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!
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!
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.
Instead of a wedding cake we had three towers of cupcakes: red velvet vegan ones for me, and regular vanilla and chocolate ones.
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):
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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!
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!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue and catering: The Views at Mt Fuji
- Photographer: Tiffany Arment
- Vegan Cupcakes: Sweet Avenue Bakeshop
- Bride's dress: Handmade by bride
- Bride's shawl: Handmade by mother of the bride
- Doc Marten boots: eBay seller A1 Footwear and Clothing
- Fascinator and veil: Handmade by bride
- Groom's and groomsmen's suits: Marty's formal wear
- Transformers cufflinks: ebay seller Fungshop
- Metal bouquet and boutonierre: Etsy seller Refinerii
- Bridesmaid dress: Handmade by bride
- Balloon girls' dresses: Handmade by bride (Etsy seller MichMonster)
- Wedding party bouquet and boutonierres: Handmade by bride
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!