The Offbeat Bride: Sophie, Cartoonist
Her offbeat partner: Carl, Cartoonist
Date and location of wedding: Choderwood, Pittsburgh, PA — June 2, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
When we talked about what we wanted most for our wedding day, “fun” was the number one item that came up. It was important to us that our wedding be joyous, loving, and a little silly, just like us. Once we found our wedding venue, a beautiful & bohemian private garden on the Allegheny river complete with a meditation hut & wandering chickens, the rest of the wedding came together fairly naturally.
Carl and I are both artists so the details of the wedding were very important to us, though adhering to any particular tradition was not. We were able to combine Carl’s Godzilla toy collection with my house-shaped teapots for fun centerpieces and the moss table-runners and silk flower garlands helped tie everything together. Carl created all the signs and calligraphy.
I loved my dress. I’ve never fantasized about being a bride so having a traditional white dress wasn’t important to me — quite the opposite. When I found my dress online I was smitten. It was magical and a little costume-y. Carl adores Western pearl-snap shirts (he grew up in Texas) so we found a simple black one online and I sewed silk flowers to the yoke to match my dress. I also made the flower stole for our officiant.
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony was my favorite part of the whole day! Carl and I wanted a secular ceremony that fit us, so we worked together on a script for our officiant that was full of personal details and jokes. We had our vows and a ring-exchange according to the usual custom, but we also created a “marriage mission statement” (an idea I got from Offbeat Bride!) which our officiant read aloud and we both signed after the ceremony. Underneath our names there was room for all our guests to sign as witnesses, to serve as a reminder of the promises we have made to one another and the close-knit family and friend communities which support us.
What our guests will probably remember the most, however, is our processional. We had our parents walk out to Rufus Wainwright’s cover of “Across the Universe” then the music switched to Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful” and Carl lip-synched while my dad and I danced down the aisle.
Also, our photographer nearly got beaned by a falling tree-branch during my vows, but he moved out of the way just in time. Phew.
Tell us about your reception:
Carl is a BBQ fan (again, Texas) so we went with a buffet-style menu with chicken, brisket, and ribs. While we provided beer and wine Carl also designed two specialty cocktails that were delicious but REALLY strong… we had a couple of people reeling during cocktail hour.
We have four sets of parents between us, so there were quite a lot of toasts (eight, specifically) given during the dinner period. Carl cried through most of them, because he is a big softy. My dad’s toast was interrupted by a couple of wayward ducks, who waddled through like they owned the place.
We had five cakes made by a friend who owns a patisserie. She makes so many amazing and exotic flavors that we couldn’t settle on one and didn’t see why we should! It also gave us the opportunity to choose five different cake toppers which was really fun. The more traditional Bride and Groom topper was from my mother and step-father’s wedding cake.
We have always loved dancing at other people’s weddings, so made sure our DJ had a playlist packed with old favorites and contemporary numbers, as well as a few quirky, sentimental songs.
What was your most important lesson learned?
I often felt overwhelmed by the wedding planning process and the hundreds of choices I needed to make and which can seem especially odious when you’re not following any particular religious or stylistic tradition. Keeping spreadsheets of information was helpful, while spending a lot of time on Pinterest was not.
Probably the best choice I made, aside from marrying Carl, was getting a Day-of-Coordinator. I thought it sounded silly and unnecessary when my friends first suggested it, but it saved me, Carl, and my family a lot of stress — both on the day and in the weeks preceding.
Photography: Electric Lime Studios • Hair: Christina, Brooke Rockwell Salon • Wedding Dress: Chotronette • Venue: Choderwood Bed & Breakfast • Brides Wedding Heels: Bamboo brand from Charlotte Russe • Caterer: Pittsburgh BBQ • Wedding Rings: Bittersweets New York • Wedding Coordinators: Jessica Long, Epic Event Planning • Crepe Paper Rose Bouquet: FlowersArtgidesign • Wedding Cakes: Butterwood Bake Consortium • DJ: Stephanie Tsong • Tents and Dance Floor: Eventioneers • Tables: Penn Rustic Rentals • Groom’s Shirt: Westernshirts.com with DIY flow