The Offbeat Bride: Briana, Librarian and writer
Her offbeat partners: Joshua, musician and Tony, teaching artist
Date and location of wedding: Hitchcock Lake and Briana’s mom’s backyard, Wolcott, Connecticut — June 9, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We’re a little different since we’re a trio, not a couple, and I also have cerebral palsy, though that didn’t affect the wedding itself. Stories also mean a lot to me. One great example of story-telling that stuck with me from childhood is from the very beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, when the story of the old beggar woman giving the prince a rose is told through stained glass windows. For the wedding I recreated those images using three lanterns, one for each table at the reception, glass paint, and liquid leading.
Not only is Tony the fantastic, beautiful, and talented third member of our triad (and Joshua’s best man), he is also a gifted florist. He made my maid of honor’s bouquet, as well as designing the flowers that adorned the tables. He did not make my bouquet, though. I made mine, from the things represented in the song “‘Til There Was You,” from The Music Man (bells, birds, and roses). This seemed fitting to me, seeing as in the musical a librarian and a (however false) band leader fall in love. Not the most fanciful bouquet ever, but I got to walk down the aisle carrying all the things I was missing in my life… ’til there was him.
We did not have a first dance, but a first song. Joshua played guitar, and we both sang “The Book of Love,” by Peter Gabriel. He sang the verse about reading to me, I sang the verse about singing to him, and we sang the last verse, about gifting wedding rings, together.
Tony made our cake topper using a story I had written Joshua one anniversary as inspiration. In the story, I was a fox and Joshua was a cat. We refer often to Tony as “the sun” in our relationship, so he used the sun for a base on which the fox and cat would stand. He also sneakily arranged for a surprise grooms’ cake that was Rocky Horror Picture Show-themed! Joshua and I first met at a stage production of Rocky Horror, and the triangle was formed years later when all three of us were performing in Rocky Horror together. Oh, and for our guestbook, we laid out fabric markers and white canvas bags, so that when we went grocery shopping we could see the well-wishes of our loved ones.
As for logistics, we tried to go not-so-expensive. We got married by the lake beside my mom’s house, and had the reception in her backyard. We had a brunch reception with no alcohol (Joshua and I are teetotalers.). I got my dress from a prom shop. We played all our own music from playlists we designed through my iPhone. It was all perfect. We did splurge on a photographer… because the day is just one day, but the pictures we will keep for our whole lives.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Music is important to both myself and Joshua, but especially to him. I surprised Joshua by using one of his recorded arrangements for the processional. Our recessional, for that matter, was an instrumental version of “Yellow Submarine.” We wanted something both triumphant and fun, and that fit the bill. After our legal ceremony, which all our guests attended, Joshua, Tony, and I snuck off with a few close friends to have a second ceremony officiated by my maid of honor: a handfasting, binding all three of us to each other.
Tony read the “What is Real?” passage from The Velveteen Rabbit as well.
Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was getting my family behind a more offbeat wedding. My mom was very nervous about not doing things the “right” way, and my dad thought that all my penny-pinching and odd choices were made from a place of self-deprivation or over-cautiousness. Eventually, they both came around to realize that low-stress and low-budget was actually what would make Joshua and I happy, and in that new frame of mind they got on board entirely. Mom, especially, ended up championing our cause and she and my step-dad found a way to just make it work.
Other than that, our wedding cake tasted awful. Tony suspected that was going to happen, which was why, in his infinite wisdom, he secretly got a grooms’ cake from a place he trusted.
My funniest moment:
I think it was when, during the first song, Joshua added some lyrics and sang, “It’s full of flowers, and heart-shaped boxes, and things we’re all too young to know… like the chords.”
My favorite moment:
One of the things that struck me was that, after expecting to see shock and surprise on Joshua’s face when HIS music started playing for the processional, it didn’t even register. I was the focus of all of his attention. That moved me.
The other things that really stuck me came before the wedding properly began. The night before, the three of us plus my maid of honor got together in my mom’s basement and played Mario Party 8 into the wee hours of the morning. We had take-out boneless wings, and a giant bowl of a mix of M&Ms. There was so much laughter and closeness. I was so happy we were all there together, and not paired off doing separate, last-night-as-a-bachelor/ette things.
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