The Offbeat Bride: Kirsten, Animator/Director
Her offbeat partner: Daniel, Film Director
Date and location of wedding: Green Oaks Creek Farm, Pescadero, CA — August 20, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Although wedding planning is always drama-filled, the biggest thing we faced was relocating our entire wedding, two weeks before the event. We were supposed to get married at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, and had everything in place with our Big Sur vendors, guests booked at local hotels and campgrounds, and then the massive Sobranes forest fire hit the area.
It started a month before the wedding, and we were sure it would get contained in time, but it just kept spreading and spreading closer to our venue. So then two weeks before, we had to make the tough call to move everything. Although finding a new venue, lodging for guests, and mostly all new vendors at that point was one of the hardest things we ever had to do, we think the wedding turned out even better in the end than it would have with the original plan. My husband took charge of pretty much all of the ceremony details, since I was mentally burnt out after dealing with all the reception re-planning.
With all that said, we still wanted to retain that excitement we had about creating a crazy fun celebratory love-fest, which was always our goal. You can get the vibe of what we were going for by watching our video invitation. Hubs & I were super proud and excited about it, since it's probably our only successful collaboration (disclaimer…we're both filmmakers):
Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose to hold our ceremony in a small redwood grove on the farm's property that they hadn't yet utilized for a wedding, so we were the first to figure out and customize that space. It was a fairly tight space in which to fit 100 guests, but I think being so close to everyone made it even more touching and beautiful.
We are also so lucky to have some mega talented creatives as friends, so that floral arch was entirely made by the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a few extra friends with flowers carted up from the LA flower market (& also since we were just hemorrhaging money at that point, and couldn't afford to have a florist do it). That aspect of decorating the ceremony space ended up being one of my favorite wedding memories though, as we all met up the day before to set it up. We had bridesmaids on groomsmen's shoulders tying flowers into place, clearing debris with shovels, making pathways, etc. It was a huge feat of teamwork.
The actual ceremony was beautiful and fun beyond my expectations. Two of our friends played processional music on acoustic guitar; a friend on each side of the wedding party that had known us the longest made touching speeches; we wrote our own vows; our close friend (the one who introduced us) got ordained and we all wrote the ceremony script together; and, because drums are part our pasts, I started a beat, then Dan added, then all the guests were given percussion instruments and everyone paraded out to this organic, wild rhythm we all created.
Tell us about your reception:
We made our entrance into the reception wearing those huge inflatable T-Rex costumes, because why the hell not? Also the DJ knew to cue up the Jurassic Park theme during our entrance. We also had a bunch of costumes and masks waiting in a huge tent we had rented, so our entrance was also a signal that people shouldn't be shy about going for it. Dan and I are also superrrr into food, so the feature of the meal was a massive pig roast.
We had a few traditional toasts during the reception, as well as father-daughter and our first dance. We had one of those radio DJ announcer guys record a bunch of "DJ drops" that were really ridiculous to pepper into the dance party, which was pretty liiiiit. At one point, we lost power. The music cut and lights went out, but within seconds my husband and a whole crew came out banging the rhythm on the drums we had from the ceremony. It was a really amazing moment, as most people would have been bummed, they just kept the beat going on drums & everyone kept dancing until the power came back.
Instead of a wedding cake, I made a massive wedding cake-shaped piñata filled with our favorite snacks, and we re-purposed the huge heads from the invitation video as blindfolds. Other highlights include a secret golden Easter egg hunt, campfire with s'mores, inflatable swan loungers, and some medicinal smoke stack moments in the tent.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Lesson #1: Don't underestimate how much you need to rent when your venue provides only a space. There were so many huge rental expenses we weren't factoring into our budget. Tent, tables, linens, catering equipment, lights, and more…
Lesson #2: I really think the most memorable parts of the wedding were the things we DIYed or spent a negligible amount of money on. Although it was nice to have that gold cutlery we paid extra to rent, who even remembered that? The lasting memories are of the unique things that showcased our creativity and who we are as people.
That being said, I also laugh when I hear "do your wedding your way! Don't worry about anyone else!" because that's the most difficult mantra to hold on to when you have family members all voicing their opinions on what they feel you must do. There were a few traditions I might have skipped (or subverted) had those things not meant a lot to family members. Weddings are such a difficult balancing act, and in the end, it's not really your (the couple's) day, it's for everyone, in most cases. I tried to make every decision thinking: will this make for a more enjoyable and fun party for my guests?
I lost track of how many times my husband and I would get so fed up with planning that we'd consider just going to city hall. The only reason we didn't is because we love entertaining too much. So at the end of the day, and for all the money we spent, we wanted to make sure we did everything in our power to make it the banginest party we ever threw.
- Photographers: Julia Stotz and Brian Guido
- Dress designer: Limor Rosen
- Dress boutique: Lovely Bride
- Venue: Green Oaks Creek Farm
- Florist: Alena Jean
- Catering: Sea Stars