It's 3/14, which means it's PI DAY! So grab a slice from the fridge, do some math, and celebrate this Pi Day wedding in California.


The offbeat bride: Melissa, Criminalist

Her offbeat partner: James, Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Cabrillo Plaza, San Pedro, CA — March 14, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: James and I really wanted a ceremony that would reflect our personalities: low-key, fun, and geeky. Since we have a mortgage to pay, we didn't want to spend a ton of money, but at the same time, we wanted the ceremony at an outdoor venue and have really good catered food. Luckily for us, Pi Day 2011 fell on Monday which saved us a lot of money on the venue (phew) and allowed some more wiggle room in our food budget. More on the foodz later. We decided not to do a bridal party, owing to a lot of our friends being out of town, and we couldn't go through the heart-wrenching decision-making of who would be in our party.


The reception was at the same place, but indoors. We did some traditional reception things like the father/daughter and mother/son dances, tossing the garter, first dance and so on.


We didn't have a wedding cake, but instead, had a wedding pie. James engineered our own wedding photo booth, our guest list was a photo book, and I gave my flowers away to the couple who had been married the longest. MFP-4042We decided to do a buffet-style dinner that had a completely pi-themed menu. Just for fun, here was the menu:

  • Black olives stuffed with pimiento
  • Heirloom apple, blue cheese, and caramlized red onion Pizzas
  • Assorted hummus dips served with pita
  • Spinach salad with fresh pears, feta, and candied walnuts
  • Garlic mashed potatoes with pinenuts served on the side
  • Roasted cauliflower with toasted pistachios and garlic paella
  • Ground beef shepard's pi
  • Pirozhki (Russian potato and cabbage tunrovers)
  • Pinot grigio and pinot noir
  • PIE (15 bazillion flavors)


Tell us about the ceremony: It was held outdoors at the Cabrillo Plaza. We really lucked out that it didn't rain that day. Before the ceremony started, I had the DJ play string quartet music from video game soundtracks. Some people got the video game references, but others just thought the music choice was “interesting.”


James and I felt really apprehensive about a stranger (i.e. officiant) doing the ceremony, so we had a good friend of ours, Nate, be our “Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriage!”


There was a small processional with my brother, grandmother, and James' brother followed by James and his parents, followed by me, my dad, and my stepmom. Nate did a reflection about marriage, but pretty much went straight to the vows and ring exchange. Our vows were short but heartfelt. I didn't think I would cry, but I got a little teary-eyed at the end. I definitely recommend doing a real dry run of your wedding. We did a practice ceremony the day before but we didn't go into detail. I told our photographer Megan that our ceremony was going to be longer than it was. I'm sure she was left scrambling to get shots before we were done! If you can't do a ceremony dry run, then maybe give a copy of your program to the photographer?


Our biggest challenge: James' challenge was the damned photo booth, which he was working on during his bachelor party. I finally had to kick him out of the house with his friends so he could enjoy himself! The photo booth was engineered from scratch, and he was troubleshooting it up until the day of the wedding. I was kind of worried that the photo booth was going to be a wash, but James is a smart guy and he got it to work beautifully.


My biggest challenge was coping with the fact that my mom wasn't going to be at wedding. Mom passed away in 2006, and there were moments when I really wished she was there, but thankfully my friends and family were there to rally behind me.


My favorite moment: My Aunt loaned my mom's St. Christopher's pendant for the “something borrowed.” While I'm not religious, I know that my Aunt Val cherishes that pendant and I was honored to have it for the day. I secured it in my flowers so that I could have it during the ceremony. It was especially touching to have James' parents escort him down the aisle followed by my Dad and stepmom escorting me.

Most of all, it meant a lot that our friends and families were supportive of all our choices. It meant the world to both of us that the event planning (which we did ourselves) went really smoothly and couldn't have been possible without everyone contributing creatively and financially to the big day.


My funniest moment: At the ceremony, I started my vows with “James…” and he immediately said “YES! I DO!” I started cracking up during the ceremony which I think started a chain of laughter in the audience. Oh, James.



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? It was the usual San Pedro breezy weather in the afternoon, and we didn't take into account the wind affecting the microphone during the ceremony. Half the time James would cut out because a gust of wind would blast into the microphone. Fortunately, the audience was small and we have loud voices.


My advice for offbeat brides: The wedding wouldn't have been the same without the wealth of information supplied from Offbeat Bride. But about a month prior to the wedding, part of me felt guilty for using the same ideas and vendors other Offbeat Brides had used. Yes, I actually felt bad for a day, until a friend of mine knocked some sense into me.


I had to get over myself. I can't craft everything and the vendors are out there for you! Even if someone has used the idea before, if you like it GO FOR IT! The contributor of the idea knows people are going to use it for inspiration. That's the point. Don't feel badly about it.

James & Melissa's Pi Day wedding

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Stick to the budget, since it's so easy for it to spiral out of control. You think, “We can spend a little bit more on this. What's another $500 when we're already spending [insert a big number here]?” That mantra can apply to pretty much everything, and next thing you know, the budget is out of control. Stick to your guns!


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

photography: Megan Finley Photography
flowers: Robot in Bloom
dresses: Wai-Ching

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Comments on Melissa & James’ casual geeky awesomesauce Pi Day wedding

  1. Wow! Everything… the food, the pie, the dress, that CARD BOX! And those TREES! Beautiful, fun, awesome.

  2. Oh, I like the colored lacing in your dress, and the hanging balls of flowers from your bouquet! If I hadn’t been married already, I definitely would have wanted some dangly thingies on my bouquet as well!

    • According to Robot in Bloom I may have started a trend with the dangling poofy ball things. Who knew I could be a trend-setter?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. YAYY! So excited to see this up!

    Awwww I’m starting to get a little teary-eyed remembering the ceremony. You guys pulled off SUCH a fantastic wedding. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a great day for sure.

  4. This is probably one of my favourites that I’ve seen on here! So much win: your hairpiece, those ADORABLE cake toppers, the blue and yellow lacing in your dress, that incredible “pi” menu, all the pies, your shoes, the awesome picture of you and James grabbing each other’s butts…all it’s fab!

    I’m so sorry your Mum couldn’t be there- and I totally teared up reading about you carrying her St Christopher pendant. I’m sure she’d have been very proud. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much Mrs KH–there was a lot of thought put into the wedding and I can’t believe it went off without a hitch! I owe it to my friends and family who all helped out, it was truly an incredible day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I love it whenever there is a photobooth, but I’ve never seen one self-made (only rented) before. Was it the most difficult thing ever? I hope the pictures turned out well!

    • Yes! The booth went fine! The way it worked was the user had to press a button (which is in a lot of the photos–oops) and a pie would open up, exposing the camera lens. 3 seconds later and you got a pic! The user then went to the laptop and clicked on the picture they wanted to print. We had a tiny 4×6 paper printer that printed out photos pretty quickly. It was an incredibly awesome photobooth, all I did was pick out a bunch of props. If you’d like, here’s a link to the photos!

  6. Loving the butt grab in that second-last photo ๐Ÿ˜€ Beautiful wedding all ’round. Really digging the yellow and blue. Those are the colours I’m thinking of for mine.

  7. Ooh. Coloured corset lacing. I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate colour into my dress more…

    Mmm pie.

  8. Pi-themed menu? Genius!!! This is probably the best menu I’ve ever heard about!

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