The Offbeat Bride: Lauren, Aquatics Coordinator
Her offbeat partner: Tyler, Resort Conference Manager
Date and location of wedding: The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC — August 25, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Much of our bond is based in our love of music, so it made total sense to have our wedding at The Orange Peel, a unique club venue in Asheville, NC. The Peel was originally a roller rink in the '50s (it still has the original wood flooring!), then it was an R&B club in the '60s and '70s (Otis Redding played there!), and then after serving as a storage warehouse for a number of years, it was reopened in the early 2000s as a music venue. We have seen too many shows to count at this venue, so it was already a special place for the two of us, aaaaaaaaand we got married there on our eighth anniversary.
In that spirit, we tried to incorporate as many music-y things into our wedding as possible. A guitar “guestbook,” centerpieces made of 45s, guitar pins on the boutonnieres, guitar picks and played strings in the bouquets, even guitar picks in my hair.
My dad even got in on the action, wearing his tie that features the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album.
Our decor was mostly DIY. The venue itself is pretty interesting to look at, which made our job of decorating very easy. I bought a cheap wedding arch and bad-assed it up by wiring hundreds of handmade paper flowers to it.
We used those same flowers on the tables around the handmade record luminaries.
My dad's hobby is wine-making, so we brewed up and bottled 144 bottles of wine for wedding favors, and my dad designed the label.
We wanted our wedding party's attire to be fun and for them to be able to choose their own clothes within a few simple guidelines. The girls chose their own knee-length black dresses and shoes in orange, yellow, or turquoise. I gifted them bracelets that my mother-in-law and I made from melted vinyl records and a pendant that I thought represented each of their personalities.
The guys chose their own everything, except we supplied the ties and the pocket watches.
The coup de grace was getting to leave our wedding in a 1959 black Ford Thunderbird convertible!
Tell us about the ceremony: With the exception of the ring warming, our ceremony was a traditional Lutheran service. We wanted to keep it simple so we went straight through, with only one bible reading. The reading was performed by my lifelong friend Hilary, who has theater chops for days and is a working actress in the Eastern part of North Carolina.
Our biggest challenge: Unbeknownst to us, our wedding weekend was one of the busiest weekends of the year in Asheville (home of the Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Inn), so booking hotel rooms turned into a mini-nightmare since 98% of our wedding guests were coming in from our of town. We ended up being able to book enough for the family and leave our guests to their own devices, but I can honestly say that that was my one and only bridal meltdown.
My favorite moment: I have several. We chose to do a ring warming ceremony in lieu of any kind of unity ceremony. People felt great about being a part of the action.
My father walked me down the aisle to the Vitamin String Quartet version of “Here Comes The Flood” by Peter Gabriel. We are both HUGE Peter Gabriel fans so that was a special moment for us. Most people didn't recognize the song, but we knew.
Our officiant is a college friend of my parents' so I have known him since I was very young. He is a very warm and open-minded person, and has such a calming presence. Although we weren't married in a church, he delivered a wonderful sermon that made our more traditional guests more at ease with attending a wedding at a music venue.
All of our wedding party are mutual friends, one big happy dysfunctional family, so coming down the aisle and seeing my groom buttressed by a lifetime of friendships was breathtaking.
Our ceremony was short and sweet, and then off to the party! Not only did I share a special dance with my new husband (“Monsoons” by Puscifer), and my sweet father (“Hero” by David Crosby), but I danced with my 91-year-old grandfather to the Paul McCartney cover of “The Glory Of Love.” It was so special not only that my grandfather was able to travel two hours to attend the wedding, but that we were able to have a moment together.
My funniest moment: By far, the funniest moment was the bouquet and garter deathmatch. We weren't even going to toss our accessories away, but caved to pressure from our single friends who were hellbent on getting a piece of the good juju from our eight years together. So we decided that we would do the tosses at the same time. With the girls gathered in front of stage left, and the guys gathered in front of stage right, we tossed the bouquet and garter into the sea of singles.
We turned around to discover that two of my girlfriends were literally trying to pull the bouquet out of each other's death grip. One walked away with the prize, the other walked away with a lone rose petal.
Over in manland, a 30-year-old man had STOLEN the garter from the hands of a very shy and sensitive 11-year-old, proclaiming that he “didn't think it was right that the kid should be the next to get married.”
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? When I told the girls that they were able to choose their own shoes, it turned into a little bit of a high-heel pissing contest. Each time one of them bought a pair, the next girl to make her purchase chose heels that were 1/2 inch higher than the last. Oy. This probably would have been fine, except for the fact that they would have to traverse four unstable stairs and a 6-inch lip on the front of the stage. I had visions of the faceplants that would stop the processional dead in its tracks.
Luckily, our officiant and best man stepped up to offer helping hands to the girls, allowing us to avoid any embarrassing stiletto slips. The girls were beautiful, and their shoes were beautiful, and everyone walked away intact.
My advice for Offbeat Brides:
- Trust your vision, even if other people can't quite wrap their minds around it.
- Choosing newer vendors, although a potential risk, can save lots of money, and you can feel good about helping someone build his/her portfolio.
- If you can carve out the time, buy a few bottles of wine, grab your bridesmaids, and CRAFT. Doing things yourself is fun and, for me, it felt like a wedding gift to my husband that so much TLC was put into hand making our decor items. It is also super-rewarding to see it all come together, and compliments from guests can't hurt.
- Get a good night's sleep before.
- Choose your party wisely. As much as you love your lightning-rod-of-crisis friend, she may not be prepared to step up to the plate of wedding-related responsibility. And that's ok.
- Breathe. Savor. It will be over in a flash.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Pronovias, Carolina Traditions
- Venue: The Orange Peel
- Photography: Bogle Photography
- Cake/Cupcakes: Cakeventions
- Wedding Bands: Etsy, LichenandLychee
- Groomsmens Ties: Solid Color Neckties
- Bridesmaids necklaces: Overstock.com
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!