My Offbeat Partner: Christiaan, Grad Student
Location & date of wedding: Bartlesville Community Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma — 01/03/2009
What made our wedding offbeat: We both had very different conceptions of what our wedding should be. The groom was very keen on much of the symbolic tradition of weddings, while I was much more into the aesthetic expression of our personalities.
The mix we ended up with was a fun, colorful, highly personalized wedding that maintained the basic framework of a traditional wedding.
For example, we had processional to the traditional “Here Comes the Bride,” but chose to have both sides come down the aisle simultaneously and with both sets of parents — we were “given away” to each other. Additionally, we had a clergical officiant but used secular readings and vows (T.S. Eliot and self-authored vows). We even chose the signing of the marriage license, the secular act which technically joined us in marriage, as our “unity ceremony.”
Aesthetically, we managed a similar blend of tradition, fun and personalization. The groom/groomsmen wore dark grey tuxedos, while the bride and bridesmaids opted for bright, colorful dresses. Subtle Asian themes ran throughout reflecting my upbringing in Japan. Boutonnières, corsages and headpieces were silk kanzashi (Japanese hair ornaments). Centerpieces were origami squirrels (his nickname) and cranes. The invitations were Japanese inspired 11″ by 5″ scrolls. Colorful garden lanterns and Christmas lights hung overhead, creating a garden-party sort of atmosphere reminiscent of Oklahoma summers.
On the whole, our basic idea was to strip down the traditional wedding, keeping to the parts that seemed most crucial. We kept the ceremony short (under five minutes) and did away with most of the traditional post-vow tossing of accouterments and awkward dance exhibitions. We also made it a point to budget for a healthily stocked bar, a dance floor and a DYI photobooth for our guests.
Bottom line: we wanted this to be a CELEBRATION of our JOINING and so tried to weigh the two parts equally.
Our biggest challenge: Negotiating the different views of what the wedding should look like and/or include. After all, the list of people who have to be appeased does not just include the bride and groom. And it did not help that the bride was living in New York, the groom in Oklahoma and the bride's parents internationally.
In the end, we learned perhaps the most important lessons of married life: negotiation and communication.
My favorite moment: When my grandmother came to see me 15 minutes before the wedding and I was chomping down on an onion-filled sandwich. “Adair! You're not eating ONIONS are you?!?” She handed me a whole roll of Certs.
My advice for other offbeat brides: Being creative doesn't necessarily mean wholesale rejecting tradition.
Also, on the wedding day, just relax — things will happen that you can't control. No need to get upset. Have fun.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- Graphic Designer for Invitations: Steve Loftis
- Photographers: Sarah Adams of Yellow Chair Photography and Chelsea Beck Photography
- Kanzashi: Mizusugi
- Wedding Dress: Alyce Design (Prom 6866)
Enough talk — show us the wedding porn! Click on the photo below to see more photos from this wedding: