We fell for this duo's umbrella duel in a Monday Montage. Here is the full scoop on their pink and black wedding day.
The offbeat bride: Madeleine, receptionist
Her offbeat partner: Anton, software developer
Date and location of wedding: Ivy Garden, West Warwick, RI — September 2, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We split our wedding up over Labor Day Weekend, and had a small ceremony with immediate family on one day, and a large reception two days later. We skipped a lot of things, like a wedding party and announcing the bride and groom. I wore a pink and black custom dress from Rachel at Avail & Co., and Anton had a vest to match. Anton made a website for the wedding, and we did our RSVPs online. The online RSVP cut down on work needed to track responses because Anton had the database automatically write the info to a shared spreadsheet hosted by Google Docs. One of the big ways we saved money was by not having a photographer and asking our guests to take a lot of photos.
I'd say we're Offbeat Lite because we don't really subscribe to any specific subcultures, but we also have a pretty offbeat view of marriage altogether. The point for us was basically to have a blast every step of the way, damning any conventions or traditions that didn't work for us. The best part of everything was how great our family and friends were. Everyone really got into the spirit of things, and the whole event was filled with love and joy from start to finish.
I had dreamed of a yellow-with-chocolate-frosting, heart-shaped cake forever. We had it and it was delicious.
The centerpiece idea came from a funeral reception just a couple of weeks prior to our wedding: roses floating in fish bowls on doilies. If I hadn't seen that, we may not have had any centerpieces at all.
Originally we were not going to have a signed photo or guestbook, and Anton came up with the idea for the “Madeleine and Anton Creative Input Foundation” where guests could write notes, do art, make origami, etc. It worked out great! And then our friend/photographer Kelly surprised us with a framed photo from the ceremony for signing, so we had that as well.
The bouquet was some roses I bought at a supermarket the day before, and matron of honor Addie wrapped the stems up in some ribbon.
We made table numbers, place cards, and a bunch of other details out of recycled invitations. The invitation design itself was recycled from my dress, designed by Rachel Alvia. (I can't recommend working with Rachel enough. She was fantastic every step of the way.)
Tell us about the ceremony: We had a small ceremony on the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge in Simsbury, Connecticut. After the ceremony, the whole group spent the day together. We started with breakfast at our favorite spot, and then went to Anton's parents' house for a day of festivities, including a chalk drawing contest and an award ceremony where the prize was a picture with us in a huge gilded frame. (Spoiler: everyone won.)
In the ceremony, the officiant opened with “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall. My sister Hillary read “A Gift From the Sea,” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Anton's mother read “Friendship,” by Judy Bielicki. In between the readings, my best friend/matron of honor sang “I Never” by Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley and I cried… a lot. The officiant pronounced us “partners in life,” and cited the power vested in him by the State of Connecticut and by the Universe, per my request.
We didn't say anything in the realm of “'til death do us part,” because we both truly believe in fluidity and change in relationships. While we very much want to spend our lives together, honesty is very important to us, and we wouldn't make promises that might not be kept. Below is the text of our vows. He saw me write mine, but he wrote his the night before, and they were a surprise. I cried again!
Backer, you are my partner and best friend.
You are my inspiration and source of strength.
You are the silliest person I know, and you can always make me laugh.
I promise to explore new things with you.
I promise not to get jealous of your love for Nikki [our cat].
I promise to always love your beard (or not beard.)
And most of all, I promise to support and join in your perpetual quest for truth, authenticity, and beauty.
Madeleine, you are my partner and my best friend.
You are my balance and my moral compass.
You are my shining beacon of compassion, complete with olive oil hair and the brightest sunflower eyes.
I promise to keep my feet on the ground and my head in the sky.
I promise to mangle English with you in ways that will disorient our future children.
I promise to let you have a copy of my beard if I ever cut it.
But, most of all, I promise to dig into this world, find out what all the hubbub is about, and share with you the things I learn along the way.
My funniest moment: Since we didn't have a photographer, six of our eleven ceremony guests were taking pictures, which was pretty hilarious on our side of things. We took some pictures of a bunch of us holding cameras in order to convey what this felt like.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was mainly concerned about how our choices would go over. Having conviction in our choices and not worrying what people would think was a challenge. Anton has always been my guide in that, and our wedding was no different. We didn't really have a cohesive vision of how things should be, we just had what we cared about and what we didn't, and I knew that some of it might not be well received. But we ended up having ridiculous grins on our faces from start to finish, so we worried for nothing.
Our first dance was also a source of anxiety. We'd learned it in less than a month, it was pretty tough for us, and we were still making lots of mistakes on the actual day. My stomach was in knots for all of the cocktail hour and dinner until it was time for the dance, but it was totally fine! It came out pretty flawless, by our standards. Once it was over, I was so elated and relaxed and had a blast the rest of the night.
My advice for offbeat brides: Relax, smile, be you, and make room for your partner to do the same. Save money by deciding what truly matters to you and only focusing on that. Be picky about your vendors. Find people that are receptive and enthusiastic about your ideas and vision. Bail on the ones that aren't. And if you're going to dance all night, drink lots of water!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Rachel Alvia at Avail & Co.
- DJ: DJ JT Stevens in Somerville, Massachusetts
- Venue: Ivy Garden in West Warwick, RI
- Cake: Scrumptions in East Greenwich, RI
- Rings: Joseph A. Conte in Hamden, CT
- Hair Fascinator: Etsy Seller KRISSY187
- Ceremony Breakfast: Harvest Cafe and Bakery in Simsbury, CT
- Ballroom Dance Studio: Dance in Rhythm in Branford, CT
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!