Jessica & Chris’s film geek dance party bonanza wedding

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Rock Your Wedding week’s third wedding could have also been featured in a theme week for geeks or films. BUT this week is about rocking it and that’s exactly what the groom did! During the recepiton, he played with both his current band and had a reunion with his high school band. -Becca

3D Family
Photos by Kate NG Sommers

The offbeat bride: Jessica, Non-profit lobbyist/attorney (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Chris, High School English Teacher/Musician/Blogger

Location & date of wedding: Heights Theater and Jax Cafe, Minneapolis, MN — August 28, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Chris and I had dated for seven years prior to tying the knot so we had had lots of time to understand what would make our wedding truly “us.” We are both huge movie dorks and Chris proposed on a theater marquee, so we decided to get hitched at an old movie theater — the longest-running movie theater in Minnesota. Everyone at the Heights Theater was amazing, and let us really make the day our own.

The groom rocks it out with his current band.

I wore a purple dress and Chris wore a grey suit with a star-patterned purple tie.

His dad passed away when he was three years old, so Chris wore an old whale tie clip of his dad’s at the ceremony.

I had four bridesmaids and a bridesman, and Chris had four groomsmen and a groomswoman.

My sister/maid of honor made all of the boutonnieres/bouquets/brooches and my veil from peacock feathers, bolts, pearls, charms, and fabric from my aunt’s wedding dress in the ’60s. My veil was actually a piece of my mom’s junior bride veil from my aunt’s wedding. Flowers

Our reception was at a vintagey supper club in Minneapolis, the Jax Cafe. The only flowers the whole day were at the reception, came from a local farmer’s market, and adorned the dinner tables in old-fashioned glass soda bottles.

Chris and I collected the titles of our guests’ favorite movies prior to the wedding, and Chris made a movie “game” out of them that was at each guest’s place as an icebreaker — find a “guess who likes which movie” kind of thing.

Is this thing on?We had four different kinds of cupcakes and a milkshake bar at the reception in addition to a sit-down dinner. Chris doesn’t drink, so it was important to us to have special non-alcoholic drinks (other than just soda) for the guests to enjoy.

We love to dance, and right after dinner, a huge dance party broke out and went all night long. My bridesmaids brought crazy props that everyone wore and danced with — it was so cool to see young and old enjoying the dance floor.

Later in the evening, we played favorite movies on a screen in the dining area and three bands fronted by our friends — two featuring the groom — played. We had almost 100 people that stayed and danced to the bitter end of the evening — it was fantastic!

Until the Tape Runs Out
The groom reunited with his high school band.

Tell us about the ceremony: The theater changed the marquee to read, “Chris and Jess: The Wedding” and displayed movie-style posters that Chris designed.

PopcornThe guests were invited to enjoy popcorn and soda during the ceremony and we had a champagne/sparkling juice reception in the lobby afterwards.

Chris’s mother walked with him down the aisle, and I walked with both of my parents down the aisle.

Our dear friend Arun got ordained in Minnesota just to marry us, and wore an awesome vintage top hat we found together two days before the wedding. He officiated the ceremony we wrote, which included references to our cats, an excerpt from Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Health, and a moment of silence for our grandparents and Chris’s dad. We wrote our own vows, and included poetry readings by my aunt and Chris’s sister. They read I like you by Sandol Stoddard Warburg and “A History of Everything, Including You” by Jenny Hollowell.

Film #1The Heights allowed us to hire an organist to play the pipe organ prior to the ceremony, and played films that Chris and a couple of talented friends made for us. We actually had something playing on the big screen at all times.

Our biggest challenge: Writing our ceremony! We weren’t getting married in any particular religious tradition, and our friend got ordained to marry us, so we didn’t have much guidance in constructing our ceremony. We procrastinated and procrastinated, worried we would write something too serious or not serious enough. In the end, we plunkered down on our couch and wrote it all in a couple hours. It turned out to be exactly what we wanted — personal and sincere but fun. I don’t know why we were so intimidated by it!

Concession Love

CeremonyMy favorite moment: Our vows — Chris and I wrote them separately and shared them privately cuddled in bed a couple of days before the wedding. During my vows, I almost started to cry but I held it together in the end.
Also, having all our friends and family just fly in from all over the country — we felt so supported and loved, especially when they all donned funny hats and props and danced the night away.

Say what?My funniest moment: Looking around the room and witnessing Chris’s mom dancing to LCD Soundsystem while everyone cheered, our officiant wearing a purple boa, and my bridesmaid carrying around an inflatable boombox on her shoulder. Also, when our groomsmen’s band did Jay Leno impressions between songs.

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was concerned that we would have technical problems trying to coordinate a wedding ceremony accompanied by constant music/movies/animation. We didn’t get to have a full run-through either, which added to my anxiety. It worked out perfectly though, and it was SO cool to see all our friends and family applaud after the short films.

Sister BopMy advice for offbeat brides: If you love DIY weddings, but you feel completely craft-challenged, find other ways to make your wedding personal. I drooled over other brides’ crazy crafting skillz, and totally stressed about my lack of ability. However, creativity alone can make up for technical incompetence (promise!) if you share your vision with others willing to help. We got talented friends to make films for us and my sister to make bouquets and accessories from feathers. Also, so many of my happiest moments of the day had nothing to do with DIY but everything to do with TIY (Think it Yourself): the dance party, “credits” during the recessional, the milkshake bar, etc. Creativity does not require technical prowess!

Shoes!What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? At the end of your wedding day, it is all about friends and family, new and old, coming together to celebrate. We were reminded how amazing our network of supporters really is, and how lucky we are to have all found each other.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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