The offbeat bride: Margaret, Itinerant worker
Her offbeat partner: Dave, Itinerant worker
Location & date of wedding: Ridley Creek State Park Mansion, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania — July 25th, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We decided to eject most things about a typical wedding that we felt didn’t represent or have much meaning for us, such as having an officiant, bouquet tossing, bridal whites, having a dj, father/daughter dance, or wedding rings. We wanted to reflect our casual attitudes and itinerant lifestyles with a eco-sensitive appeal.
Dave and I made our own ceremony based on an old sailor’s tradition for travel, and had our guests pronounce us. My siblings read the story about our world travels and how our paths crossed in South Korea. We wrote our own vows, each for the other person. Dave wore a white Nehru suit with a Tuxedo T-shirt, and I wore a dress not unlike a colorful ocean medley.
Dave designed Choose Your Own Adventure wedding invites mailed in envelopes made of recycled maps. We rented a bouncy Castle, served Middle Eastern food, and decorated with Asian paper lanterns, Japanese box lanterns, postcards from around the world with poems on them, Korean fans, and used pressed palm leave plates with recycled fabric for napkins. Dave’s friends provided music for the ceremony and after-party.
Tell us about the ceremony: Dave worked on a traveling circus ship that sailed down the Danube a couple of years ago, he told me about an old sailing tradition that the captain would do before a big voyage. He’d buy a bottle of rum from whatever port they were in, pour two shots and dump one in the ocean and one on the deck of the ship, before pouring and drinking a shot for everyone on the ship. This was a way for the Captain to give reverence to the capricious nature of the sea, and thanks to sturdiness of the ship.
We adapted this by getting three clear glasses, and filling one with water, earth and air; the three ways people can travel. We then wrote ritual vows reflecting these three elements as part of each other’s character, while pouring rum into the glass. Then we both did a shot of rum in a traditional Korean tea cup before exchanging vows that we wrote for each other. I wrote the questions for Dave to ask me, and he wrote mine crafting them to reflect funny parts of our character.
We also had our friends and family pronounce us with cue cards after our vow exchange, which was a hoot, and people really enjoyed it.
Our biggest challenge: Definitely planning overseas was our biggest challenge. We did almost all our planning in South Korea, and it was rather stressful because we weren’t certain we had gotten everything we needed until we arrived back in the US. We ordered a lot of stuff online, so we could not have done it without the internet, which is a testament to how we live these days.
However, we also relied on my parents, who received all the packages we ordered, did a lot of errand running, including taste-testing three different middle eastern restaurants around Philadelphia, and took a plethora of pictures for us to ruminate on for decoration planning. The last two weeks before the wedding was a lot of hectic running around, but it really was all the committed efforts of family and friends that acted as our informal wedding planners and laborers.
My favorite moment: When my siblings read the story of how we met, hearing all the places we had been to, and then meeting each other, it made me appreciate how fortunate and how capricious it was for us to have ever met and fallen in love. It was such a happy coincidence that brought us together, and it made me understand how chaotic life can be, and what can be found from such chaos.
I was also bowled over with how much my family and friends did to run the wedding. We had practiced the ceremony several times outside in the grove, and as the cliche goes, it rained right before we were about to do it. Everyone immediately organized a back-up plan to do it in the ballroom, and it worked out better than we had planned. It was euphoric to have so many people care about making it a special day for us in our own eclectic way.
My funniest moment: Dave’s best friends, Mike and Arlen, gave a side-splittingly funny after-dinner roast. Both of them are improvisers and actors, so they were able to orate with brilliant comic timing and impressions. Dave has a secret guilty pleasure of obsessively reading Archie comics, so his friends riffed on that, comparing him to various characters in the comic, as well as a few hilarious stories about Dave forcing his friends (who are all on average six to seven feet tall, including Dave) to sleep in the same bed during sleepovers, which is a tradition that still persists today. They also balanced their roast with kind words about Dave being their brother, and giving him away to me.
My advice for offbeat brides: Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Friends and family will be there to help and all you have to do is ask for help.
Make your own traditions that reflect how you met, and who you are as people, and try not to worry to much about the expectations other people may have. I’d advise don’t do what you don’t want. We didn’t see the point in buying rings.
If it ever does rain, as it might, ask your photographer to take photos of you in the rain. We had a lot of fun with our photographer out in the rain.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress, tuxedo T-shirt, ball lanterns, box lanterns: Ebay
- Tuxedo: custom-made in Korea
- Palm-pressed plates: Marx Foods
- Recycled napkins: Etsy
- Flowers: West Chester Farmer’s Market
- Photographers: Love Me Do Photography
- Bouncy Castle: The Fun People
- Sound equipment rental: Audio Visual Philadelphia
- Cutlery, glasses rental: Taylor Rental
- Catering: Cedars Restaurant
- Invitation Printers: Get Blue Dog