The Offbeat Bride: Jenni, Art Therapist/Elementary Art Teacher
Her offbeat partner: Shaun, Record label owner and marketing director
Date and location of wedding: The Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA — July 14, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Because we aren't religious and we both love art, we had our ceremony in a modern art museum instead of a church. The staircase of the museum combined with the floor-to-ceiling windows gave our venue some grandeur.
With the help of family and friends, I DIYed the pink origami lilies and ivory tissue paper poppies for the bouquets and boutonnieres, and the centerpieces with branches, recycled wine bottles, and tulle.
Shaun is a technology fiend (he proposed to me using an iPad), so we incorporated this into our wedding plans by using digital invitations, our officiant read from an iPad, and we had LCD screens around the venue showing a video/slideshow of photographs taken throughout our relationship with an animation made by one of Shaun's good friends. Shaun's little sister lives in South Africa and had a baby a week before the wedding, so we set up Shaun's iPad to live-stream the ceremony for her to watch.
Our rings were made out of black titanium and black diamonds, I wore a vintage 1930s dress, I had green hair extensions braided into my updo, my bridesmaids walked down the aisle to the score of The Royal Tenenbaums (my favorite movie), and I walked down the aisle to “Storybook Love.”
We also put out a Banksy book to serve as our guest book since we found the idea of our guests graffiti-ing a book about graffiti art quite amusing. We got picked up from the reception in a 1937 Packard, and most importantly, we had our quirky family and friends there to spend the day with us!
Tell us about the ceremony: I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle, but as a sign that he supports our marriage instead of “giving me away.” We removed any “who gives this woman…” language from the ceremony as well. We chose the talented Rev. Steven Schulte to officiate, who our groomsmen ended up dubbing “Coach Steve.” He customized our ceremony and included a reading from The Velveteen Rabbit.
Shaun is a science geek and wanted to replace “til death do us part” with a customized ending: “…until the last proton in the universe has decayed.” After we were pronounced husband and wife and before we kissed, we gave each other our special handshake: a handshake sliding into a fist bump, and then another fist bump that turns into the “rock on” symbol on impact.
Our biggest challenge and our wedding memorial: When Shaun proposed to me, my mother was terminally ill. We hoped that she'd be able to attend our wedding or at least watch it from the live stream we were planning to set up for Shaun's sister, but unfortunately she died nine months before the wedding. To make her part of the wedding, I filled a heart charm with a small portion of her ashes, and put it on my wedding bouquet.
The loss of my mother highlighted how important family was to me, and therefore exacerbated my disappointment at not many family members able to make the trip from Texas to Georgia. When thinking of how empty my side of the aisle was going to be, we decided to use a spiral-shaped aisle (seen here!). All of the guests from my side of the family were mixed in with Shaun's family and our friends.
My funniest moment: It's a tradition for Shaun's relatives to perform at family functions. My mother-in-law and aunts-in-law took white cardboard boxes, cut out eye-holes, put paper eyelashes over the eye-holes and used these devices as masks while they danced. The Tuesday before the wedding, I was so schedule-obsessed that I wasn't sure we'd have time for them to perform, but I'm really glad they found a way to do it.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: If you're experiencing something stressful and/or tragic while you're planning (e.g. grad school or a death in the family), take some time for yourself. Even if you spend one day every two weeks laying in bed and reading or giving yourself 15 minutes to cry/scream into a pillow, it's much better than repressing the stress and letting it fester into depression or anxiety.
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