Emma & Brian's geeky rainy love fest wedding

Updated Oct 3 2016
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Photos by Patrick O'Gara and Jordan Buzzy

The Offbeat Bride: Emma, Barista and Qualitative Assistant by day, Theatrical Director by night

Her offbeat partner: Brian, Appointment Clerk by day, Actor by night

Date and location of wedding: Presque Isle Park and Marquette Commons in Marquette, MI — August 18, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Getting married was a very big deal for both of us. Neither of us had it in our life plans and neither of us dreamed about it as children, so when we got engaged we had the opportunity to build from the ground up without expectations or preconceived notions. We only spent $3,000, wrote our own ceremony, honored some traditions from our respective heritages, and had three wedding cakes (one for Star Wars, one for Star Trek, and one for Doctor Who!).

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Brian and I wrote a reading for the ceremony, and I think it's the thing I'm most proud of. It was based on 1st Corinthians, but went on to reference all the things that we think about when we think about love, from The Princess Bride to Doctor Who to Louis L'amour to 30 Rock. Everyone in our wedding party and immediate families read a bit, and we worked really hard to ensure that each reference was a reflection of the person reading it.

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It included our handfasting (modeled after The Wedding of River Song from Doctor Who), and our officiant even allowed us to include a loving joke by letting her exclaim her lesbianhood through Shakespeare.

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Mother of the bride: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Brother of thebride: Love is the moment before you're frozen in carbonite, when the girl you've had your eye on finally admits what you always knew. Love is when you say, "I know."
Brother-in-law of the bride: Love can do the impossible, and that makes love mighty.
Sister of the bride: Love tempers sense with sensibility. Love has no pride, and no prejudice.
Brother of the bride: Love knocks out six-foot mountain trolls, stuns Deatheaters, and kills Voldemort.
Brother of the bride: Love is the exchange of a thimble for an acorn. Love never grows old.
Sister-in-law of the bride: Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?
Sister of the bride: Love knows this secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Father of the bride: Love always liked a girl with freckles on her nose. Love is a moment of stillness that sometimes a word can shatter to pieces. Or love can be a thing that endures, a rich, deep current flowing unending through the years.
Officiant: Love is a very long story. Love skips no details, remembers every moment, and tells it at length thirty years later. Love says, "I love you" on the first date.
Man of honor: Love survives every karate kick and every new fashion trend. Love is constantly seeking The Rainbow Connection. Love knows that someday you'll find it.
Groomsman: Love falls down hills, fights Rodents of Unusual Size, comes back to life and always says, "As you wish."
Bridesmaid: Love is a single moment, suspended in time. Love is when the world stops for your kiss.
Bridesman: Love never reveals the mystery. There are riots in London when you try to shut down love.
Brother of the bride: Love survives editorial ret-cons.
Brother of the bride: …and the Zombie Apocalypse.
Groomswoman: Love rolls a natural twenty with a vorpal weapon.
Groomsman: For love, the boat was actually Plan C. The church was Plan B and Plan A was marrying her a long, long time ago.
Sister of the bride: Love lies beyond the Wardrobe, inside the painting and through the door to nowhere. Love is an albatross on a dark island. Love rides first into battle and is the last to retreat.
Bridesmaid: Love is the final frontier. Love explores strange new worlds, seeks out new life and new civilizations. Love boldly goes where no one has gone before.
Groomswoman: Love is at the top of The Giza Pyramids when time has stopped… when all you need is a strip of cloth about a foot long.
Mother of the groom: Love appears like lightning out of a clear sky. Love carries you up the mountain. Love will take you there and back again.
Father of the groom: Love is faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's love.
Bridesmaid: We are all a little weird, and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
Best Whoa-man: Love is to be all made of sighs and tears/To be all made of faith and service/It is to be all made of fantasy/All made of passion,
Man of honor: …And all made of wishes/All adoration, duty, and observance/All humbleness, all patience and impatience/All purity, all trial, all obedience.
Best Whoa-man: Just as Brian is for Emma.
Man of honor: And Emma is for Brian.
Officiant: And I for no man!
Groomswoman: Love isn't judgmental. Love is patient. Love is weird, and sometimes gross. Love is illusive. And you've found it. So treasure it. And maybe don't leave it alone with Dot-Com.

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Ending the ceremony with "Song for Ten"

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Our biggest challenge:
We spent a lot of our wedding planning process having calm, constructive conversations with family members about what we meant when we said "non-traditional." There was a whole section on the FAQ of our wedsite devoted to it. I think the hardest thing was explaining that we chose to have a less expensive wedding because it was an accurate representation of who we are, not because it was our only choice. We could have allowed our parents to pay for it, but we knew we'd never be able to pay them back, and we worried that they'd use it as a tool to get us to have more traditional nuptials. There were family members that felt that we would always regret the lack of traditional wedding gown and paraphernalia, but so far we regret nothing.

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My favorite moment:
My brother Tommy wasn't able to make it to the wedding. I cried myself sick over it the day before the wedding, but other siblings ensured that his wedding gift made it to us. He'd organized a flash mob and my whole family performed it. It was fantastic and made me feel like he was there with us the whole time.

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My funniest moment:
During planning, I'd read an Offbeat Bride post about using a D&D die instead of ringing bells or clinking glasses for bridal kisses at the reception. Brian is a big D&D player, so I stole the idea! The idea was that if someone wanted us to kiss, the could roll the die. If they got 1-10 we would snog, but if they got 11-20 they had to kiss someone else. But as things got drunker, our friends decided to change the rules. Suddenly 11-20 meant that they (the die roller) would kiss one of us. We ended up kissing a lot of folks on our wedding day. My particular favorite was when our friend Zack smooched Brian.

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A tree herder fingerprint tree!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Everything is probably going to be okay. There are always arguments and drama in planning, and then barbecue sauce on my dress, but at the end of the night, Brian took my hand and we ran through an aisle of sparklers to our future. And we're so damn happy here.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. OMG Your collective readings! I think I just fell in love with you, lovely internet stranger!

    I've been tossing around having our 5 parents and our wedding party each have a few lines of a reading. I want to include my step-mom somehow but she feels awkward having a parental role in my wedding and doing a collective reading kind of solves that issue. But your idea of taking references of everything important/influential and making your own reading is GENIUS!

    If the FH likes it as well, do you mind if we take your idea and run with it? We want to include geeky references from Star Wars, Firefly, favorite books and inside jokes, but hiding them in the decor/invites/etc hasn't really been working out so far.

  2. I love your line: "we chose to have a less expensive wedding because it was an accurate representation of who we are, not because it was our only choice"

    Our parents did help us financially and we turned down some of their requests (for example, being married in my in laws' church or at least by their minister) but we did it nicely (and in the end our ceremony was a huge hit).

    We could have spent more. The money from my in laws was for a wedding/house and we spent less than half of it on the wedding. Two reasons we didn't spend more: 1. we want to buy a house in the near future, and 2. We could get what we wanted for what we spent (I'm not into spending money for the sake of spending money).

    Our wedding wasn't $3000, it was a lot more, but it was a lot less than other weddings I have been to in the last few years. Our wedding was personal and awesome and us – and everyone in attendance agreed. Spending more and having a fancy wedding or adding tulle to the decor and crystal centrepieces (our only decorations were family pictures, board games as centrepieces, Lego table numbers and Christmas lights) wouldn't have been us (plus I promised my husband a tulle free wedding after he spent two days hanging tulle for a wedding the year before).

  3. that reading is the GREATEST Mother*^&#&@*#&%&*% reading OF-ALL-TIME! and I L-O-V-E the way that everyone took a part! the lego details are fantastic and that dress is cute as a button!

    • Yay! No, thank you for the inspiration! I just have to pass it on to the FH and see what he thinks of it now. It may be months away but you made me excited for the ceremony part again 🙂

  4. What a beautiful wedding. I don't usually get teary over wedding readings before they're read, but after making it through Star Wars and Jane Austen and all things good I was well and truly teary by The Office reference. So well written and put together! Many happy returns to you both. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing this. The ceremony reading was fantastic. Fun and beautiful at the same time. I enjoyed your whole wedding website, it was really useful to see one in action.

  6. All I can say is, "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!"

  7. Emma, I love seeing this , it's so inspiring! It's so great to see so many "untraditional – traditional" elements that you both brought in to the ceremony. I will probably steal some of these things from you… It's been over a year of your wedding, but congratulations for your new life together!

  8. What a lovely wedding! Congratulations to the couple! That FAQ on your wedsite is total genius. And that shawl is giving me some serious yarn lust- did you make it? do you have a pattern?? muhahah crochet pattern!!!

  9. I love your reading! Just love it! Do you mind if I use it as a template for our officiant's reading? We are both major nerds, but he wants a more traditional decor while

    • Bah. Hit the wrong button.

      Anyway. I was saying he was more traditional decor and setting and the like, while I want things to be more personalized. A reading seems like a happy medium.

      • Of course you may use it as a template! I hope you have as much fun writing your version as we did writing ours! :).

  10. How did the handfasting go? Because my pastor friend really likes the "Who gives this woman" part as a way to say "Hey. We're from this family, but we're leaving that and making a new family."
    So I was thinking I could try to work in the "Do you consent and gladly give?" from DW in place of the traditional wording.

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