The Offbeat Bride: Missy, Student Affairs Professional
Their offbeat partner: Charli, Pet Care Business Manager
Date and location of wedding: The Santa Monica Pier Carousel in Santa Monica, California — October 30, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our celebration was a compromise between me wanting an elopement and my partner wanting a large party. We decided on an intimate ceremony with six guests in attendance followed by a 75-person, desserts-only reception with a dance party.
We’re both Disney lovers who originally wanted to get married at Disneyland, but found a venue more within our budget at the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. We loved the Carousel as our venue — it combined the fun atmosphere we wanted from a Disneyland wedding with the significant location of being at the same pier where I asked Charli to become my girlfriend five years prior.
Our goal was to make our wedding a fun, authentic representation of our relationship and to bond over the planning process. As a genderqueer couple, we chose to nix heteronormative, gendered traditions.
We found ways to honor our parents and acknowledge that our whole families are coming together in ways that felt right for us, such as by walking down the aisle with both of our parents and sharing dances with both of our parents as well. At the reception, we had a framed photo collage with pictures of us alongside photos of our parents early in their relationships. We also got our marriage license at the same courthouse where I witnessed my parents’ civil ceremony 10 years prior. We took pictures on the beach, similar to Charli's parents' beach elopement, and our venue was five miles away from where Charli's parents first met
Tell us about your reception:
When Charli and I met, our first outing was a spontaneous trip to get some ice cream. As dessert-lovers, it made sense that we had a sweets-only reception. We hired the Soda Jerk Fountain inside of the Carousel building to serve unlimited ice cream, soda, and popcorn.
Our centerpieces were colorful, candy-filled jars prepared by our wedding party. My mom got some candy bags for folks to take centerpiece candy, and baked her family-famous chocolate bundt cakes for guests to take home. The dessert table included a cupcake tower where we had a “first bite” in lieu of cake-cutting.
We had an open bar and a DJ for the dance floor. The gift table had Mad-libs style wedding advice cards. We had a caricature artist draw cartoon portraits for our guests as a memento and he was a huge hit. The centerpiece of the reception, however, was the carousel. It operated all night for our guests to ride. It was very entertaining to see our adult guests acting like kids again.
Our reception was three hours long, and paced to get straight to the partying as fast as possible. We made our grand entrance, did our partially choreographed first dance to “So Close” from Disney’s Enchanted, had two toasts, and danced with our parents. My wife danced to “Uptown Funk” with their mom and dad for the parent dance (they met roller dancing to funk music in Venice Beach, just miles away from our wedding venue). Mid-song the DJ invited guests to join in and kept the party going until the night was over.
- Event Coordination (Wedding Day Management): Art & Soul Events
- Photography: Manstrom Photography
- DJ: DJ Keelez
- Venue: Santa Monica Pier Hippodrome
- Catering: Soda Jerks
- Dessert Table: Sweet E's Bake Shop
- Bartending Services: Barfly Bartending
- Hair and Makeup: J'adore Hair Studio
- Caricature Artist: Cartoon Slinger
- Wedding Attire: Alfred Angelo, Men’s Wearhouse
- Wedding Vow Interpreting: Martha Villar
- Lodging: Shutters on the Beach