Offbeat partner: Kate
Offbeat partner: Ben
Date and location of wedding: Courthouse, Miami Beach, FL — Champagne and cupcakes in the Wynwood Walls neighborhood — November 23, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Lovingly low-key/easy elopement was our theme. We just wanted a fabulous day where we could celebrate together in a fun city.
We chose the date and location almost by default because Ben was scheduled to be there for training the week before, and had paid time off scheduled the week of Thanksgiving. We eloped for a number of reasons, but mainly because we did not want the meaning of the day to get lost in the shuffle of a big shindig.
We also had a very low-key engagement — in fact, the elopement was already booked when we officially announced our engagement. We only announced it and "made it official" on September 29, 2016, because we had my grandmother's ring sized that day (sorry friends and family who are reading this). Our immediate family members knew we were eloping, and were very supportive of our decision. The one person we invited to join us for the day was our photographer, my good friend from high school, Lionel, who, with his lovely wife Kristiaan, travels the world doing wedding photography for their company, The Madious.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our brief courthouse ceremony included a very romantic electronic queue number, and a small acoustically challenged room (which actually ended up saving my makeup, as straining to hear the officiant prevented tears), lovingly decorated by the Miami Beach Courthouse staff.
As far as traditions I went with the "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, & a Penny in her shoe," Something old: the silk ribbon and lace from my mother's dress I used to make a fascinator; Something new: my dress; Something Borrowed: my necklace; Something Blue: the sparkles on my fabulous green shoes; and, yes, I had a penny in my shoe.
Tell us about your reception:
For our "reception," we hopped in the Bentley we had hired for the day, and were chauffeured to the Wynwood Walls arts district in Miami. As we drove, we called our various family members to report our official union. We found a local coffee shop, picked up a bottle of champagne and some mini cupcakes, (and a snack for our photographer — note: always feed your photographer, you don't want them passing out from weakness), and toasted to making "TeamBS" official.
After exploring the artistry of Wynwood Walls we moved the festivities to the waterfront area for another champagne toast, and some pictures on the pier.
Later had a great sushi dinner (the groom's favorite), and then explored South Beach, where a gentleman we now refer to as "The Muppet Man" redid and revised our vows in a secondary ceremony that had us all in tears laughing.
What was your most important lesson learned?
#1 If you're financially able to cover it, DO NOT SKIMP ON THE PHOTOGRAPHER. Just because your friend takes great photos, it does not mean they are great at shooting weddings. I say this both as a witness to multiple disappointed friends, and as a photographer who does not (and will not) do weddings. You are going to be looking at these photos the rest of your lives, it's worth every penny. Of course, I lucked out to have a great friend like Lionel who happens to does international wedding photography professionally.
#2 Invest a bit in what you wear if you plan on doing photos. We found a great blue vest and slacks for Ben that really brought out his blue eyes, and although I never found my "dream" dress, his sapphire blue ensemble inspired me to buy a fabulous emerald green dress that was ideal for the day.
#3 Do not get caught up in the minutiae, and just have fun. Enjoy the celebration of you and your partner spending the rest of your lives together, because, really, that ultimately is the most important part of getting married.
#4 Small or big celebration, it's only a few hours of your lives, enjoy it. If something is off, or goes wrong, roll with it and enjoy the day.
Photography: The Madious