While yesterday's California judicial decision about Proposition 8 deeply frustrates me, I figure the best way to voice my dissent is to continue featuring all my favorite California lesbian weddings … it's my way of saying “Love will prevail, despite the judges.” -Ariel

LA_IMG_0048The Offbeat Bride: Alli, coffeeshop manager

Her Offbeat Partner: Liz, specialty foods manager

Location & date of wedding: Beach wedding and firehouse reception in Pacifica, CA — September 21, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: From the start, we wanted a private beach wedding for those we're closest to, with a kick-ass party following for all our friends and family. We decided early on to go with a rock ‘n roll motif, which helped us remember that this wasn't a boring, traditional wedding, but a unique celebration of our commitment.


We gave out Haribo gummy bears, guitar matchbooks, and mix CDs, made by Liz's sister Katie, as favors. I wore a black and silver dress from a mall bridal shop — the first and only dress I tried on — and Liz rocked a solid black suit complete with an awesome vest and open tuxedo tie. We asked our wedding party to wear a black dress of their choosing or a black shirt and pants, and everyone wore flipflops and black sunglasses. We hired baristas from the coffeeshop to help run the bar, cater, and DJ. It was a five-hour dance party reception that our photographer said was the most fun wedding she'd ever been to!


We'd been engaged for ten months and had been actively planning the wedding for five by the time we found out it would actually be a legal union. We included a note in our invites that let our guests know that yes, it would be a legal marriage, and no, we weren't rushing to get married just because the California Supreme Court had overturned the gay marriage ban. I mean, exciting — but we also wanted people to know we weren't just jumping on the bandwagon.


Our biggest challenge: The wedding was awesome and we're happy we did it, but it was a lot of stress on our families, specifically the moms. They butted heads a lot during the set-up the morning of the wedding. Luckily were able to be civil during the ceremony and reception. Most guests had no idea there was family drama going on behind the scenes.

3082149748 28d0df0561 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)Luckily, we didn't get too much crap about the choices for our wedding. Our family sometimes disagreed with how we wanted to do things, for example, Alli's mom was pretty much against our wish for the rehearsal dinner to be at a bowling alley, but hey, it ended up being the coolest rehearsal dinner ever!

My favorite moment: Being surrounded by both friends and family, who were all there in support of our love and commitment, was overwhelming. There were some family members who we'd never discussed our sexuality with until it came time to invite them to our wedding, and they showed up and had a blast.


My advice for other offbeat brides: Focus the bulk of your planning and money on the elements of the wedding that mean the most to you, instead of letting every tiny detail drive you crazy. We'd originally thought we could do this on a dime, but we decided to throw more money into our budget for photography and food.


We completely let go of the idea of having flowers anywhere in sight and Liz's mom made our cool centerpieces — we let go of the control and saw them for the first time in person the morning of the wedding.


The food was very important to us, as Liz was a chef and most of our friends are foodies. We were turned off at the idea of a buffet or sit-down dinner (both for the formality and the huge cost of wedding catering here in the bay area), so we found a northern Italian restaurant around the corner that did all kinds of amazing hors d'oeuvres for the very reasonable price of $2000 — still a big chunk of our budget, but well worth it. Everyone loved the food and it didn't stop the party, and I'm so glad we didn't just heat up frozen appetizers from Costco!


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Comments on Alli & Liz’s Rock n’ Roll Beach Wedding

  1. Wow, that dress looks amazing. I can see how you must have fallen in love with it straight away.

  2. I was privileged to be a part of this wedding and I must say, it was a kick ass wedding! I love you Ali and LIz! I’m so happy for you!

  3. I’m happy to say I was there too and enjoyed every minute of it. Flying in from Finland to see my dear friend Alli getting their beautiful union legally recognized was truly special. And what a night it was!

    You (very discretely, I may add) left out one truly rock n’ roll moment: your unnamed friend’s slightly-inappropriate-champagne-bottle-in-hand-speech. Legendary, loved it!

  4. Looks amazing, and very moving. I’m so happy for you both, even as a total stranger.

    If anyone wants to talk about how to plan a rehearsal dinner in a bowling alley, I am all ears. Or, eyes. Or, whatever.

  5. I try not to hate on offbeat weddings, but this is one of the classiest, most elegant affairs that you’ve ever shown. I feel like I could really use this post for wedding inspiration. Thank you for showing the beauty (and big ups to same sex couples who choose to share their commitment with their families, friends, and whoever they believe in despite narrow minded / hateful legislation.)

