Oh, we've met Kisså before. She revealed to us the 18 minutes that changed her life. That's pretty awesome, but let's read more about the day that offered up those 18 minutes.
The offbeat bride: Kisså, Paralegal (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Todd, Special Needs Trust Administrator
Date and location of wedding: Walpack Valley, NJ — June 11, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was definitely offbeat lite. I think the most offbeat thing about our wedding was the way we approached the entire day: from planning to being in the moment, we knew that we would enjoy ourselves. We wanted our guests to inhabit our quirky little world for a day. As a result, we were really laid-back about everything. We had no set color palette (although we ended up with a lot of blue and yellow because it's a combination we like), we gave very loose guidelines to our wedding party for what to wear, and we made sure our guests knew dressing comfortably was more important than looking fancy.
When I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on our wedding day to a steady drizzle, I shrugged it off and spent the morning having coffee and scrambled eggs with Todd, our best man and maid of honor, and their significant others instead of putting up decorations outside. Our wedding was, for the most part, a total non-freakout zone.
We did a number of DIY things including handmade decorative bunting, a candy bar, “yay” flags, and handmade button bouquets. I used to manage a company that rents photobooths, and my former boss generously gave us a booth for our wedding. It was a hit.
We also had a morning wedding, which was unusual for everyone in attendance. The ceremony started at 10:30, was over by 10:50, “cocktail” hour went from 11:00-12:00, and then we had a lunch and open bar reception from 12:00-4:00. Multiple people told us they appreciated the early end time, because they could get home and not feel fried afterwards. Our wedding venue was in the middle of nowhere: a restaurant called the Walpack Inn in the Water Gap region of northwest New Jersey. Some friends (God bless 'em!) drove three hours to make it. The setting was gorgeous -– misty hills, rolling fields backed by mountains, wild turkeys strutting about, and antler décor.
Tell us about the ceremony: A friend of mine from college, Adam, had continued on to seminary to become a Moravian minister. He now leads a congregation in North Carolina, but he was delighted to come up to New Jersey to marry us. It was very special to have a friend officiate, and I think everyone appreciated his humor and kindness. During his homily, he opted not to preach about our duty to love one another, but instead thanked us for falling in love and making the world a better place through our love for each other. We used a traditional Moravian wedding ceremony, which is nice and short with only one page. The entire ceremony, readings and all, took about 18 minutes.
We chose a few unusual readings. My college roomie Erin sang “At Last” unexpectedly a capella because I totally shat the bed on remembering to give her accompaniment to our DJ! She came up to the front to sing and I was like “Oh CRAP! Your music! Umm… sorry! Can you sing it a capella?” She nailed it, and was really gracious about it and no one noticed my mistake. Todd's uncle Richard read Ogden Nash's “Tin Wedding Whistle” which got a couple of chuckles out of the crowd. Our friend Chris read a piece called “Vignette,” and another friend, Mike, had written a piece that we loved, and he was flattered that we wanted to use it as a reading.
At the very end, as we kissed and Adam pronounced us husband and wife, and our DJ started the recession music, which was Michael Franti's “The Sound of Sunshine.” His timing was impeccable and it was exactly how I'd daydreamed it. We felt like such rock stars.
Our biggest challenge: We were fortunate to have no major challenges. We had to limit our guest list to 130 people, which was the absolute MAX that the Walpack Inn could fit. We worried that we'd be too crowded, but we ended up having about 100 guests attend, which was a perfectly comfortable size.
Any other snafus that arose like our DJ not being able to set up the night before because he arrived too late, not seeing my bridesmaids' dresses in person until the wedding day, and forgetting to put flowers on a couple tables, were minor and we just went with the flow and let it go. Everything worked out great. I was prepared to have something major be out of place on our wedding day, and to deal with it as it happened, but the situation never arose. Aside from my slip-up with Erin's accompaniment music, everything went smoothly.
My favorite moment: Just before we left the guest house where we were getting ready to walk over to the restaurant and get things started, I kicked my bridesmaids and photographer out of the room and had a moment alone with my mom. It was just a minute, but I said, “I'm really happy, Mommy,” and she replied “Me too, Baby.” Then we both almost started crying and one of us said something like “Ok, enough sappy stuff! Let's do this!”
