EJ & Nathan's horror movies and octopodes beach wedding

Updated Oct 3 2016
Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY
Photos by Talia Gnass, friend of the couple

The Offbeat Bride: EJ, creative sort, living the dream (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Nathan, Microsoft nerd

Date and location of wedding: Washington Park, Anacortes, Washington — July 27, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: For our B-movie themed wedding, we created our own fake horror movie poster and covered VHS cassette cases with it. Then we incorporated the horror movie monster into the whole wedding. The monster was a "Flesh-Eating Martian Owlopus" to honor Nathan's night owl tendencies and my octopus-like desire to hug a lot.

2013 EJ and Nathan Wedding Invite

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

We wanted to keep things as true to us as possible, so we decided not to go with a big white dress and a tux, but rather, a 1950s-style pineapple print dress and a Hawaiian shirt and chinos!

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

Nathan and EJ

My mum and dad did all the catering, which included a burger bar and a pie buffet.

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our aisle was made of tentacles that flapped in the breeze, and our officiant included zombie references and a reference to our favorite movie, Love Actually, in our vows. To avoid having conflict over who gets to be in the wedding party, we decided not to have a wedding party. But as witnesses were required for the certificate signing, we had a lottery to see who would do it!

Nathan and EJ

Nathan and EJ

Our biggest challenge:
We had to spend a ton of money on my immigration from Canada to the US, and all of our savings were eaten up. As a result, we only had $3,000 for our budget. So I got out my hot glue gun, did some DIY, and became a frequent visitor to my local thrift store.

Another challenge was Nathan's preference for seeing me without makeup. I was planning to gussy myself up, so we had a talk about it beforehand. He was able to express to me, in a way that I could appreciate, why he would prefer to marry the me he loves the most, and that girl is bare-faced and natural, just how I was the day we met, the day he said I love you, and the day he proposed. I was more than willing to oblige. And given how much I cried on the day, this ended up being a really good choice.

Nathan and EJ

EJ and Nathans Stupidly Awesome Wedding !!

My favorite moment:
Incorporating Nathan's daughter into my vows was wonderful. I wanted her to know that I was making a family with both of them and not just her dad. And we only had 30 guests, so this meant we were able to spend time with every single person.

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

My funniest moment:
We joked about falling off some rocks during our photo shoot, and I did actually fall off the rocks and scraped my bum!

Nathan and EJ's 1950s B Grade Horror movie Beach BBQ wedding DIY

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The most important lesson was one that I tried to share with my stepdaughter. Leading up to our wedding day, I did not diet, I did not have a makeover, and I didn't conform to the expectations of others. Through this, I hoped she understood that you can be curvy and still love yourself (I do), that you can feel beautiful without the social trappings expected of you (big dress, big hair, traditional bridesque), and that when you love someone, you love them with all their parts. And you love the family that comes with them, including their stunning pre-teen daughters.

EJ and Nathans Stupidly Awesome Wedding !!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I love what you've expressed about not wearing make up. I always used to feel I should have at least lipstick and eyeliner with a bit of smudged lipstick blusher because my mum always used to say I looked like pastry without it. Then one day I decided that what I was wearing was so utterly minimal why was I bothering, especially when men go naked faced everyday?

    I should add though that I love dressing up and costume parties (I'm about to throw a 1940's themed 40th Birthday) and then oh my goodness out comes the make up! What I'm getting at is that my old everyday makeup was because I couldn't accept myself without it, it was compensating make up not deliberate (and liberating) playing make up (and I love it when I see people who live that play if you see what I mean).

    I will be naked faced at my wedding with lovely new but not formal or fancy clothes. This doesn't make me a better person than someone in a big white dress but it's really really reflective of me and my partner and our relationship. It's that or recreate our Tin Tin and Captain Haddock Zombie outfits from our housewarming do….

    • I agree, give me a costume party or themed event and I will pull out both the glue gun and the eye liner..but when you just dont wear make up other than Halloween, it seems like a reasonable request…and when I thought about it a bit deeper it tied in with my desire to rise above what the media and cosmetic marketers try to tell us every day, we cant possibly be beautiful without make up, especially on our wedding day! Many great friends (both women and men) have decided to go the makeup route for their wedding day, and to them I say this, if you feel beautiful then you will look beautiful regardless of what others might suggest!
      I think your capacity to embrace your pale beauty is empowering, our mothers are creatures of a different generation and grew up in a time when women played a very different role in society, her comments may have been well meaning at the time, but I am sure had you second guessing your own attractiveness for years and years, after all, aren't our mothers the first example of beauty that we strive to emulate as little girls?
      Happy Happy 40th to you, I hope it is a Flappin' good time!

