The first ever Offbeat Empire reception was amazeballs (thanks to some amazing people…)

October 12 2011 | arielmstallings
Offbeat Empire Reception from Seattle videographer Tim O'Hara.

A month ago, I wasn't sure this party was going to happen. Suddenly I was a month away from hosting a huge party for a big bunch of people (more than my wedding!) and I realized I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I am a publisher, not an event planner! This is not my gig! I had visions of the gorgeous space I'd booked completely empty, the only attendees being a half-smattering of my bored friends standing around out of pity, and my Empire staffers shuffling around uneasily. "Is there anything to eat?" someone would say, and I'd be all "OH SHIT. I forgot to finalize the catering with Shooby DooThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them." This was my special nightmare.

I called the folks at Urban Light StudiosThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, and told them I might have to cancel the event… but they wouldn't let me back out. "We know someone who can help," they told me. "You're going to love her." And thus, thanks to Kelli from Shindig EventsThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, the Offbeat Empire party was not only saved — it was ROCKED THE FUCK OUT. Please oh please, come with me as I relive the evening via the amazing photos captured by Jonas SeamanThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them

The purpose of this party was to celebrate a chunk of my staff being in town for Geek Girl Con, and so I really wanted to make sure I made the whole thing feel special for my staff. The ladies were shuttled from their hotel to Urban Light Studios in the Barbie Dream HearseThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, and when they arrived at the studio they were immediately ushered down to one of the galleries where a team of white-hot amazing stylists from VAINThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them were waiting to do their hair. Seriously: all of us who work from home spend most of our time in ponytails and pajamas, so getting hairs did before the party was a BIG DEAL:

Stephanie from Offbeat Mama in the background, Megan in the foreground.
Who's got better curls? Braedon the stylist, or Megan?

Some of you may remember me talking about VAINThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them before — it's been my go-to Salon since Clinton was in office, and I've done giveaways and events with them for years. It was a real treat, however, to hand them my most precious commodity: the heads of my staff!

Stephanie, the after shot
Megan, the after shot. OMG!
This is my web developer Jennifer, aka J.M. Dodd, looking SO DANG GLAMOROUS!
As for me, my up-do was as much architecture as hair style.

Once all staff hairs were up-did, it was time to throw the doors open — according to RSVPs, we were over-capacity and I was a little freaked out to hear there was a line down the block to get in. But unlike my nightmare, all the appetizers from Shooby Doo CateringThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them were ready and the cupcakes from The Chic Cupcake were out…

Um, there was CAVIAR at our party. OMG WUT? Fancy!
The Chic Cupcake made bride-, baby-, and home-themed cupcakes!

All the special cards from our sponsors were displayed…

The staff made sure Urban Light Studio's photo booth was all warmed up…

And then it was time to throw open the doors and let the party officially begin!

Ariel van Spronsen, my evil twin, working the door

After an hour of mingling and eating and drinking and talking and laughing, everyone gathered in the main room while we raffled off sweet-ass goodies from Little Things Wedding Favors and Bubble Genius Soaps — culminating in the raffling off of an AMAZING top hat from Topsy Turvy Design.

AND THEN! Shit, that's when the party got really insane, with a nerdy burlesque performance hosted by JoJo Stiletto, including some Firefly-themed numbers from Whedonesque Burlesque, and an over-the-top Bride of Frankenstein routine from local legend Hottie McNaughty. (Because really, does it get more offbeat than the Bride of Frankenstein!?)

BUT WAIT! As if half-naked ladies weren't party enough, that's when we pulled out local Karaoke freakshow Baby Van Beezly for some over-the-top Empire karaoke.

Baby Van Beezly in the muthaluvin' HOUSE

Baby Van Beezly's karaoke is more than just standing there and singing — the whole shebang slipped into crazy dancing white-hot shit-show at that point.

Me serenading my husband with Teenage Dream.

And without a doubt, the star of this white-hot shit-show? Local photography legend Jenny JimenezThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, who grabbed the mic and hit the floor — quite literally, in fact. She high-kicked. She spun. She did the splits and then crawled across the dance floor, all while singing FAME.

And then she made me spank her.

From there, it's all a blur. I should probably just let Jonas Seaman's the photos do the talking now. Seriously, these photos. YOU GUYS. These photos:

Coco, former intern, rocking No Scrubs

Megan singing a little Cee-Lo Green

Thank GAWD local videographer Tim O'Hara was there to record the event — because seriously, this party was even worse than my wedding when it comes to "Having so much fun that I barely remember anything."

