Jenn & Brandon's Matrimonial Purple Tudor Tea Party

Updated Oct 12 2015
Photo by Maile Lani.

The offbeat bride: Jenn, Youth Worker

Her offbeat partner: Brandon, Musician

Location & date of wedding: Illuminated Sculpture Gallery in New Orleans, LA on January 10th, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We were already legally married and decided to get "weddinged" almost exactly on our one year anniversary.

Not bad to have already gotten through the first year of marriage on your wedding day…makes for a lot less nervousness.

Photo by Maile Lani.

We decided to dress in period attire, simply because we love it, and encouraged others to do so as well. My wedding gown was royal purple with white brocade, and the groom wore a bright purple pirate's frock coat. Many of our guests dressed up as well, which was lovely to see.

Going along with the period costume theme, I set up my own photobooth in the studio part of the gallery with frippery galore, which was a huge hit and made for some of favorite photographs in existence! Our wedding was as DIY as possible. Our tea pot centerpieces and cake stands were made by me from items found at thrift stores. Brandon made all of the tea, hot and iced, for the tea party just hours before the wedding.

Photo by Maile Lani.

Our processional song was written by me and Brandon, he on guitar and me on keys. I designed, printed, and constructed all of our paper goods – save the dates, invitations, rsvp cards, food and beverage labels, tags for our teabag favors etc. We also wrote our own ceremony and vows.

We had two of our best friends play guitar and sing during the reception, which was better than any band we could have hired because they each chose songs that had particular meaning to us as a couple. Our guest book was a hand-painted plaque in our favorite colors picturing the two of us – a gift made by my aunt and cousin.

Photo by Maile Lani.

Another friend of ours made a computerized image of us as pirates which we used on the favor table. My mother, mother-in-law, and two sister-in-laws and I made all of the flower arrangements the day before the wedding, including our bouquets and the boutonnieres. My brother-in-law, Mike, was the officiant and a number of friends and family served as readers. All of our food was vegetarian, catered by Whole Foods. Instead of having one big wedding cake, we had 5 regular-sized round cakes, all in different flavors. A whole cake table!

Photo by Maile Lani.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge, aside from striving to keep everything at a reasonable cost, was planning the wedding from afar. We live in Orlando but wanted to have a New Orleans wedding since it would be a halfway meeting point for our two families, and the city has such romantic charm.

We had to do most of our planning correspondence via email, since we were only able to fit in two trips there before the actual wedding. And those were two very busy trips! We had to fit in a lot during our short visits to get everything done.

Photo by Maile Lani.

My favorite moment: Hearing each other's vows for the first time was the absolute greatest moment. We kept them a secret from each other until the wedding day, and it was such an emotional experience for both of us to read and listen to them.

Another favorite moment was when my father-in-law, John, surprised us by reading an "ode" – a very long, and well-rhymed poem – chronicling our lives and our relationship, as well as his hopes for our marriage. This was a continuation of a tradition that his late father had begun and we were completely in awe listening to it.

My offbeat advice: The best advice I can offer is do NOT hesitate to take people up on their offers to help. Chances are, those people are offering, not out of obligation, but because they have a genuine desire to play a part in your wedding day. Use their talents!

Also, don't let your "theme" restrict you. Themes are great backbones for your event, but if there's something you'd really like to do that doesn't seem to fit within your theme, well, who cares?! Do it anyway! And, be sure to buy the book Offbeat Bride and join the OBT as soon as you get engaged (if not sooner!) I didn't discover it until later in my planning, and wished I would have found it sooner.

Some of our vendors:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Click on the photo below for more pageantry and great photos from Jenn & Brandon's period-attire, purple photobooth wedding!

 

  1. This is lovely 🙂 Amazing dress!!

    I love the idea of "getting weddinged". How about "getting weddinged" BEFORE the actual, legal marriage? Anyone ever heard of this crazy idea??? My partner recently applied for nursing school, and because I have a relatively comfortable income, it would seriously impact his financial aid eligibility for us to be married while he is a student. (They look at both your incomes once you're technically hitched. His income alone ain't much at the moment). We don't want to wait another 2-3 years to exchange vows and celebrate our relationship with family and friends, so we've considered "getting weddinged" next year, with a friend "officiating", and then just heading to the courthouse to make it legal once boyfriend is finished with his program. I'm not sure if we would make it known to our loved ones that we weren't legally getting married at the time of the ceremony, or if we would just go forward into the world as husband and wife and have none be the wiser. A year or two later it would be official, anyway. Do you Offbeaters have any comments, thoughts, experience, or advice to share re: my wacky plan?

  2. Thank you for sharing the considerable thinking and planning that went into this memorable event. And thank you for sharing the great photo moments, like a laundromat! Of course, hearing that my brother John has carried on the "ODE" tradition that my father loved to do meant a lot to me personally. Sounds like every day will be an adventure. Have fun!
    Love, Aunt Cris

  3. Brandon and Jen, wishing you a long and lovely life. Happy to welcome you to our long line of pirates in the Crooks gang, and like Cris it brought a tear to my eye to hear John wrote and Ode like our dad did for all of us! what a special thing and i can't wait to hear it!
    love and sunshine aunt deb

  4. You are one of the prettiest "real" people I've ever seen! Some of your photos look like movie stills. And the dress is stunning on you.

    Side note: Violet, make sure to check into the common law marriage rules in your state. Some states declare you legally wed if you live together and call each other husband and wife. Very likely, nothing would happen, but your FH could also be caught for fraud if he gets grants and loans as a singleton and someone finds out that he's married–common law marriage is lagally binding.

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