The Offbeat Bride: Emma, Photographer (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Greg, Marine Biologist
Date and location of wedding: The Administrator's House Yard at the Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, OR — August 14, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we first met online, one of the major things that drew us to one another was our love of Harry Potter. When we decided to get married, having a Harry Potter-themed wedding was a no-brainer; it was a tip of the (witch) hat to why we ended up together.
Another absolute no-brainer for us was the venue. The Mcmenamins Edgefield Hotel is an old, poor farm out in Multnomah County that has been revamped into a hotel with a brewery, distillery, winery, spa, golf course and TEN different bars and restaurants on site. It's like Disneyland for adults with its Dr. Seuss meets Lemony Snicket aesthetic, whimsical paintings everywhere, and hidden courtyards. It was the perfect place to pretend we were in a wizarding wonderland. Their herb and vegetable garden provided the ingredients for our vegetarian pasta buffet, while the vineyard out front gave us the fantastic wine we got to enjoy at the reception. We couldn't have invented a more perfect setting if we'd tried.
I am majorly into crafting and sewing, so I knew that I was going to have to have my hands in every aspect of this wedding. I did so much from designing my wedding dress to making my rehearsal and reception dresses, designing and printing every piece of stationary right down to the drink tickets, making and collecting all of the decorations for the Hogwarts class-themed tables, creating more than half a dozen chalkboard signs that were hidden throughout the venue, and spending ten and a half hours creating my Harry Potter page bouquet and creating the feather quill boutonnieres.
Greg had bioluminescent dinoflagellates cloned that we put in bottles as our favours. The list goes on all of the way from the beading on my veil down to the appliqués on my shoes. I spent innumerable hours scouring the internet for décor and supplies, and Greg and I spent a lot of time watching Game of Thrones re-runs whilst assembling everything. And it was totally worth it.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We used our version of a Jewish processional with the groom walking down the aisle with his parents. We had already done a first look and had already been legally married for a few weeks, so seeing each other before the ceremony wasn't an issue. It was a nice way to make us equals in the ceremony: it wasn't ALL about the bride's “grand entrance” — he got to matter, too.
My niece Dempsey was our flower girl and she threw the dried petals from all of the flowers Greg and I have ever given each other, which I had been saving over the years. Her little brother Royston carried the rings in a copy of The Half-Blood Prince that I hollowed out.
Our processional song was “Neville's Waltz” and the recessional was “The Quidditch World Cup,” both from The Goblet of Fire soundtrack and performed live by my friends Clara Shandler and Meghan Van Cleave.
My brother Adam officiated our non-religious ceremony. He always has a great anecdote to tell, and we knew he was going to have just the right feel that we wanted: relaxed and funny.
He started by reading The Road Goes Ever, Ever On by J.R.R. Tolkien (A Magic: the Gathering Tournament the night before and this reading were the only other fandoms to make a guest appearance). We had a sand ceremony where we used sand from the beach at Greg's parents' house in Gloucester, MA where he grew up and sand from Wreck Beach in Vancouver, which is my coastal home.
My favorite moment:
I will never forget coming back to our hotel room the night before the wedding to find Greg trying desperately to come up with his vows. Just like with everything in our relationship, we sat down together, and worked it all out. It made hearing him make those promises the next day that much more meaningful because we had come up with them together.
We got legally married at home in Vancouver, Canada a few weeks before the big shindig to avoid any border-crossing issues. My grandparents weren't going to be able to make it to our wedding in Oregon, so we decided last-minute to surprise them by getting legalled at a shower that my aunt threw for us instead of a few days before the wedding as we had originally planned. The tears in my grandmother's eyes were totally worth scrambling to find a marriage commissioner at the last minute.
My funniest moment:
Our friend and Greg's groomsman Adam showed up wearing the tightest pants I have seen in my life. In combination with his bow tie and suspenders, it was pretty darned hilarious. You could practically see the last number he called when his phone was jammed inside his pocket.
My two-year-old nephew Royston discovered the microphone and decided sporadically throughout the night to serenade us with his rendition of “Happy Birthday,” which consisted of him saying “Hah-pee burt-day!” repeatedly and then grinning like a little monkey. He was also our ring bearer, and his father (my brother) was our officiant. When my brother headed down the aisle, Royston went running after him. When we tried to call him to come back he yelled, “I need the rings!” thinking that his dad still had them. Little man took his job VERY seriously.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Take your time. Because of our fairly small budget, I was constantly scouring the internet for the best deals. I would spend an entire day searching for JUST the right lanterns for our centrepieces, and then I would find the absolute best deals. And yes, I know, not everyone has the luxury of time to throw at their wedding, but I did and I'm so glad that I did.
There's usually a solution to the problem. After the wedding, I was pretty stressed that we hadn't gotten enough pictures of just us together (as a photographer, that was pretty important to me). Instead of spending the rest of my life regretting it, after we got home from our honeymoon I called up a fellow photographer friend and asked if he would do a wedding portrait session for us. We got to wear our fancy duds again and now we have all of the photos we dreamed of.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Myles Katherine Photography and Josh Lasko Photography
- Dress: Misdress
- Cake: Artisan Cake Company
- Flowers-: My mother-in-law Bonnie and sister-in-law Jenn, Garden Apothecary
- Musicians: Clara Shandler and Meghan Van Cleave
- Bride's Earrings: Pink*Emporium
- Bride's Ring: GoldAdore
- Groom's Ring: custom made by our friend Kadek at Tini Silver in Ubud, Bali
- Grooms/men's shirts: Express
- Groom's Shoes: Forever 21
- Bridesmaids' dresses: ModCloth Champagne at Midnight Dress in lavender
- Feathers for groom's and men's boutonnieres: House of Adorn
: Myles Katherine Photography