The offbeat bride: Dorian, attorney (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Lynn, QA Lead for video game company
Date and location of wedding: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA — June 11, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: Almost every vendor we used, we found on Offbeat Bride or the Tribe, directly or indirectly. There was no single theme other than the fact that it reflected each of us individually and our relationship together, though there were some sub-themes of color, geekiness, sci-fi, and nature.
We were married in front of dinosaur skeletons, after walking in to the first part of the theme from Jurassic Park (our recessional was the other half of the theme). My dress was a corset with a separate skirt which was a design based on my idea, and I wore Fleuvog boots with it. My husband and his groomsmen all wore custom-made Converse.
Each of the bridesmaids wore a different dress (same designer/color/material, though) which they chose, and I had sashes or wraps made for them to match the material in my dress. The men also had pocket squares of the same material and Star Wars cufflinks: Vader for Lynn and Shadowtroopers for the groomsmen.
Our table names were all named after things that had meaning for us. The wedding party table was named for where we met (Blizzcon). Other table names were from Star Wars, World of Warcraft, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, where our first date was, my favorite mountain for snowboarding, and other references to locations or shows that mean something to one or both of us.
Our wedding party table was smack dab in the middle of all of the other tables. It had to be because of the size (19 of us total), which was great because it made us feel like we were part of everything going on, as opposed to being in wedding jail seated away from everyone else.
We had cupcakes and cake… oh, did I mention the cake? We had the Millennium Falcon as our wedding cake, complete with lighting, edible “sand,” and Han and Leia figures as “cake besiders.” I left the cake entirely up to Lynn and our incredible baker, Kimberly Bailey of The Butter End.
Originally, I had thought about having a Star Wars cake as a groom's cake, when I realized I didn't really care about the cake. I knew how much it would mean to him to have an awesome Star Wars cake as our wedding cake. That's how we ended up with the Millennium Falcon. Kimberly's work is amazing. She has a video of her and her assistant, Rainbow, creating the cake on their website. They put tons of work and love and detail into it.
With so many children at our wedding, we needed a protector of the cake, and so we had a “bounty hunter” as our cake guardian. He was the hit of the party, taking pictures with people (although sadly, he didn't make it into the photo booth) and dancing with them. I can't tell you how many people changed their Facebook profile photos to a picture of themselves with our “bounty hunter” in the weeks after our wedding!
Tell us about the ceremony: Our amazing wedding planner timed out our processional perfectly so that I would be walking in, escorted by my parents, to the crescendo of the music. My brother, John, performed the ceremony that Lynn and I had put together. The themes of nature, honesty, individuality, love, and choice permeated the ceremony we wrote. When our guests were asked to make a declaration of support for us, we asked that they respond, “So say we all,” from Battlestar Galactica.
During our vows, Lynn started to tear up. He said, “this is really hard” and one of his groomsmen shouted, “that's what she said!” He had told me he was going to set this up and I totally forgot about it in the moment. Well done, sir! In my vows, I emphasized that we were together because we choose to be, not because we are obligated to be. I then said, “I want you. I want you to want me to want you. But I don't need you. Don't need you to need me to need you,” from “I Want You, But I Don't Need You” by Momus.
Our readings were “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton (too perfect with our setting), 1 Corinthians 13, and “Life's Mirror” by Madeline Bridges (chosen by my father who knows and loves poetry). We shared a cup of wine and exchanged our rings. My brother then blessed us, said, “Achievement unlocked! You may now kiss the bride!” and the swell of the second part of the Jurassic Park theme started during our kiss.
Our biggest challenge: We had so many vendors and so many guests. The biggest challenge was managing all of those people. I think we had about 13 vendors on site (with countless more employees of those vendors) and the set-up time for the ceremony was about two hours. It required setting up the bars for the cocktail hour, the ceremony DJ, mics for the ceremony, some tables, and about 250 chairs. Luckily the reception set-up could continue during the ceremony.
Also, wrangling 250 people who have free run of a museum is difficult. Many people missed the dances or the cake cutting because they were off exploring an exhibit. However, we were not disappointed in this, and were instead happy that people were making good use of the venue.
