The Offbeat Bride: Lyss, graphic designer and dog walker
Her offbeat partner: Geoff, cloud storage and data recovery
Date and location of wedding: Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY — September 5, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The zoo wedding was in and of itself a theme, so we went all out with that: animal print shoes for the ladies, animal-themed gifts for the bridal party, and animal print linens and decorations at the reception.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Confession time! We got legalled over two years before the wedding but only told our closest friends and our parents. No one else knew and we still wanted to have a wedding celebration with friends and family. So we sort of kept that a secret because we didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings and people can be weird about that stuff. Moving on!
The ceremony was in front of the polar bear tank, and Mr. Polar Bear lumbered over when we started our vows. I got very distracted. We REALLY wanted an unplugged ceremony, so before we started, we had our officiant go through and ask everyone to hold up their phones and cameras, and all shut them off together. It was done with a firm but humorous tone, which seemed to work.
We are both atheists, so we wanted a completely secular ceremony. We had my brother officiate, and wrote everything ourselves. Our reading before the vows was about Boy Meets World. It's a favorite show in our family, and Geoff is definitely the Cory to my Topanga and vice versa.
We based our vows off of one of the “Steal These Vows” examples from Offbeat Bride, the really realistic ones and promised each other things like “waiting until the last minute to do the laundry” and “making puns at every opportunity even though you hate them.” We high-fived before kissing.
Tell us about your reception:
We had the run of the zoo — the entire zoo. It was amazing. For dinner we served “Garbage Plates,” a local “delicacy” that consists of fries, baked beans, and macaroni salad all mixed together then topped with bun-less hot dogs or (cheese)burgers and a variety of condiments. It sounds gross, but tastes delicious.
For dessert, we had cupcakes made by a local baker, with totally custom flavors like “The Sloth,” an apple cake filled with Nutella, frosted with vanilla bean frosting, and topped with a chocolate hazelnut candy. We also had “The Tree Frog,” a chocolate cake, filled and topped with mint chip frosting, and “The Baboon,” a banana cake filled with peanut butter and topped with milk chocolate frosting.
We split our time between two areas of the zoo: the lion exhibit for the cocktail hour, and a beautiful pavilion for dinner and dancing. We used an iPod playlist, and it worked out great! We decorated the tables with little toy animals, and gave out pressed pennies from the zoo as favors.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The best advice I can give couples is this: it's your day, so do what you want — not what the in-laws or your family wants. Geoff's Grandmother HATED our vows and actually cried over them, and not in the good way. But we were not going to make promises we knew we couldn't keep. I know I will go to bed angry. I know I will not always think before reacting. I wasn't going to start off my marriage with lies. So we made promises we knew we could keep. We just had to reconcile ourselves that we couldn't please everyone.
- Photographer: Blue Jar Photography
- Dress: Bridal Belle
- Venue (food and drinks included): Seneca Park Zoo
- Bakery: Get Caked!
- Flowers: The Magic Garden