The Offbeat Bride: Kari, Graphic Designer
Her offbeat partner: Chris, Musician
Date and location of wedding: The Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Philadelphia, PA — November 1, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our venue was one of our favorite details: The Philadelphia Magic Gardens, a giant art installation space (made of mosaic, mirrors, and recycled materials) by artist Isaiah Zagar. Not only was it incredibly beautiful, but we both felt great knowing the fees we paid to them would go to supporting art and communities in South Philadelphia. We chose not to have a traditional reception venue, but instead had the ceremony and a multi-coursed, Mexican dinner party all in the same outdoor space.
Our officiant wrote a beautiful ceremony that featured Curious George Visits a Toy Store, which encouraged us to always stay curious and be creative about solving problems and finding value in our relationship.
We asked our guests to stand and speak words of encouragement and blessing to us (we made sure to ask a few people to plan for it beforehand, just to ensure there wouldn't be any awkward silence and crickets!). We wrote our vows ourselves, and ended with a sand art unity ceremony in which Chris, myself, and Chris' two children poured colored sand into a crystal tequila bottle to represent the new, blended family we were becoming.
Our biggest challenge:
The Philadelphia Magic Gardens, while incredibly beautiful, is not very weather-friendly. My very practical husband was very concerned about the weather in the planning process. I, however, told him that if we didn't focus on the rain, it wouldn't rain. It turns out that isn't quite how Mother Nature works! The ENTIRE week of our wedding, it rained. I scrambled to find options for tenting the large outdoor space, only to find that we couldn't afford any of them on our budget. While there was indoor space available, it wasn't nearly large enough for our 75 guests. I finally settled on tables with large umbrellas. The day of the wedding, it was pouring. But by 2:00 p.m., the sky miraculously cleared and we managed to stay relatively dry.
My favorite moment:
The most meaningful moments of our wedding definitely came in the form of various guests standing and speaking to us in ways that were beautiful, candid, and directly from the heart. It turned out better than I ever could have imagined. From a simple, “I love you both so much,” to one of our very talented guests serenading us with a Broadway number, the responses were as surprising as they were touching. To my surprise, both of Chris' children ended up choosing to speak as well, and it made me so glad.
My funniest moment:
During our sand art unity ceremony, our son Stephen COMPLETELY missed the funnel into the bottle, and poured sand all over me and into my shoes. It is so apropos for his personality, we couldn't help but laugh. At least some sand made it into the bottle!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
- Listen to your gut. I went into the process of getting ready knowing I wanted to wear my hair down, but I let the hairstylist and others talk me out of it. Looking back, I wish I had done what I wanted to do instead of being swayed.
- Be flexible. It's a skill you'll need to practice in your marriage and in your day-to-day life so you may as well start with your wedding! Some things are our of your control, and in the light of any disaster, there is always something to be grateful for.
- It will go so, so fast. Faster than you ever could imagine it will go. Make time to eat and have at least one private moment with your new partner!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Mama Owl Photography
- Dress and petticoats: Vivien of Holloway
- Shoes: Chelsea Dey Designs
- Paper bouquets: Firehouse Studios
- Venue: Philadelphia Magic Gardens
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!