The Offbeat Bride: Ashley, Full time Hair Stylist, Part time Superhero
Her offbeat partner: Erik, Computer Guru, Software Developer
Date and location of wedding: Ceremony: beach on the north shore of Vieques, PR; After-party: Journey's End — May 19, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Two of our favorite things that we enjoy together are traveling and themed parties (or basically any excuse to dress up!), so we knew right away that those needed to be incorporated. It wasn't long before we decided on a pirate wedding in the Caribbean — costumes absolutely required. In fact, I helped put together costumes for most of our guests who were local.
My brother had been telling us about Vieques, PR for many years, so we decided to have the wedding there and secured everything without ever having been there ourselves. We took a quick trip down a few months before the wedding and absolutely fell in love.
The general gist was nontraditional, pirate shenanigans. A lot of our friends do not fit into neat little categories, so gender-bending pirate-try was highly encouraged.
We didn't want any kind of rehearsal dinner, so instead the evening before, we set up a massive pirate map scavenger hunt for everyone which took them all over the island sightseeing. The challenges they had to do were all video challenges, so we have great video of all our friends and family that we have turned into a hilarious collective video to give to them all as gifts.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My brother and I have an extraordinarily close relationship. We knew from the beginning that he would perform the ceremony, so we got him ordained online through the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They believe that pirates were the original divine beings, so really, it was fate.
To get people in the mood on the beach, we played the song “Weird Beard” by the Mad Caddies and a couple of our friends sang and acted it out theater-style.
My brother, as Acting Captain, was on point and in character for the whole ceremony, complete with pirate lingo: “Ahoy all ye lads and lasses, all you sly-eyed snakes and simple wenches. T'day is a day to celebrate.”
When one of our friends “objected” to our union, he and Erik battled it out in a choreographed sword fight (with real swords!). Fortunately, the groom won!
Instead of a ring bearer, our mothers held our rings on twine around their neck which was cut by my brother's sword when they came and presented them. Our vows were on handwritten scrolls.
I'm also a huge Doctor Who fan, so after our vows, we reenacted the scene from the Wedding of River Song (unbeknownst to most our guests who were clueless), complete with the hand-tying ceremony using a bow tie my brother took off a crew member's neck.
Tell us about your reception:
Since I am clearly not a fan of tradition, all were thrown out the window. No cake cutting, garter tosses, or glass dinging here. In fact, we didn't have a cake at all. I didn't even like to refer to it as a reception and instead called it the “after-party.” One of the villas we rented had a large indoor/outdoor area, and it was held there.
We had a local guy and his assistant come in to cook a buffet-style dinner with Asian influences.
For decorations, we had a pirate chest handmade by the groom and filled with treasure — gold coins and jewels scattered about. Lots of skulls. Draped fabric, fairy lights, and fisherman's netting were used, along with candles and local conch shells. Captain Barbosa and Captain Jack Sparrow even came in the form of giant cardboard cutouts as our “celebrity guest appearances.”
Since we didn't have a wedding party (we love our friends equally), there were no set speeches. Regardless, one friend stood up to perform a poem they had written, and another gave a speech. After that, one of our friends, who was a professional singer, performed some songs for us and got the party started. From there it was all dance party!
We brought in a couple local fire spinners to perform on the side while everyone partied to help seal the atmosphere we were trying to create. Later that night, our friends created a “Real World”-style confession booth and left us hilariously drunken video messages.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest wedding challenge for us ended up being the unexpected things that can go wrong the day of. Usually that's things like the caterer being late or the singer not showing. But in our case, my mother ended up getting her arm stuck in the electronic gate on the way to come cook us pre-wedding breakfast and showed up with her arm grotesquely swollen (but not broken, phew) and bruised from elbow to palm. She was so determined to not ruin my day that she actually hid it from me under a dish towel while her and my stepfather cooked us breakfast! Such a bad-ass.
Shortly after finding out about her arm and seeing how bad it was, Erik declared that he wasn't feeling well. Turns out he was bitten on the wrist by a spider the day before and now had the classic red streak of a blood infection running up his arm. We put a tourniquet above it and raced him to the hospital — four hours before the ceremony! We told them our situation, and three medicinal IV drips later, they discharged him. He was feeling better almost immediately, and we were lucky that everything was able to continue (though a little late).
So my advice is this: If you can afford it, hire a wedding coordinator for the day of, no matter how much you think “I've got this!” You never know what can happen hours before the ceremony, and it would have been nice to have had someone who knew what was going on organizing things while we were at the hospital. Fortunately, we have amazing friends who held down the fort without us.
- Photographer: Justine Johnson Photography
- Food: Chris Mellon of Traveler's World Cafe
- Fire spinners: Jamie Mulligan-Smith & Linda Nunez Montanez
- Bride and Groom outfit: Threads of Time (they didn't do the whole outfits, but we got several pieces from them and they were essential to helping us put it all together)
- Professional Lighting (for after party): Islands Entertainment Network
- Singer: Lindsay Hamilton of the band Wavelength
Comments on Sword fights and hot booty: Don’t miss Ashley & Erik’s Caribbean pirate wedding
This wedding is awesome. I wish I was part of the fun.
i LOVE the idea of a video scavenger hunt and then collecting the videos. SO AWESOME.
I love ideas like this! I participate in community theater and this is right up my alley. Aaarrrrrgh!
This wedding is incredible, definitely one of my favourites on here. Everyone is so beautiful! The location, outfits and decoration are fantastic. It looks like a lot of fun.
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