  2. I'm so happy this is up already! I was giggling and admiring the pictures in the Flckr pool over the weekend, and my fiancé and I were just flat-out envious of the Owlopus!

    We had to spend a ton of money on my immigration from Canada to the US, and all of our savings were eaten up.

    We're immigrating my fiancé from Australia; I feel you SO HARD on the costs. It's really, really comforting to me to see that you guys were able to do something to pretty and unique and YOU with the budget you had. We're going to be in a similar boat, financially, and it makes me really happy to realize that our (even smaller) wedding can still be everything I hope for. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Small was magical for us, as we are both well into our 30s we had no problem with saying no to plus ones and familial suggestions, we even had BYO booze on the invites.
      This allowed as to be able to spend the money on things that mattered to us and just as importantly to our friends and family as well. Because we chose to have such a small wedding, our friends and family were able to spend real time us on our wedding day and we were able to see to it that they were having a good time and felt included. Hopefully, this made our day special for them too.

      As for your honey bunches traveling from OZ, that is actually where I am originally from , work took me to Canada for 8 years and now down to the States for my matrimonial future with spunkmuffin! I can totally understand why you would want to marry an Aussie, we are awesome!! hahah
      as for immigrating, it was a total penny suck and every time you think, "fhewf, nearly there" there is just one more fee to pay and one more form to sign…but there is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully when you do finally take that skip/trip/run down the aisle it will be as awesome and as memorable as you imagine and dream it will be.

  3. Beautiful wedding! So simple and fun! And are those record dessert stands your cupcakes are sitting on? Fantastic! My FH and I have made record dessert stands for our wedding too! I love that photo of you kissing your stepdaughter on the cheek and you were so thoughtful and right to have included her. Congratulations!

    • thanks so much, She is a joy (although we often refer to her as Crotchety New Teen a sure step up from Surly Pre Teen). We wanted her to be as engaged in the wedding as possible and include her in the wedding shoot, the vows and the celebration as a whole. We wanted her to think it was special day because we think she is special girl. And yes they are records!!!
      we love (and by this I mean I love) pinterst and OBB and I couldnt decide what decor route to take, and then I thought F#*k it, I will use them all, atlas buntings, records, little paper flowers, origami owls, tree lanterns, old book page runners, minglo, you name it.. I decided I would just do all the things that made me happy and guess what, it will make you happy too. I actually dont give two shits if someone thinks I hijacked their ideas or thinks less of us because we didnt do everything from a "original" point of view, what part of getting married is original anyhow?

      Do what makes you smile/laugh/explode with joy (this is what happened when I came up with my invite idea!!) The people that matter wont care, your partner and you!!
      hugs
      E

  4. I almost cried reading the section about loving your body and loving another "with all your parts". It's so true – one of the reasons I knew my FH was the person I wanted to marry was because he loves ALL of me and I have no shame or negative self-talk when I'm with him. I love all of me also, my physical self and emotional self, and I never feel pressure from him to change who I am.

    Thank you for sharing. Best wishes to you and your family!

    • thank you for your lovely comments.
      I have parts that jiggle and wiggle and dents.
      I sometimes get it into my head to make up inappropriate lyrics to songs playing on the radio, and in turn I dance to them. The thing is, sometimes this happens when I am naked. The first time this happened with my then new boyfriend, he roared with laughter gave me a wink and had his way with me. I knew we were destined for something special when he saw me shakin' my bacon and wanted more!
      Your Applepiewithcustard sounds like EXACTLY the man you ought to be with, I think confidence is sexy and so apparently, does he. Way to rock it sister!!

  5. My one thought upon seeing the first photo was "god, I hope we look as happy as they do on our day". It looks like it was amazing.

    • I hope you are as happy too. As long as you pursue your vision of a "dream wedding" that also includes what your spouse thinks of as their "dream wedding" things should be sweet! We look happy because we hadnt been bogged down with impossible expectations, stress and money worries, we paid as we went (no post wedding debt for us!) decided on things together and prioritized; we did everything ourselves and the coolness of that was we agreed, if it didnt get done, well it probably wasnt a priority in the first place!!
      Our wedding was a fun affair that focused more on the ceremony and less on the party, burgers, pies and sunshine for the wedding affair, zombies, freckles and quotes from Dr Seuss and the movie Love Actually were part of the ceremony. Truly, make your wedding your own, decide on what is really important to you and your partner and make it happen(also it helps to pick the right partner), Wedding day happiness will ensue, I promise!

