The Offbeat Bride: Ruth, Education Grad Student and Theatre Teacher
Her offbeat partner: Andrew, Psychometrician
Date and location of wedding: The Paul and LuLu Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, LA — May 28, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We considered our wedding “spiritually eclectic” since we didn't adhere to any ceremonial template. I consider myself a student of Buddhism, but I have not taken refuge, and Andrew is an agnostic. We both come from Catholic families, which made the already-difficult task of planning a non-Catholic wedding in super-Catholic south Louisiana even harder. So we realized that the greatest sense of spirituality that we have comes from the amazing web of people with which we surround ourselves, and that was it: our wedding was a community celebration of our love and commitment to one another.
So we strove to make everything a community event, from having my best friend officiate, to holding a ring-warming ceremony. We chose a handfasting as our vow ceremony because the egalitarian wording fit our relationship perfectly. We chose our readings (both found on Offbeat Bride) for their description of an independent relationship where both partners work together to create a union: “To Love is Not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh was read by our friend Chance and an excerpt from “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L'Engle was read by my cousin Susannah. I wrote our ceremony, with the exception of the readings and the handfasting ceremony.
My bridesmaids chose their own short, blue, pocketed dresses. One of my ushers dressed as the Eleventh Doctor from Doctor Who, and another wore the fangs he got from the production we did together of “Bat Boy: The Musical.” My ten-year-old sister was my flower girl, Drew's little girl cousin was our ring bearer, and her little sister was our (unwilling) handfasting cord bearer. Andrew wore a replica of Capt. Mal Reynold's coat from Joss Whedon's short-lived but much-beloved show Firefly.
Tell us about the ceremony: We all walked in to my guitar teacher, Dave Trainer, playing on guitar and singing “All I Want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar. My parents walked me down the aisle together. Mike, my best friend and our Universal Life Church online-ordained minister, said a few words thanking our community for being a part of our commitment to one another, and then introduced the readings. My best friend Kristina sang “We've Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters as our last reading.
My little sister sang “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields during our ring warming. Her voice has always had the power to move me to tears, and this was no exception.
Because we were blessed to have so many people present, it was just our wedding party and families who held the rings during our ring warming, but everyone was invited to do so during the reception.
I wanted my wedding to be a “Super Special Shocking Spectacular” that would knock the socks off of my guests, and I got bogged down in the aesthetic.
Our biggest challenge: I was very caught up in the wedding-as-contest mindset, no matter how many times Offbeat Bride told me not to be. I wanted my wedding to be a “Super Special Shocking Spectacular” that would knock the socks off of my guests, and I got bogged down in the aesthetic. It took me up until a few months before the wedding to relax about how it would look in the pictures and focus on how it would feel in my memory and the memories of my loved ones. I realized eventually that nobody really remembers what the tables look like; I didn't remember until we got the pictures back! What people remember is how it felt — and as long as it feels like love, that's all that matters.
My funniest moment: I'm an amateur musical theatre performer, and I've worked for a long time with a company in Lafayette called Acting Unlimited, Inc. Many of our friends are theatre performers or aficionados, so when Mike, our officiant and DJ, turned on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it was all over. Everyone was on the dance floor, singing and acting it out. It was a hilarious and awesome moment.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Relax and spend the time enjoying the ride with your partner. I wish I'd spent more time just enjoying being engaged. Live in the moment rather than for the day of your wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Annie Fontenot and Nicole Bertrand
- Venue: The Paul and Lulu Hilliard Museum on the UL Lafayette campus
- Flowers: Rodney Nero at Les Amis Florist
- Catering: Joey's Lafayette
- Cakes: Sophi P Cakes
- Rentals: Party Central
- Hair and makeup: Studio One2One
- Dress: Jenny Lee from The Bridal Atelier
- Groom's Firefly coat: Abbeyshot Clothiers
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!