Join Willow & Chris on their tour of Philly and retro bowling lounge wedding

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A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride
Photos by Black, White and Raw Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Willow, candy maker (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Chris, works for a tech company

Date and location of wedding: North Bowl Lounge N' Lanes, Philadelphia, PA — October 11, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We both live in central Pennsylvania and enjoy the culture, history, and food of Philadelphia. We decided to have a mini destination wedding in the city we love. We wanted to encourage our guests to experience Philly over the long weekend.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Chris and I had a first look in the morning and then set out on a photo safari around the city with Paul Gentile of Black, White and Raw PhotographyThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them. The misty rain and cloud cover made for great, squint-free, shadow-less photos. We posed by some of our favorite street art, including the Magic Garden mosaic, a Toynbee tile, and various murals.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Being foodies, we had a great time at the Reading Terminal Market, posing at our favorite booths. It was important for us to stop by Benjamin Franklin’s grave, to say hello and place pennies. I got a little misty-eyed. We did photos with our crew at Elfreth’s Alley and Penn’s landing.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

The ceremony and reception were held in the afternoon, leaving the night open for bar hopping. Guests arrived to the sounds of romantic doo-wop and Motown. They could sign the Monopoly board and see our 1999 prom photo. We did a retro, kitschy look for our decor, using many items from my collection of mid-century toasters and collectibles. We got custom paper flowers from an artist on Etsy.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

My attire was a secret from everyone except my sister, Siri. I constructed my veil from an old boudoir piece. My dress and crinoline we both made by Hell Bunny, bought through ModClothThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them. I wore Irregular Choice shoes and my grandmother's pearls.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We had our ceremony at the North Bowl, in front of their mechanics cabinet. We were married by Charlie Cooper, whom we met in Chestnut Hill and felt that we were kindred spirits. He understands us and our views of the world and love. It was important to us that he also officiate same gender weddings.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Our wedding crew was made up of our closest people, ignoring standard gender rules. We returned the favors of best man and best woman to Siri and Dave, as we had each served in that capacity at their respective weddings. Our niece Sullivan served as quaich bearer, and our nephew Harrison was the "Lord of the Rings." The rings were knotted onto my mom’s 1965 copy of The Fellowship of the Ring.

We processed to Queen's "You’re My Best Friend," and I was walked down the aisle by my father. Charlie opened with a Lakota greeting and quote about the cosmos by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Siri read "i carry your heart with me" by e e cummings, and Shoop read a short story about asthma and love by Edgar Keret.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Charlie, Chris, and I worked together on the ceremony wording, talking about the atomic journey taken by the metals and stones in our rings. We finished with a quaich ceremony — our mothers poured water into the quaich, then Chris and I drank. The two-handled cup represents full trust and commitment. The rite shows, "I take you with both hands and trust you enough to tip up this cup and not worry that you are going to stab me." We had a lovely kiss, aided by my high heels. We exited to “Throne Room” from Star Wars.

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

A lesson I learned in the planning process was to not become distraught if a certain thing becomes unavailable. As soon as Chris and I chose a date, I spoke to our photographer friend, whom we had for years envisioned as shooting our wedding. He congratulated us and said that he was booked for the whole month in another country. I became a silly mess like, “Nobody else understands us and what we want, we are going to have to pay a ton to get photos we don't like.” I could have not been more wrong, because we found the perfect photographerThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them for what we were trying to capture, also within our budget.

Similar situations occurred throughout planning, but as we got closer to the wedding, I realized how many different great options are available in the world. In the end, we were super happy with how our wedding turned out, but it could have been just as great 100 other ways. We were so well taken care of by the special event planners at The North Bowl. They were helpful, professional, open minded, and friendly. They have this ninja quality of making everything you want to happen seamlessly appear.

I also recommend that couples practice in advance any movements that they will be doing in their event, such as ring placement, unity ceremonies, and even how you would like to kiss. We were both nervous to be in front of a crowd, so the rehearsal helped us. Offbeat Bride helped immensely!

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

A tour of Philly wedding with bowling alley reception on @offbeatbride

Vendors

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:
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Thanks again to Unity in Glass for sponsoring Offbeat Bride this week!

    • I saw your feature, it was great! I love your shoe pairing. The beer unity ceremony was a cool standout. The natural setting must have made for a great easy-going vibe, and so pretty. You two look very happy, best wishes, offbeat twin!

      1 agrees
  1. I wish I could see more. This wedding is a breath of fresh air from all of the country club weddings we typically see. I love the image of the book and the rings; it adds to the story.

  2. Love all these photos! Black, White and Raw Photography did an amazing job. Loved all the quirky fun details they pulled together to fit their motif!

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