The offbeat bride: Alexa, Cartographer (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Kevin, Fisheries statistics grad student
Location & date of wedding: Sheraton, Ft Lauderdale Beach Hotel, Fortt Lauderdale, FL — May 22, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: First of all, being environmentalists, we wanted to have as low-impact a wedding as possible while still meeting my parents’ expectations.
We didn’t use any (real) flowers in the ceremony or reception and basically had no decorations at all for the ceremony. Our centerpieces for the reception were provided by the hotel (which is green certifed) who reuses them for other weddings and events. They also provided corn cups instead of plastic ones for the people drinking on the beach.
Also, we had no wedding party. We couldn’t narrow down who we would want in a wedding party, so we asked all our guests to follow a color theme. We did however, have his college roommate as our officient and my best friend did the reading. Kevin’s sister escorted his mom down the aisle and my sister escorted my mom down the aisle.
Lastly, our reception was an indoor/outdoor event on the beach. The food and bar were in the hotel’s small event room that opens directly onto the beach. We had umbreallas and bamboo mats set up on the beach for people to hang out and play games like washers, ladder golf, soccer, and volleyball.
Post-eating, I changed into a bathing suit and went swimming with all my friends and family.
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony, which we all wrote together, opened with the line from the wedding in The Princess Bride: “Mawwage! is wot bwings us togedder today.”
Because Kevin and I met at a special science-nerd middle school and then re-met during a National Science Foundation internship in college, we played “She Blinded me with Science” by Thomas Dolby for our recessional.
Our biggest challenge: The biggest challege for us was the entire wedding industry and its traditions. The whole way up to the wedding we had to push against things that other people decided needed to be a part of the wedding — wedding party, flowers, dances, diamonds, etc.
We didn’t want to do any dances. We compromised and did parent dances, because my dad is sentimental like that.
I had a sapphire engagement ring and a plain band as my wedding ring. My closest friends know that as a socially-conscious geology nerd, diamonds just don’t interest me. I also needed a utilitarian band for field work and becasue I like getting my hands dirty. So I just sucked it up and showed off my rings with pride anyway.
My funniest moment: The whole ceremony was pretty funny, especially the opening line from The Princess Bride. Only about half the guests (the younger ones) got the joke.
Also, we chose the traditional Irish wedding vows that start: “You can not own me for I belong to myself….” The second line in the vows says “You cannot command me, for I am a free person. But I shall serve you in those ways you require.” Apparently what everyone heard was “Service you in those ways you desire” and everyone was cracking up during the ceremony. I, being of the slightly more innocent variety, was totally lost as to why everyone was laughing until the reception when all of our friends were congratulating Kevin on being able to get “serviced” whenever he wanted. Oops!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I am Cuban/Puerto Rican and Kevin is of Irish decent. We have both accumulated friends from every stage of life — from South Florida where we grew up to my Latina sorority in college to Oregon where we now live. I was a little concerned about how our extended families and friends would get along.
We were so grateful that his parents hosted a Friday night, out-of-towner reception, because it gave everyone an extra night to get to know each other. Of course, everyone got along just fine, and new friendships and possibly even romances were formed over the three days of wedding madness! 🙂
My advice for offbeat brides: Compromise! Despite ending up perfectly, the wedding we had was still way more formal than the wedding Kevin and I envisioned. In order to appease my parents (and because they helped pay in order to have the wedding more to their liking), we decided to go with the more tradiational hotel route. It ended up working out perfectly since we managed to find a green certified hotel that also agreed to customize a Cuban food menu for us and didn’t look at me funny when I asked about recycling options and non-plastic cups.
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!