The offbeat bride: Aimee, Reference Librarian (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: T, Lab Tech
Location & date of wedding: Queen of Peace Church and Fiesta, North New Jersey — October 25, 2008
What made our wedding offbeat: We saw the traditional wedding as a challenge. How can we take elements that aren't us and make them relevant and fun? How can we do that without being off-putting to our family? Since we love dressing for period events, we went for a Victorian feel.
Our table numbers were watercolors that my father painted of flowers with their “meaning” on one side and quotes from famous poets on the back. Two of my poems were in the wedding program and my fellow poet/bridesmaid read her favorite poem about marriage at the reception.
My dad made topiary centerpieces.
We gave a nod to Halloween (the anniversary of our first date) by having two faux pumpkins carved with our initials and our faces (made by my brother in law) in the bar area along with beakers filled with purple, black, and violet chocolates. We went to Transylvania on our honeymoon.
Tom loves Halo, so we incorporated it into the garter toss by having him come out with a sword and helmet, accompanied by game music, and putting a flashing pin on the garter so it was like a grenade.
We walked out to the theme song of the Undertaker, T's favorite pro wrestler.
Our favors were bookmarks and test tubes filled with M&Ms as a nod to our professions.
Our biggest challenge: The weather was apocalyptic and several times could have been a complete mess. It started very windy and went on to be a downpour. We saw numerous tree limbs down on our way to the reception. Luckily we hadn't planned the ceremony or reception outdoors or it would have been a disaster.
Our photographer lost one of his lights when a gust of wind smashed it into the ground, but thankfully he had a backup.
The highway in front of the venue flooded, but only after all the guests arrived.
Reception halls may not be the most offbeat venues, but I have to say I am glad that we went with one (I liked having a lot of DIY elements, but had wanted to minimize my stress the day of the wedding). Without the backup generator — which had to run for the whole reception — and valet service, our guests would have been soaking wet and in the dark. T loves stormy weather and rain is supposed to be good luck, so in the end it just sort of added to the day.
I think creativity and flexibility is the saving grace when faced with wedding disasters. For example, the outlet where the chocolate fountain was to be set up wouldn't work so instead the fruit was pre-dipped and put out on skewers as part of the dessert buffet.
My favorite moment: My favorite moment with T was when we ended the evening dancing to Siouxsie and the Banshees‘ “Last Beat of My Heart. It was also our first dance. I had this feeling of completion regarding this event we had been planning for so long, yet this wonderful feeling of potential for what our future holds.
I liked that our ceremony proved that Catholic ceremonies don't have to be impersonal. Father Steve got to know us during planning and incorporated the idea that our lives are stories written by our friends and family and now the story will be written by us as a new story together. This felt so perfect to me as a writer and for the way I felt about our marriage.
I was also pleased to see how much fun everyone seemed to have had. Almost everyone was dancing at some point. We had the '80s and goth music we loved, but also incorporated some of the special songs for our guests.
We had a slide show with not just pictures of us in our cosplay and period ensembles, but also pictures of past family weddings and celebrations. My favorite was of my French grandmother, great aunt, and great grandparents with a croque-en-bouche for their 50th anniversary in their Paris apartment. As a nod to this, we had a cream puff tower as part of our dessert buffet. It was a nice way to remember people who could not be there in a way that celebrated their lives and love.
My advice for offbeat brides: Don't feel handcuffed to a theme. Although our overall look was Victorian, we incorporated a lot of elements of things we loved. I was a little concerned that some of these elements might feel muddled, but they added to the fun. Though it is nice to have an overall look for a wedding, you aren't just defined by one thing — so why should your wedding be? Throwing in some diverse elements means that those who aren't into your theme have something they do like.
Also, don't let people make you feel bad about your budget. Some people will make you feel you are spending too much; others that you are spending too little. Know your budget, stick to it, and remember everyone has different values about what is important. Don't let them work out their own insecurities by making you feel bad.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
I was very pleased with the following vendors who are both talented and professional. They worked with our vision for the wedding and did not just give us prepackaged standard fare.
- Dress: Kambriel created my wedding dress, a customized version of her Crystal Palace Ensemble. She also made a one-of-a-kind veil for me from my specifications, which I loved! She was wonderful to work with.
- Music and slideshow: LJ Productions. They took our likes, dislikes, and suggestions into consideration and created an amazing evening. They interacted with the crowd without the cheesy humor typical of wedding djs. If you live in in the North Jersey/tristate area, check them out.
- Cellist: Elizabeth Kalfayan was the cellist during our cocktail hour. She works with a variety of different ensembles and will play special requests if you provide the music for her (in our case the theme song from the tv show Angel)
- Flowers: Lyndhurst Florist. They did a beautiful job with our flowers and were reasonably priced. T's family has used them often and has always been pleased.
- Honeymoon: Drac Tour. The goths and horror fans might want to check them out. We had a lot of fun on our honeymoon as did two other honeymooning couples.
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!