Laura & Rob’s Day of the Dead wedding, vintage-style

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4x6 and fullsize h-end 812
Photos by Kristin Prideaux, Argente Photographie

The Offbeat Bride: Laura

Her Offbeat Partner: Rob, Bar Back

Location & Date of wedding: Union Depot in St Paul, MN — March 14, 2009

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had the money (given to us) and the social pressure to do a mostly traditional wedding, with a nice venue, and a sit-down dinner. But we needed something to make the wedding truly special, fun, and ours.

We decided on a Day of the Dead theme for a few reasons. First, we love and collect Day of the Dead art. Rob has Day of the Dead tattoos as his arm sleeve. Second, Rob’s parents retired in Mexico and collect/make Day of the Dead art. Third, my son is half Mexican, so it all seemed to fit. Til Death do we Part!

To highlight the theme, we incorporated Day of the Dead brides and grooms into the save-the-date cards, invites, location decorations, wedding programs, and menus. For favors, I have never understood the edible stuff or things with the couples names on them. They just disappear, and I wanted something that would last in guests’ home.

We decided to go with traditional Mexican tin ornaments. Rob’s Mom spent months scouring Mexico for them. The sugar skulls were the last touch, done two days before the wedding in a family decoration party. Each one was unique and much better than any we could have bought from a local supermercado.

Our biggest challenge: Going off the beaten path was hard, the Day of the Dead theme threw lots of people off. They were left in the dark and confused, and without meaning to a lot of the time, made me feel bad!

The very first Day of the Dead detractor was my mother, who was also paying for half of the wedding. She didn’t understand why we would want such a “morbid” theme. This and other control issues forced me to have a sit down with her, a heart to heart. I offered her the money back in exchange for my bridal freedom. Luckily, she had a change of heart and decided to loosen the reins and hide her disapproval more. It was also helpful to explain the idea of celebrating life by acknowledging death and our own mortality.

My favorite moment: SHIRTS OFF DRUNKEN DANCE PARTY! Okay, maybe all the shirts stayed on but all I ever really wanted was to dance to every single one of my favorite songs with all my girls. And that’s what I did. First I had to go through all the picture taking, the ceremony (nerve racking!), the reception line (I recommend it!), more pictures, dinner, toasts. But finally I got on the dance floor and never left! I literally danced for three hours and paid for it for two days. But it was a lot of fun and I have a theory that if I would’ve left and been sucked into the vortex of socializing I would have been disappointed and the party would have withered and died. I needed and wanted to be the entertainment for the evening!

My advice for other Offbeat Brides: 1. Have low expectations. Once you realize that this may not be the best night of your life, people may not show, you may say the wrong thing, forget peoples names, things may break, vendors not show up, the better off you’ll be. This will also help reduce the post wedding blues.

Hot red bridesmaid shoes.
Hot red bridesmaid shoes.

2. Keep bridesmaids to 2-3. I had four and it was too many people to please. Instead of them helping me, I had to help referee, coordinate, and schedule them. But having two would be good to help you get things done, use their strengths. I had the organized ones help me organize and the stylish ones help shop.

3. Call a few people before the wedding. I had out of town people and old friends coming as guests. I called a week before the wedding to catch up and pre-apologize for not getting to spend time with them at the wedding. It helped alleviate some (but not all!) of my post-wedding guilt.

The best thing I did that helped me reduce my anxiety and conflict was to buy the Offbeat Bride book. It helped me figure out I wasn’t the only one who went through this drama of trying to not fully follow tradition and that everything would be okay.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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