, make-you-laugh-then-cry-then-laugh-again speeches. We had our first dance to "That's How Strong My Love Is" by Otis Redding. There was SO MUCH FOOD, and it was all delicious: crab cakes, roast beef, stir fry, and two different kinds of pasta, and that's not including the epic cocktail hour spread or dessert! The coordinators at McLoone's treated us like queens, and we will forever adore them.
Our band, The Pickles, absolutely made the night. Everyone was dancing and having so much fun. They played covers of everything under the sun, and kept us on the dance floor until it was over. One big highlight: my dad and Jamie's cousin playing a Bruce Springsteen song with the band. My dad drummed while Jamie's cousin sang. It was hysterical and amazing. They're both actually good, so it made the party even better!
What was your most important lesson learned?
Wedding planning is all fun and games…until the last two months, when shit gets REAL. Then it's a very stressful full-time job on top of your actual very stressful full-time job. It's important to be able to say to your spouse-to-be, "Ugh, I can't wait for this to be over!" and for you both to know you don't mean the wedding day, or the marriage, but the sometimes-godawful planning.
Don't take your frustration or stress out on your partner. When it comes down to it, your wedding is a one-day event, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the years you'll spend with this person as a couple. Don't let something stupid like aisle runners or cupcakes turn into an argument. Gallows humor and a little bit of straight-up venting to each other will help you unwind while bringing you closer together.
It's also important to ask your people for help. They love you, and they're champing at the bit to help you, I promise. Even a small task, like dropping succulents off to the bakery the day before the wedding so they can put them on the cake, will reduce your stress and make one of your friends/relatives feel like they're helping make your special day happen, which is an all-around win.
- Photographer: Ryan Elizabeth Photography
- Dress: Castle Couture
- Suit: Bindle & Keep
- Venue: Tim McLoone's Supper Club
- Cake: Chocolate Carousel
- Flowers: Kristin Rockhill
- Band: The Pickles