Tim working his magic, with my geighbor Brett helping out.

It's like one minute I was getting my hair did, the next minute, I was pouring drunk staff into a taxi…

Cat and Stephanie, poured

And then it was over.


So, yeah. That party. That party was amazing — in fact, all told a bigger to-do than my own wedding. (More people, more vendors, more logistics.) I'm not even sure where to start on thanking people. Here's the short list of people who helped with the event:

  • Event coordination: Kelli from Shindig Events for saving the day
  • Venue: The whole gang from Urban Light Studios for giving us a home
  • Food: Shubert from Shooby Doo Catering for making my hungry-guest nightmares disappear, and for having a bartender so sweet that half my staff adopted him, and The Chic Cupcake for rocking the goodies
  • Flowers: Robot In Bloom for the centerpieces
  • Favors: ZOMG Smells for making everyone smell like a Baby Unicorn Party, This Charming Candy for reinventing lollipops, Little Things Wedding Favors for so many things, but especially the fans we passed out when the party got too hot, and Bubble Genius making a dirty party a little cleaner
  • Entertainment: Baby Van Beezly for the songs, and Sweet Shon (aka DJ No Sleeves) for not only playing the music, but also taking off his shirt when I asked him to — oh and of course Whedonesque Burlesque and Hottie McNaughty for the boobs!
  • Hair: VAIN for getting my staff out of their usual uniform of greasy ponytails
  • Hats & fascinators: Topsy Turvy Design
  • Transportation: Barbie Dream Hearse for getting us there
  • Security: My dear friends Ben and Arielv for working the door
  • Videography: Tim O'Hara for exceeding all expectations with his videography (added bonus of best dimples in the room. Pro-tip for brides: you want someone this nice and nice-looking recording your wedding. TRUST.)
  • Photography: Jonas Seaman for capturing it all with his amazing eye.

Oh, and speaking of Jonas, if you want even MORE photos of this amazing night? Get thee to Jonas Seaman's blog!

WHEW. Now I must go sleep a LOT in preparing for this upcoming weekend, when there will be ANOTHER meet-up — this time in NYC.

Now, can we watch the video again?

Offbeat Empire Reception from Seattle videographer Tim O'Hara on Vimeo.

PS to the staffers who didn't make it to the party. NEXT TIME, BITCHES. Next time…

  1. Sounds amazing!!! I went to Vain for the 2 years I was in Seattle, Sarah was my to go stylist! I miss Vain now that I am in Vancouver.

  2. WAY too much fun! I can say I really got to do what I LOVE working on this event. It was an absolute blast to scheme with Ariel & our vendors were the shiznit. The OBE staff are a bunch of super cool chicks & so fun to meet them IRL. All of this…wow…beyond my wildest Teenage Dream….

    • The party was over by 12:30 am… about the time I used to be getting ready to go out back in the day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Amazeballs is putting this lightly. First, props to Ariel for the vision/drive that this happened, and, bonus feat. to Brett, her neighbor, for making the highlight reels.

    Kyle and myself (see dudes as brides, recently) had a SUPER blast at this event and know that we're not gay enough to convince Megan to move from West Hollywood to Seattle, but dammit we tried! Such a great time had by all, and we look forward to more Offbeat loving soon! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Are you sure?

    • HA!hahahahaha. Oh man, I am toootally convinced to move, believe me — it's that damn guy I married that's not so much ready to move. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      But seriously, it was SO awesome to hang out with y'all! Thanks for putting in my karaoke song.

  4. Dagnabbit!! We were totally going to go but our travel took hella long that evening so by the time we made it to the hotel the hubby and I were done for the day. ๐Ÿ™ Next time we fly in earlier. (Like maybe for a whole day earlier, since Seattle is pretty darn awesome and we definitely want to go back!)

    • Oh my gawd, the same thing happened to me. We didn't egt into town until ten, 'cause hubby's a baby about mountain roads. I git strings pulled to be there and then couldn't be. I seriously cried!

  5. Anywhere we can find other photobooth pictures of readers and such? My friend & I did some while there but got to see zero of them.

  6. Wow, so I managed to photobomb like 50% of all visible photos…that's just how great of a party it was!!!!!!!!!! And you somehow knew that I would appreciate Uranium soap in my goodie bag…must be wizards or something

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