The offbeat partner: Olivia, marketer, writer, event planner
The offbeat partner: Jacob, teacher
Date and location of wedding: Theodore Wirth Chalet, Minneapolis, MN — June 23, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
It’s tough to sum up our wedding: I’m an event planner, a perfectionist, and an anxiety machine, as well as autistic, which means I fixate. I spent most of our engagement fixating on the wedding, which meant TONS of details (as well as some stress).
The theme I started with was books, because I am a writer and Jacob is an English teacher. However, I quickly fell prey to Pinterest envy and started adding in EVERYTHING we loved, including games, a touch of podcasts, and ice cream. There were quite a few times where people had to remind me to rein it in, but in the end, I was happy that I followed my passion to include lots of our interests.
Early on in the wedding planning process, one of Jacob’s brothers mentioned that our mash-up name (“Jacovia”) sounded like a small European nation, and after that we were unstoppable. The whole wedding became the founding of Jacovia. We created a weird fanfiction-style backstory to the country, wrote our own national anthem that was the recessional to the ceremony (sung in full operatic voice by one of my friends), and everything was #jacovia. It was ridiculously fun.
A favorite element was that I got each of my bridespeople a onesie of their choice (inspired by this post) and we got ready in our onesies. Comfy, practical, and hilariously adorable.
Tell us about the ceremony:
One of the early challenges that I ran into was that my taste in dresses far outstripped my budget. I decided to get the look I wanted with accessories. I got a lace statement necklace with matching gloves, an octopus tiara, and rainbow sequin shoes. And of course I had to have my colorful hair, which gave me at least a pop of the vibrancy I was looking for. I am obsessed with octopuses, and ended up looking like a sea queen, which was all I could have asked for.
A lot of our wedding ceremony was focused on the idea that our wedding did not turn us into a single unit, but rather that we retained our individual identities and simply could come together like some sort of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to make a bigger whole. Instead of rings, we went with ampersand tattoos to symbolize that we stayed independent while coming together to create a whole.
We also built a unique unity ceremony based on this science experiment. We started with a clear base liquid and inject it with a color each. Then we swirled them together to create a pattern. The colors remained distinct, even as they made a beautiful pattern, symbolizing that even though we were coming together to make something new, we kept our individual identities. My favorite part of the ceremony was that we chose to use absurdly large, horror movie-looking meat injectors to insert our colorful corn syrup into the base. It got a pretty fantastic reaction.
Tell us about your reception:
We had a place for people to suggest topics that we could talk about on the podcast we recorded during our honeymoon, my grandfather’s journal as part of the décor, my grandmother’s side tables as the altar, and so much hand made décor from my dad, myself, and my friends. I handmade all the paper flowers we used, and my dad made two decorative ladders for the ceremony space that we decorated with everything from a rubber chicken to an action figure of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. My dad was a complete savior (he has a background in theater sets), and did tons of draping, built us a giant Jenga set, and created a plexiglass ampersand that we used instead of a guest book.
For favors, we hand selected a book for each guest that doubled as an escort card. Instead of doing the traditional “clink your glass to make the couple kiss” we actually continued what has become a tradition among our D&D group. A friend made us a giant d20 and if you wanted us to kiss you had to roll the die.
My dad told me that he only wanted one thing at the wedding, and that was to do a swing dance with me. I used to be a swing dancer, and I thought it was a great idea. Jacob didn’t want to do a first dance, so we opened the dance floor with my dad and I doing the shim sham.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Our biggest challenge was that one month after we got engaged, Jacob’s father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He passed just about 10 months later, approximately two months before our wedding. This was a struggle both for us emotionally, and especially because it meant that Jacob’s family could not be as involved as they would have been otherwise. I decided early on to focus on the time we had with Jacob’s dad, and to prioritize his grieving process over our wedding. Although the whole family is still recovering, I think that our wedding ended up being a bright spot in an otherwise really challenging year.
On the positive side, I found that including more people in the planning process was very helpful. My parents were involved from the very beginning and were incredibly supportive. I had crafting days to handmake book page flowers, and my bridespeople and friends jumped in to help out. Another one of my friends took on the role of day-of coordinator and lent me their wedding tablecloths and napkins. My man of honor even flew home from Scotland to be there. It was so validating to see the reaction of my community.
I also cannot stress enough how good the advice to get a good photographer is. I didn’t think it would be that important to me, but when I saw my pictures I started tearing up all over again, and felt every emotion that I had during the day.