The offbeat bride: Kim, healthcare administrator (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Bix, architect
Location & date of wedding: San Pedro Chapel, Tucson AZ — October 28, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We got married on a Thursday evening by a friend (who is a member of our weekly wine tasting group more commonly known as the S.H.I.T.s or So Happy It’s Thursday) who got ordained especially to marry us. The ceremony had no religious references and we wrote it ourselves and included vows promising to provide adequate bookshelf (I’m a voracious reader) and vinyl (he’s a serious music collector) space. We also promised until death or vine-rot do us part, which referenced our love of wine and the fact that we met at the wine tasting.
I wore a turquoise silk tea length dress with black lace, and my maids of awesomeness wore unmatching black dresses and shoes. We carried books that I had wrapped in ribbons, flowers, and Catrina ornaments. Bix and the groom’s guys all wore unmatching suits with custom Dia de los Muertos silk ties and sparkly luchador bouts we made.
There were no fresh flowers –- all the flowers were handmade by me with help from Bix and my maids. We had crepe paper roses for the chapel altar in talavera vases. The chapel entrance was festooned with hand-colored tissue paper carnations strung on a turquoise ribbon, and the dancing ramada was hung with giant, Mexican, tissue-paper, fiesta flowers and fairy lights.
We registered at only two places — Cata Vinos (the place where we met) for wine and Bohemia for art. We wanted to support our friends’ businesses and keep as much of our wedding money locally as we could. And boy, did we get the wine and art! Yeah for friends who follow instructions!
We had no bouquet toss, no garter toss, and no family dances. We had two first dances, because they were both important songs to us and had seven wedding cakes. The only traditional element was the fact that we did indeed get married!
Tell us about the ceremony: We actually wrote most of the ceremony via email to each other — even though we live together. One of us would find a reading we liked or a quote and would email it to the other. I pasted them into a master document and then manipulated all the bits and pieces and would email the draft to Bix. He would make his edits and changes and pass it back. It was difficult to find things that addressed more mature love (no puppy dogs and unicorns and rainbows for us) without sounding too dreary — it is a wedding after all. Our officiant did the final touches and added some levity.
Bix can be really emotional and we both figured that the two of us would have a difficult time holding it together during our vows. Amazingly, once we got up there, Bix looked at me and held my gaze for the entire ceremony. He was my steadying influence. I had to stop and ask him for a tissue, but he was solid. Later, he told me that he just knew that he was meant to be there in that place at that time, making his vows to me and it was so right. It was as if we were in our own private world, and it is one of my most cherished memories.
Our biggest challenge: Bix’s mom was diagnosed with stage IV cancer two months before the wedding and passed away three weeks after the diagnosis. Before she passed away, she had written a song for us that she wanted sung at the wedding. At the time she gave it to us, it was no problem, but after she was gone it became an emotional minefield.
Bix didn’t want to be standing in front of ninety people when his mom’s song came on. It wasn’t really a reception song and we didn’t want to play it pre-ceremony, because it deserved more honor than that. We decided to play it after we finished our toasts and before we started dinner.
Bix’s sister gave a toast to her mom and introduced the song. Our musicians, the incredible Keli and Taylor of The Tryst, did a special arrangement of the song (“Trystified” as they called it.) Miraculously, they were able to give what was written as a hymn an upbeat “Tryst Twist” and it was fantastic and a fitting tribute to a great woman.
My favorite moment: Bix and I changed at home and drove ourselves to the wedding site. We were running late and I was helping him with his shirt collar and tie and he was helping me get my jewelry fastened and everything was a bit of a rush. On the drive to the wedding site, Bix grabbed my hand and told me that although he had seen me look extremely beautiful on other occasions, I had never looked more beautiful and more radiant than I did at that moment. We both teared up. It was really the first time in a few days that we really had a quiet moment to ourselves, and once we were dressed and heading to the chapel, we finally realized that this day was here and happening.
My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to get overwhelmed. We only had four and a half months from engagement to wedding with some serious unexpected family issues to deal with in the middle. I finally had to breakdown my lists into what absolutely had to get done for the wedding to happen (get the marriage license and officiant!), what were the things that were most important for us to have (writing a personal and meaningful ceremony and having great wine and music), and what could be left out if we ran out of time (who cares about a fancy schmancy wedding cake — we had pan dulce and seven Italian cream cakes). We made it through the first two lists and actually got through most of the third and everything turned out beautifully.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I’ve been married before, but Bix has not. My first marriage was when I was in my twenties and I was more concerned about how things looked than how things felt. This time it was extremely important to us that we be able to convey to our guests the right atmosphere — the right vibe about who we were as a couple.
Every decision about the wedding was made with “does this have the right feel to it” rather than “does this have the right look to it.” And everyone totally got it and got us. The most overheard comment all evening was “This wedding is so completely the two of you.”
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We faced a number of really stressful situations, totally unrelated to the wedding planning process, during our short planning time. I had a few major (and a lot of minor) meltdowns and it made me realize how completely accepting Bix is of me and all my nit-picking, stressed out, irrational, crazy woman ways. And we got through it and had an amazing wedding and an even stronger relationship because of it.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!