The offbeat bride: Stephanie (Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Dave

Location & date of wedding: The Historic Portage Theater in Chicago, IL (the one from Public Enemies!) — January 9, 2011

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.

"Bathroom Shots"

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!

The Boys!

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.

More Aqua and Red!

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.

Aqua & Red

On Stage

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.

The candy bar!

The Cake Stand

Portillo's catering! ;)

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.”

The Big Entrance

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?

I am.

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?

I am.

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.

December! 358

Our Rings

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.

The Audience!

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!

The Bar

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.

Best Man Speech

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!

Reception area

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.

Dave and Stephanie

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jewelry: Fabuluster

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Comments on Stephanie & Dave’s vintage theater Beatles wedding

  1. Portillo’s!! Love them and love their food! We might have them cater our rehearsal dinner. 🙂

  2. OMFG love! Sad to hear you’ll be leaving Chicago. But I guess London got a little more awesome. Portillo’s is A-Mazing.

  3. Big ups sunday weddings! We got our ceremony venue for about 40% off by taking a sunday instead of a saturday. Plus with any luck it will hopefully temper the number of people who actually show up since my MIL is hell bent on huge numbers of people.

  4. I’m a HUGE Beatles fan and I’m orignally from the Northwest side of Chicago so, I naturally love EVERYTHING about this wedding!

  5. Truly gorgeous! I love the pops of color, and you both look so happy. Do you mind sharing your resource for the huge round balloons? I’ve been searching the ‘net, and haven’t found very decent prices yet.

  6. That sounds like the most beautiful ceremony! I love what you said — you most eloquently expressed what we tried to say in our own Beatle-themed wedding in 2008. Did you write it together?

  7. I’m another Northsider and I loved everything! I’ve actually been looking at your dress as a possibility on Porshes Place! Would you share where you got the Chicago coloured candy? It looked great. I also loved the cupcake stand. Heck, I loved it all!

  8. How did I not see this till now?!? We’ve been looking for a Chicago theater to hold our wedding ceremony. You just made my day! Congratulations, and good luck in London. (Have a scone with clotted cream for me. I’ve been back for 2 1/2 years and still dream about them)

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