Joey & Wade's crowdsourced zombie wedding

October 31 2012 | offbeatbride

Get your candy out because it's Halloween Week! We've got zombies, ghosts, and gore in our weddings. This time around it's a couple who met at a Zombie Walk, so the theme was inevitable.

Brains
Photos by Danni Valdez, Shutter2Think Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Joey, Licensed Massage Therapist (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Wade, Counselor and Student

Date and location of wedding: A parking lot and Borderlands Brewing Company, Tucson, AZ — October 22, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: From the outside, our wedding might have looked like a messy hodgepodge of random elements, but I guess we are a messy hodgepodge of random elements, so it was all true to us. We met at a regional Zombie Walk in 2009, so it felt necessary to incorporate that element, which meant throwing it all together in under eight weeks.

It may have been an exercise in biting off way more than we could chew and chewing too fast, but we tried to keep the end goal in sight at all times and keep the perspective that the only requirement was that we be married by the end of the day. Everything else was frosting. But what frosting we had: dead Elvis minister, unicorn ring bearer, amazing musicians, and zombies.

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Makin it legal

Wedding Party

We wanted to keep the cost way down, so that meant thrifted dresses, homemade flowers and favors, flashmobbing the ceremony site, and finding as much volunteer help as possible. The reception was at a local brewery that hadn't yet opened for business. The makeup artists, videographer, and two of the musicians were a mix of volunteer professionals and amateurs who responded to an ad I posted on Craigslist.

Procession

The music for the parades to and from the ceremony site was written and performed by our talented friends Chad Bush and Rebecca Weinstein. I sang myself down the "aisle" (and I am NOT a singer, nor someone who is comfortable being the center of attention.)

Food by Cara

The food was a mix of local pizza place fare and vegan snacks made by our friend Cara Silverstein of Plant Based Nation. In lieu of cake we had cream puffs and cookies from Lutz Swiss Bakery, and I made grain-free lemon bars so we'd have somewhere to put the cake topper, a generic bride and groom with finger puppet zombie heads glued on.

Procession

Tell us about the ceremony: We had all gathered for snacks at Borderlands Brewery first, and then my parents ran me home to grab our dog (no way were we getting married without him) while sax/electric violin duo Chad and Rebecca led everyone over to the city parking lot to gather at the ceremony site, which was an X marked on the asphalt. It was the spot at which Wade and I had met during the Tucson Zombie Walk's costume contest two years prior.

My parents preceded me to the site, singing backup for me as I tried to belt out "I Only Have Eyes for You" by the Flamingos. Since I'm not a singer, and had to keep stopping to breathe, sure I was going to pass out.

At the end of the aisle

Zombie Elvis (Richard Embry) was our minister and opened the ceremony with "Brains. Brains brains brains brains brains," which was the comic relief I think we really needed at that point. It all went pretty quickly after that. We didn't do readings, just pretty much vowed our honesty, respect, and support to each other and our dog Bowie.

Best ringbearer ever
The ring unicorn!

There was a moment for us to say nice things to each other, which Wade wrote ahead of time and executed perfectly, while I winged it and stumbled over a bunch of stuff that didn't make any sense. We exchanged rings (I gave him my grandfather's ring, he gave me his grandmother's) and were pronounced "very, very married." Then came a pretty thrilling kiss.

Best. Kiss. Ever.

Our biggest challenge: For Wade, it was compartmentalizing all the different aspects that had to go into planning the day but still keeping it as one cohesive event. For me, it was tough spending so much time and effort on things and not having it all come out flawless. This is where the practice of perspective was crucial. No matter what else happened, at the end of the day? BAM! Married! I recognize what a privilege this is.

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My funniest moment: For Wade: I had strewn some plastic body parts around on the dessert and neglected to remove them before the cutting of the lemon bars, and his first bite garnered him a mouthful of arm and brain. It was hilarious and appropriate!

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We featured these 'Braaaains' signs before!

For me: Some people got really into the Zombie Walk. Including people I would not have expected. I will never forget my father-in-law lurching up a flight of steps near the end of the walk groaning, "STAAAAAAAAAAAIRS! Are these the staaaaaaairs to the braaaaaaaaains?"

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I wouldn't say I was expecting a disaster, but I was worried how our families might react to the whole zombie theme. I may never know how they really felt about it, but everyone was a good sport.

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There was a ton of little stuff that felt disastrous at the moment, like having to renegotiate where things went, or the panic that ensued when we were mistakenly told that there was no beer. The fact that we neglected to take any photos at the actual zombie walk is kind of sad because it was so fun. Half the band didn't show up, but Chad sat in and it was great. Also, I am ashamed to admit that I may have actually uttered the words "tablecloth emergency" more than once.

Truly the Best Man

During Best Man's Toast

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Sometimes you do in fact get what you pay for. It can be really tempting (and liberating) to try to do everything yourself or for free, but keep in mind that people who are helping you for free may have no incentive to do things the way you want them to.

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Be prepared to be laughed at. If you're trying to find vendors or venues at a few weeks notice, some will kindly tell you they are booked and others will laugh in your face. And your wacky idea might be wacky, so don't take it personally if people think what you're doing is silly.

There is always a moment where you have do decide not to care about the things that go wrong. Try to have that moment as early as possible so you can get on with the awesome.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Ha! I was just scrolling down my feed, reading a few words here and there, when I stopped and said, "I know that zombie!"

    Belated congratulations from a former coworker of your brother/brother-in-law. (Yay, Internet!) The SFX makeup was really epic!

    2 agree
  2. And a year later, we still have (and use daily) our Brains! and YAY! fans. My kids use them to cool down food, and everyday I hear my 4 year old say, "hold on! Let me go get BRAINS!!!". We love you guys!

    3 agree

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