Bridal suite

The Offbeat Bride: Paula, freelance writer and performance artist

Her offbeat partner: Brian, audio engineer

Date and location of wedding: The Cell Theater and AMPED Performance Space, Albuquerque, NM — August 3, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We strayed from tradition, but did feel it was important to incorporate a few wedding staples. Brian and I spent the night before the wedding together, but once the sun came up, we did not see one another until I met him at the altar. This was difficult for us both but so worth it.

Bridal Party

We flew a good friend of ours in from Denver, CO to be our wedding singer. For the procession, she covered “Please, Please, Please” by The Smiths, and serenaded a teary audience with another tune from The Smiths, “There's a Light that Never Goes Out.”

Veg Spread

Brian and I are also devoted, strict vegetarians. This provided some challenges when planning the evening's feast. At the end of the day, we decided to offer an all-vegetarian spread. We had fresh fruits, roasted vegetables, a hummus spread, different breads and bruschetta flavors, hearty eggplant, stuffed tomatoes and mushrooms, and vegan wedding-style soup.

Bride time

In addition to a DJ, we had local musicians and songwriters take the stage at the reception. For wedding favors, we made a mix CD on discs that looked like small vinyl records of many of the songs we played during the event, including the first dance, and a lot of Morrissey.

Here Comes/The Bride


Tell us about the ceremony:
We definitely spent more time planning the reception than the ceremony, so it was amazing to see how smoothly everything ran. A local burlesque emcee doubled as our officiant and reception host. We opened with a passage from our favorite Shakespeare play, Hamlet:

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

Alter nerves

We Did It!

After the procession, our dear friend gave a heartfelt speech. She wrote the speech in her wedding card to us, so we can keep it forever. Instead of having a unity candle, we opted for a wine box ceremony. My father hand-carved a beautiful box, complete with a lock and key. In it, we placed a bottle of our favorite wine and two love letters to be opened on our first anniversary.


Our biggest challenge:
I fell in love with a pre-owned gown from Saison Blanche's couture line. It was six sizes too big and about four inches too short, but I didn't care. We delivered it to an incredible seamstress, Kim Vivian. Kim let me know the dress had started to deteriorate and the lace started to rot. We had two options: find a new gown or completely reconstruct the bodice. She selflessly took on the grueling task of attaching 20,000 beads and appliques by hand. Kim worked night and day, but the day before the wedding, the dress was still not finished. But we rushed some last-minute adjustments and it fit! I was in awe of Kim's talents.

ABC Cake Shop & Bakery

My favorite moment:
Seeing my maid of honor take the reins was awesome. She and I have been best friends since we were 14. She moved to Austin, TX when we were 16, but we've managed to stay close. She started making trips between Texas and New Mexico to first throw my bridal shower and then to prep for the wedding, but did much of the planning long-distance. Seeing her jump into action the day of the wedding was absolutely incredible. She was elegant and poised, yet firm and direct, keeping everyone in order and dealing with any drama before it got to us.

Wedding singer Alpha Fisher

Towards the end of the night, a musician was performing 10,000 Maniacs' “Because the Night” on the keyboard. My father and I love this song. I was looking around for him so we could share the moment together, and before I knew it he was at my side. As the crowd dispersed, he and I just smiled at one another and took in everything together.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Be present. Thank goodness we've got beautiful photos and a great wedding video because the day was quite a blur. I did my best to embrace all the gorgeous moments, but things were moving so fast and it's so easy to get wrapped up in the little things that go wrong, or even distance yourself from the excitement when things get overwhelming. It's a lot of pressure when you realize there are no do-overs.

Bridal Garter

Garter Toss

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Comments on Paula & Brian’s Old Hollywood glam wedding

  1. Oh, you wacky young ‘uns! “Because The Night” is not actually a 10,000 Maniacs song, but was actually written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith and released as a single by her in 1978! I do agree that 10,000 Maiacs did a nice job with it, though.

    In addition to your fine taste in music, the rest of your celebration looks wonderful and stylish. Congratulations and may you enjoy a long and happy marriage!

    • Hi Shelli, oops! I am more than familiar with the origins of the song and meant that the musician covered it in the style of 10,000 Maniacs, which was super special for my father and I because we’re both huge Natalie Merchant fans. Thanks so much for reading our profile and for the well wishes!

  2. What a beautiful wedding! Love the dress, the song choices and I’m getting hungry looking at that spread (not a vegan, just a lover of good veggies)

    • Hi Meaghan, thank you so much! The food was definitely a hit, some of our friends and family are still talking about the cuisine so that’s been fun. I just wish I would’ve been able to eat more of it! 😉

  3. Wow, I adore that cake! And you both look absolutely breathtaking. Well, the whole thing is just beautiful. But I do especially love that cake. 🙂

    • Hi Suzanimated, I was pretty stunned by this as well. From what I understand, natural fibers can rot and synthetic fibers degrade. After some investigation, I believe this started because the dress, purchased second hand, had not been cleaned by the original owner-the skirt was a bit scuffed to support this theory as well. If the dress was exposed to perfume, hairspray, or other odors this also could have contributed to the decay. Lace doesn’t rot in the same way as say food does. When I first went to examine the deteriorating garment I was expecting to find green mold! It literally starts to come apart at the seams because the fibers are breaking down.

  4. Can I just praise to all the Gods the fabulousness of the groom’s hair???? Beautiful wedding! Congratulations!

    • Hi Kerry, thank you so much! I SO appreciate you pointing out his lush locks! My mother was hesitant of the pompadour style, but I knew it would look great on him, well I hoped it would. The stylist is a long time family friend and whipped out his doo in like 5 minutes. I was so impressed. We have since tried to recreate it, but haven’t had any luck so far.

  5. Beautiful! Love the dress and the hair… You look stunning! My hat off to your seamstress as the dress looks like a vintage masterpiece but also like it was made for you at the same time.

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