The Offbeat Groom: Dean, Attorney
His offbeat partner: Matt, Data Architect
Date and location of wedding: reBar, New York City — October 6, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Matty and I spent our early dating days about 90 minutes apart, playing in the Starcraft II beta. Once we were engaged, we knew we wanted to have a video game wedding. Figuring out how to do that without recreating a seven-year-old's birthday party involved near constant reevaluating, but I absolutely love what we came up with.
To incorporate our theme, we started with save-the-dates and invites that had slight references: a one-up mushroom instead of a flower, and “Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the wedding” (from Portal) following the “reception to follow” language.
For food and drink, we had two specialty cocktails: a health potion (gin and tonic, splash of Grand Marnier, splash of bitters) and a mana potion (sidecar with blue curaçao) designed by a dear friend and mad-scientist mixologist. Our cake had Mario 1-1 running along the bottom, and we also had Plants vs. Zombies cupcake toppers!
During the pre-ceremony, ceremony, and cocktail hour, we had video game music playing. The One-Ups are a funky/jazzy band that does some great coversm perfect for a classy feel while sneaking in your nerdiness. Grownups were none the wiser! Though old friends would occasionally shout “HOLY COW IS THIS THE THEME TO MEGAMAN 3?”
For the ceremony, we walked into “The Promise” from Final Fantasy 13, and left to “Fanfare 1” from Chrono Trigger. Our pianist was a close friend (a recurring theme for our wedding!) and in rehearsal sounded breathtaking. Truth be told, I was so nervous I couldn't concentrate on the music when I was walking out!
We had achievements, too! On the back of each program was a list of achievements inspired by video games (called things like “Blood Moon” or “Rucks” or “To Our Hometowns”). We had a big chalkboard explaining what each was, and a custom stamp for people to stamp their program when they finished. I think we had about 25 achievements, and some guests did 15, which is WAY more than I was expecting. It was also a fun way to include non-participants. My parents kept wondering why everyone asked to dance with them (for the achievement “Waltz for the Moon”), and I saw multiple instances of people being dragged to the photo booth because “we just need one more person” (for the achievement “Pokemon Snap”).
Last but not least, our entire website is video game-themed. Everyone in the wedding party got a bio from a different game, and the crown jewel is a 20-hour role-playing game in the style of Final Fantasy 6, in which the wedding party must come together to save Dean and Matt from the an evil corporation, or else the wedding is ruined. That took the better part of a year. I don't think anyone played it, but it was fun to make!
Tell us about the ceremony:
My friend from third grade officiated a wonderful ceremony. We had two readers. A friend of mine from college WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN ON OFEBEAT BRIDE (second picture, far left) read “We Two Boys Together Clinging.” I chose it because Matt has taught me to be a child again, to adventure and to explore, and to pull the stick out of my ass that law school firmly lodged in there.
Matt's friend read “Love is a Temporary Madness” because he says I've given him context, and I've enabled his flights of fancy rather than just letting them fly into the ether. And then we said our vows, exchanged rings, and were out of there. There was an open bar, so no sense in letting that sit unattended by guests.
Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was the theme. How were we supposed to keep this from drifting out of the realm of “wedding,” and how could we keep from alienating guests who aren't gamers? In terms of visual displays, I quickly discovered that some of the great things about games (the vibrancy, so many colors, wow such graphics) were steering us towards kitsch and cheese. So we stayed with our green and brown colors, and silhouetted everything else.
Our second biggest challenge was getting to the wedding! After two stops on the train getting to reBar, it just decided to hang out at the station for 15 minutes with no explanation. After walking five blocks to another station, we saw that due to construction, there were no trains at that station! As Matt and I slowly descended into “our wedding is ruined and we'll never make it from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn,” our wedding party stepped up and stuck us in some cabs. The picture of us in the cab is me comforting Matt, who had officially shut down.
My favorite moment:
Matt's vows, followed closely by my father's toast. I managed to keep it together during my vows. I had practiced, and while my voice was shaky, I wasn't about to cry in front of 100 loved ones. Then Matt got to his, and I was ruined. He talked about our first date, when I took him to a little bistro in Charlottesville, VA (I was still in law school) and then a wine tasting. He said it was the first time that he had been to a bistro, and the first time he had wine, and he realized he hadn't really been living, just surviving. He made his promises, and ended with “but most of all, I promise that we'll live.” And I cried and cried, and am crying almost a month later typing this now. It took our officiant a few moments before she could even get the ceremony moving again.
Since I came out, my dad has both loved me infinitely and completely rejected my homosexuality. So it remained a “don't ask, don't remind” policy until I told my parents I was proposing. My dad's response was “I am obviously not coming to this wedding.” Because we still love each other a great deal, I was able to swallow it and go on. He was entirely against what was happening until this past March. I'm still not sure what his road to Damascus was, but I got an email from him telling me he'd attend, if he could give the toast. His presence was gift enough, but there were lots of tears at his speech. He welcomed Matt, expressed enthusiasm at having a second son, and commended our “courage to love.” And I cried all over again, and thanked God that I don't wear eye makeup.
My funniest moment:
For my bachelor party two nights prior, eight of us went to dinner at a nice restaurant. A drunk man bust in and starting making a scene, screaming that the bartender wouldn't serve him a drink because he was black. He turned and made eye contact with my groomslady, and phenomenal photo-subject, Ashlee, who happened to be both black and holding a glass of wine. His demeanor immediately changed, and he smiled at her with, to-date, the best pickup line I've actually heard used in the field: “Well, aren't you an unusual situation?”
Flash forward to the wedding, when Ashlee is killing it in every single picture. Someone comments as much, and she retorts, “Well, these are for the cover of my solo album: ‘Unusual Situation.'” The room was laughing hard after that.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: reBar was spectacular, and our coordinator there was the voice of sanity throughout the process.
- Photography: Stephanie from Angelina Photography was such a joy to work with. Stephanie made us look straight-up GQ.
- Cake: Silk Cakes executed our vision flawlessly, which is amazing because it was done almost entirely by email. I assume that people who are physically capable of saving cake for a year just didn't get a good cake. Ours was gone in three days.
- Card chest: Country Barn Babe
- Guest poster: Sons of Wolves
- Cupcake toppers: Foolish Worker Bee
- Cufflinks: Beau Jangles
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!