OMG, y'all! Who wants to see Managing Editor Megan's first time as a bridesmaid? Come for the live music (the groom is a musician), but stay for the fashion (the bride is a stylist).
The Offbeat Bride: Kimmy Erin, Stylist
Date and location of wedding: Topanga Canyon, CA — October 12, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We knew from the moment we made our relationship official that we wanted this to be forever. And we didn't much care for the titles of boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife — that didn't matter so much as us just being together. So to us, getting married meant a great party to celebrate forever, which is to say, we wanted to officially #partyforever. In fact, our response cards even read “Yes, Party Forever!” or “Partying in spirit!”
And party we did. Set in Topanga Canyon, an earthy artsy enclave in Southern California, near each of our hometowns, the wedding was centered around fun. Even though everything went wrong, as can happen in a brand new (but beautiful) venue, the day was unequivocally magical.
The 120 partiers were shuttled to the event on a (at times frighteningly bumpy) dirt path, so we embraced the seemingly perilous ride and played the “Indiana Jones” soundtrack in the shuttles. Once everyone made it to the venue, they were greeted with wine, champagne, and cucumber mint water, as well as chipotle-spiced chickpeas and bar snacks.
The ceremony featured strings from LA's incredible Sonus Quartet, with all music arranged by the groom.
After the ceremony, we were whisked away to enjoy magic hour on top of a nearby hill while the guests enjoyed a full bar of cocktails, including a whiskey tasting station (the groom's drink of choice).
Dinner was family-style and the theme was “Califrenchican” — an eclectic and mostly vegetarian mix of California, Mexican, and French foods (a mashup of our favorites). The butternut squash goat cheese enchiladas were a hit, as were the fish and carnitas mini-tacos.
Each person got their own baguette (branded with our combined initials “KEEK”) as soon as they were seated, complete with lavender honey butter and a rosemary sprig from my mom's garden.
Dessert? Was like an attraction. My sister-in-law (a professional attorney, not baker, but should somehow be both in life) spent weeks baking six types of cookies and a three-tiered, four-layered chocolate and yellow cake.
Other family members also contributed home-baked desserts, including brown butter sea salt marshmallow treats, flourless chocolate cake, gluten-free cranberry white chocolate cookies, and Nutella-swirled dark chocolate chip cookies. It was amazing.
Tell us about the music…
Our first dance, Ryan Adams' rendition of “When the Stars Go Blue” was sung by local duet Sometimes We Sing Together. Although we took dancing lessons the week before, I found that I couldn't step backwards in my dress with the bustle up! We spent most of the dance just laughing and swaying.
Test out dancing in your outfit before the wedding day, guys!
Erik's dad's band, The Flatland Mountain Rock Band took over from there, playing the classics and getting the entire party on the floor dancing.
Following was Skyler Stonestreet and the closing act, Paul McDonald, who brought the house down with a country rock version of “Gin and Juice.” [Editor's note: Seriously, it was one of my favorite musical performances of all time. -Megan]
Time to unplug! Once we could no longer have amplified music, Ethan Gruska of The Belle Brigade took the stage with an acoustic guitar and sang chill songs as guests were invited to roast marshmallows with 10 types of gourmet chocolate for s'mores. Pizza was delivered just in time to greet the guests as they boarded the shuttle back down the dusty path, this time to the tune of our own recording (also featured on our wedding favor CDs) of “Oh My Sweet Carolina.”
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony began with everyone, including our dog Eli, walking down the aisle to the string quartet playing Sia's “Breathe Me.” I was in tears over the arrangement — it was sick. In my excitement in the moment, I even ripped my dress three times, while reaching up to hug the tall groomsmen before they walked down the aisle.
Then I walked down with my parents to “Something” by The Beatles, with an electric guitar part played by our friend David.
We are both from mixed religious backgrounds and chose to create our own ceremony, based loosely on Jewish tradition. We were married by long-time friend and Jazz singer Kathleen Grace, who opened with an awesome moment of silence to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and the moment.
We also had couches for our bridal party to lounge on during the ceremony. No standing required!
We adapted the Seven Blessings to include our family! We asked each parent and the families of our brothers and sisters to bless us with a theme. They had to write their own, and present it with their family. They then lit a candle in an eight-tiered candelabra — we lit the first one. It was awesome. It made the ceremony long, but it was worth it!
And then the moment of silence to enjoy the moment, and remember those who were not there, was super beautiful.
Our biggest challenge:
Finding an affordable venue, staying on budget, and managing other people's expectations! We wanted a beautiful venue, but didn't have a lot of money, and we also wanted to accommodate tons of people, but didn't have the loads of cash to make it happen.
I think we just tried to ask for as much as possible from our friends in lieu of gifts (for example: the music!) and from our vendors in hopes that a hot Topanga party was something everyone would want to be in on! We think it worked.
My favorite moment:
Our surprise. Our friends, about 30 of them, all took the stage to perform Elliott Smith's “Say Yes.” It was amazing. Heartfelt, beautiful, and so sweet. We have the best friends.
Our vows. We both wrote our own, knowing we were both going to end with When Harry Met Sally‘s “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” But we didn't realize that we would promise so many of the same things to each other: to be each other's support and advocate in life and art, and be each other's managers, and for Erik to take out the trash.
Our sunset photo shoot. It was our first time through the hectic day that we got to be together with our hilarious photographer, and we were able to let go of any drama and just be together in a most beautiful setting.
Our desserts. We really wanted our community to be a part of the celebration and homemade desserts felt like an amazing way. There was so much love in every beautiful and delicious morsel. We ate cake leftovers everyday for a solid two months after the wedding. Happily.
My funniest moment:
So many! Our dog walking down the aisle with bridesmaid Auntie Megan, and him sweetly begging for attention during the ceremony. Erik's honest and sweet vows that included “when you hear a noise in the middle of the night, I will get up and see what it is.”
Oh, there was also that moment when a waiter bumped into my chair, upending red wine all over my dress, which resulted in a barrage of cold water being thrown on my lap to keep it from staining — and all while my father was giving his toast. That was pretty hilarious.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Never lose sight of having fun. No matter what drama is happening, just breathe, and dance, concentrate on each other and you'll start having a great time.
Also, I realized that Erik and I make a damn good team, and we're really good partiers. But that's kinda a “no duh.”
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Les Habitudes
- Sandals: Valentino
- Earrings: Kara Ackerman
- Veil: Nuit Hiboux vintage
- Her ring: Jay Carlile
- His ring: Lori Metals
- His suit and shoes: Ted Baker
- Tie: Original Penguin
- Groomsmen's shirts and ties: Life After Denim
- Flowers: The Paper Arum
- Makeup: Nicole Walmsley
- Hair: Natalie Vermiglio
- Catering: Citron Catering
- Photography: Oliver Barth
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!