Saleha & Greg's feminist, museum, dance party wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

Clothespin dolls again

The offbeat bride: Saleha, Housing & Homelessness Advocate (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Greg, Cellist

Location & date of wedding: Burned down flour mill turned museum, Minneapolis, MN — July 11, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted a meaningful (and colorful!) wedding that expressed our values, but wasn't so in-your-face political that certain extended family members walked out.

Water ceremonyThe process of planning was probably more feminist than anything. We agreed early on that it was not just the bride's project and we both needed to be involved.

Our feminist theology professor officiated and wrote the ceremony with us. Our parents walked us down the side aisles and gave us away to each other up front. The "sermon" centered on our desire to project our love for each other outwards towards the world and use our privilege as a married couple to advocate for marriage equality.

We DIYed a lot, including handmaking the paper for our invitations.

father daughter (merengue) danceOur loved ones really came through for us with the live music, flower arrangement, decorations, dance lessons, and more. As a surprise, my mom brought butterflies that she had raised, and released them at the reception surrounded by a group of adoring children.

My dress was blue. Greg's hat was red. It all took place in a museum.

But the most offbeat part was our kickass dance party. The father-daughter dance started it out with a merengue titled "Ojala Que Llueva Cafe," which translates to "I Wish it Would Rain Coffee." A third of the playlist was Latin dance and none of it was typical wedding reception music. The poor bartenders were bored out of their minds, because everyone was too busy dancing to drink.

kissing after a toast

bride's bouquetOur biggest challenge: We wanted to serve alcohol, but also wanted to make it clear that we didn't expect everyone to drink. There are several alcoholics in my family, including my dad who is thirty-five-years sober, and other people were coming that don't drink for other reasons.

We insisted that there be a cash bar (which took some arguing with the caterer) and a prominent non-alcoholic option for toasts. We thought the caterer was on board with all this, since we talked about it several times. However, they only brought five bottles of sparkling apple cider and immediately ran out.

Saleha's side of the aisle

look at those shoes!My favorite moment: Our first dance as a couple. It began as a tame waltz, then erupted into a salsa and closed with us pulling everyone out on the dance floor to "Love Train." Dancing for me is an expression of true joy and looking into Greg's eyes just before we ran out and pulled everyone else in was possibly my favorite moment of my entire life.

Greg's side of the aisle

GregMy advice for offbeat brides: If you're on a budget, consider very carefully the cost of food. We had no idea and we're still paying for our mistake (literally). Practice letting go of things you can't control (e.g. family members' feelings, that you already signed a contract with your expensive caterer, etc.). I have a tendency to get stressed out when planning things, no matter how happy the occasion, and the mantra "I accept what I can't control" saved my sanity.

And one more thing, use the Tribe. I got some great tips from the Minnesota group and ended up swapping lanterns with a fellow Tribe member.

The wedding posse in clothespin form
Saleha's mom made these amazingballs clothespin dolls of everyone one in the wedding posse.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I am in MN and on a tight budget. Maybe I should join the Tribe… I'm curious to know what happened with the food expense. We haven't booked a caterer and you are making me nervous! ha!

    • Join it! Join it!
      I'm in the twin cities and have some caterer information that I (compulsively) compiled with my fiance if you'd like me to ship it your way — just let me know.

      And Saleha, what a beautiful wedding — everyone looks perfectly happy. Also: the hat, your shoes, your bridesmaids' dresses… so, so awesome.

  2. Well done you! I am also having a cash bar because of family and friends who do not drink, and we are supplying the artisan fizzy drinks, apple cider, coffee and tea as well as fun mixed juice mocktails. Since we are doing a lunch wedding people are more open to the concept, but we are still getting whiners…

  3. Do you have a sample of the ceremony you used by chance? We are also a feminist hetero couple and would love to see how you worded your ceremony.

  4. Love the blue and red color scheme. Also, I love that song! I would have been bouncing in my seat joyfully if I had seen that. Props to you and your guy!

  5. love the fact that your parents walked you both down the side aisles & you met in the middle. i'm going to remember that for the future :).

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