  6. It’s so exciting to be featured on Offbeat Bride. Even though we were married eight months ago, I still come here often looking at wedding porn. Ha.

    Christy: Maggie Sottero (my dress was actually a prom dress from her “Flirt” line, ha!)

    Lola: Just have it there! Our bowling alley was actually pretty upscale and had an in-house chef and catering already set up, and we just ordered laneside catering (with HELLO prime rib, omg it was soooo good) and beer, and people helped themselves buffet style. We paid for two games each, and the place gave Liz and I a super cute bowling pin that said “Congratulations Alli & Liz”, which all the fam and friends at the dinner signed. Oh, and they had a full bar, which everyone was visiting throughout the night. Not every place will be like that, but just ask if you can reserve their party room or do roomside food — I wanted to do the pizza option for ours, it just turned out to be about the same price since we had so many people. You should be able to talk to the party coordinator or manager about setting something up. And everyone will have a lot more fun than at a restaurant!

    I should have written more in the profile, especially about our family and friends making everything happen for us. Our wedding party, friends and family really pulled together to make it happen for us. We rented out a renovated firehouse (the link above is broken… it’s the Pedro Point Firehouse) — an awesome space that was basically white walls, a stage, a bar area, and hardwood floors. We were going to help set up, but everyone made us leave and when we returned after the ceremony, we came back into a gorgeous reception hall with everything ready. It was amazing. Our officiant and good friend Leana, our roommate Hayley, Liz’s sister Katie, and my brothers’ girlfriend/our ring mistress Brenda and fiancée Becky were the best day-of coordinators we could have asked for. The first thing to go wrong the day-of was when the company delivered the rentals. Once the tables were put up and the tablecloths started to go on them, we realized that they were for tables about twice the size. But my girls got on the phone with them and said they’d worked it out, and when we got there, the tablecloths had been switched out. I found out later that they had to drive to San Francisco to change them out, irritating! But we were so happy it was taken care of, a true testament to the dedication of our wedding team (aka friends and family!). I am so grateful for all they did for us. In the end everyone had a great time, and we were breaking down the dance floor until 10pm on the dot (damn noise ordinance).

    Thanks for featuring us, Ariel, and thanks everybody for your comments. It was a fun night, and yes — we are still legally married!

  7. One of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended, and I am more than elated to say that I now have a new sister! Alli welcome to our family! I was honored to be a part of your special “rock star day”! PROP 8 sucks! Everyone in the state of California should butt out and allow more rockstar weddings between 2 people that genuinely love eachother! You go Alli and Liz! I love you, your Sis

  8. Stupid Prop 8! This was an awesome wedding and so much fun. I’m so glad I got to be a part of your special day.

  9. Thanks Ariel for your support of our Gay and Lesbian community. What a great couple Liz and Alli are. And what great daughters I have. Sometime in the future, I hope all our citizens can learn to love everyone for who and what they are. Every person should be able to have equal rights in the eyes of the law; and all the love and support of their family, friends and community as they begin a life together. Here’s to another Vote and to the separation of Church and State!

  10. Quick question. on the cds you did as favours did you do anything about copyright or did you just not worry about it?

  11. Nina, as long as you’re not selling the favors (which you’re not) you don’t need to worry about copyrights.

  12. Beautiful wedding, and glad you guys are still married today. Hopefully in 2010 we will fix what got broken and allow the rest of the same-sex couples in CA the right to marry. Looking forward to more (legal) Offbeat same-sex marriages in the future!

  13. Nina — we burned them using itunes, which only lets you burn 7 copies of the same playlist, so we just changed a song every times we burned it. There are probably more efficient ways of burning CDs yourself, but we did them two days before the wedding after Katie brought the CDs (with our picture lasered onto them) with her, so we didn’t have much time left. We didn’t list the songs anywhere with the discs either… they were a surprise. 🙂

  14. We bought them on theknot.com when they were having a huge sale. They were 100 for twenty bucks.

  15. Wonderful pics!! looks like a great wedding..this is the second wedding i have seen on offbeat hosted at the fire house,i am happy o say after seeing the first we took a trip down to pacifica after a year of venue shopping and we will be getting married there in the fall!! we are doing a beach ceremony like you di! No they just opend a new beautiful ocean themed handpainted wooden playground yard in the back,,it is amazing!!

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