Nicole & Josh’s glamorous theatrical homebrewed wedding

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 | Photography by Nima Salimi
Rainy bride and groom

The Offbeat Bride: Nicole, actress, personal trainer, and waiter (Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Josh, rigging and theatre technician for Disneyland

Date and location of wedding: Stone Hall, Benicia Historical Museum, Benicia, CA — February 8, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Josh and I have known each other since 7th grade when we met in a theater production. When we were thinking of a theme to our wedding, I wanted to incorporate my vintage style into a wedding that truly reflected the two of us and our passions, but still be fun and unpretentious, leading us to the theatre theme and mixing it with amazing BBQ and my dad's beer. We also encouraged vintage-style attire in our guests (time period was left to their discretion!)



Nicole/Josh scripts adorned the tables, often scripts used years ago by my parents

We saved a ton of money by scouring Craigslist and the bridal blog classifieds and then DIYing our decorations. We started to think of the setup as “load-in,” the wedding rehearsal as “dress rehearsal,” and the wedding day as “opening night.” The party itself had some swing music mixed with traditional party songs so that we could swing dance a little.

Nicole/Josh girls all different

We got rid of traditions that made no sense to us. I'm a feminist, but wanted to honor my parents, so I was walked down the aisle by both of my parents and there was no language about being “given for marriage.” We didn't smash cake and we didn't do a garter toss. I ended up doing a gender-neutral bridal bouquet toss at the last minute because I felt like it.

Nicole/Josh aisle walk with umbrellas

Tell us about the ceremony:
My aunt did a very quick 10-minute ceremony, since we had our guests stand under a very grey and potentially rainy sky. The wedding party walked in to “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, and I walked down the aisle with my mother and father to a string version of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” a song which appeared in a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire film.

Nicole/Josh Ceremony excitement

I asked Josh's sister, who is also a wonderful actress, to read a selection from my favorite (and most romantic in THE WORLD) play, Cyrano de Bergerac. Josh has sent me notes and bouquets and signed them, “From your Cyrano,” so you can imagine how this reading affected me.

That feeling that overwhelms me,
Fearsome, possessive, is love all right: it has all
The madness and sadness of love, and still, it isn't
A selfish thing: God knows, I'd gladly give up
All of my hopes of happiness for yours,
Whether the news of it would ever reach you.
All I would want would be the sound of your laughter,
Heard in the distance, and knowing I'd freed you to laugh.
All that I need is the look in your eyes, and bravery
Springs up inside me.


Nicole/Josh, Right after I said "holy shit" to the congregation

Comic guest book

Our biggest challenge:

My biggest challenge was navigating the wants and needs of the people closest to me. There were moments when I would inadvertently upset someone over something I thought was tiny, and it would baffle me. Communication was really key, as was being understanding and knowing when to let things go. I had to understand that even if something didn't make sense to me, if I could live with making a change, then I would. And I found out how important it was to sometimes bitch to objective parties so any bitterness I had wouldn't come out at the wrong time and damage a relationship that was precious to me.

Every table was labelled with a show worked on by the bride and groom

Our second biggest challenge was budget. We did have some help, but we refused to go into debt. I spent HOURS looking for the cheapest possible option for the vision I had and figuring out how expensive it would be to simply do it ourselves versus buying it. I thought that in hindsight, I'd feel silly about spending that much time looking for cylinder vases in the right height at the price I wanted to pay, but I won't lie to you… when I finally ended my search with a woman willing to sell me her used ones after her wedding, it was totally worth it!

Josh's vows

My favorite moment:
Josh's vows have to rank at the top. He claims he is not a man of words, but they were the most beautiful and meaningful to us and I had to work to not bawl.

Nicole/Josh DIY marquee letters

The other most meaningful moment couldn't be really described as part of the wedding necessarily, because the entire outcome of the wedding was a huge group effort. All the curtains were made and put together by Josh's mom. My father brewed all of the beer and made the candelabra stands, and donated his theatrical nutcrackers to decorate. My mother made all of the table label signs and pretty much everything else that was framed. Josh made the marquee letters. All the girls worked on the flowers together. A dear friend came early on the day of to light all the candles and scatter the flowers. On the setup day, everyone in the wedding party arrived right on time and worked incredibly hard. One of the groomsmen volunteered to DJ.

Nicole/Josh wedding cake (1)

All the desserts were donated, including an incredible three-tiered cake made by my uncle. As we drew closer to the day, I got many phone calls updating me on the status of the projects and reassuring me that it was all coming together, and I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have so much help.

