The offbeat bride: Robin (aka Suzy Snakeyes), Administrative Assistant in the fitness industry and blocker for the Tough Cookies
Her offbeat partner: Michael (aka Mike Snakeyes), Advertising Account Manager and L.A. Derby Dolls statistician
Date and location of wedding: Doll Factory, venue for the L.A. Derby Dolls roller derby league — September 4, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: Michael and I met through the L.A. Derby Dolls roller derby league (through a mutual friend who used to skate with the league), so our relationship was born in roller derby. He proposed to me at halftime during a roller derby game I was playing. (Click here to see a video of the proposal!) So it made perfect sense for us to get married at the same place where we got engaged — on the roller derby track! It also helped that, as a couple working on a tight budget, I was able to use my connections as a long-time skater with the league to get the venue for free!
Keeping with the theme, for our rehearsal dinner, we treated guests to pizza and beer as well as an exhibition roller derby game featuring a Brides team in all white against the Grooms team decked out in black tuxedo shirts.
Michael and I gave our respective teams their pre-game pep talks and we did the play by play for our friends and family, many of whom had never seen roller derby before. It was a fun way to introduce our passion to our friends and family, as well as kick off the festivities.
And, of course, we rolled into our reception in style — on roller skates! We didn't want to wear skates for the ceremony or during the reception (too dangerous), but really wanted to include skating somehow. Our grand entrance seemed to make the most sense, and really helped start our reception on the perfect note.
As for the reception, fun was the name of the game. We really made use of our large warehouse venue. Aside from our DJ providing a nonstop dance party in the main reception room, we also had another room with a blackjack table and a craps table (I *am* Suzy Snakeyes after all), as well as Beatles Rock Band. Our photographer provided a sweet photo booth as well.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony started with traditional entrances for the wedding party to the tune of “Maybe I'm Amazed” by Paul McCartney. But we decided the groom needed a proper entrance, too. So once the wedding party was in place, the room went silent. Then the DJ played “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project, which was the Chicago Bulls entrance theme from the '80s.
All of a sudden, Mike stepped into the bleachers adjacent to the derby track in a bright blue break-away sweatsuit. He ran through the bleachers giving high fives before ripping off the sweat suit to reveal his wedding suit. He then exited the bleachers and entered the track before I walked down the aisle with my father to “Lady” by Styx. That pretty much set the tone for the entire ceremony.
Our officiant wore a referee jersey. We flipped a coin to determine the order of our vows. Our vows were a pretty even mix of sincere and funny. I vowed to share with him a blind, seething hate for the Black Eyed Peas, and he vowed to love my roller derby obsession and tolerate my cat obsession.
It's funny because our ceremony didn't really come together until the very last minute. Our officiant, a friend who I worked with years ago, lived out of town, so we didn't get to meet with him beforehand. He sent us the basic ceremony that he uses, and when we read it we decided it was way too short. So two days before the wedding, we decided to have readings. We found the first reading on Offbeat Bride — “The Book of Love” by Magnetic Fields. The second “reading” came out of something of a dare.
One of my teammates kept threatening to sing “Love Story” by Taylor Swift at my wedding, because she knew Michael isn't a fan. When we realized we needed one more reading, we called her bluff and asked her to perform it. So she gathered a handful of my teammates and sang Taylor Swift at our wedding. And wouldn't you know it? It was adorable. I think Michael may even like that song a little now.
All in all, it turned out to be a sweet, loving, and funny ceremony, and there was no doubt that it was 100 percent us.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was our budget, since we were paying for the wedding ourselves. Our “roller derby family” is pretty big, and when we added them on top of the “real life” family and friends, we knew this was going to end up being a large wedding. At the end of the day, our guest list was close to 200. So we had to find creative ways to keep the budget under control. The free venue was definitely step one. I got crafty and helped create centerpieces, table name pictures, and the NOM Kitty card holder, inspired by the Wedding Card Monster on OBB.
We were also so lucky to have many of our family and friends offering low or no-cost assistance. I had Derby Dolls helping me with hair and makeup as well as invitations and guestbook poster art. The girlfriend of the skater who did my hair also made me a beautiful peacock fascinator that I wore during the reception. Our DJ is the head of events for the L.A. Derby Dolls.
A good friend of ours designed and made our amazing cakes. Michael's cousin hand-crafted my garter. We had all sorts of derby and non-derby related help in both the set up and the tear-down of the venue. And my sister, the fantastic Laura Guerrie of Rebel Belle Weddings, saved my sanity on various occasions by both coordinating the wedding and serving as my Maid of Honor.
My favorite moment: Music is so important to both of us, and we took great care selecting the music cues for the wedding. Some of the music choices may have been silly (e.g. doing our first dance to Boston's uber-sleazy '70s ode to the one night stand “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”), but they will also forever be meaningful to us.
It was also so wonderful to have my father walk me down the aisle, and to be able to have him twirl me around during our father/daughter “swing” dance. And let me just say that for a septuagenarian, the man can MOVE!
My funniest moment: There were so many funny moments, which is why the day was so very special. From discovering our friends were tailgating in the parking lot prior to the ceremony to hearing the crowd rather non-traditionally (for a wedding) erupt in cheers when members of the wedding party entered, to when Mike and I were thrown in chairs and hoisted up to the tune of a-ha's “Take On Me” during the reception. We were laughing pretty much constantly.
But the funniest moment of all was during the speech portion of the reception, when my new husband's initially stoic speech turned into a spot-on hip hop serenade to L.L. Cool J's “I Need Love.” People are still talking about that one to this day.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? There were so many different moving pieces to this wedding that any number of things could have turned out to be a total disaster. We had guests walking down a steep and potentially slippery track to their seats. We had ME walking down a steep and potentially slippery track in high heels, accompanied by my 70-year-old dad. We wondered if the string lights that we brought into the venue at the last minute would end up blowing a fuse in the warehouse. We even wondered if our roller derby friends would scare the more straight-laced types. But at the end of the day, the lights stayed on, nobody fell, and everyone had a great time together.
My advice for offbeat brides: As DIY as my wedding was — and as much as I enjoyed that element of the planning — it's also nice to go non-DIY for certain elements. I can't say enough how special it was to have friends and family so intimately involved with putting our wedding together, but sometimes life gets in the way for some of them and it leaves you scrambling a bit. And that scramble can magnify stress if you're already a frazzled bride-to-be. So for certain things, there's no substituting for a vendor with a written contract, even if that means paying a little extra.
Speaking of stress, it's so easy to get caught up in little details and allow the stress to get in the way of the fun of wedding planning. So I definitely recommend having a coordinator to help keep things organized and running on track — especially if you're planning a large wedding. But ultimately, when the big day arrives it's not going to matter to you if things are going exactly as planned.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? ‘Tis better to overpurchase than underpurchase in the booze department. We anticipated 200 heavy-drinking, hard-partying guests, and we purchased beer and wine accordingly. And, as it turns out, our guests didn't drink nearly as much as we had anticipated. But the upside to leftover booze is… leftover booze! We have been enjoying wedding wine for months now with no sign of it running out.
Not providing enough booze = tragedy
Providing too much booze = SCORE!
- Coordinator: Laura Guerrie, Rebel Belle Weddings
- Photography: Ryan Williams, Rawtography
- Photography second shooter: Marc “Stalkerazzi” Campos
- Dress (off-the-rack La Sposa sample): Karoza Bridal
- Catering: Huntington Catering Company
- Cake: Sarah Schreckengaust
- Invitations: CP Connections
- Favors: Vogrin's Palace
- Fabulous green peacock wedding shoes: Martinez Valero
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
planners: Rebel Belle Weddings