Samantha & Justin's Eccentric, Music-filled Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Oct 22 2010)
offbeatbride

Remember Sam and her crazy awesome Lego boutonnieres? Or her fantastic red dress and colorful lanterns in a Monday Montage? Here's the rest of her colorful and creative Catholic wedding! -Becca

Justin and I.
Photos by John Dudak

The offbeat bride: Sam(antha), Communications Manager by day, Catholic Liturgical Music Director by night (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Justin, PhD in History at University of Southern California, Gentleman Adventurer by night.

Location & date of wedding: St. Patricks Church, Whitney Point, NY and Kalurah Shrine, Endicott, NY — August 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: I sang my way down the aisle.

I wore a red gown (I'm Catholic and part of the reason I chose red is because the color red symbolizes the Holy Spirit).Justin singing for me

My husband played and sang "Lady in Red" at the reception while my father and I danced.

I worked myself crazy DIYing things in attempts to keep costs down, as well as keep things personal and unique.

Tell us about the ceremony: I am a practicing Catholic. My husband is a non-practicing Lutheran. We had a mass, my husband and I did receive communion, and we then turned around and handed out the bread and wine to our friends and our family. I loved this because it really supported the idea that as a community we come together to nourish each other.

Michelle fixes the last of my dress
Interesting and different aspects of this ceremony included:

  • I was inspired by the Filipino tradition where all of the sponsors walk into the church as part of the procession. Yup! We did it!I didn't have sponsors, but I did have our God parents, the two priests presiding, our parents, and our wedding party. It was a long procession, but full of meaning for me.
  • All of my bridesmaids were already married. In a way, it was like they had lit the way for me. So as they processed in, I had each of them carrying a lantern which they hung on a shepherds hook before taking their place up front.

My favorite moment:
in b&WThe speech my father gave at the reception: "So there was a little girl, probably 3 years old. She loved to play, and — I dunno, maybe you older folks remember those kids blocks that snap together? Well Samantha had those blocks — and one night I was laying on the couch and she toddled over to me, blocks in hand and she says (and his voice cracked when he said this) 'Do it together pop?'. (So now dad looks over at Justin and I) 'So that's it, really. There isn't anything for me to tell you — you already know it all — just do it together'" and then he sang us The Water is Wide. Every woman in the room was crying by the time he was done.

The wedding cake was a four generation cake. It was made for me by my mother, the topper was my grandmother's, and the recipe for the cake was my great-grandmother's!
Screwing around afterwards
My funniest moment: Oh man. There were many. I'd say it was a hands down tie between:

  1. What do you think you are going to find under there?I don't dig the whole garter thing. Its just not my style. So, I sewed a pocket into the crinoline of my dress, and we had a few different "garter attempts". Each time, Justin would pull something different out of my skirt. The funniest by far was the second, because he pulled the cake service set out of there. People laughed so darnd hard.
  2. First kiss?I also don't dig the clink your glass until the couple kisses thing. Totally bugs me. So the first time a table did it, my friend Emily was right next to me, so I kissed her instead. It was hilarious. I was quite proud of myself. 🙂

My advice for offbeat brides: I have two bits of advice.

  1. Our first dance
    Sam & Justin did an impressive dance to Ben Fold's 'The Luckiest.' Watch it here.
    Be your own well of happiness. Don't let anyone poop in your well. I see it like this: If you are your own well of happiness, you are giving yourself the power and control you need, not only to enjoy every moment of this journey for yourself, but to be able to let your happiness bubble up and seep into the folks around you until they have been caught in your energy and joy. I tell you, it's the recipe for a magical experience.
  2. It is all about the journey. So cliché. So true. Don't let the planning process become a long arduous walk to one single day. It is genuinely important to enjoy, learn and grow along the way.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. My Goddess, I just watched your video of you singing down the aisle. I don't even know you and I cried. So beautiful and such an amazing and personal touch. I have my FH playing the guitar to me as I walk down to aisle. I love music and it is so amazing when brides/groom are not afraid to show it off…especially on their wedding day.

  2. Woohoo for SamIAm gettin' hitched and doing it in such style…I was hoping to see this wedding here! Also, I second this: "I also don’t dig the clink your glass until the couple kisses thing."

    We're actually planning on making signs banning it for our reception. Your solution was hilarious, too 😉

  3. I love this woman, and I have been waiting on pins and needles for her official wedding profile. It did not disappoint, and as soon as the tears stopped from her walk down the aisle, I read her dad's speech and they started up again.

    You had a gorgeous amazing wedding honey!

  4. Yay! My dress is also a red Amara Royale, so I can appreciate your taste 😉

    I LOVE what you did with the whole "I have no garter but check out all the other random crap under here!" thing. Too funny!

  5. Oh my gosh, the picture in front of the stained glass window is one of the most beautiful I have seen! Love the colors!

  6. The whole wedding is completely awesome, obviously, but my favorite thing about this profile is the "Oh hai, here's my amazing bum" picture in the wedding porn slideshow! It looks like you had so much fun with your pictures 😀

  7. I am SO excited that this wedding was profiled. SamIAm has been a wellspring of inspiration and confidence for my slightly quirky, unapologetic Catholic wedding. I FREAKING LOVE IT.

  8. I love love LOVE that you incorporated your religion, especially one which can have a reputation for being rigidly traditionalist and straightlaced, into this bitchin', baller, bombtastic, kickass, unapologetically unique wedding.

    It's totally inspiring and obviously not offbeat for offbeat's sake, or religious because "that's how you're supposed to do it." It's just you, and that means you did it right.

    • I'm not a tribe member (I'm just the short purple bridesmaid) so I can't just give this the thumbs up, but I wanted to just say that you are totally right, Sarah. 😀

  9. Wow, it seems to have been such a blast! Your friends and family are lucky to have attended and have you guys in their lives. Well done !

  10. Whether it was the photographer, or you guys, whoever decided on the 'posed' pictures deserves a gold star and an A plus! Those pictures had me laughing!! Your dad's speech got the lump in my throat! Beautiful!

    A friend of mine also purchased the same dress you're wearing. It's lovely!

  11. Beautiful. I love how the bridal party has on different colors. The bride looks breathtaking. And I love the paper lanterns.

  12. Congratulations!
    The bridesmaids’ bringing in lanterns is a new idea to me and it really rocks my socks. I can just imagine the ceremony of it, and the symbolism is so powerful!
    The signaling the couple to kiss thing has always bugged me too! What a great and novel way to work around the expectation.
    Your ‘Well of happiness’ advice has blown my mind. I am going to take your advice and gnaw on it for awhile.

  13. I don't think there's a single person on OBT that doesn't love Sam! I mean, this is THE OBB wedding! When my fiance asked me what an "offbeat wedding" was I brought up her page 🙂 He looked at it and said "That… is so… FREAKIN' AWESOME," so I am glad to see it featured on the blog for everyone to see!

  14. As a fellow musician, I have to say I LOVE the idea of singing your own processional! You sounded beautiful!

    Congratulations! It looks like it was an awesome time for everyone!

  15. Sooo beautiful – it's great to see you featured on here after being on OBT with you planning our weddings at the same time!

    Love the stained glass aisle picture, especially the disco dancin' saint on the lefthand side. 🙂

  16. SamIAm, my DIY sister, I am so happy to see your wedding profiled here. Beautiful, amazing, heartfelt, and authentically yours – an inspiration. Congratulations to you and your husband, who must surely be amazing as well to be your partner in life 😉

  17. squeeeeee a featured wedding in the Binghamton area!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 John Dudak is amazing and I am definitely going to look into having him when we get weddinged next summer! (i've been lurking for a couple months now and i luvluvluv OBB!)
    Samantha, you look a-ma-zing and your ceremony is gorgeous! congratulations and i wish you a long, healthy, happy life with your husband!

    • Sweet!
      I've been toying with the idea of creating a little poster using the phrase in a lovely typeface…so lovely that you have to blink twice when you realize what it says… 🙂

  18. This looked so fun! You rocked the dress!! I LOVED beyond belief the pocket in the dress like Mary Poppins purse during the garter situation. I really didn't want to have the whole garter spectacle because when i've seen it done it's been awkward, but my family and friends love a laugh and I knew they'd miss it. You idea or something like it might get the laughs I'm always looking for without the creep factor. I also really liked that you smooched your friend! I've been dreading the glass clinking (again my family is a bunch of cheeseballs, they won't be able to resist). I even told my mom I'd get plastic utensils and glasses. That's for sharing your adorable sense of humor!

  19. So much awesome! Love all the color, the paper lanterns, the Lego boutonnieres! 😉
    Makes me want some kind of epic boutonnieres for my wedding. ;p

    Just joined the tribe & so happy to be around so many awesome people. 😉

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