Nicole/Josh cake cutting

Nicole/Josh Father Daughter dance

My funniest moment:
My father/daughter dance song was a surprise for my dad. I chose “Put It There, Pal,” a song sung by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. It appeared in their movie The Road to Utopia, which is one of our favorites. My dad and I know that song by heart and sing it together all the time, and it's really cheeky. Instead of just dancing to it, my dad and I also started to act out the song. Everyone thought it was rehearsed, but it was totally improvised.

Performers! (Plus DIY candelabra by the bride's father!)

Nicole/Josh first dance


Reception dress and swing!

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Comments on Nicole & Josh’s glamorous theatrical homebrewed wedding

  1. Ok, I maybe should stop saying this so much on OBB, but… I love your shoes!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And your coat and umbrella are the stuff of my wardrobe dreams, even though I’m not usually fond of the colour red! You chose gorgeous lines and shades.

    What’s the story with your storyboarded guestbook? Did you follow a particular tutorial to make your candle vases that look like Edwardian sleeve cuffs?

    • Hi guys! Thank you so much for your comments!

      The guest book was actually a comic caption contest. I drew four different comics of Josh and me is various silly situations, but in wedding day wear (arm wresting, Josh waking me up in a Darth Vader mask, me panicking as food burns on the stove, and me playing with hand puppets). I scanned the final drawings, put them in Paint, and added a box at the bottom for people’s captions. I then found a printing company who would print them on card stock for me (for writing ease) in the correct photo sizes to put in the photo album. I printed about 50 of each, so people could do more than one comic if they wanted. Then I left them out with pens and let people go at it!

      As for the vases, I found cylinder vases in 3 different sizes and ordered one of each size for each table. I went to different stores and sites (helloooooo, dollar store….helllooooooooo, WeddingBee classifieds!) to get them at the price I wanted. Then I measured and calculated how much fabric I’d need. I bought a stretchy lace in a soft grey and trimmed it into rectangles that were cut to the right size, and along the top edge (this was time consuming) I used small scissors to trim along the lace pattern to create the scalloped edge. I used spray adhesive on the vases so I could stretch the lace tight and have it stay solid. I cut off any extra fabric and glued on (again with spray adhesive, but hot glue would work here too) antique buttons (Amazon) and pretty ribbon in different styles of bows and wraps.

  2. Love the colors and the photos! Everything looks spectacular. The marquee-style “J” is fantastic — making marquee letters is on a to-do list for me and it’s great to see some again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just gorgeous!

    Also, DISNEYLAND??!! Super jealous of the employer! Imagineering is totally a dream career of mine. So. Very. Jealous.

  3. Woah!! This wedding is like someone went in my mind and found out exactly what I want. Your Dress is Gorgeous and your hubby—woah!! You two are a great looking couple.
    I am so sad I was not able to attend ๐Ÿ™ It looks like a lot of fun!

  4. Oh my word, the whole wedding was so gorgeous, but the pictures of you with the hand over your heart at the altar and of you two dancing are just so graceful and lovely. And that DRESS. Beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. This is probably one of my all time favorite weddings I’ve seen featured on this site! Gorgeous, wonderful, etc. etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. So glad your wedding got featured! I saw it in the journals before and it was fabulous, so happy to hear about your moments ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You’re the pinup makeup girl!! I remember your tutorial from the Tribe! I’ve since used your technique several times and LOVE it.

    As for this wedding, I stand by what I said before: you are impossibly beautiful. I feel privileged to have seen your wedding on here, because that was gorgeous too. EVERYTHING IS PRETTY AND I LOVE IT.

  8. Oh my goodness…where do I even start?! Everything and everyone looks amazing and just radiating joy, happiness, and good will! It could be because of this fantastic assembling of red things and flowers! The flowers in the cake, the bouquet..and the red. Did I mention that, too?

    I just can’t stop scrolling back up for those shoes..THOSE SHOES! Your swing dress, too, with the red belt and petticoat? And lady, slap me dumbstruck and in awe. You. look. divine. You are graceful and sexy as hell in your dresses, looking like you stepped from the silver screen and in to TECHNICOLOR AWESOME! You’re husband looks like he should start serenading you and singing “Cheek to Cheek” as he dips you. Together, you both? I can’t process that much amazing. I should take a break, but I won’t.

    That parasol too. THAT!

    I am going to go scroll back up and swoon some more!

  9. Nicole, your wedding is so fun and beautiful and real. The feel is exactly what I hope my wedding in October will have. Congratulations on a lovely day!

  10. Your dress is amazing! My fiance thought I was going crazy from the loud “holy balls!” I couldn’t hold back. Everything is beautiful!

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