The Offbeat Groom: Ryan, Author and Freelance Editor
His offbeat partner: Kesslan, Flight Attendant
Date and location of wedding: Community Center in Redmond, WA — August 20, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Kesslan and I started dating in high school, but have been best friends since long before that. As kids, we really bonded over our love of the bright and colorful things in life, and we knew we wanted that special connection to be showcased in our wedding. We booked a weekend stay for all of our families and the bridal party at a retreat lodge in Cle Elum, WA. While there, we hosted a cake baking and decorating competition. All of our guests participated, and the best cake got cut at the wedding! It was a blast, the cake was more personal, and we saved a ton of money by not buying from an expensive decorator.
We held the actual ceremony at a Community Center in Redmond Ridge. The building was nice to begin with, but by the time we finished decorating, it was almost alive with color! Rather than having a traditional white wedding, we went with rainbow, to celebrate the bright and colorful things we had bonded over as kids. There was multicolored tulle, streamers, and paper lanterns. Each of the tables sported a different color tablecloth. Even our broom party (bridal + groom = broom. Duh.) showed off the colorful theme!
Tell us about the ceremony:
Instead of a slow procession down the aisle, we asked several of our friends to help us choreograph a dance down the aisle to Owl City's “When Can I See You Again?” (See it here!)
We ran the ceremony ourselves (with a little help from the best man and maid of honor) and went through the legal paperwork with the officiant after the whole shebang was over. We felt like it was more personal this way.
Our biggest challenge:
By far, the most difficulty we faced was with our budget. I had just graduated from the University of Washington the previous March, and we had moved TWICE in the last year. All in all, we were paying for the wedding with credit cards and sweat. In hindsight though, I think that actually made the whole experience more enjoyable. We were forced toward creative alternatives to traditional wedding concepts, and each new thing we did or didn't do, just made our wedding that much more personal.
For example, we didn't hire a caterer. Instead, we bought a bunch of party-sized deli wraps from Costco and cooked up some meatballs in a few slow-cookers. Instead of paying for a bartender the whole night, we just offered a few premixed cocktails out of drink dispensers. Rather than hiring a DJ, we signed up for a free month of Spotify Premium and downloaded a playlist to a laptop that could project over the venue speakers.
My favorite moment:
There were two moments during the day that, I think, really stood out to Kess and I. The first was within the ceremony itself. See, when I proposed, I read a list of promises that I meant to be my wedding vows. During the ceremony, I reread those promises. Kess, on the other hand, had written up her own list of vows, and listening to her read those vows aloud to me was one of the happiest moments of my life. They ranged from making me chicken noodle soup whenever I got sick, to pretending to let me win every once in a while on Super Smash Bros.
The other moment was during the speeches. We didn't expect many speeches since much of our family is introverted and most of our friends, we thought, were too busy to plan anything. We were so wonderfully wrong. Person after person got up to the mic, giving speeches, reading poems, or even just cracking a quick joke about marriage. We had never felt so blessed, or so loved, as we did then. To top it all off, my little sister, who is 16, adorable, and so shy you could wonder how she ever participates in class, got up in front of 150 people and gave the most moving speech I have ever heard. Some of our favorite pictures from the wedding are of her standing in front of everyone with her yellow shirt and white suspenders, while several of our bridesmaids are trying not to cry in the background.
My funniest moment:
The funniest moment of the wedding was after the ceremony when Kess, the maid of honor, my best man, the officiant, and I went out back to sign the official paperwork. Right as we were about to sign our names, my best man and best friend, Nick, panicked a little bit. He yelled something about jumping over a rock one more time before I got married forever, then ran off and disappeared into the woods. We were still laughing when he reappeared almost five minutes later.
For Kess, the funniest moment came just after that, when we re-entered the building to a sea of orange. Apparently, my grandpa — a man known for his eccentricity and hilarious quirkiness — had passed out almost 200 orange bandannas to people as they cycled through the buffet line. He was teasing us, on a rather large scale, for our habit of wearing colored bandannas in summertime.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Kesslan's dress: alterations by Victoria's Bridal Couture — they were super friendly, and blew us both away with the speed and quality of their alterations.
- Photography: Jason Comerford — they were fun, dorky, professional, and surprisingly cost-effective. Honestly, every picture they sent back was awesome, and the hardest part of the whole wedding was narrowing down the photos so we could put them in an album after the whole shebang was over!
- Accommodations: Huntley Lodge and Retreat — for the three days preceding the wedding, we hosted our families and the bridal party at a retreat lodge in Cle Elum with a hot tub, a comfortable communal area in the lodge, a large TV for movie nights, and a fully stocked kitchen.
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!