The Offbeat Bride: Ebony, Procurement Officer
Her offbeat partner: Alex, IT Manager
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: It was really important to both of us that our wedding represented us from beginning to end. We live in Manchester and we love the city, so we wanted it to feature as a big part of the wedding day. We chose city centre locations and walked between venues with our guests. Manchester is a city famous for its music scene, and we love live music. We wanted the evening to feel like guests were at a gig, so we asked our favourite Manchester band, Naymedici, to play — no covers, just a set of their own stuff. I tried to includes touches that relate to us, from Star Trek quotes on the invites, and the Twitter bird incorporated into the invites (as that was how we met).
Our budget was £3750, including the photographer, band, rings, and basically everything. I made the decor, including the table runners, table mats, and place settings, flowers, button holes, sweet bags, cake topper, and my dress and veil. I also designed and printed all the stationery.
The ceremony was followed by a meal at Mr. Thomas’ Chop House. This restaurant is a Manchester Institution and one of the oldest pubs still running as a pub in Manchester. The meal was just 30 of our closest friends and family in order to keep it intimate and keep costs down. By just making a booking for 30 people mid-afternoon on a Friday, we were able to book out the venue without paying any steep venue hire costs. The meal was traditional British fare of bread and flavoured butters, roast beef with all the trimmings, and sticky toffee pudding.
From there we all walked across town to our favourite Manchester bar, FAB Cafe, for the evening party where we had invited the rest of our friends and family to join the party (about 110 guests all up). FAB Cafe is a retro sci-fi-themed bar with a TARDIS, a Dalek, and a DJ booth styled to look like the bridge of the Enterprise!
When we first got engaged, I asked Alex where he wanted the reception, and he said “FAB Cafe!” At the evening party, we gave out bags of retro sweets and served fish finger butties (a British childhood favorite). Alex’s other major request was that the cake had a Stargate on top, a request he was pretty sure I would ignore, but I was determined to make it happen. We saved money on the actual cake by approaching a lady at our local farmer’s market, and then making the topper myself.
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was simple and personal in the registry office in the city centre. It was sweet and light-hearted, but not corny, and the music felt perfect. We included two readings: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss and “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulgham. We wrote vows together and repeated them to each other:
I choose you to be my (husband/wife), loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know.
I will be there with you for all that life has in store for us.
I give myself as I am and as I will be.
I choose to spend today, and all of my tomorrows with you.
For the music, my processional was to “Hoppippola” by Sigur Ros, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for signing the register, and for the exit we played “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oats for the recessional.
Our biggest challenge: I would say that the biggest challenge we had was the budget. But that being said, I believe working to a budget can make you more creative, and that in turn can make the wedding more personal.
The other challenge was the fact that I am Australian, and all my family live in Australia, so some of them were not able to make it. This was difficult for me, but it is important to keep perspective. It is only one day after all. I was able to chat with them via Skype the morning of the wedding.
My favorite moment: My favourite moment of the wedding was the time we had together before the ceremony, just the two of us with our best man Matt, my sister, and our parents. Matt’s sentiment in his speech that he did not hope that our wedding was the best day of our life, but rather that it would be the worst day, and that it’s all better every day after. That’s the whole point really: it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? We had both been married before, and felt that the first time around we had allowed the rules of what a wedding is supposed to be to dictate the day. There is so much pressure and expectation to do it the way you have always dreamed, that you can forget the best weddings are about both of you and your family and friends. It was also important that we did not break the bank this time. We decided that the financial pressure of a large debt was no way to start a marriage.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress and veil: Designed and made by me with fabric from Bridal Fabrics
- Bride’s shoes: Kurt Geiger
- Bridesmaid’s dress: Primark
- Invites: I designed and printed all stationery with paper from Paper Card
- Groom’s suit: Marks & Spencer
- Guest book poster: Not on the High Street
- Main photographer: Ed Waring
- Photographer for the getting ready shots: A friend who donated her services, Click Click Bang
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!