The Offbeat Bride: Lisa, Ghost and Vampire Tour Guide (Offbeat Bride member)
Her offbeat partner: Adam, Computer Doctor
Date and location of wedding: Republic Nightclub, New Orleans, LA — September 21, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When I was growing up, I played “funeral” and “orphanage” with my dolls, instead of “house.” I've worn all black since I was a teenager. And I met the love of my life at a goth bar in the French Quarter in New Orleans, snagging him with the pickup line, “Hasn't anyone ever told you that friends don't let friends dress like The Crow?” When it came time to join our two black little hearts in the bonds of marriage, we knew what we wanted: an excellent evening reception with great food and drinks and music and dancing, with tons of nerdy and personal touches, all tied together with a lush, dark ambiance that reflected our love for New Orleans.
I am compulsively creative, so I also knew that I was going to want to make a lot of the items for our wedding. To that end, I designed my dress, the save-the-date cards, the invitations, the programs, and website (with Adam's help); baked the cake and all the wedding desserts, which included TARDIS and Yoda cookies, lightsaber pretzel rods, Golden Snitch cookies, Borg Cube fruitcake petit fours, and redshirt red velvet cupcakes; made my veil, my necklace, and circlet headpiece; wrote our ceremony; and did my own hair and makeup day-of.
I'd like to say we saved a lot of money doing this, but except for the dress and veil I'm not entirely sure we did. But we DID end up getting quite nearly exactly what we wanted, which was important to us. Being creative and making stuff is part of who I am anyway, so having the opportunity, the excuse, and the funds to go maybe a little wild with the Swarovski crystals was one of the best parts of getting married for me.
Our venue was Republic, a nightclub in the Central Business District of New Orleans not far from the French Quarter, where the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club balls are often held (yes, that is actually how I discovered the place). Before the ceremony began, Adam had pre-recorded a message to be played over the loudspeaker (his own creative contribution). Imagine our wedding guests' surprise when a Dalek's voice charged those in attendance to sit down and put their phones and cameras away, lest they be EXTERMINATED!
Tell us about the ceremony:
I wrote the ceremony myself, borrowing quite liberally from snippets and pieces of wording found here on Offbeat Bride. Our officiant is an incredible orator and public speaker — in fact, she's a well-known spoken word artist in the area, and her delivery of the simple words of the ceremony gave me chills.
The ceremony opened up with an excerpt from Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health because marriage equality is enormously important to us. We had two readings performed by dear friends. “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmanm, was read by a friend who moved to Colorado last year, and still traveled back to New Orleans for our wedding. “To Love is Not to Possess” by James Kavannaugh was read by two of my oldest friends, who flew in from New Zealand (easily winning the “traveled furthest to be at the wedding” award).
We did a handfasting, which was Adam's one request. I made the handfasting cords and it was one of the few projects I undertook in the week before the wedding that calmed and motivated me. We also did a salt covenant, which was a nod to my Evangelical Christian upbringing (although I do not define myself as a believer anymore). We used a kinsukuroi vessel for the salt covenant, which is a dish that has been broken and glued back together with gold or silver at the seams, creating an object which becomes more beautiful for having been broken. This was deeply symbolic of our lives, both independently, and together. The salt was black Hawaiian sea salt, because Adam lived in Hawaii for several years growing up.
I based the structure of the overall ceremony on the ceremony from the Anglican Book of Prayers, and our vows were ultimately very traditional, partly because I didn't trust either of us to be able to recite our own at that moment (I was very nearly unable to speak at all once the moment arrived to do so), but also because we wanted to root our somewhat non-traditional ceremony with words that resonated, having stood the test of time.
Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge ended up being death itself, and how to find ways to be joyful in the midst of sadness. My father is a cancer patient, and while he always insisted he would be at my wedding no matter what, there were times when he was hospitalized with life-theatening complications and I wondered if he'd be able to keep that promise. Neither my last remaining grandmother nor Adam's were well enough to attend the wedding, and about a week before the big day, a brother-in-law had an unexpected death on his side of the family, and was unable to travel to our wedding as a result.
But the BIGGEST challenge by far hit us at the last-minute and left us reeling, because a very beloved member of our social circle passed away, tragically and unexpectedly, and her big New Orleans memorial service was scheduled for the exact same time as the wedding. This impacted a number of wedding party members, guests, and our officiant, who were all much closer to the departed than either Adam or myself were.
We had to sit down and have honest conversations with everybody impacted by Vee's tragic loss. Adam and I made it clear that we would, under no circumstances, be offended if anyone chose to attend her service in lieu of ours. Ultimately, all of our wedding party members stood by us, as did our officiant. Some people left our reception slightly early to pay their respects to Vee, and we opened our ceremony with a moment of silence to honor not only those who could not be with us, but all those whose absence weighed heavy in our hearts.
My favorite moment:
For me, it was being surrounded by all of our beloved friends and family for the ceremony itself, which nearly had me sobbing.
Adam's favorite moment (and my second-favorite) was cutting and serving our wedding cake and serving it to our guests, as our “First act of hospitality as a married couple” (thanks, Offbeat Bride!).
I also really enjoyed the speeches. We had just three, from the best man, maid of honor, and my father, for time's sake, and all three were perfect in their own way. Bryce, the best man, told a touchingly awkward tale of how he and Adam became friends which had everyone in stitches, despite being full of inside jokes. Stephanie, my maid of honor, has been my best friend since high school, and her speech left me and many other guests speechless. Stephanie is an incredibly talented writer and her speech included no fewer than three quotes from The Last Unicorn, so you know it was awesome. My father's speech was short and sweet, but still ended up making a lot of people tear up.
My funniest moment:
Immediately after the father/daughter dance, one of our Wedding Avengers (wedding party), Huggy, swept in and twirled my father around the dance floor. Huggy, it should be said, was wearing 6″ heels, a skirt, a tailcoat, and a tie and looked fabulous. My father was initially taken aback but then just went with it, cracking up the entire room as they swirled and dipped across the floor.
It should be said that the father/daughter dance was HEAVY stuff. That my father was even able to be at the wedding at all was so wonderful for me, but at the same time, I was painfully cognizant of the fact that so many of my friends, including no fewer than two of my closest female friends and wedding party members, had lost their fathers, one within the last year, which made all of the father/daughter moments at the wedding very emotionally-loaded. Huggy broke the ice at a moment that could have made the rest of the evening very somber and maudlin, and instead brought everyone back into the joy and laughter of the present. That was a gift.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
I haven't been married before, but I have been engaged, and from that past failed relationship I learned a lot about give and take in committed relationships, and also about respect and equality. Before, my engagement was a private moment shared between the myself and my former fiance; this time, Adam proposed to me in front of literally dozens of our friends. And when it came time to be married, having all of those friends present there with us was hugely important.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I tried to do so much, and I honestly really didn't have the time to do everything I wanted. I had such a clear vision in my head, but I had to accept that it's better to do a handful of things well than to stress myself out to the point that I can't enjoy the moment. Honestly, I'm still working on that one; but if there's one thing I could do over again it would be to have more time to spend with my friends and family in the days before the wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Coordinators: Down Annie Lane
- Photographers: 1216 Studio
- Officiant: Shadow Angelina
- DJ: Kurt Amacker
- Bridal party and family flowers and bride's bouquet: Sophisticated Styles
- Venue: Republic
- Groom's Tux: Rome's Tuxedos
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!