My dad passed away over ten years ago, and my mom had given me his wedding band to carry in my pocket. It was a nice reminder of his presence in my heart and mind that day, and how happy I knew he would be for Todd and I (and what a kick he would have gotten, as an avid outdoorsman, that we chose a place like the Walpack as our venue!)
And of course, seeing Todd waiting for me under the arbor was incredibly powerful. Todd was insistent that he not see me in full regalia until I came down the aisle. When my cousin Clinton helped me over the threshold and out the door to take The Walk, I saw Todd and just felt as if everything in the world had conspired to be perfect for this moment. By the time two of my other cousins, Shane and Duane, placed my hands into Todd's to be given in marriage, my face was quaking. Not because I was in danger of crying, but because I couldn't smile wide enough and my facial muscles were just jumping around in glee! I kind of felt like a spaz, twitching with joy in front of my groom, but the look of love on his face eventually calmed me down so I could pay attention to getting married.
My funniest moment: Our best man Joe's speech was the funniest moment. Our groomsman Mike had wanted the guys to all grow beards to match Todd's for the wedding, but Joe is physically incapable of growing facial hair. At the beginning of his toast he broke out a giant fake beard and put it on. Halfway through his toast it kept getting in his mouth so he ripped it off and said to Todd, “I don't know how you do this!” which got a laugh from everyone.
Joe brought a buddy with him to help toast: a coffee can wearing a knitted Philadelphia Flyers hockey jersey that goes by the name of “Hat,” and had been their group of friends' mascot in college. Joe hit on some of the best high points of his friendship with Todd and with me, even retelling (to many guffaws) how when I first met Todd, I was convinced that he already had a girlfriend because he was constantly texting and grinning at the texts he received. Turned out it was just Joe, sending him quotes from stupid movies!
Todd and I had an incredible time doing our first dance. We choreographed a country two-step to the Avett Brothers' “January Wedding” and it went off really well. We had taken dance lessons together to prepare, and Todd really blossomed into a strong leader. Twirling and two-stepping around the floor with him was one of the most fun moments for me.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? There was nothing I thought was going to be a disaster, but the arbor we got married under turned out unexpectedly great. As I said, when I woke up that morning it was raining, so I resigned myself to getting married inside and figured there was no point in bothering to rush to decorate outside (the decorations would just get wet and no one would see them anyway).
But as I was getting my hair done, the rain stopped and the sun came out a little bit. Todd came in and said the venue manager wanted to go for the ceremony outside! I couldn't get up and decorate at that point since I was mid-way through my ‘do, so I sent Todd and Joe and my maid of honor Lea out to decorate the arbor with bunting, fake ivy, hanging plants, and a sign that says “LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” I had told Lea what my “vision” for the arbor was, and I figured they could do a pretty good job. I didn't get a chance to see it until I walked down the aisle and I was just blown away. Todd, Lea, and Joe made it so beautiful. It was way beyond anything I had pictured –- it was perfect and completely fitting!
My advice for offbeat brides: Eat something! We started the day with a big egg and veggie scramble whipped up by the chef maid of honor, Lea. Throughout the day the venue manager was great about bringing us little plates to nibble on as we visited with our guests, so we didn't starve and we got to enjoy the same food as our guests. Too many brides I've known have missed out on their own food, been lightheaded with hunger or (even worse) accidentally gotten drunk on too much champagne and an empty stomach. Don't be that girl! Eat something!
Wear comfortable shoes: best wedding wardrobe decision we made. Both Todd and I rocked Chucks, and we were comfy and able to dance and move all day long.
Recruit some folks to help with cleanup so that you and your honey can get out of town! Even if it's only for a weekend, or only to the next town over, take a day or two to unwind together. Get a room with a big soft bed and get used to being married. Immediately after our reception, we went to the aiport, slept for three hours in the airport hotel, and then hopped a plane to Belize. Less than 30 hours after our ceremony we were sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, sipping rum punch and watching the sun go down. It was 100% worth the little bit of travel madness post-ceremony.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue/food: The Walpack Inn
- Photographer: Alex Kaplan's Two Wedding Photographers
- Cupcakes: Desserts By Katherine Satter, Branchville, NJ
- Bulk candy for candy bar: CandyWarehouse.com
- Photobooth: Go Festive!
- Hair stylist: Susan from Total Image Salon, Branchville, NJ
- Beer: Stoudt's Karnival Kolsch!
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!