Donielle & Wayne's overindulgent industrial Parisan apothecary wedding

October 11 2010 | offbeatbride

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The offbeat bride: Donielle – Business Owner (Home Renovations)

Her offbeat partner: Wayne – Business Owner (Home Renovations)

Location & date of wedding: Abandoned warehouse next to the train station in Toledo, OH — July 31, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We tried to eliminate any preconceived notions of what a wedding ceremony and reception should look and feel like. Everything, from the music, to the aesthetics, to the food was considered in creating this almost fantasy-like world. It was an evening of indulging the senses integrated with the intense romanticism and beauty of the environment.

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Our initial concept revolved around just two ideas: a completey candlelit environment and a warehouse space. After a few trial and errors, we located the perfect space—an unutilized warehouse located next to a train station. We loved the juxtaposition of old, industrial spaces with elegant, decadent materials and objects.

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In creating the elements of the evening, I referenced late nineteenth century Paris—so chic and avant garde, yet still industrial and technologically driven. The platform we found to convey this vision was an interpretation of an apothecary, which was complete with a custom built bar and assorted glass vials containing edible concoctions for guests to try.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We wanted our ceremony to be intimate and pure. I think we accomplished this in the orientation of the space, the music and the ceremony itself. We broke up the rows of seating in half, on the loading dock of the warehouse, so that the alter area was in the center of the seated guests. The groomsmen walked down one of the aisles to an acoustic version of Times Like These" by Foo Fighters while the girls (and myself) walked down the opposing aisle to "I'm Kissing You" by Desiree.

It was important to us that someone we loved (and knew us well) acted as the officiant of the ceremony, which is why my longtime friend of fourteen years married us. Not only was it beautiful and meaningful, but our officiant found a ceremony that was modern, yet timeless. The perfect end to the ceremony was the cue of our recessional music "Sunshower" by Chris Cornell as we kissed for the first time as husband and wife.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was the venue space. Initially locating the space was a bit problematic. We actually secured an abandoned department store first, but it fell through when the owner decided to sell the building leaving us three months out without a venue.

Making the space fit our needs was a hurdle, as well. We had to excavate the piles of asphalt with a bobcat, hook up electric, install temporary plumbing for the kitchen area, hook up large A/C Units, bring in restrooms, etc. The most formidable challange was the overwhelming concern from family and friends that we couldn't pull off the transformation of the space.

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Reception Table Layout
Detail Shot of Table

We were able to overcome all of this by staying true to our artistic vision (and not letting anything get in our way), tackling each hurdle as it presented itself and by having a great network of friends and family who selflessly volunteered their time and resources.

My favorite moment: My brother's band played our first dance "Tonight, Tonight" by Smashing Pumpkins and had surpised us with a song dedicated to us, which they were gonig to play first. When I heard the first cords of the song "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins I was so over-joyed and estatic. It was beyond awesome and completly fit with the evening and the moment. Our bridal party "bum rushed" the dance floor with us and proceeded to dance and sing together. It was beyond perfect and captured the feeling for the event. I still get goosebumps when I think about it!

Bar View

My funniest moment: We wanted to resonate with the indulgence and formality of dinner parties of earlier eras, so we wanted our cuisine to become an integral part of the event.

Some of the dishes were a bit outside some of our guest's comfort zones, namley the raw oyster shooters during the fourth course. It was amazing looking around and watching people jump in and experience the new foods. When my maid of honor's mom flung her head back and swallowed the oyster shooter, everyone at my end of the table applauded and cheered. Soon after, others started taking the shooters. It became quite the event!

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't be afraid! I had people telling me that I was absolutely crazy trying to convert a abandoned space, but I stuck to my vision despite a few lingering doubts in the back of my head. Definitely trust yourself.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We learned that there is nothing that we cannot accomplish together. We poured our hearts and souls into this event and the outcome was beyond anything we could have foreseen. Also, we learned how much our friends and family support and love us… it was really quite a humbling eperience.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Wow. Wow wow wow, followed by multiple expletives. This wedding is so creative, sumptuous, elegant, extravagant… geez, I'm running out of adjectives. I love the apothecary theme, and could the bride and her dress be any more stunning? Again. WOW.

  2. I must ask, how did you go about finding this warehouse and securing it for a wedding? I absolutely adore this idea but I have no clue how to go about it myself 🙂

    • A lot of diligence and a little luck 🙂 I started by just getting my feelers out there and asking all of my friends and family in Toledo if they new of an abandoned warehouse. I also made calls to the Warehouse District of Toledo and other city organizations that were downtown staples…anything to get me a lead. Here's where the luck comes in…my uncle, who I feel greatly indebted to for helping me with such a task, did know of a few places that he had a business relationship with. After we explained what we wanted to use it for, and got the go ahead, the rest was much simpler. The organization who owned the warehouse drew up a basic contract on use and we were required to get event insurance for the date. Finding the space was probably the most challenging component, but if it's set in your wedding vision, you'll find a way to make it happen.

  3. This is probably my favorite wedding featured on OBB to date. This is almost play-for-play something I would love to do (except the Oyster shooters… I'm an adventurous girl, but damn it, I have limits… haha!)

  4. We are considering the top floor of an abandon mill for our reception site. You give me hope that it might work! Very elegant and wonderful. Congratulations!

    • Etsy is a beautiful thing! I think I just typed in "apothecary" on Etsy and one of the items that came up were these labels. (They were one of the first items I found that started to create the theme of the event.) A couple of other great etsy finds were all of the glass viles and my earrings.

  5. I'm with the other girls, also 'wowing'. Loving the details here, this sounds like the type of wedding that the guests will all remember as being 'awesome'!

  6. This is amazing! I know you do home renos but you totallly need to find the best party planner/event management team in your area and show them your wedding. Then you say, hire us as contractors.

    Anybody who needs space transformation should get your number STAT.

    This is hands down my favourite Offbeat Bride wedding, and I think one of the most glamorous affairs I've seen.

  7. I understand if you don't want to disclose any financial information, but I live in Metro Detroitm and we're seriously considering this idea! While we're not necessarily going to drive the half hour to Toledo, we are concerned about how much the venue ended up costing after "clean up." Let me know if you'd be willing to talk about the time/energy/money spent on the "restoration" process, essentially!

  8. I was wondering what kind of candles you used, since they created such a beautiful dripping effect as they burned down. Any help in the candle department would be much appreciated. The entire wedding was absolutely stunning!

  9. Everything about this wedding is lovely, but I have to give a special shout-out to the bridal party…

    ELBOW-LENGTH GLOVES. GUHHHH.

    I'm dead. This wedding killed me. I'm dead.

  10. I'd love the name of this venue contact if you're willing to share. I'm having the darndest time trying to find a similar spot!

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