We fell for this duo's umbrella duel in a Monday Montage. Here is the full scoop on their pink and black wedding day.

both fought valiantly

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.

lying in the grass

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.

Wedding Cake

I had dreamed of a yellow-with-chocolate-frosting, heart-shaped cake forever. We had it and it was delicious.

centerpiece

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.

Madeleine and Anton Creative Input Foundation

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.

my bouquet

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.)

Beginning of the ceremony

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.)

Addie singing

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!

Anton's vows

Madeleine:
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.

Anton:
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.

cameras everywhere!

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.

chalk

Michelle and Grandpa dancing

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.

taking a moment

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.

Sisters and the couple

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!

right after the ceremony!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Comments on Madeleine & Anton’s two-day pink and black wedding

  1. Your dress turned out gorgeously! I remember the preliminary sketches.
    And that chalk design is awesome!!!! Congratulations!

  2. So excited to see your wedding on OBB! I had a wonderful time working with you too Madeleine! All of the elements of your day came together so beautifully and awesome! 🙂 I’m honored to have played a part in it!

  3. It made my heart happy to read this story! I want to have a two day wedding as well, and we are only about two weeks into planning and people are ALREADY shooting me down because two days “is a lot to expect from people”. And how could I think having some girls stand on the grooms side would be acceptable, and on and on and on. Thank you guys for inspiring me to stick to my guns! I’ll be sharing your story with anyone who thinks I’m being crazy. 🙂

  4. Wow! Wow! Was so stunned by this wedding, gorgeously done, the vows are spectacular and the pink is actually really cool and not at all girly pink pink that i thought it would be when i read {pink} haha no really this gorgeous! well done!

    • Thanks so much everyone!

      Oh hey Jessica, I’m so sorry I didn’t add the in there before! Invitations were printed and designed by Mark Tuchman at Scary Creative! He was also super great!

  5. I love your views on marriage. My fiance and I are both believers in fluidity too. Both are previously divorced so we were even hesitant to try again. We have been together four years and our lives together are very open and honest and it freaks a lot of people out. We feel no pressure to be anything but ourselves with each other. Whic is very very rare…Always nice to see other kindred spirits…

  6. Way cool, Mad!

    Love, Sarah M.’s brother’s girlfriend (we met at the funeral).

  7. Can I ask a non-snarky question about your vows? If you didn’t want to promise “til death do us part,” why did you get married? In my mind, that’s the ceremonial difference between marriage and long-term-relationship, or common-law marriage, or something like that. Obviously there are lots of other political and economic implications for marriage, all of which are valid reasons for getting hitched, but I don’t think that’s why you got married (maybe I’m wrong). Isn’t the implication of “wedding” marriage-forever, even if it isn’t specifically stated?

    Again, this isn’t a critique, I’m just curious about the reasoning.

    • Hi Jane, thank you so much for your question!

      I realize that sometimes when I talk about this subject I can be a little glib, and end up giving the impression that I don’t think much of the institution of marriage, which isn’t true. I do truly believe in the value of marriage, both for the individuals involved, and for the community at large. I do believe that marriages can and do last, and that is something that I want for myself and my husband, as well as for our hypothetical children. This commitment is generally made for life, but in our case we’ve made a commitment to try to make it through life. The reason for this is because of the fundamentally dynamic nature of human beings. Both Anton and I welcome change in our lives and ourselves, with the general hope that that change doesn’t cause us to go in conflicting directions, but with the understanding that it may in fact do so.

      My personal and practical reason for this is that I once stayed in a toxic relationship much longer than I should have because I had managed to convince myself that it would be my fault if the relationship failed. In my head it seemed like it would be a reflection of my personal failure. In healing from that experience, I made the decision that I would never promise or expect from myself that I would stay in a relationship “no matter what.” I don’t find my current relationship to be toxic or damaging, but, of course, it never starts that way. Sometimes people change, grow apart from each other, and cause harm to each other. I don’t expect anything like that to happen in my marriage, but while I’m committed to preventing it, I can’t make a promise based on the idea that it can’t happen. I’m absolutely not willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of a relationship.

      So yes! I agree that the implication is forever, and that’s what I want, but also feel that I owe it to myself to understand that it might not work out the way I want.

      • Thanks. That makes a lot of sense, and I really like the sentiment. BTW, the wedding looks like a blast.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.