The Offbeat Bride: Jenell – Interior Designer (commercial), and OBT member “Jenell”
Her Offbeat Partner: Joe – Marketing Content Writer/Editor
Location & date of wedding: The Paisley Violin Cafe, Phoenix AZ
What made our wedding offbeat: We decided to keep our wedding small, personal, and inexpensive and save some money for a really nice honeymoon in Spain (since we were paying for it ourselves and wanted a short engagement of five months). We picked an offbeat cafe/bar/restaurant in our beloved downtown neighborhood that reflected our personalities, and provided great food in a casual atmosphere.
I chose a fuchsia party dress (more fun than white), and my groom chose clothes that he would wear again. We asked four friends & family members to say something (whatever they wanted) during the ceremony. We decided against having bridesmaids/groomsmen, because it's really about us, right?
We knew that we didn't want a sit-down dinner. We also did not want to have to personally “entertain” our guests with a traditional cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. We wanted the guests (which were 75 of our family members and closest friends) to mingle, help themselves to food & drink, walk around & sit inside or out. I asked a friend to make cupcakes, and another to create the display. She and her husband decided to suspend them. Instead of a dance, we provided other entertainment such as a loose “photobooth” area with costume props, a fire for making s'mores, and projected photos of us while an ipod played favorite songs we had collected for months. We also borrowed another bride's idea for a questionaire, in lieu of a traditional guest book.
Our biggest challenge: One challenge was trying to keep the wedding small, while in our own city. I imagine that this is much easier with a destination wedding. In our situation, we needed to keep it small because of the venue size, because we really wanted it to feel intimate and to be able to spend time with all of our guests. Joe has a very big Italian family who all live in Phoenix. And we both have a lot of friends, close co-workers, and acquaintances here. Thankfully, we had no pressure from our parents to invite anyone that we didn't want there… possibly because of our age and that this was both of our second marriages.
Regarding family, we decided to invite only aunts, uncles & first cousins. Choosing between friends was much more difficult, but we just tried to invite those people that we know will be our friends for a long time to come, and not be too sentimental about past friends not currently a part of our lives. We also set up 2 other parties after the wedding. One week after the wedding, Joe's mom threw a party at her house for all of his extended family members. The following week, we had a party at our house for our friends.
For the most part, everyone was very understanding but unfortunately, I think a couple of people had their feelings hurt.
My favorite moment: Honesty, I think it was the elated moment during the reception when I realized that “we did it.” We had pulled off our wedding, accomplished everything that we wanted from it, and our guests were really enjoying themselves.
I'm sure that my husband's moment would be more beautiful and sentimental than mine, but after all of the planning, a friend's discouraging remarks at non-traditional ideas, the nervousness during the ceremony, and heart-felt desire to see everything go well, I was overjoyed at the realization that our offbeat wedding had worked. Truly, I loved every minute of our wedding, but it was at that point that I felt I could relax and everything would take care of itself.
A really funny moment, however, occurred during the ceremony. We were outside on the patio of The Paisley in downtown Phoenix, and during the middle of the ceremony, a truck drives by playing mariachi music LOUD. He slows down at the corner, and my husband and our pastor sort of do a little dance for the seconds until he's past. Completely in character for the both of them, it cracked everyone up.
My advice for other offbeat brides: Consider alternate wedding locations, and feel free to be creative with it. The venues that target wedding events usually cost a fortune and are sometimes kind of cheesy. We saved a fortune by choosing this offbeat cafe that has a lot of its own personality. We had our wedding on a Sunday evening, when they are normally closed so we had the place to ourselves. They didn't charge us any rental fees, gave us great pricing for the food, and let us bring in anything we wanted.
We thought a lot about the kind of experience we wanted to create for our guests. We really love our 1940's apartment downtown, and the adjacent neighborhood that supports a small art community and locally-owned businesses. The Phoenix area is overrun by characterless developer-driven suburbs, and we wanted to expose our guests to something different, something special to us. Many of our friends and family members remarked about what a cool place it was, and what a fun, and comfortable wedding we had.
- brides dress- Siri
- brides shoes- Touch Ups (dyed locally)
- brides engagement ring- Murmelring
- photography- Ali Broach Photography
- bridal bouquet & groom's bouttoniere- created by the bride, but heavily inspired by Princess Lasertron
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!: