wedding photos

The offbeat bride: De Anne, Artist and Data Analyst

Her offbeat partner: Warren, Video Game Tech Support

Location & date of wedding: Grandma's house, Mt. Bonnell, Austin Texas — 9/18/2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We decided that good food, photography and celebrating with our loved ones were more important that any tradition. So we had a big party that at which we just happened to get married.

There was no aisle, no ceremony seating, friends rang a gong to signal that Things Were Happening for five minutes, then it was back to the par-tay.

wedding photos

I wore a gold custom party dress, he had a custom painted skull vest (with glow in the dark paint!) and a top hat. We had an octopus cake and strawberry shortcake for desserts, and two cake toppers that never made it on top of any cake. There was no wedding party, and we wrote our own vows which we punctuated with the exchange of Official Wedding Pins (“I'd rather be smooching my nerdy husband” and “I'd rather be smooching my nerdy wife”).

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Our biggest challenge: Getting friends and family to understand that the decisions were ours to make and that once made, they were final. This ranged from family members trying to dictate the guest list, to a guest arriving with fifty balloons that they tried to re-decorate the venue with.

Oh, and we had quite the challenge of getting people to understand that while this was not a traditional event, it was still our wedding and important to us. The number of people who assumed that because we weren't in a church or I wasn't wearing white must mean that we weren't taking it seriously or it wasn't that big a deal. I wanted to pull my hair out sometimes!

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The wedding gong!

In hindsight (as is often the case) these were incredibly important learning moments — for us and our loved ones. We stood as a united front when refusing to add last minute guests and reminding people that their comments were hurtful. And we worked on our compromising skills when it was decided the balloons could be there, but on our terms (which meant at the end of the party, just for pictures).

We made sure that if something was important to one of us, it was important to both of us. And we had each other's back 100%. We also refused to be treated as anything other than a solid family unit. This was incredibly helpful in getting family members to respect our decisions.

wedding photos

My favorite moment: The day was a blur of happy memories but I have a top 3.

The wedding pin exchange.
The wedding pin exchange.

1) When the gong rang out alerting our guests that it was time for the ceremony. Instead of us joining our guests by walking up an aisle, our guests were joining us where we waited. You could feel the love and support as they gathered around, and it was a nice reversal.

2) Hearing the vows for the first time. We kept our vows a secret from one another, and to hear the beautiful sentiments he had for me, and the hilarious thoughts on our relationship. I was going to cry if I hadn't been laughing.

3) A little bit after the ceremony, he spontaneously pulled me inside to eat by ourselves and look out over the party raging below. It was romantic and quiet and it gave us a special moment to be alone as a married couple.

wedding photos

My offbeat advice: Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse. Forget everything that the WIC has taught you. Clear your mind and your list of requirements.

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If you're planning to have a legally binding ceremony, look up what your local authorities require. If your event is spiritual, consult your spiritual leader or officiate. Those are your bases to start from.

Anything above those basic requirements should be things that you and your partner want, and should help you stay true to yourself. If you don't need it and you don't want it –- why have it? Leaving out the things that are there “just because” will eliminate stress, and cost. And it will ensure your wedding is a reflection of you who are, not who someone else thinks you should be.

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It's incredibly easy to get caught up in what other people expect of you. The mantra I repeated over and over again was: “As long as we end up married, everything else is gravy.” And at the end of the day, I married the person I love most in the world and was lucky enough to have friends and family there too: and that's good enough for me.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? We made a lot of our stuff ourselves, or with the help of friends (including that cake!), but I do have this:

  • Dress: Custom dress I designed but made by Ruth at SewFits. She is amazing and has 20+ years of experience.
  • Bridal Jewelry: Kimari Jewelry on Etsy
  • Photography: The amazing Whitney Lee Photography
  • Caterer: Dagar's Catering, home of the Strawberry Shortcake station!

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Comments on The Hitchening: The Party with a Wedding Inside!

  1. completely AWESOME! and I love the dress and the octopus cake – very personal choices.
    Felicitations to the bride!

  2. Reading your story was really inspiring. My family has been trying to dictate my weddding, even though we are barely engaged and don't even have a date set yet. It's so frustrating, but reading this gives me hope that we'll get through this and be able to have the wedding we want, not the one they want.

  3. That octopus cake is my Favorite Cake Ever, especially with chocolate raspberry inside.

  4. Great story!!! Thank you again for the lanterns, you guys are an inspiration, we too want a party that also involves a wedding, not the other way around!

  5. Congratulations! Also, I am in awe of your calm demeanor. Someone showed up at your wedding with 50 balloons! It takes some serious ovaries to handle that as well as you did. Well done!

  6. Wendy, sometimes I think I deserve a little trophy…..because the person who brought the balloons was actually his mother. Oh family relations. You reached a weird new echelon that day….

    • How on earth were balloons more appropriate, classy, weddingy, whatever, than the awesome paper lanterns that you had?

  7. Also, I cannot get the site to let me log back in all facebook-connected-style. I am sad.

    • Sounds like a bug with IntenseDebate, our beloved and extremely buggy commenting system. If you want to, you can report the issue to them by twittering @intensedebate or contacting them at [email protected]

  8. Hooray! That was a fabulous party. I'm glad you are more on top of it than me and managed to get it submitted. Also, quite pleased that the face licking photo made the slide show cut! πŸ˜€

    You two are the awesome!

  9. Oh my goodness! I love so many things about this wedding. The dress is gorgeous, the vest is funky as heck, and I bet the party was a blast. Kudos! The idea of having baskets of crayons and paper at every table is sheer genius, as well. Thank you for all the inspiration and creativity!

  10. wow… the wedding looks amazing – so unique.
    the cake, the couple's photos – i have no words.
    simply stunning!!

  11. Ooh I have been waiting (not so patiently πŸ™‚ ) to see more of this wedding. I don't know where to start..the cake..the awesome petticoat…the awesome look of love on your faces in every picture. Thanks for the perspective too. Congratulations!

  12. Pictures, dress, cake, everything was so cool, but most of all, I really am inspired by your advice and thoughts on the event. That was incredibly sweet and beautiful.

  13. My daughter has always been awesome !!
    Not sure where she got all of her creativity – everything in my house is beige – until she got me to add some color. Now it looks really good.

    • Hey you found it! Hooray! πŸ˜€

      And lol, my mom is commenting on my wedding post. What a world, what a world.

  14. I wanted to have my wedding on Mount Bonelle, but the last time I was there I got robbed… πŸ™

  15. Oh yes, the hurtful comments because "you're not wearing white", "you're not inviting your parents" and "a formal picnic?! You're ruining a perfectly good bbq", blah blah de freakin blah.

    I loved reading your wedding write up. Congratulations and here's to a wonderful life.

    P.S. I would've loved balloons!!! But they're very me and each to their own. πŸ˜‰

  16. Hi
    Not only does your wedding sound absolutely wonderful, but your commitment to each other is a beautiful inspiration. I love what you said: “We made sure that if something was important to one of us, it was important to both of us. And we had each otherÒ€ℒs back 100%. We also refused to be treated as anything other than a solid family unit.”
    Surely the best possible start to a marriage.
    AND I love your dress πŸ™‚

  17. Despite the fact that they were unexpected, I REALLY love that you made great use of those balloons after all. Grace under pressure, and those photos with the balloons are ALL great!

    That said, the octopus is my favorite cake EVAR, I’ve been obsessing over it since it was in the ‘grooms’ cakes” feature!

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