My favorite moment: At some point, we realized we were not the center of attention in our wedding. But it was fine with us because we brought people into our world. People who may not have known one of us certainly got an idea of who we are as a couple. Some of the most meaningful moments were our entrance and exit to the Jurassic Park theme (unbelievably perfect for the situation and incredibly moving), our vows (which we each wrote), the speeches, and seeing our cake for the first time.
We also had a fantastic weekend with our friends and were thrilled to see new friendships being forged between people who had been strangers before, vendors becoming friends, friends becoming family, and two families becoming one.
My funniest moment: This may be the hardest question to answer since there were so many funny moments. In addition to Lynn's “that's what she said” line in his vows, he vowed to be as big a smartass as I am and to laugh at me when I cry at commercials.
Our aisle was a little more narrow than we expected and as a result, Lynn stepped on the train of my dress which caused me to bust out laughing. We walked into the reception to the Super Mario Brothers theme, which got some giggles. The speeches (by my father, my eldest brother, our Best Man, and our Matron of Honor) brought tears and many more laughs.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? There were some logistical issues and we had a short set-up time, but I trusted the vendors we hired to do their job. Our wedding planner, Laura Guerrie of Rebel Belle Weddings was absolutely indispensable. She wrangled all of the vendors with the help of only two assistants and the event staff at the museum. She also kept us to our timeline to ensure that all the things we had planned (dinner, speeches, dances, cake cutting, and departure) actually happened.
My advice for offbeat brides: Decide what is important and let other things go. I knew early on that we had such an amazing venue that we didn't need much in the way of decor. I also knew I didn't care about what chairs, china, silverware and glassware we had, so we were able to be cheap about those items, allowing us to splurge in other areas that were more important.
More importantly, hire people you can trust. I had conversations with my vendors from the beginning where I stated, “Here's my general idea, but you're the expert. What do you think?” Be honest with yourself and with your vendors. If you don't click, you probably have the wrong vendor (although it may take a little time to click).
Our vendors saw our vision and helped to improve it and provided solutions when we encountered problems. Our “bounty hunter” came to be based on an offhand suggestion Laura (Rebel Belle) made. Lynn took that suggestion and ran with it, but we wouldn't have gotten to that point without her suggestion!
Also, don't forget to give credit where it is due and show appreciation to your vendors if they deserve it (and frankly, if you've chosen wisely, they will). We actually ended up inviting several of our vendors to be guests at our wedding and many have also become our friends. Hiring people who we could trust and who understood our vision allowed us to relax and enjoy our wedding which ended up being even better than we ever could have imagined.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Wedding planner: Rebel Belle Weddings
- Ceremony and reception venue: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
- Photographer: Matt Miller, Our Labor of Love (the blog post and the full set)
- Videographer: Elysium Productions
- Bride's dress: Dark Garden
- Bride's shoes: Fluevog Mini Sugar
- Bride's headpiece/veil: Etsy seller SimpleBeautyVeils (for veil) and Etsy seller GurlyGirl (for comb)
- Bride's Jewelery: Etsy seller TheJewelryBar
- Groom's tux: Friar Tux Shop, with top hat from Village Hat Shop
- The guys' cufflinks: Etsy seller CrimsonKing
- Pocket squares, sashes, and wraps: Pavlina Janssen
- Bridesmaids' dresses: Dresses by Lynn Lugo
- Bridal party's jewelry: Etsy seller FaeriedTreasures, Etsy seller Sylvia'sSpareTime, and LaBelleGem
- Cake: The Butter End
- Cupcakes: Enjoy Cupcakes
- Flowers: Flour LA
- Ceremony/Cocktail hour DJ: DJ Pasha Gonzalez
- Reception DJ: The Flashdance/The Human Jukebox
- Hair/make-up: Andi Scarbrough
- Save-the-dates: Brynn Marchant, personal friend (printed at Vistaprint)
- Invitations: Royal Steamline
- Catering: Heirloom
- Lighting and table linens: Flowers on Mars
- Photobooth: Snapshotz
- Beverage catering: Liquid Catering
- Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals
- Bounty Hunter: BBF Replicas
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
planners: Rebel Belle Weddings
invitations: Royal Steamline