The Offbeat Bride: Giselle, Graduate Teaching Assistant (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Alan, Web Developer
Date and location of wedding: Country Cottage & Gardens, Mineral City, OH — August 9, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Alan and I both love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and as a costume enthusiast, I've infected Alan with the costuming bug. We love throwing themed parties for Halloween every year, so it just seemed natural that our biggest party would follow suit.
We also decided that EVERYONE should participate! So we did everything we could to make the message clear that we wanted everyone to dress up, and thankfully, most did! We added motivation by adding information on our invites that said “no landlubbers,” and had a website Alan designed for the wedding with a huge section on how to make easy pirate costumes.
My mother-in-law gave me her veil and told me to do whatever I wanted with it, so I dyed it purple! I changed corsets between the ceremony and reception, because one of my bridesmaids worked in a fetish shop and already knew the proper way to lace me in nice and snug. I was lucky enough that I made friends with another Tribesmaid, Meleehart, who made dreadlocks to wear in my hair.
Alan and I both picked one basic item for our wedding party to buy, and then asked them to personalize their outfits based off that one item, which really helped us look pirate-y. And my bridespeople carried swords instead of bouquets!
Tell us about the ceremony:
I worked with a friend to write the ceremony from scratch and incorporate everything that reflected Alan & me. Our processionals were from Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Legend of Zelda, and Sailor Moon. I decided that I didn't want my dad to walk me down the aisle. Instead we chose to meet in the middle, Alan walked back to meet me and we walked up together. This felt so much more appropriate for us. Also we had a friend get ordained to perform our wedding and he did an amazing job. We also asked one of my bridesmaids to perform the handfasting as our ring exchange in the ceremony, which was the completion of a ritual we had started a year & a day before the “big day.” While Alan is still relatively new to it, we consider ourselves a pagan couple, and it was incredibly meaningful to me to have that be a part of our marriage.
My youngest brother is in the Navy and was unable to attend the wedding, which was a huge bummer. I wanted his wife to be a part of the ceremony, so I asked her to do a reading. She read Yvaine's speech in the caravan from the movie Stardust, which is my favorite movie:
You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate… it made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves… you could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable, and strangely easy to mistake for loathing. What I'm trying to say, Tristan, is I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart… it feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange — no gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.
Our biggest challenge:
Outside of getting resistant guests to get into the idea of costumes, it was also a challenge trying to face this day without one of my childhood best friends. We have been close for 15 years, but earlier this year we had a very large falling out and we haven't spoken since. I missed her dreadfully, and her presence was definitely missed that day. She had made me a few pieces of rice jewelry before, so I tied them onto a ribbon with a large key and wore them on my belt the whole night, as my way of keeping her in my heart.
My favorite moment:
During the ceremony, I kept looking up at Alan and seeing his lip quiver. While he's a really sensitive guy, he doesn't really emote a lot, so seeing this emotion clearly overwhelming him was so meaningful to me. I managed to keep it together until after the ceremony when my mom came through the receiving line and just started crying, which immediately set me off crying.
But the most meaningful thing to us was how many people rallied around us to make this wedding happen. All of our friends, family, and the vendors all got in on the act and theme, and it was so touching. My wedding party especially was elbow-deep in wedding planning for weeks leading up to this. Alan made arrangements to help one of my bridesmaids fly in to Ohio from Vancouver, BC, and when she arrived, she jumped in immediately.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
I have been married before, and while you could consider my first wedding offbeat as well, I held nothing back this time. I also made my beliefs a much larger part of this ceremony, since Alan shares them with me, and my ex didn't. I always regretted not trying harder to at least incorporate some of that, and Alan embraced it fully. I also made sure to have a videographer this time, and I am so very glad I did. I also made sure Alan was as involved as possible. Alan was involved in almost every step of decision-making, and he never complained one bit, which made a huge difference from the last time.
More importantly, we took part in pre-marital counseling to make sure we had the right tools to make this marriage successful.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I learned that if I trust someone enough to be in my wedding party, I can trust them to complete the tasks they tell me they will complete. I have a terrible habit of micromanaging events, but I learned how much they are capable of doing without me looking over their shoulders the entire time. It's something I could really stand to carry into the rest of my life.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Diane Woodring
- Bride's dress: made by the bride's mother
- Corsets: Corset Story
- Boot covers: Emerald Angel
- Costumes:Dress Like a Pirate:
- Venue: Country Cottage & Gardens. They were the only venue that got really excited when we told them we wanted to have a pirate wedding, and they went above and beyond my expectations by getting into costume themselves, helping create a menu that had some pirate-y elements, and completely understanding my crazy directions for decorations.
- Videographer: Tyler Clark (our video)
- Cake: Camelot Cakes
- DJ: Mobile Jams (he even dressed up!)
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!