The offbeat bride: Dina, technical writer
Her offbeat partner: Desiree, IT support technician
Date and location of wedding: Pipeline House, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii — March 3, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: A lot of people might say our wedding was offbeat due to the fact that it didn't include a groom. But really, even if one of us had been a man, our wedding would have been offbeat because we are two offbeat people.
Desiree and I didn't always agree on what we thought our wedding should look like, however. For example, my desire to wear a green dress got completely steamrolled when I first saw the white dress I did end up wearing, and that caused anxiety in my partner because she thought that meant she would have to wear white. In the end, we both wore things that were perfect for us.
We didn't have seating arrangements, place cards, first dances, or bouquet tosses. It was just a ceremony and a lot of booze and food (some by a caterer and some by my parents with assistance from our friends and family). My brother Hunter and Desiree's sister Darrielle were our people of honor.
We wanted to keep the wedding small and only include people who had been supportive of our relationship in the past. This meant keeping certain members of both of our families off our guest list. This lead to some sadness, but in the end I'm glad we kept it the size it was (and without the stress of our wedding being someone else's learning experience).
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was short but sweet — neither one of us wanted to be standing up in front of people for very long. It was officiated by our dear friend Tobey, who has known me since before I was me. The whole thing lasted maybe ten minutes, and it was just pretty much a prelude to partying.
We didn't have any readings or music, aside from some singing. We also had a ring warming and ring exchange.
Our biggest challenge: Our major challenge was the fact that Desiree and I were both born and raised in the United States but live in Australia. If we had the wedding in Sydney, some of our friends and family from the US would have had a hard time coming over.
If we had the wedding in Seattle, ditto for our Sydney-sider friends. So we decided to meet at the rough halfway point — Hawaii! Hawaii is also where my partner was born and the site of our first vacation with just the two of us.
There were time zone issues when calling vendors. Fortunately, my Chicago-based mother was willing to make the calls for us, since she lives in a more advantageous time zone. There were payment issues, since paying American vendors in Australian currency is harder than one would think.
Tip for foreign-based couples planning a wedding Stateside: Paypal often comes at a premium, but it's worth it when you consider how much simpler it makes everything.
Des and I ended up flying over a week before the wedding to make sure everything was under control. Everything worked out in the end, of course, but there were some panic moments.
My favorite moment: We added lots of touches that were meant to bring our community into our relationship, since same-sex marriage is not recognized in New South Wales. We had a ring warming with our immediate families and my grandmother insisted on jumping in at the end and grabbing our hands to warm them herself!
We also had a wedding certificate inspired by ketubahs and Quaker wedding certificates, which everyone signed at the end.
My funniest moment: Too many to count! From our ill-fated jumping pictures (not easy on sand!) to my mother leading everyone in singing the Bridal Chorus and Wedding March to various indiscretions that happened as the night wore on and the alcohol flowed freely, it was a laugh-a-minute.
The highlight would probably be our wedding piñata. My uncle Bill climbed up to where we had tied up the piñata and kept tugging it out of the way, which made it very hard to hit. Eventually, my dad had to peek, grab hold of it and beat it within an inch of its papier-mâché life. And then we had candy. Australian and American candy, naturally. The Picnic bars were a big hit!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather forecast was dismal for the day of the wedding, but I forbade myself from looking at weather reports since there's nothing you can do except make sure you have a plan B. It did sprinkle a bit on the day, but that night there was a ridiculously huge storm that pretty much flooded the house. Thanks for waiting, Mother Nature!
When we tried our crinolines, we quickly realized they were way too long for the dresses. I think I gave the seller the wrong measurements. But we realized they'd be fine if we just got rid of a tier, so my mom and grandma quickly removed that bottom tier and used all the leftover tulle to decorate!
My advice for offbeat brides: Don't be too proud to get outside help, be it from friends and family or professionals. Near the end of the planning process, I often turned to Desiree and said, “Why didn't we hire someone to do this stuff again?” If you're the sort of couple that has a hard time planning a weekend barbecue (like us), don't try and be a hero!
Also, have a piñata. Or, if not a piñata, some other game that seems more suited to an eight-year-old's birthday party. It's a great way to get everyone smiling and laughing.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dina's dress: Unique Vintage
- Desiree's dress: her sister's closet
- Dina's shoes: Shubar
- Dina's headband: Sportsgirl
- Desiree's necklace: Magnolia
- Cronolines: Etsy seller DawnsAtelier
- Rings: Green Karat
- Catering: Happy's Hawai'i
- Cupcakes: I am so sad about this – I CAN'T REMEMBER. But we found her at the Sunset Beach farmer's market. So if you see a lovely lady selling cupcakes there, it's probably her!
- Venue/Accommodation: Pipeline House (Note that this venue does not normally do weddings. My mother managed to talk the owner into it.)
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!