The offbeat bride: Dana, Tattoo shop owner
Her offbeat partner: James, IT Tech
Location & date of wedding: The Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan — 5/23/2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We're both musicians (I play bass, he plays drums) with a passion for playing in our separate rock bands. I also own Lucky Monkey Tattoo. I cringed at the thought of a traditional wedding, but having eloped for my disastrous first marriage (and hurting family members in the process), I wanted a wedding that we could share with our nearest and dearest. But it also needed to uniquely reflected mine and James' interests: rock ‘n' roll and tattoos!
With help from my Lucky Monkey tattoo artists, friends and family, we put together a cool, fun, and classy wedding that included giant tattoo cut-outs, tattoo banners, temporary tattoos, gorgeous tattooed centerpieces, a tattooed wedding cake, and more! I wore a traditional bridal gown that showed off my large dragon back tattoo!
Our biggest challenge: We had a very limited budget, but a 200 person guest list! We saved money by getting married on a Sunday, and doing the flowers, decorations, and as much as we could ourselves.
I started collecting and buying things for the wedding approximately one year in advance. That allowed us to spend in increments instead of a huge lump sum. Then my mother found the exact flowers I had priced on other discount flower sites for an even lower price at Costco, saving us even more money!
Setting up the day of the event was also a challenge. The venue, the very cool Crofoot Ballroom, had an event the night before so advance set up wasn't an option. But I had a wonderful “army” of friends and family who helped to get everything done in time and beautifully! It helped that I had a very clear vision in advance of what I wanted the venue to look like and was able to convey that to them.
My favorite moment: Our ceremony was extremely personal. James and I wrote our own ceremony and had our good friend Sidi Henderson officiate. He did such a good job that many of our guests wanted to join “his church!”
Our friends Toledo Joe, Ania, and Meatcannon aka Joe Scharf (who died suddenly a week after the wedding) built our wedding chuppa for us. James and his best man Mark harvesteed the birch branches for the chuppa from his old house. The birch trees were planted by his Dad (now deceased) over forty years ago. In this way James' father could be a part of his son's wedding!
Our many musician friends also participated in the wedding: Eliza Neals, accompanied by keyboardist and pal Corey Palmgren, and Atlantic Recording artist Ty Stone sang to us during our ceremony. We were serenaded by musicians Robin Horlock, Brandon Calhoon, Frankie D'Angelo, Vinnie Dombroski, Rachel May, and Billy Reedy during our reception!
Almost a year before the wedding I went online and collected photos of everything I wanted my wedding to feel/look like. I made a collage for each room/scenario — The Ceremony Room, The Reception, and the cocktail hour. Those collages, which showed colors, flowers, lights and decor, really helped me hone in on the details, and stay on track when I purchased something for the wedding. I redid the collages closer to the wedding with photos of the actual flowers, decor, linens, etc. I had purchased. Then I showed the collages to my DIY army of friends and family so that they were able to help me set up the day of the wedding with a clear idea of what I wanted.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To follow your creative vision. I was worried that some of my more conservative guests/older family members wouldn't “get” our wedding, but they ended up having the best time! Have faith that the people that love/care about you will enjoy your wedding!
And don't forget the most important thing — each other! The wedding is a one-time event — the marriage is forever!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: The Crofoot Ballroom and Pike Room
- Tattooed wedding cake and cookies by Sugars
- Tattoo art: Lucky Monkey Tattoo (Jesse Stark and Brian Massey)
- Wedding Band: Crowned Heads of Rhythm
- DJ: Del Villareal
- Tattooed Lamps: Sour Puss Clothing
- Galina Wedding Dress and black halter bridesmaid dresses: David's Bridal
- Roses: COSTCO!
- Photographers: Michael Raffin and Michael Spleet
- Musicians: Eliza Neals and Ty Stone
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!