The offbeat bride: Christa, Energy Engineer
Her offbeat partner: Auros, Financial Analyst
Date and location of wedding: Orson Restaurant, San Francisco, CA — October 29, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We got married on Halloween weekend and asked our guests to wear costumes. I have a 1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille ArtCar which we used as our wedding limo. I had my dress custom-designed by a friend, made my own hat, and did my own hair and makeup.
We had non-matching, mixed-gender wedding parties, and we asked them to incorporate some element of the wedding colors in their outfits. We had no flowers, but instead Auros, the attendants on both sides, and I all carried candle lanterns (with LEDs).
We had the ceremony and reception in one amazing restaurant with a video projection wall on which we showed a silent selection of spooky-but-not-gory movies. I designed table numbers and place cards (to match the invitations which I also designed), but I really wanted to skip centerpieces as I have been to so many weddings where I felt like I could barely talk to the other guests across the giant display in the center of the table. Other than that, the restaurant needed no other decorations.
We hadn't known this when we booked the venue initially, but our restaurateur and chef, the amazing Elizabeth Falkner, ended up being a contestant on The Next Iron Chef, which began airing the weekend after our wedding! She ended up coming in second, but we wrote to her in our thank you note that she's already an Iron Chef to us.
The food was amazing. One thing Elizabeth is known for is her wild and abstract cakes. We told her we wanted the cake to look like a Gothic cathedral. She was initially hesitant because she doesn't really do realism, but we assured her that what we just wanted her to take that idea as inspiration and go wild with it. She did not disappoint! It had curving chocolate arches with splashes of metallic sugar, a candy rose window, and a purple ankh to round out the display. The royal Blenheim apricot jam (made with apricots we had them preserve for us four months prior, while they were in season) made it unmatched in taste as well.
Tell us about the ceremony: Neither of us is religious but we both consider ourselves spiritual, so the officiant we selected was a long-term friend of Auros's who is actually an excommunicated Catholic priest. He's definitely a religious man, but as Auros met him through a student atheist and agnostics group, we knew he would be fine with leaving God out of our ceremony.
My favorite moment: My dad has been telling me two things about my future wedding since I was about five-years-old: he will not photograph it (he has been photographing weddings since before I was born) and he wants to dance with me at it.
I managed to make both of his wishes come true. I found a friend to do the photography. I asked him what song he wanted to dance to. He chose “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which is so not my type of music, but it made him happy and I was really glad I could do that for him. He cried and at the end of the dance the whole family hug-mobbed us.
My funniest moment: Sometime early in the wedding planning process, I read a post on a wedding horror stories site where a girl was mortified to attend a goth wedding with her then-boyfriend. One of the things she mentioned was that the bride and groom had used a certain quote from The Addams Family in the ceremony. I resolved that that quote would be part of our ceremony.
When discussing the format of the ceremony with Auros and our officiant, I suggested the idea that each of us should have a toast to the other that was written separately, that was not something we had previously rehearsed. I did not like the idea that we would just be reciting things we'd said to each other before. So of course I wrote part of the quote into my toast: “… until eventually we're buried side-by-side in matching coffins, our lifeless bodies rotting together for all eternity.”
I had not been thinking of this as a laugh line. To me, it is the epitome of darkly romantic devotion. But as soon as I got to “buried side-by-side” all the guests started laughing! I just went with it. Laughing is a lot better than grumbling about how morbid it was.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We were pretty worried when we found out our restaurateur's event coordinator had quit three weeks before the wedding. So we spent the last couple of weeks meeting directly with Elizabeth and catching her up on all the details we'd discussed with the previous event coordinator. This also meant we got to know her pretty well by the end, which is awesome. She pulled out all the stops and made the day fabulous despite being short-staffed.
It's one awesome day of your life where you should be true to whatever aspect of self wants to come out that day, and it doesn't have to define who you are for the rest of your relationship or your life.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: As someone who has never really adhered to the concept of “gender” and felt like I fall somewhere on the scale between tomboy and androgynous, I was surprised to find planning for my wedding made me feel unexpectedly girly. I fought it for a little while, but eventually decided to just go with it. Wearing makeup and doing my hair for one day didn't make me a new person, it was just the side of me that decided to pop out for the occasion.
So if you're similar to me and find yourself reacting to gender expression in a new and different way for your wedding, just go with it. If getting married makes you feel “girly” when you usually aren't, that's okay. If it doesn't, that's okay too. It's one awesome day of your life where you should be true to whatever aspect of self wants to come out that day, and it doesn't have to define who you are for the rest of your relationship or your life.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Julie Bernstein of Funcrunch Photo
- Bride's dress: Tulgeywood Designs
- Bride's boots: New Rock Store
- Bride's necklace: Dragonweave
- Groom's jacket: Fan Plus Friend
- Groom's pants: Vampire Freaks
- Groom's shoes: Daljeets
- Bride and groom's lanterns: World Market
- LED candles for lanterns: CoolGlow
- Ketubah: Ketubah.com
Unfortunately our venue is now closed, our photographer has quit the business, and our officiant retired, so I can no longer recommend any of them. I would have loved to!
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!