This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

July 12 2019 | offbeatbride
This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts
Photos by Bethany and Dan Photography

Offbeat partner: Arielle

Offbeat partner: Mike

Date and location of wedding: Portland City Hall, Portland, Maine and Novare Res Bier Cafe — September 14, 2018

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We'd had a wholesome, family-centric (but not legal or official) little wedding in a park the previous weekend with our kids (featured here!). This was our legal elopement, but it was also an adult chance to celebrate our marriage in the city with our friends, most of whom were coming from far away and needed the nearby airport.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

While our other wedding was crafted for children, nature, and our small town, this wedding was built on the pleasures of VICE. We made it plenty sexy with what we wore — a wedding mini dress, nude high heels, Beyonce earrings, and a Priscilla Presley-inspired bubble veil for me; a James Bond-style vintage dinner jacket and Rat Pack loafers for Mike. And after our ceremony, which involved making out with some of our guests (see the photos!), we all walked along the cobblestone streets of downtown Portland to our favorite beer hall for grown-up drinks. There was cigar smoking, too, because I swoon when Mike smokes a cigar.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

We reinforced the late '60s swinger vibe with a vintage Vegas coin case as our ring box and Vegas greeting cards to hold our vows.

Oh: and there was a lot of Prince. Prince is huge to our relationship, and the opening words to our ceremony ("dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called life"), our ring exchange ("I am yours now, and you are mine…") and our exit song ("Take Me with U") were all Prince. Luckily, our officiant turned out to also be a Prince fan!

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

Tell us about the ceremony:
As described in a post I wrote for Offbeat Bride, we wanted to incorporate ritual into our ceremony that honored and celebrated our commitment to ethical non-monogamy without offending any of our guests. Lucky for us, we found out that there's a fun Scandinavian wedding tradition of guests sneaking up to kiss the bride during the reception — and since Mike is part Swedish, we could claim it and make it our own.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

So ahead of time, we alerted our guests that they'd have a chance to choose to make out with us at our ceremony, and that we would follow their lead (and told our vendors this would be happening!). Enthusiastic consent is key! And at the beginning of our ceremony, we walked in separate directions around the circle of gathered guests in the beautiful historic room (which rents for less than $200) at Portland City Hall, and greeted each guest in turn. It gave us a chance to personally reconnect right away with long-distance friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in years until they showed up in that room, and to smooch others! (I'm queer, so I got to make out with guests of various genders — yay!)

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

Tell us about the reception:
To keep things affordable, fun, and feasible during the crowded high season in Portland, Maine, we invited all our guests to simply join us for drinks at a nearby beer hall we love. It was a gorgeous late summer day, so we gathered in the outdoor area to hang out. It was really fun parading through the streets on the short walk from City Hall to the bar, with my veil blowing in the breeze, and a stranger even fist-bumped Mike as we passed! It was so much fun having locals and tourists congratulate us.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

The best and most surprising thing to us about this wedding was how all our friends — there were only 25 or so people there — got along. Most of them had never met before, and they came from all different segments of our lives, but they bonded really quickly. We had a little brunch open house at our hotel the next morning, and we'd thought maybe no one would come, or they'd stop in quickly and go, but everyone came and people hung out for HOURS, mostly because they just all adored each other so much. The brunch ended in a huge cuddle pile on our bed, which was the sweetest thing. Now I see them posting on each others' walls on Facebook all the time, leaving each other birthday messages and such. It's really moving.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
This is a second marriage for both of us, and we're in our mid-40s. We wanted something that felt grown-up and sophisticated but also really fun and joyous — and that gave our friends a good reason to fly in from all over the country for what was essentially a short and informal elopement ceremony. So we gave our guests a long list of recommendations of how to best enjoy Portland, and made arrangements to gather with folks before, during, and after the wedding day to hang out, go out to eat, and go dancing.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

We had no coordinator and hadn't planned to have any kind of wedding party at all, but we realized as the day approached that we would need a bit of help just getting the wedding favors and such over to City Hall and having someone on hand to greet our guests and tell them where to go. So we asked one of my best friends to take on the role of greeter on site, and asked another dear friend, Laura, to come help me get ready at the hotel beforehand. Laura showed up in an amazing Cardi B-inspired outfit and brought Cardi on her phone so we could get fierce while getting ready, and having her energy around made the whole day more relaxed. I'm so glad we asked for help!

Although everything was walking distance, we also decided late in the game to hire a car service for the day. This ended up being a great idea — even though it was a gorgeous, sunny, not-too-hot day, it was really helpful to relieve pressure about being late to our own ceremony.

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

This urban swinger-vibe microwedding had '60s style, beer, & lots of makeouts

Vendors

Photographer: Bethany and Dan Photography • Videographer: Rachel Epperly Media • Flowers: Whole Foods, (we had them put aside the mini bouquet I knew I wanted) • Officiant: Savoir Claire • Bride's false eyelashes: Jessica Johnson Beauty • Bride's earrings: DylanLex • Ceremony Venue: Portland City Hall • Reception Venue: Novare Res Bier Cafe • Accommodations: Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

Gallery

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