The Offbeat Bride: Shablis – Museum Security/ Receptionist (and OBT member “Shabs“)
Her Offbeat Partner: Devin – Developmental Therapist
Location & date of wedding: Avant Garden, Houston, TX — May 23,2009
What made our wedding offbeat: Friends and family helped with absolutely everything! Music, officiating, cooking, decorating, photography… everything! The best part about it was that everyone who helped had their own unique touch.
Fran, who planned the menu, went with Asian-inspired foods like spring rolls, saytays, and dumplings. Fran, Devin's mom, and her friend spent the better part of three days prior to the wedding cooking everything!
Our amazing friend/jeweler, Ernesto Moreira, made our custom rings with recycled gold donated by various family members, with a scroll design that I drew myself.
The bridesmaids wore whatever color dress they wanted. I just told them to wear something they felt comfortable and fabulous in. One of the girls happened not to be a huge fan of dresses, so she wore a suit with a top hat and ended up looking amazing!
Of course, we wanted to keep costs as low as we could, so a lot of stuff was handmade like the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and centerpieces. Some friends also gave us leftover supplies from their recent weddings.
One thing I knew I wanted was a party dress. Houston in May is hot! The day we got engaged, one of my best friends went out and got my dream dress for me as a surprise!
For favors, we bought paper fans online and saved a ton by personalizing them ourselves with rubber stamps. We did favor bags with custom buttons from Etsy, M&Ms and little paper fortunes I printed from online. We also got some really cool scented wooden roses from ebay.
Our biggest challenge: We had just over 3 months (101 days) to get everything done, so flexibility was important. We wanted to keep things loose enough to where any obstacles that arose could be overcome with little fuss. Many things just evolved naturally and fell into place this way, and whatever happened that wasn't ‘according to plan' we just accepted what we had and were happier for it.
There were some issues when my family made it apparent that for various reasons they would not attend or even acknowledge the wedding despite my efforts to amend things. It was a very difficult and painful realization to come to, but I had no choice but to let go and accept the situation for what it was. Regardless, we were surrounded by people who love us!
The day of, we were all worried about the weather. About an hour before the ceremony, it rained moderately for about 15 minutes. After that, the sun came out and everyone got towels to wipe down the chairs just in time! Though it was humid, it didn't rain for the rest of the day!
I did stress out a lot over how everything would fit together in the end. I was afraid that even though it's what I wanted, everything would look too ‘thrown together' Devin would remind me that as long as we both show up and say our vows, that's all that really matters. He was absolutely right!
My favorite moment: Here are just a few:
Walking down the aisle as our two musician friends played and sang, “First Day Of My Life,” by Bright Eyes.
There were three married couples in our wedding party (and we happened to be involved with all of their weddings the year before!). A month in advance we asked them all to say a few words about marriage — it could be scripture, advice, lyrics — basically, whatever they wanted. The first was some advice written by the couple themselves. She wasn't three sentences in before she started crying! Her husband finished reading, and there were hugs all around. We hugged everyone after they read! The second couple chose a bible verse that included a little inside joke just for us. The third couple read a Pablo Neruda poem off their iphone — first in it's original Spanish (he's Guatemalan), then in English by his wife. Her hand started shaking with nerves as she read, and he reached over and held the iphone steady. It was so sweet I almost burst out crying right then! Every couple chose something totally unique to each of them. Nothing we ever could have picked for them would have been half as touching or special.
I forgot to cue up the music for the recession, so as we walked down the aisle in relative silence, one guest yelled “Woo hoo!” Then our officiant said “You guys can do better than that!” Then the crowd erupted in cheers and applause! It was great!
My advice for other offbeat brides: Think outside the vendor box! Don't rely solely on wedding business directories and magazines as a resource. 80% or so of our wedding came from small businesses, both local and online. It's definitely worth shopping around to find that little-known place that does incredible work! Not to mention small businesses tend to be MUCH friendlier, better priced, more accommodating, and more appreciative of their customers too!
In fact, unless you're really into them, I'd recommend avoiding conventional wedding magazines altogether (while planning, anyway). Looking at those mags would give me a terrible feeling of ‘wedding impotence'. So I stopped comparing and swore off the glossies!
Trust your wedding helpers! I would get stressed and worried that I needed to be everywhere to help supervise decorating, cooking, dress choosing, etc. But once I just let go, I realized that I was totally ecstatic with every result.
If something doesn't happen the way you hoped, don't sweat it. No one will know but you!Devin and I didn't get to do our first dance. His back was hurting and we were both exhausted.When he asked if I was disappointed, I told him, “Honey, we have the rest of our lives to dance!”
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- Photography: Kerrisa Maddocks — A friend of mine. She's based in Austin, and she is just oodles of fun to work with!
- Rings: Ernesto Moreira — He is quite possibly the nicest man on the planet.
- Cake: Le Duc Gourmet Bakery — I can't recommend this guy enough! They were so nice, un-intimidating, and unpretentious, and they didn't even bat an eyelash to an order with 6 weeks notice! Plus, their cakes inspired me to invent the phrase “mouth-gasm”. It's just that good!
- Wooden rose favors: Becky Hunter — Tons of customizable options!
- Custom button favors: minepress — Excellent shop! And you can't beat her prices!
- Pearl earring/necklace sets for bridesmaids gifts: You Pearl — Since it's a company based in China, I was worried about price vs. quality, but I ended up being very pleasantly surprised!
- Dress: Jessica McClintock
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: