The offbeat bride: Stephanie (Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Dave
What made our wedding offbeat: Saying that Dave and I are music fans is an understatement. He is a bartending bass player with a degree in Theatre and I manage a rockabilly guitarist, have a degree in Music Business Management, and own an online vintage store. We are also huge Beatles fans. So, we merged our loves into one big party!
We were expecting to move to London in the next few months for my work, so we had a three-month engagement. It was quick planning and a lot of DIY. We had the venue, cake, and invitations (MS Word and a printer) planned and finished in one week. We paid for everything ourselves, so it made it easier to do things our way. Our downtown Chicago wedding cost less than $6,000.
Our ceremony and “after-party” were both held at Portage Theater. Our ceremony was performed by our friend Lisa, who is ordained in Ohio and Illinois. It was important to us to be married by someone we knew and Lisa is one of the best people we've ever met!
All of our music was on an iPod on two different playlists and we ran sound through the theater sound system. “The Final Countdown” was the cue for people to take their seats for the wedding. Our ceremony music was Beatles music and then the playlist afterwards was all Beatles as well.
My dress was custom-made for me by Etsy seller Femia from PorshesPlace for $295 (which includes shipping) and I bought my shoes in Liverpool three years ago! The bridesmaids' dresses were all vintage dresses I picked up for less than ten bucks each. A friend and I put the tissue paper bouquets together and I made the boutonnières out of a peacock feather, black ribbon, floral tape, and two buttons.
Our “guest book” was my very first acoustic guitar. We took the strings off and put sharpies out for our guests to sign it. It will look fantastic on our wall! I also had buttons made with our initials and “all you need is love” on them. I scattered them around the bottom of the guitar “merch table” style.
At the reception, we had finger foods (via Portillo's), booze, and some great conversation with all of our guests. We wanted it to feel like a party rather than a traditional reception. After all, a wedding is supposed to be about bringing all of your closest friends and family together to celebrate! We also had a candy “bar” with bags for filling as a favor, so everyone was sugar buzzed.
There was no bouquet toss or spotlight first dance. We picked “Here, There, and Everywhere” and danced in a corner somewhere for our first dance. We love performing and being on stage, but we hate being the center of attention otherwise, so we made our wedding an event for everyone instead of putting the spotlight completely on us all evening.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was more about focusing on love, friendship, and coming into marriage as individuals, but living as a whole. I walked myself down the aisle just because I wasn't comfortable being “given away.”
We didn't have any readings or cultural traditions, but here is an excerpt from our ceremony:
We come to marriage as separate persons, who, through love and affection, agree to unite our lives in common purpose. Marriage, as in life, challenges us to find the best in each other, in times of joy, and in times of sorrow, to learn from each other, and to deepen our love, our compassion and our understanding of each other. David and Stephanie, please face each other.
David, are you ready to enter into this marriage with Stephanie, believing that the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?
Stephanie, are you ready to enter into this marriage with David, believing the love you share and your faith in each other will endure all things?
Will you please join your hands.
No other human ties are more tender and no other promises more important than those you are about to make. Both of you come to this day with the deep realization that the contract of marriage is a profound act of faith and hope and trust. Please repeat after me:
In the presence of these witnesses, I, David,
take you, Stephanie, to be my wife,
to have and to hold from this day forward;
for better or worse, for richer or poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
We shall keep together what share of trouble and sorrow
our lives may lay upon us,
and we shall hold together
our store of goodness and plenty and love.
As the rings have no end so your love should have no end.
Here in the space between you both, lies all the future promise of the life you will make together.
Your lives are now bound into each other's keeping.
May the confidence, trust, and affection you have for each other on this day, sustain you as you go forth on your journey of life together. May you dwell together in peace, true friendship, love, and joy.
Our biggest challenge: Because I had a DIY wedding, my biggest challenge was delegating tasks. I only had a general idea of what I wanted things to look like, so I didn't know exactly where everything was going to go. This made it hard for other helpers because they weren't sure what to do unless specifically told. Make sure you're organized and have a basic idea of what you want your venue to look like. Hopefully you are like me and have a helper who is like-minded to bounce ideas off of all day!
My favorite moment: Pledging our vows to one another, stealing time together just to enjoy one another and the celebration, and our secret first dance.
My funniest moment: It was probably watching people in the photo booth. We had plenty of props to take pictures with, but the more people enjoyed the bar, the funnier the picture ideas became!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The whole thing! 🙂 This is how I get through managing a festival or a show or any other huge event: I assume Murphy's Law. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. I was really expecting that we weren't going to get the decor finished and that even if we did, nothing was going to look like it went together. Luckily, it was fine.
My advice for offbeat brides: Do not be afraid of your own creativity and do your research before you settle on anything. If you think outside the box, you can save major money. I wanted those huge round balloons and I saw some for $35 each. But while I was driving by a car dealership, I saw that they had the same balloons! So I did some research and found bulk bags of them for $15 a piece.
Also, Sunday weddings are WAY cheaper!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? All of the crap you have to go through planning and worrying is totally worth it. Not to sound corny, but marriage really is amazing. You get to spend every day with your best friend, someone who gets you and loves you for who you are.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: Portage Theater is an amazing venue if you like a vintage feel! It's a 1920s theater and the people who run the place are fantastic! Dennis was my main contact. They were so helpful and very open-minded!
- Bride's Dress: Etsy seller PorshesPlace
- Bride's necklace: Etsy seller Cookoorikoo
- Bridesmaids' dresses: Goodwill and Salvation Army
- Bouquet flowers: Etsy seller OctoberHill
- Bouquet extras: Hobby Lobby
- Flower girl's tutu: Etsy seller PaisleyandPosies
- Skull hair flowers: Etsy seller HairRazor
- Rings: Fabuluster
- Merch Buttons: Etsy seller OfftheRecord
- Mustaches: MaroDesigns
- Cupcake stand: Cupcake Tree
- Photographer: Studio Finch
- Apothecary jars (for the candy bar): Michael's
- Catering: If you live in Chicago and want finger foods, Portillo's worked out great for us and it was under $300!
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!