The Offbeat Bride: Lydia, Writer & Designer
Her offbeat partner: Matthew, Futurist
Date and location of wedding: The Lake Theater & Cafe, Lake Oswego, OR — April 3, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We had a science and fiction theme, pulling heavily from NASA, Carl Sagan, our favorite sci-fi franchises like Mass Effect and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The theater put up our tagline on the marquee: “Written in the Stars.” Our officiant wrote a beautiful, secular ceremony that touched on our primary philosophy: The universe is vast, we are very small; because we have each other we are not alone in all that vastness.
Our clothing was inspired by two of our favorite video game characters, Garrus and Tali from Mass Effect. My mom and I made my dress with an accent fabric taken from Tali's costume. Matt's jacket was made by a talented Cyberpunk designer on Etsy based on Garrus' colors and style. The officiant had an Illusive Man costume on. We wanted to look like we belonged in the beautiful imagined worlds of the future, and all our style choices reflected that.
We skipped the wedding party and had Squadmates instead. Those were the people we would have chosen if we'd had room on stage for everyone to stand up there with us. We asked them for help with tasks on the day of, and they rose to the occasion with gusto. They really are the most amazing people in our lives. Right after we got engaged, I sent out an email asking them if they would join the Squad and letting them know that they were off the hook for buying outfits and stuff like that.
Tell us about the ceremony:
After the ceremony, Matt's grandmother said “Weddings keep getting weirder.” That was one of our favorite compliments of the whole day.
We held our ceremony in the movie theater, and began with set of video “readings” from Carl Sagan and a spoken word piece from Northern Exposure. (The Pale Blue Dot taken from the newest Cosmos Series, and Chris doing Light is Light over video from NASA.) As the video came to a close, we lit up lanterns and walked down the aisles on either side of our guests, coming together in front of our officiant while an animated loop from the Illusive Man's solar office (a Mass Effect 2 reference) played on the screen above us.
Well, that was the plan, anyway. Unbeknownst to me, the AV dude had taken my tech schedule and laptop and went a bit off script. He set up a second desktop which prevented the video from being seen. Once he got that sorted out, halfway through the video, the sound cut out. I was horrified. But, the show must go on, so we walked up with our lanterns and that's when our officiant saved the day.
Our officiant is a dear friend of ours, and one of the best writers I've ever met, hands down. Everything he said was perfect. He quoted philosophers, he made us laugh, he made us cry, and he made the imperfect into something beautiful. We are so outrageously grateful for what he did. He and Matt even got matching tattoos to commemorate the wedding!
The Star Trek end credits played as we ran out. Or they were supposed to…
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception focused on food and fun, as evidenced by our rousing game of Aliens versus Colonists. (That was really just a sci-fi re-skin of the excellent game of Werewolf.)
Ponoko.com made all my laser-cut dreams come true. I designed a Garrus and Tali cake topper, an Enterprise “guest book,” and light-up centerpieces (that only worked thanks to a talented and genius friend who built the bases for us.)
Our signature cocktails were an Aldebaran Whiskey and a Tuchanka Sunrise. Otherwise known as a midori caipirinha and a pineapple and bourbon drink with paprika simple syrup. They were so good!
We held the reception in the same space as the ceremony, and so we were able to take advantage of the screen for our decor. We played a soundless loop of three fantastic videos. One from the ESA for the Rosetta mission, one about Carl Sagan's wanderers piece, and one about the New Horizons mission. (“What video is that?” became the #1 FAQ of the day!)
We danced our First Dance to Amanda Palmer's “In My Mind.” I have a heat and exercise allergy that prevents me from doing anything athletic without breaking out in hives, so we kept the choreography simple: starting with awkward middle school slow dancing and getting more and more graceful until we finished with a dip.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Trust your instincts. I had a hunch that the tech would go wrong for our ceremony, and it did. Spectacularly wrong. I should have trusted in my instincts and put a Squadmate in the projection booth. So many of them were so tech-savvy and so dedicated, and they would have done an excellent job. But, I brushed off my concerns. Don't do that! You can trust yourself and if it's important to you, it's worth chasing down.
Years of reading Offbeat Bride made it easy to keep true to our authentic vision. Thanks to all the preparation, we never stressed about decisions or details, except for the video. I had nightmares about that. Read Offbeat Bride and USE THE TOOLS you find here. I had photography shot lists ready, schedules of events, all sorts of organizing tools thanks to the ideas I found here. Keep reading, every day, you never know what you'll discover.
- Photographer: Garrett Downen
- Cake & Buffet: Elephants Delicatessen
- Enterprise guest book and Mass Effect Cake Topper by: Lydia
- Groom's Jacket: Zolnar