  6. Everything looks amazing and you both look so so happy! Also LOVING the octopus tentacle aisle, I want some for my garden!!

    • Cheers!!
      Ours were made from Popsicle sticks and paper that I cut and glued. BUT I am sure a clever Tribes mate such as yourself could find a more permanent solution??
      I am totally happy to send you the image I used for the print!!!
      EJ

  7. What a beautiful wedding! Of all the wedding concepts I have seen, this is probably my favorite. And not for the theme (although it is amazing!). It is for the pared down, simplicity of it. I sometimes balk at the big wedding concept. It seems like in spending so much money and conforming to social standards, we get really stressed out and end up losing sight of the whole *purpose* of the wedding– expressing love in front of your nearest and dearest. I'd say your wedding renewed my faith in the whole concept. If/when I ever do get hitched, I aim to have mine similar to yours. Simple, true to us, and full of love!
    PS- LOVE the idea of a lottery for the witnesses!

    • thanks Jenni,
      The first thing that we did after deciding to get married was establish what was important to us; a small manageable gathering of real friends and close family. For us, a wedding was about the big picture; sharing our love for one another with the people that mattered the most.
      It was also clear to us that we wanted people to come away from our nuptials feeling relaxed, amused and most importantly, included.

      For us it was an incredibly simple 4 part plan, Official ceremony, spend time with every guest, eat a burger and gorge on homemade pies (made with love-thanks mum!). Everything else was gravy!
      I hope your dream wedding becomes your dream reality. hugs to you!!

      PS – The lottery was a big hit, there was even clapping and cheering when the "winners" were drawn!!

  8. Absolutely be-yoo-ti-ful wedding. I had never heard (or even thought) of the idea of no makeup, but the more I think about it the more I love it. I love love the take-home prints, and love the individuality of your wedding. I'm struggling to plan a wedding that is 'me and him', and it just isn't working out the way I was hoping. It's refreshing and inspiring to see a day that is so perfectly fitted to the couple it honors: this means I can do it! It is indeed possible! We, too, can pull our wedding off and do whatever the heck we want! And maybe even look totally awesome doing it! Huzzah!

    • Elizabeth, you can totally do it!!
      It is really truly important to have conversations that matter with your partner. We both realized early on that we didnt care to have others dictate to us what was or wasnt acceptable for our day. this also meant that we had to truly re-imagine our wedding day not as a me but as a we (as young women we are bombarded with images and advise on what we SHOULD want for our wedding and quite often this can get in the way of what you actually DO want for your wedding!). Make your wedding a day in which both of you can be proud; my new husband actually brags about how awesome and perfect he thinks our wedding was…As for doing whatever the heck you want, to that I say HELL YES, when you are passionate and follow through on your dreams, how can anyone not be swept up in the awesomeness of it, even if it does include a Martian Owlopus and a pineapple dress!!
      (thanks for the lovin' on my prints, I loved drawing them!!)
      hugs and rubs
      EJ

  9. This is my favorite wedding I've ever seen on this website! I would love to attend this wedding and I'm sure your guests were all just delighted at your little touches. I think your bit about makeup is beautiful too.

    • What a lovely thing to say! We of course think that our wedding was totally rad, but your wedding is going to be totally rad as well! As long as you stay true to the dream you and your partner envisage, others will be telling you that your wedding was the most fun wedding ever too!!

  10. So much love! So much joy! So much fun! I adore your wedding, not least your decision to focus on what's really important and let the lesser aspects slide. The explanation your husband gave of why he wanted you not to wear make-up made me tear up a little.

    But the Owlopus, the tentacles, the pineapple print dress, the exuberance – well, all that and more just have me grinning from ear to ear. Congratulations to you both (and to your stepdaughter for having such a wonderful stepmom).

  11. I'm totally crying right now. Our "big day" is a long way off, but I've been staying at OBB and other sites trying to figure out what a wedding is to me. I've been freaking out over looks and makeup and hair…
    I needed to read this. I never wear makeup (except special occasions, and even then it's usually just on the eyes) and I never do anything with my hair. My Boy always says he likes that about me, so I think he'll get that! Thank you, from across the state!
    Ps. I absolutely love your tentacles. We're going comic books ourselves 😉

  12. I know this was two years ago but if you're still around EJ, can you tell me how you made those tentacles? Both types?

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