The Offbeat Bride: Lizzy, Concert Photographer and Web Designer (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Derek, Cook
Date and location of wedding: Ceremony in a Garden at Niagara Falls and reception at Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, NY — May 10, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We had planned to have a “starry night” theme, but last-minute chaos happened and our decorations didn't end up getting set up. Fortunately, the venue of our reception had had a wedding the day before, and were kind enough to set up the decorations from that wedding, which turned out to be prettier than our own.
Aside from that, I have sported various colored hair for the past 10ish years. I refused to tell anyone what color my hair would be for the wedding, so they got a rainbow hair surprise and Derek spiked his hair up in a mohawk. Little did I know, my dad also showed up with a streak of purple in his own hair. I cried on sight.
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony was held outside in a garden at Niagara Falls State Park. We aren't very religious and don't like being the spotlight of attention, so we kept our ceremony super short and simple. My sister was my only bridesmaid and Derek's father was his only groomsman. We wrote our own vows, which incorporated movie quotes from Stardust, one of our favorite movies.
We didn't realize beforehand, but it turned out our officiant had been a local weatherman years ago, so a lot of our family got a laugh out of that. He also recited a latin blessing for us on his own accord, which I found pretty awesome.
Tell us about your reception:
It took us forever to find our reception venue, but when I finally came across The Rapids Theatre, I knew it was the one. I'm a concert photographer, so having the reception at a concert hall fit perfectly. Prior to the wedding, Derek was joking, “We're having an open bar! (…and a wedding!)”
We saved some money by not hiring a DJ, which turned out well, as the theatre had me set up some custom playlists of our music and was able to just plug my iPod into the sound system and let it run. Our wedding RSVP cards had a line for guests to suggest a song, so I included all the suggestions in our reception playlist.
We had a traditional first dance, father/daughter, and mother/son dances. My dad and I had also coordinated playing the song my parents danced to at their wedding, so they (my mom and dad) had a personal dance together. Later on, there were a few unexpected toasts, but my sister topped them all. She tried so hard to start talking, but she couldn't get more than a few words out at a time without crying, which in turn had us all in tears. It was so sweet.
What was your most important lesson learned?
If you write your own vows, don't forget to bring them with you to the wedding (or memorize them). I left the paper with mine in the hotel room I got ready in and didn't realize until about five minutes before walking down the aisle. Fortunately, I'd emailed the vows to myself, so I was able to access them via my phone. They ended up getting written down on a piece of cardboard from a tissue box, since we had no other paper source around!
Weddings are even more expensive than I thought they would be. We decided to save some money by hiring a hobbyist photographer that responded to an ad we posted on Craigslist. She was extremely enthusiastic and reminded me of myself. I was further able to save money since I have experience with photography and Photoshop, so I am able to edit all the photographs myself (which our photographer kindly agreed to).
If you have a venue with a sound system or can bring your own speaker setup, creating iPod playlists worked great for not hiring a DJ. Also, our cupcakes were from a culinary school rather than a bakery. They weren't elaborate looking, but tasted great!
- Photographer: Sarah Place Photography
- Dress: Wedding Dress Fantasy
- Reception Venue: The Rapids Theatre
- Hair Styling and Makeup: Dollface Makeup and Hair by Barbara Saric
: Wedding Dress Fantasy