The Offbeat Bride: Robin, Content & Social Media Lead
Her offbeat partner: Taran, Illustrator/Animator/Graphic Designer
Date and location of wedding: We took over the entire second floor at The Manor in West Orange, NJ — April 1, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our geekdom runs deep and we're known to throw themed parties, so settling on a single fandom felt forced for an event of this magnitude. Instead, we decided to put a little bit of everything we love together for a truly unique experience. For a while, though, nothing fit together. Plus, we were annoyed by traditions that felt were “expected.” So, we identified what really mattered: bringing the people we love together and staying true to ourselves.
Two epiphanies changed everything:
1. Shifting to Sunday brunch eliminated dancing (which we dreaded) and took the vibe from formal to familiarly festive — a Lazy Sunday gathering of friends and fam. We ditched the DJ and selected an incredible buffet spread (with a quote for every food).
2. Finding our actual theme. We had books, films, TV, and travel and adventure, rustic and modern, DIY and vintage — lots of things that we both love, but a mish-mash. Then something clicked, inspired by a wall in our home covered in fictional maps. We chose a Pop Culture Travel theme!
We also handmade or personally designed a LOT: Tiara (from grandmother's diamond & pearl jewelry), Cartoon save-the-date magnets, invitations, favor cards/tags and tassels, photo booth quote signs, kidnapping video* (see more of this later!), paper/book bouquets, boutonnieres and table flowers, table name cards and frames, paper suitcase escorts w/ Multipass (Fifth Element), name tags, cufflinks and bouquet charms (favorite fandoms), and the ring bearer pillow.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Instead of rejecting all tradition, we made those we kept our own. Taran’s father passed away, so her uncle did that honor while my dad escorted me. Two brides = one bridal party for us, dubbed “The Fellowship of the Rings.” A string quartet performed modern songs during arrivals, then the Fellowship walked to “Concerning Hobbits” followed by Taran walking to “Once Upon a Dream” (Sleeping Beauty).
Taran adores Coming to America, so before I walked to Zeppelin's “Thank You,” our friend sang “Queen To Be” a cappella and earned genuine applause. Our recessional was “Best Friend” by Queen.
We made our bouquets/boutonnieres from our favorite books (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Dune) and craft paper. For unity, the faces from Origin of Love from Hedwig & the Angry Inch stood behind us, separated during the ceremony then together at the reception. We aimed our vows toward silly and sweet, which is how we really see ourselves as a couple.
Our programs were newspapers (The Ropez Gazette) that included 12 pages of articles, a crossword puzzle, a spot the references Easter Egg Hunt, Who’s Who. We set up memorial pictures of lost loved ones where the aisle began so they'd be part of our journey. An April Fool's Day wedding required a prank, so we pretended our officiant had bailed. A Fellowship member performed a quick wardrobe change and recited a personalized version of Prince’s “Let's Go Crazy” then started the actual ceremony. Instead of any objections, the attendees affirmed with Battlestar Galactica's “So Say We All.”
Tell us about your reception:
Upstairs, guests received paper suitcases with personalized luggage tags as escort cards. Inside were map-designed table names (Tatooine, Middle Earth, Westeros, Hogwarts, Oz, etc.) with a quote from their fictional land and a tiny towel (HHGG reference). Our “guest book” was vintage pop culture postcards which they mailed in a decorated mailbox. In the bar/lobby we served tiny brunch delights like mini pancake stacks and yogurt parfaits.
Suddenly, one of the Fellowship announced we’d been kidnapped. Everyone was locked in to watch a kidnapping video, solve puzzles, and save us from certain doom! Our centerpieces were designed for this: locked treasure chests and vases filled with coffee beans and paper flowers attached to pens. The string quartet accompanied with Mission: Impossible, Gladiator, Indiana Jones. Our primary goals were to offer unforgettable food and create a “nobody feels left out” environment.
After the quartet left, we had an upbeat playlist and our hope was for the tables to choose a board game and get to know each other better through friendly competition. However, our teamwork-based cocktail hour and creative seating assignments resulted in a dance-free reception where everyone just spent the time dining, chatting, and visiting our green screen photo booth. Not one table touched the board games. Since we had a crepe cake (topped with personalized Funko Pops), we performed a pouring of the syrup instead of cutting the cake. Antique key bottle openers were our favors.
What was your most important lesson learned?
We tried to do A LOT. We made A LOT. We planned A LOT. For our Easter Egg Hunt, we listed 50 fandoms to find and that wasn't even comprehensive. Some of our planning worked, some of it fell apart. Nobody noticed the parts that failed.
Dividing everything into Vital and Nice to Have helps when it comes to (trying to) not sweating the small stuff. I'm an intense spreadsheet-addicted organizer. And while I think planning is important, it turns out some of the best parts of the wedding are the things that happened organically… like our 2-year-old ring bearer deciding he had jelly legs or giving an impromptu speech at the reception and guests escaping the Escape to go to the bar and spotting the brides.
Also, too many choices can be a problem. 15 backdrops for our green screen (LOTR, Star Wars, GOT, Indiana Jones, Matrix…and on and on) was way too many. We would have had more pictures if we'd given less choices. And finally, having a hangout the night before (we opened the post-rehearsal dinner to everyone and our friend ran a special D&D game for anyone who wanted to play) made a huge difference in how people who'd never met before interacted at the wedding.
Coordinator: Slick Little Bride • Photographer: Sherry Sutton • Dress: Kleinfeld (Shay Bride, baby!) • Suit: Bindle & Keep (Bespoke!) • Venue: The Manor • Videographer: John Jae • Hair & Makeup: Salon Alchemy • Cake Toppers: Foco Custom • Six Pence Charm: Exquisite Event Design • Book Charms: Tiddy Bits • Pride & Prejudice ribbon on bouquet: Skye and Drylie