Her offbeat partner: Adam, Office Manager/Trivia Master
Location & date of wedding: Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, IL — May 1, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: I wore a turquoise, tea-length dress and had four pairs of shoes! My sister designed and made TWO dresses for me, her dress, hand bags, and ties.
The wedding accidentally ended up mostly DIY. I made/designed the centerpieces, all the jewelry, fascinators, Adam’s memorial pin, our pug’s turquoise tuxedo and ring pillow, built an RSVP site, and set up a DIY photo booth. My cousin/usher made vases. My cousin/bridesmaid designed our save-the-dates and invites. We printed the programs, escort cards, place mats and signage for the reception ourselves. We tried to only buy things we’d want to display, re-use, or sell.
We used an iPod for the reception and the ceremony. We played punk music for cocktails/dinner and oldies/rockabilly/80s for dancing. We swing danced to “I’m a Pretender” by The Exploding Hearts which seemed like the perfect punk/rockabilly “us” mix. My dad and I danced to The Pretender’s cover of “Forever Young.” My dad loves Bob Dylan and I love punk so, again, it just seemed perfect.
We live in NYC but got married in Chicago because we wanted it to convenient and affordable for everyone. Since we were getting married in Chicago (where I grew up), I decided that I wanted to eat food from the places I *have* to go when I come into town: Carson’s Ribs for the rehearsal dinner; Chicago-style stuffed pizza at the wedding; pie from Baker’s Square and cupcakes.
Tell us about the ceremony: We had a secular ceremony in a church. I should explain. My uncle was an Episcopal priest and I always assumed he would officiate my wedding. He passed away and every time I thought about the ceremony it made me sad. My family has gone to Grace for twenty years. The current priest let us write our ceremony and have our dog as the ring bearer!
It turns out writing a ceremony is hard! Finally, I sat down and said “Why are we having a wedding? What does this mean to us?” We came up with three things: The wedding was about a)friends and family: the ones there and between us b)love of all kinds c) making a public declaration of our private commitment. The ceremony flowed from there.
We included quotes/readings from: Nietzche, Sarah Vowell, ‘Shall we Dance’, Louis de Bernieres , Rainer Maria Rilke, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, and ‘Serenity’ (we’re obsessed with Joss Whedon). We had the readers stand up in their seats which I think had a really communal feel which underscored the circle of people sitting around us.
We each wrote our own vows which both started with each of us choosing the other to be our partner in crime. I lost my voice the day of the wedding so I had to whisper my vows into the priest’s microphone – hilarious!!
My favorite moment: In the ceremony: I’m obsessed with Rilke and he talks in his letters about the concept of marriage being about “two solitudes.” I did not want to do the traditional rings-as-endless-circle-like-love thing because neither of us believe that. Instead, we wrote that we were exchanging rings to mark ourselves as married for everyone to see. We each exchanged two rings – one silver (white gold) and one gold to represent us walking into the future together. When exchanging the rings, we told each other that they were a constant reminder that “Love consists in this: two solitudes protect and border and greet each other.” (Rilke) I purchased the rings, which were a modification of the seller’s design, off Etsy. They were made of recycled gold and mine had (synthetic) moissanite (from outer space!) for the stones.
Becca: Looking out at everyone during the ceremony and occasionally catching someone’s eye. Everyone seemed so happy to be there – it felt really good.
Adam: The first dance. As a lifelong member of the oofish, awkward, uncoordinated club, I was very proud of my ability to perform the first dance without looking completely terrible and/or dropping Becca on her head. After four months of lessons, I felt I deserved the applause I got at the end!
My funniest moment: Becca: We went to take pictures at the house I had grown up in. My mom had gone over the day before to ask the new owners (my parents had moved to NC the year before) if it was OK. When we got there, they were waiting outside for us which was really neat. (I also got to see my old next door neighbors!). The photographer had us kiss for a photo and the little boy screamed “They’re gonna kiss!” It was pretty hilarious.
Adam: Becca was going to walk down the aisle to “Chapel Of Love”. As the song starts, my elderly mother comes down the aisle instead. I just envisioned people I knew who didn’t know Becca being very confused and thinking “huh? Is this some kind of Harold and Maude thing?”
My advice for offbeat brides: Everyone says you need to decide what aspects of the wedding are important to you, but I think you need to decided WHY you’re having a wedding. Knowing why you’re having a wedding and what it means to you will help you navigate some of the tough decisions that come with wedding planning.
Lastly …. IT’S WORTH IT!! Literally, the night before the wedding I asked Adam if he thought it all the time, money, and headache leading up to the was going to be worth it. It was!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
We seriously had the most awesomest vendors!!
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!