The Offbeat Bride: Léonie, Copywriter (and Offbeat Bride member)
Her offbeat partner: Tom, Student and part time Sales Advisor
Date and location of wedding: St. Stephens Church, Canterbury, Kent, UK — August 28, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I'm a Trekkie and a sci-fi nut with a love of reptiles, bodypainting, and a degree in Egyptology, however none of these things featured in the wedding as Tom isn't really into all that and with most of the guests in the 50-92 age range, we felt it would be cruel to make them feel uncomfortable with my eccentricity. However, Tom and I are both gamers and this got more of a focus during the day.
We're atheists, yet had a church wedding. We're both English, but my husband wanted to wear a kilt. At the reception, I stuck dragons everywhere I could get away with, named all the tables after League of Legends characters and had a plethora of board games for people to enjoy. Tom also insisted we put “Bean boozled” jelly beans on all the tables. If you've not heard of these, they are Russian roulette jelly beans, where you could end up with something nice (melon flavour), or something awful (vomit flavour) and the colour doesn't matter. They went down well, strangely.
The colour theme was ivory and burgundy, as nothing else would go with my burgundy and black hair and it looked elegant to me. I let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses and accessories as I just wanted them to feel comfortable. As one of my friends was in China the entire year, this was a tad awkward, but they all had the same tastes so it worked well. My little brother was also one of my bridesmaids, but he skipped wearing the dress.
Tell us about the ceremony:
As mentioned earlier, we chose a church wedding despite being atheists — partly due to costs, partly because it was the only way I was going to be able to walk down the aisle with my dad, and partly because my entire family are Christian (both Church of England and Catholic) and very much appreciated it. They are all very relaxed and open-minded people, and no one cared when I went through my gothic witch phase and no one cares that my little brother is gay, so I'm actually very lucky to have such an understanding and supportive family.
The church we chose was one I had grown up in my whole life, and my primary school is right next to it, so it had a lot of significance to me. My parents are well-known there, and I was confirmed there when I was 11 (shortly before I discovered paganism and later atheism), so I didn't feel out of place at all, despite my personal beliefs.
We got married on a Thursday, because I wanted to marry in August and on a day with a five or an eight in it as they are my lucky numbers. My father-in-law asked if we could make it as late as possible that month as he was paying for our honeymoon flights, so the 28th was the latest day. It was on a Thursday, which was good for cutting down costs and meant we had three days to unwind and pack for our honeymoon.
The ceremony itself was short, without any hymns and we chose a reading from Corinthians that didn't mention god and focused on the concept of love. As for music, I kept in the traditional wedding march for when we entered and had Holst's “Jupiter from the Planets Suite” playing when we left. I wanted “Night on Bald Mountain,” but everyone said that it's “too gloomy.” I don't know what they're on about — it sounds like the apocalypse is coming and that's awesome!
Our biggest challenge:
Our budget made it hard to find a location and we weren't able to have an outdoor wedding in a park or random place as the laws here require you to only marry at a registered venue. The hotels and fancy venues were out of our price range, not to mention very restrictive, and there were no nice registry offices around for the ceremony. In the end, we found a very reasonably-priced venue where Tom used to play golf as a kid.
My dress was from a sample sale, and I had medieval sleeves put in (total cost £350, the dress was originally nearly £2000!), and Tom hired his kilt for £100. All the fiddly extras I made myself, such as bouquets, name cards, and favours. My friend Billie made our cake for me and I made two polymer clay dragons for the top of the cake. I'm lucky to have two good semi-professional photographer friends from my modelling days who took my photos for me as a wedding present.
The budget issue became even worse when I was made redundant six months before the wedding. I'm the main earner, and as such, when I lost my job, we lost the flat too and ended up moving back in with his parents as they had the room for us. I was very depressed during this time, there were tensions in the house, tensions between Tom and I, and I was still sorting the old bills and deposit from the flat. I overcame this stressful time by being determined, organised and tenacious.
My favorite moment:
One of the most significant moments for me was my dad walking me down the aisle. My Dad is 92, which is partly the reason that we got married earlier, and one of the reasons we chose a church wedding. I'm the last of my dad's daughters and I had always hoped my dad would still be around when I got married.
We only played a few songs in the evening as people just wanted to enjoy socialising and playing board games, but one of the songs we did play was by Elvis Presley in memory of my awesome half-sister who passed away a few years ago, to which all my family got up and danced. It was really moving and I'm still sad she never got to meet Tom.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
There were so many things that we both forgot to bring or do, or that I wish I had done that it can feel like you want to kick yourself for forgetting. So if you feel like this about any part of your wedding, it doesn't matter and it never did. I never got to have any cake, we only played four songs in the end, as most people were happy playing games. I forgot to put the veil over my face, he forgot to put on his favourite aftershave and to bring the two cans of Romulan Ale I bought. These are trivial things that in no way detracted from the day, and we didn't even notice them until days later!
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