Robots and aliens have invaded weddings this week! It's making me want to break it down in a binary solo. Today's couple's robo-invitation theme spread into their photo booth, place settings, and sweetheart table!
The Offbeat Bride: Breanna, elementary teacher (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Thaddeus, man about town
Date and location of wedding: The Veranda courtyard, Orlando, Florida — December 21, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding definitely morphed along the way. Certain things, like a secular, unplugged ceremony, gender-blind wedding party, lots of music, and good food were there from the beginning, but a lot of the details were changed and adjusted as we discovered what would work or what wouldn't for our venue and our budget. The biggest example of this was the robots.
My maid of honor designed our invites, which happened to include an adorable pair of robots. They managed to find their way into everything after that: the bridal party wore robot necklaces, record labels with robot pairs, a handmade robot duo on our sweetheart table, and life-sized cutouts made by our photographer for the photo booth.
I love flowers, but only when they are alive and still in the ground, so we didn't have any flowers at all. I made sure that most of the items we used to decorate for the wedding would be used again afterwards by someone. For example, my aunt purchased all the tablecloths for us as a gift, but she got to keep them after the wedding since she often does events at her church and she will most certainly have the opportunity to use them again. We used the extra invites I accidentally over-purchased to make confetti for the tables. My grandmother's veil that was handmade for her wedding 60 years ago got a brief respite from its hatbox.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our entire wedding party consisted only of girls, with the exception of the groom. We had each side walk themselves down the aisle to “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins played by our friend's string duet. Instead of walking in on my own, Thad and I met at the end of the aisle, took each other's hand, and walked down the aisle together to Depeche Mode's “Somebody,” which I referenced in my vows. It was such a comfort to have his hand to hold on that nerve-wracking walk.
Our officiant was a friend of ours from our high school drama club who owned a small theater company, so she was great at writing and directing the wedding. She wrote most of the ceremony herself and did a fantastic job. Instead of doing a reading, she read the lyrics to our song, “This Must Be The Place” by the Talking Heads, which is the part of the ceremony where we both started crying. After that, we read each other our vows:
Dear Breanna: I am so glad that you decided, on July 7th of 2011, to go get some free tacos with a guy you hadn't seen in person since high school. I've admitted this before and feel no shame about it, but I had been stalking your updates and pictures of your time abroad for a few years and wondering to myself, “When did Breanna get so cool?” I had a sneaking suspicion that if we ever met up again, we would really hit it off. And, evidenced by where we're standing and what we're doing right now, I was totally right.
I've never had anyone in my life who I've felt so comfortable with. Not just like I've known you my whole life, but like you're the part of me that's always been missing. You're my audience when I think I'm being funny, my shoulder to lean on, my designated driver every now and then, the woman I want to have babies and grow old with, and my best friend.
I love you and your excitement about the world, your compassion for other people, your enthusiasm for living, and your adventurous spirit. There's no one else I'd rather have by my side through thick and thin, through good times and bad, whether traveling the world or having a lazy day in bed. You're the coolest person I know. I love you.
Thad: I love you. More than anyone else I've known or loved, I love you. You can make me laugh like no one else can, and you bring a smile to my face without even trying. You know the word I can't remember to finish my sentence, you know what my facial expression means even when I don't know that I'm making a face. You know where I put my keys when I didn't put them where they belong, and you know that whenever something good or exciting happens, I want to call my mom to tell her about it. You introduce me to amazing (and sometimes rather weird) music, and you always want me to come out and enjoy our local music scene, but you understand when I can't stay out past ten o'clock and have to crawl back home into bed without you.
It took me several years, and a trip around the globe, to become comfortable enough with myself to know that I didn't need someone else to make me content with myself, and my life. But I didn't know until we re-met on that rainy night last July for free tacos and beer, that I could maintain this level of happiness. That I could be this consistently happy, and that it could come from another human being.
There are so many things about you that I love. One of the things that I appreciate the most is how much a part of my family you have become, and how I've become a part of yours. You have become my somebody. Someone who stands by my side, and gives me support. And in return you have my support. Loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know, this is my promise to you that I will love you until the day that I die, and maybe even a little beyond.
My father is Jewish, and I wanted to incorporate that heritage into our wedding somehow. We were married under a chuppah that our friend made us as a gift, and we used the blanket that my mother made for me for my 18th birthday as the cover. I took that blanket with me to every country I've lived in, so it's literally traveled the world with me, and I always felt like it was a portable hug. It was so wonderful to be married under that blanket of love. We had a breaking glass at the end of the ceremony, which we both broke together, right before walking back down the aisle to “Heroes” by David Bowie.
We had barbeque for dinner from the best local place, which was far cheaper than any of the other wedding caterers we'd looked at, and tasted amazing. After the ceremony, the chuppah became the frame for a photo booth. One of our guests was also nice enough to make vegan sushi that she shared with anyone who wanted some, since our caterer was only able to make vegetarian fare available, and not vegan.
After the reception, we all went to our favorite local bar, Will's Pub, where Thaddeus had booked three bands to play that night. The first band, The Continentals, were a great oldies cover band that we had a blast dancing to. The second band, Moon Jelly, was an incarnation of our friends' band Sloppy Kisses, and it was our first time hearing their new sound which we loved. The final band, Andy Matchett and the Minks, allowed Thad to propose to me during their set at the Orlando Calling music festival the year before, so having them play at our wedding was perfect. Their set included singing under a parachute and loads of confetti!
Our biggest challenge: As for many people, our budget was a real hurdle, though thankfully we had help from several family members, as well as a little over a year to space out payments to vendors. Possibly the most frustrating part of the planning process was the rather odd series of events that led to us having issues with just about every vendor we chose. Some things were completely out of our control, like the venue being sold to another company and the person we paid our full deposit to leaving with it and giving nothing but our names and contract to the purchasing company. This turned out to be a blessing, as the new company was supremely helpful.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I'd been married once before, but I'd never had a wedding. My first time around, we just went to the courthouse with two friends as witnesses, and I wore a white suit dress that I later returned. This time, I had no plans to wear white at all since it's a color I almost never wear, and we decided together on all of the big decisions regarding the wedding.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Thad and I considered eloping several times throughout the planning process, but we both realized after the wedding that the engagement and planning process were like married life boot camp — it prepared us for what married life would be like. It taught us how better to communicate with each other, and gave us a chance to get to know each other's families better. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything, including the trip to Europe we considered putting all that money towards instead.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress, bolero, and petticoat: Vivien of Holloway with corset back alteration from Lynn Fashion and Bridal
- Bouquets and boutonnieres: Refinerii
- Invitations: designed by the maid of honor, Tami Salame, and printed as a VistaPrint postcard
- Barbeque catering: 4Rivers Smokehouse
- Photographer: Sooz White, a friend of the family, with additional coverage by Tami Salame
- Stomping glass: Dashka Roth
- Fingerprint guest book: Your Keepsake Co.
- Valet: VIP Services of Orlando
- Paper Lanterns: Paper Lantern Store
- Pearl earplugs: Arksendeavors
- Venue: Dubsdread
- After party location: Will's Pub
- Bands: The Continentals, Moon Jelly, and Andy Matchett and the Minks
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!