kisses under the arches

The offbeat bride: Mich, special needs educator (and Tribe moderator)

Her offbeat partner: Dan, plumber

Date and location of wedding: The Views at Mt Fuji, Hillburn, NY — April 17, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We planned the wedding trans-Atlantically. I'm from the UK and my husband is from NY, and at the time of wedding planning we were living over 3000 miles apart. All the planning took place online, with emails and Skype calls to potential vendors and my husband looked at venues alone and booked our final choice without me even having seen it!

black wedding rings

I wore a black dress, handmade by myself, matched up with a pair of kick-ass wedding Doc Marten boots. We DIYed practically everything, from the invites to the decor, and the dresses to the bouquets. I walked down the aisle to “Arrival to Earth” from the Transformers soundtrack!

bouquets

We had no flowers at the wedding — my bouquet was made from twisted metal, and we had balloon girls instead of flowergirls. We had a Japanese buffet-style dinner and the food was AMAZING! We had no religion in our wedding at all, just a whole lot of love. We also folded 1000 paper cranes for decor.

cupcakes

Instead of a wedding cake we had three towers of cupcakes: red velvet vegan ones for me, and regular vanilla and chocolate ones.

our ceremonyTell us about the ceremony: We worked together with our officiant to write a personalized ceremony that I really felt told the story of our friendship, love, and long distance relationship.

It included passages such as:

“When we look at our world we can see the way love finds its way into the darkest moment of our history and the brightest moments of our lives. Love finds its way. In Dan and Mich's lives, love defied time, and convention, and distance. The passion that these two have for one another, connected continents and refused to be separated by an ocean. Love found its way.”

Our friend Jill did this reading for us (a slight adaptation of Union by Robert Fulghum):

laughter and tears during vows

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks — all those conversations that began with, “When we're married,” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” –- all those late night talks on the webcam that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” –- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we've promised, and hoped, and dreamed? Well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment, you have been many things to one another, acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world, “This is my husband.” “This is my wife.”

I won rock paper scissors

We wrote our vows which we kept secret from each other until the ceremony. We chose three elements to include in our vows (I love you, I accept, and I promise) and started with rock-paper-scissors to see who would go first.

Me to him:

I love you because you make me laugh, every single day, even when it's something totally inappropriate that I should NOT be laughing at.
I love you because, despite the distance, we always made time for each other and continue to do so. And somewhere between the long talks and making fun of each other, I fell for you.
I love you because you make me happier than I ever knew was possible.
I accept that you will smack talk while playing Call of Duty.
I accept that you will make fun of the British things I say.
I accept that you'll keep doing it until I stop laughing.
I promise to fall in love with you at least once every day.
I promise to always plan adventures and exciting things for us to do together so we never get old and boring.
I promise to tell you that I love you every night before we fall asleep.
I'm marrying you today because I love you more than I have ever found a way to say.

Him to me:

I love you because you are smart, funny, and beautiful.
I love you because you get my sense of humor.
I love you because you are my best friend.
I accept that sometimes I may not understand what you are saying.
I accept that after the wedding you may never have long hair again.
I accept that you will always be right.
I promise to love you no matter how old and wrinkly we get.
I promise to always be there for you no matter the situation.
I promise to love you even if you get bitten by a zombie.

this is the photo we sent out

Our biggest challenge: We had a number of mishaps: our original officiant canceled on us, our rings went missing in the mail, we fell out with a few bridal party members, and had a DJ who kept trying to play his standard rubbish wedding mixes. But looking back at the wedding now, 10 months later, all of those things are a distant blur, and the things that stand out to me are the wonderful moments. So my advice to overcoming challenges is to just deal with them swiftly and then forget all about them. Don't let the difficult things taint the memories of your wedding day.

father/ daughter dance

My favorite moment: Walking down the aisle in a dress that I had sewn myself felt amazing! It gave me that extra confidence boost that I needed when my nerves hit me and the tears almost started flowing.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

My family worked together to add a few traditional elements back into the wedding, and it was just the right amount. My aunty asked if I would like to wear my nana's engagement necklace (even my nana was offbeat by having a necklace instead of a ring). I borrowed my mum's old, blue sapphire ring and she attached it to my underskirt with a new ribbon — old, borrowed, new, and blue! My dad walked me down the aisle, but let me walk the last few steps alone.

scottish good luck horseshoe

My niece gave me a lucky horseshoe, a Scottish tradition. This one was extra special as it had been handmade by my great-grandfather many years ago.

one balloon girl walking BACKWARDS down the aisle

My funniest moment: The funny stuff started with a balloon girl who didn't want to walk down the aisle saying, “I can't do it, I can't do it!” But she did it walking BACKWARDS the entire way!

my dads speech

The after-dinner speeches given by my dad and our wedding party were so funny! My dad's was especially funny to us, as half the guests couldn't understand his Scottish accent and didn't even get that he was telling a joke.

to honour!

My bridesmaid fulfilled her role perfectly with embarrassing stories and tales, and concluded her speech with our favorite drinking toast “to Honor,” at which the top table continued the toast by mumbling under their breaths “… get on her, stay on her, and if you can't come in her, come on her.”

dirty dancing

We drank, danced a lot, and laughed more than ever on the dance floor. We broke out the robot, grinding, reenacting Dirty Dancing (and that was just the guys), and at one point Dan and I ended up sliding through each others' legs on the dancefloor!

so funny

My advice for offbeat brides: As a girl who had never dreamed of getting married, or planned imaginary weddings when I was a kid, I felt kinda thrown in the deep end when we started to plan our wedding. Initially my thought was “ARGH, I want this to be so totally different and offbeat” that I didn't even know where to start. So instead, I looked at each aspect of a “traditional wedding” and worked out how to keep, change, or cut it to be true to ourselves.

Oh, and if you're going to fold 1000 paper cranes, start early!

last dance to "journey - don't stop believing"

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Comments on Mich & Dan’s gothic Transformers and cupcakes wedding

  1. Amazing! I remember looking through your pics on the Tribe and LOVING them. Your dress is amazeballs! A real WOW moment when you walked down the aisle. Also rocking the tattoos. I’m pretty sure it was your photos that planted the seed of a chest piece in my head!

    The cranes look lovely too. Where they all black and red?

  2. yay for chest pieces!!!!!!!

    the cranes were mostly black and red (used to hang in the pagoda, behind the cake table and as scatter table decor) there were also mini silver cranes used as cupcake toppers, on the name cards for guests and sent out on the invitations

  3. OMG: so much fun to see the actual wedding 🙂 Thanks so much for posting all the pics–I’m so glad you liked the bouquet & bout 🙂 Love the contrast with the black dress: absolutely perfect!

    Amber

  4. I’d be interesed in knowing more about planning a wedding when both partners are in different countries.
    My Boyfriend lives on the West Coast of the USA and I live in the UK so if he ever proposes, that’s going to be a huge logistical undertaking. Especially as I’m not sure where we’d have the wedding, being as neither of our families can hardly afford to buy plane tickets in either direction :S

    • It certainly was a challenge, but the key aspects were online planning and communication

      I had more free time so I did most of the preliminary research online and then during skype dates we would discuss and make decisions.
      My husband was then responsible for contacting vendors and visiting venues.
      We even manged to kep some vendors to do skypee calls with us.

      As for choosing which country to get married in, we chose the one that we wanted to live in because it made immigration easier.

      My immediate family were ableto fly over for the wedding but unfortunately many of my close friends were not

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE This!
    I also love the venue location, didn’t realize Japan was only two hours away from me :-D.
    Tempted to change my plans and use your venue but everyone would kill me especially because its a 2hr drive. May visit there someday though =)

    • You should DEFINITELY go for dinner ther at least.
      They do an awesome Sunday brunch in the banquet hall, or fantastic hibachi and sushi upstairs every evening.
      Can’t wait to go back for our anniversary dinner!!

      I would 100% recommend the views as a weddingvenue, we now LOVE bruce the catering manager/wedding organizer/all round awesome guy.
      And all the staff gave amazing service all day

    • You should get them and then we can be shoetwins!!
      They are SUPER comfortable because they are made of soft girly leather rather than the usual thick tough leather than means your boots take months to wear in

  6. OMG, you made that. Wahhhhhh why couldn’t I have been a better seamstress? Seriously though your dress is beyond amazing. The baloon girls dresses are so cute and your boutinere and bouquets are stunning. Love, love, love your wedding. Wish I had been there, lol.

    • Wanting to be a guest at my wedding – that’s a pretty huge compliment THANKYOU
      I’m so lucky that I learnt/taught myself to sew at such a young age that I was able to make my own dress.

  7. I love everything about your wedding! Especially your shoes and the rings!! Where did you guys get your rings from??

    <3

    • mine came from a company that turned out to be in Hong Kong (despite a USA address on their website) and that we had bad customer service from so I won’t recommend them.
      But my husbands ring came from http://www.westcoastjewelry.com/ and they shipped very quickly

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