Her offbeat partner: Patrick, Anthropologist, currently working at Dunder-Mifflin-ish-Paper-Supply-Company
Location & date of wedding: Art Works Gallery in RVA, Richmond, Virginia — May 1, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We threw out the bouquet toss and the whole garter thing. I've never liked the bouquet toss as a guest. The whole you're-getting-married-next thing associated with catching the bouquet, made me feel a little uncomfortable considering there were some guests who legally couldn't marry in our state.
Here's the catch though (pun intended?) — I kind of wish I HAD thrown it. It turned out I was WILDLY allergic to my own bouquet! Let this be a lesson to ye: find out if you're allergic to your flowers. I'm not allergic to flowers… except for Billy Balls (which are all pollen). It was awful.
Both of our families were overwhelmingly supportive. When I told my mom I didn't want to go to a brick-and-mortar store to try on dresses, she actually said she was really *proud* of me for bucking that tradition — I bought my dress online, it fit and I was happy.
We kept our ceremony free from anything political, had a Quaker reading that I've loved forever, a Taylor Mali poem, and a ring-warming that was open-ended. So those who did want to pray/bless could, and those who didn't weren't explicitly asked to. It really worked for us and our specific crowd. We didn't compromise our beliefs, but we also didn't shout our more radical beliefs from the rooftop. We wanted a sense of community and didn't want to bring in controversy.
I had a guy and a girl in my bridal party. I genuinely struggled with asking the my two friends to be my bridesmaid/bridesman. I felt like the weird kid out in the wedding world for not having a gaggle of girlfriends. But, with some encouragement from Patrick, I got over it. I couldn't have asked for a better bridal party. They're my awesome gaggle of friends!
Our biggest challenge: My parents had been taking care of my grandmother, who had Alzheimer's for about two years. Unfortunately, she passed away the Wednesday before the wedding. I was worried that my parents would be consumed with grief. However, the wedding ended up kind of being a cathartic time. They were able to relax and let go of their loss. Also, in a sense, it was good that they didn't have to spend the wedding constantly worrying about how she was doing.
My favorite moment: During the toasts, I was really moved by how much Patrick's grandmothers love me and have welcomed me into their family.
Also, after the toasts, my dad commented to me that I truly have really good friends. I just nodded seriously and said that yes, yes I do. It's true!
My funniest moment: During the ceremony, we had a ring-warming, so while the reading took place and we said our vows, the rings were going from hand-to-hand around the room. Eventually they'd end back up front in time for the exchange of rings. Only, when we got to the part where rings are exchanged, the rings had only made it halfway around the room. Patrick and I had been fighting the giggles through-out the ceremony. Then we sort of lost it, gave up and giggled loudly with each other while we waited for the rings to make it back to us.
Also, Patrick's groomsmen walked arm-in-arm during the recessional. Which, you know, is sort of cute when they're all crazy-haired and everyone knows them as part of a goth-industrial band.
My advice for offbeat brides:
- Don't assume things — don't assume your mom wants to go fancy dress shopping with you. I worried she'd be sad, yet it turned out she was glad I was being nontraditional!
- Think about the traditions and the reasons why you're doing them. I walked down the aisle with my dad because it was important to him, and he wasn't going to force some “Who gives this woman?” wording in there. I had to explain the reasons for keeping that tradition, but not others, to a few different people who I thought of as offbeat!
- I would say compromise on anything except your ceremony. We did what was right for us and our guests, but we didn't have a religious reading just to appease my parents, or anything like that. The ceremony is the heart of the matter. You should have that be absolutely true to what you're committing to.
- Compromise on the celebration if you need to, don't compromise on the contract. Be tactful, and don't include things JUST to appease others. If you don't believe in having to agree to obey your husband, don't do it. Even if your parents will throw a fit.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? At the end of the day, a lot of things didn't matter. The fact that our wedding video's audio is totally botched truly doesn't matter. The fact that I was allergic to my bouquet doesn't matter. The wedding officiant misprounounced my name? Doesn't matter. We're in this together. And that's what counts at the end of the day.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress and green crinoline: Unique Vintage – (Queen of Heartz)
- Rings: Beth Cyr Weddings
- Headpiece: Which Goose (LOVELOVELOVE)
- Invites: Pasaii Paperie
- Bridesmaid necklace: Little Susy Home Maker
- Ties: Toy Breaker
- Nerd love banner: In My Blue Room
- Cake stands: we made them using thrift-store plates gorilla-glued to cups, candlesticks, etc. SUPER-easy, way cheaper!
- Ring pillow: Namolio
- Scrabble guestbook: Repaper
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!