Sara & Mark’s improv-tastic, eco-friendly, wine-soaked wedding

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In the grapevines
Photo by Dream Time Images

The offbeat bride: Sara, graduate student (and OBT member)

Her offbeat partner: Mark, comedy writer

Location & date of wedding: Tres Hermanas Winery, Santa Ynez, California — August 8, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Mark and I aren’t particularly religious, so we asked all four of our parents, who are all still married, (sixty plus years between them!) to be our officiants. Mark wrote our beautiful ceremony, with readings from “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish,” “The Odyssey,” as well as a friend’s original poem. Vows

All of our bridesmaids and groomsmen were siblings, and our close friends became an awesome un-bridal party. The un-bridal party tied ribbons to symbolize their good wishes on an arbor our dads made.

After the ceremony, we put on an improv show with friends that I had improvised with over the years. Mark was nice enough to MC. It was hilarious, especially with me in my dress. Ribbon Tying

Mark and I are winos so we knew we wanted to get married in wine country. We were lucky enough to find somewhere we could afford with a big lawn, which we made into a wedding wonderland. That involved creating a bunch of different Zones of Fun, including a photobooth (for which I made props), a s’mores bbq with couches, and a cigar area with armchairs.

Our website, Wedding Bells of Fire, inspired the logo we put on everything from temporary tattoos, to buttons that we gave out to guests. Music came from our ipods, which we filled with requests from the guests (an idea I stole from OBB). We had a blast!
We're married!
Our biggest challenge: Oddly enough, figuring out who to invite to the rehearsal dinner. My family is so enormous we couldn’t afford to have everyone there, and Mark’s is so tiny that it would have been weird not to invite them, so we ended up (after much stress) with everyone from the ceremony plus Mark’s cousins. My mom was awesome enough to throw a casual bbq for my giant family, which Mark and I also went to, so it all worked out.

Table Settings
Instead of table numbers, the tables were named after their favorite comedians, like Mitch Hedberg and Woody Allen

My favorite moment: Our vows. They were so hilarious and loving that I swear half the audience was in tears (as well as me.) Here are some excerpts:

Mark: “I promise to always pretend that you came up with the idea for my tattoo, even though I’m 80% sure that I did… because you have taught me that when I’m 80% sure, I’m wrong 60% of the time. Because of math — Finally, I promise that I’m going to do everything that I can to make myself into a man good enough to be your husband. And I promise you that’s impossible.”

Planting a unity tree!

Mine: “How could I not have fallen in love the person who penned, “She was a young, sexy female version of Martin Landau”? — And so, I am marrying you not because you make the best key lime pie in the world, or because we both think it’s reasonable to wash our dishes with Windex when we run out of soap… I am marrying you because you are my best friend, because we’ve managed to create a life filled with laughter, passion, creativity, silliness, and support. And a lot of wine.”

Also, if I can choose a second, while dancing to one of my favorite songs (“Fight Test” by the Flaming Lips) our friends spontaneously formed a circle and then ran around us, ending in a big mushy group hug. It was awesome.
Circle of Love

My advice for offbeat brides: Life is much easier if you don’t draw arbitrary lines: do your best to include everyone or no one in parts of your wedding. I couldn’t have possibly had all of the ladies that should have been bridesmaids in the wedding party, so I just didn’t have any beyond my sister and no feelings were hurt.

Bill Nye
They had Bill Nye the Science guy during their improv show!!!!

Ditto for the rehearsal dinner: no one from my family outside of the ceremony came, and so no one cared. Obviously, that’s really hard when you are dealing with guest counts, but do your best.

Also, I highly recommend having activities other than dancing at a reception, even if you LOVE dancing like I do. Not everyone boogies, so having a cigar area/photobooth/s’mores bbq was great.

Roasting S'mores If you are having a crafty wedding, and aren’t into traditional bridal showers, having an All Craft, No Games bridal shower can be perfect. That’s what we did, and I had a BLAST. Plus we got a lot of our crafts done. I love my ladies.

And finally, um, in looking at the pictures we apparently spent the entire day smooching. That was great, but I kinda wish that we’d gotten a few more shots of us without our faces mashed together.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Beautiful blue bouquet by Princess Lasertron

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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