The offbeat bride: Jill, Actress/itinerant 20-something (and OBT member)
Her offbeat partner: Peter, Theatre Director and College Professor
Location & date of wedding: Greenvale Vineyards, Portsmouth RI — September 12, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: As much fun as the decorations (made of moss/rocks/winebottles by my mom) and favors (mustaches! temporary tattoos!) were, what really made our wedding special and unique was our ceremony.
As an actor and a director, we both felt that we could create a ceremony that was personal yet fun and entertaining. Our first decision was to assemble a folk band of our nearest/dearest/most talented friends to provide the music for the ceremony. We picked an awesome set list — I walked down the aisle to “Gold” from the film Once, we recessed to “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim, and in between were songs by Ingrid Michaelson and The Magnetic Fields — and emailed our friends, who totally came through. They were dubbed the Grapes of Love Volunteer Folk Choir and they rocked it.I amassed lots of readings, from the poetry we read to each other when we began dating to passages from our respective religious traditions (Peter's Catholic, I'm Jewish) and we winnowed them down to our favorites together. Peter really took the reigns and wrote most of the ceremony himself. We got a good friend and a former teacher of Peter's ordained. She's a great actress and we knew she could handle not only making the words Peter wrote sing, but that she would be heard!
We also didn't have a traditional wedding party. Peter's sister was his best man, and my MOH sang in the choir.
The whole ceremony was funny, moving and totally personal.
Our biggest challenge: The weather! Peter and I both love the outdoors and we fell totally in love with our venue, the lush grapes, the green hills, the Highland cattle, the view of the river. But when our rehearsal dinner barbecue was rained out and then it KEPT raining through our whole wedding day, we had to regroup and squeeze 100 people into a tiny tasting room meant for about fifty.
I was freaking out a bit, trying to help set up chairs in my wedding dress and asking the venue owners about fire codes while our guests all squished into this itty bitty room. Then my aunt turned to my mom and said “Get. Her. Out of here.” I was whisked away to the back and given a glass of wine. When I came back in, our music was playing, everyone was seated, and I looked up and saw Peter. All my anxiety fell away, and from that moment on I only felt happiness and joy for the rest of the day.
My favorite moment: There were so many great moments in the ceremony. But my husband's vows were pretty epic. Although he's previously told me that he didn't want to write our own vows, the night before, he asked me if we could each say “a little something” before we recited the vows. When it was his turn to speak, he absolutely knocked me and everyone else out with his amazing words. He spoke for almost five minutes but everyone was RAPT. I'll never forget him looking into my eyes and telling me how grateful he was that I “just love — so completely, and without condition, or a single string attached.” On a lighter note, the lobster afterwards was pretty fantastic too. We had a traditional New England Clambake (which is so not kosher, but I married a Catholic so all bets were off anyway) and I hadn't eaten all day. Peter and I were supposed to share a lobster but I basically inhaled the whole thing myself in thirty seconds.
My advice for offbeat brides: My first suggestion is to start with what you DO want, not with what you DON'T want. It's really easy to fall into the trap of “I DON'T want a traditional wedding. I DON'T want bridesmaids. I DON'T want a damn wedding cake!” when you're an OBB. This is not only non-productive, but it can be alienating to the people who just want to help you and give you what you want. [Editors note: Remember construction is always more difficult than demolition.] I had to learn the hard way, but once I started listing my do's: music, poetry, an awesome dress, seafood, my dog, the Hora — things began to feel much better for me and everyone else as well.
My second piece of advice: delegate, delegate, delegate! You may think that you want to hang forty chinese lanterns and bake 150 wedding cupcakes the night before your wedding, but first ask yourself if there's someone else you trust. You don't have to be superwoman to have a successful wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photographer: I can't recommend BSC Photo enough — he was awesome. And as a BMX/fashion/music photographer, very OBB friendly.
- Cupcakes: Pink & Brown Bakery
- Foods: McGrath's Clambakes
- Jewelry: Denise James Designs
- Flowers: 539 Flowers
- Invitations, paper goods, and design advice: StudioSeven7
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!