Her offbeat partner: Adam, Chemistry PhD Student
Location & date of wedding: Robertson Art Gallery, Mobile, AL — December 31, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: When we decided to get married on New Year's Eve, we wanted to have a huge, awesome party with a small ceremony. Our entire ceremony was only seven minutes long. We kept it completely non-religious due to having way too many different religious beliefs between our families. Our sisters and officiant each did a short reading and we had a ring-warming ceremony.
We managed to pull off the whole party for around $6000 with the help of our friends and families. We saved a ton of money by making a lot of things ourselves, like the bouquets, cake toppers, ceremony backdrop, and centerpieces. We also saved by going cheap in the areas that really didn't matter to us, like the types of chairs and whether all the tablecloths matched.
We had a ton of friends and family who helped. My sister did my makeup, a good friend did my hair, and a co-worker loaned us tablecloths. Adam's dad is friends with a gas-station owner who loaned us some big beer can-looking coolers and got us beer at a discount!
Tell us about the ceremony: Each of our sisters (my two bridesmaids) did a reading, and the officiant also read a short passage.
My sister, Sylvia, chose to read a poem from an episode of “Sex and the City.”
“His and Hers”
His hello was her happily ever after
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
Her hand would be his to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said “she was what was missing”
She said, instantly she knew
She was his question to be answered
And his answer was “I do”
Adam's sister, Ashley, read a passage from “Captain Corelli's Mandolin.”
Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
The officiant read a passage by Andrew Boyd's “Daily Afflictions.”
We're all seeking that special person who is right for us, but if you've been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there's no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems — the ones that make you truly who you are — that you're ready to find a life-long mate. You're looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person — someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”
Our biggest challenge: Communication was probably the biggest key to making things work. I started off the process being really bad about not wanting to seem pushy or demanding. When people would ask what I wanted or how I wanted certain things done, I would respond with things like, “It doesn't really matter to me,” but then when they did something on their own, it would annoy me and cause a fight.
I was trying so hard not to be a “bridezilla” that I was making things harder on myself. Once I figured out that I needed to either give an answer or truly not care, things went much more smoothly.
My favorite moment: The most meaningful moments had to be when we said our vows and exchanged rings. Neither one of us had memorized our vows (although they were only about three sentences long) and the officiant wasn't prompting us, so we had our vows printed out. Adam pulled his out of his pocket and announced that he was going to use his Cliff's notes!
Our officiant was also meaningful to us. Brad is a friend of my dad's and the Fire Chief of the local volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad. In early October, he got trapped in a house while trying to put out a fire and was really badly hurt. He was in the ICU for several weeks and in the hospital over a month. For a long time we weren't sure whether he was going to be able to attend the wedding, much less officiate. So it was hugely awesome when he was well enough to officiate for us!
My funniest moment: We were cracking up during the whole ceremony. The readings and vows were atypical and had a touch of humor. There were cell phones going off during the ceremony and champagne corks popping in the background. At the end of the ceremony, I grabbed Adam's hand to raise in the air and he yelled, “Victory!” (from Entourage) and my strapless dress slipped down a little, causing my dad to yell out “Wardrobe malfunction!”
During the planning process, my mom was very adamant about not wanting rap music during the reception. We told her that there was probably going to be rap music, and she wasn't happy about it. During the reception, my sister and I dragged my mom onto the dance floor during a Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz song. My sister told my mom to “back it up” and she started walking backwards!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We didn't necessarily think it was going to be a disaster, but we expected the ring-warming to go wrong. We introduced it by having the officiant read:
Thank you for coming together to support Ginny and Adam as they move into the next step of their lives together. They come here together of their own free will, to make their marriage lawful and sincere.
Ginny and Adam will exchange rings as a physical symbol of the vows they are making to one another.
As the ceremony proceeds, will the families of Ginny and Adam please warm these rings by passing them down the row. As you hold them in your hands, pause for a moment, and make your wishes for the couple and for their future together before you pass them on to the next person. These rings will not only be a gift from one to another but will be given with the love, support and wisdom of their family and friends.
We had explained to our families how they should pass the rings around, but apparently we forgot to tell my dad to pass the rings backwards instead of over, so the groomsman snatched the rings from him after that to prevent them getting passed around the crowd and taking longer than we anticipated.
My advice for offbeat brides: Eat and relax on the day of your ceremony. I was lucky that my ceremony didn't start until 8:00 p.m. and I didn't have to get ready until around 3:30. That means my sister and I spent that morning eating chocolate donuts, watching SNL marathons, and taking a nap. It was nice to be able to relax and not be stressing out in the hours before everything started moving.
If you have the desire/resources, consider hiring a day-of-coordinator. I was adamantly opposed to the idea, thinking that no one could set up things the way I wanted, but Adam convinced me. If it weren't for our day-of coordinator (who did everything from keeping vendors on track, to running the rehearsal, to setting up tables, chairs, and centerpieces), I would not have been able to have the morning I had.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: David's Bridal
- Earrings and Bracelet: handmade by my friend Asha
- Frog Necklace: Sherrie Venghaus
- Venue: Robertson Gallery, Mobile, AL
- Photographer: Kim French, One Fine Day Photography
- Super awesome cakes: Karen, Little Cake Shop, Spanish Fort, AL
- DJ, karaoke, ceremony, and reception music: Tom Ray
- Coordinator: the amazing Brittany Ranew, Faire la Fete
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!