The Offbeat Bride: Sandi Jo, Biochemistry Research Associate aka Mad Scientist Extraordinaire (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: John, Truck Driver and resident Sasquatch
Date and location of wedding: The Quixotic World, Dallas, TX– September 22, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We originally planned on an afternoon outdoor tea party wedding with steampunk elements, but then discovered The Quixotic World in the Offbeat Bride's Vendor Guide. After that, we tossed out whatever remaining traditional ideas we had and just threw a party in this amazing venue. We topped the night off with our very own “Gears and Garters” burlesque show after party complete with beautiful bombshells, hula-hooping hotties, belly-dancing, clowns, and circus performers.
Our quirky sides are what drew us together in the first place, and we wanted to celebrate that quirky love first and foremost. John is an atheist, so we knew a traditional ceremony was out the door from the very beginning. I have pagan leanings and suggested a handfasting. He loved the idea, and tweaked it a little to have nine cords, each representing one of the nine noble virtues. We did make our more traditional families happy by including an exchange of rings too.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was written by a dear friend whom I have known since junior high. He took all of our desires and melded them together beautifully. He kept it short and sweet so that we could commence partying. At one point he read Robert Fulghum's “Union”:
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment.
At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we're married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” –- those late night talks that included “someday and somehow and maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.” All these common things and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed? well, I meant it ALL, every word.
He also took our ideas for a modified handfasting and perfected them. As our hands were wrapped with each cord (which the two of us had braided together on quiet evenings), this is what our officiant read:
Industriousness: These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
Truth: These are the hands that will passionately love and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will show you the truth that lies behind all your companion's words and deeds.
Courage: These are the hands that will hold and strengthen you when fear or grief fills your mind.
Honor: These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy — honoring the commitment you made together today.
Discipline: These are the hands that will tenderly hold and guide your children (this is the cord we were heckled on before he read the part about children. I love my friends!).
Hospitality: These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one, welcoming and providing an example to others when they are in your home.
Self-reliance: These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
Perseverance: These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Fidelity: And lastly, these are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
We had talked about writing vows for each other, but neither of us thought we could get through a reading without choking up and completely failing to get the words out. So we had a very simple vow to each other: “With this ring I thee wed. I offer you my hand and my heart, as I know they will be safe with you. All that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you.” Before the ceremony the rings were displayed so that everyone could hold them and imbue them with love and well wishes. I honestly can't look at my ring to this day without feeling all that love washing over me.
Our biggest challenge: I think my biggest challenge was my desire to make everything myself. I took on way more than I should have. Bless my maid of honor and my mother for coming through on the crafting backlog for me. We made the centerpieces, all of the flowers, the guestbook, the card boxes, the mirror greeting, the ring warming frame, the handfasting cords, etc. I took three weeks off from work around the wedding and seriously spent two of those finishing up all the projects. I would never have pulled it off without some of the most amazing and crafty women in my life.
I won't say “don't DIY at all,” because it was immensely fulfilling to know so much was handmade with love. However, a word of advice to brides to be: be realistic and realize you don't have to do everything.
My favorite moment: The hardest part of the day for me was not having my father there. I was able to carry a little bit of him with me thanks to some charms I made from two of my favorite pictures of him. I also carried a little bit of history from both sides of my family: the gloves I wore were made by my maternal great-grandmother, the ear bobs that made up much of the flower centers in my bouquet were once worn by my Nana, I wore my mother's pearls, and my aunt loaned me a ring that had belong to both my paternal great-grandmother and then my Nannie. There was something so special about being surrounded by generations of love.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? My family is not always the most agreeable, and we have had some major road bumps over the years. However, my biggest fear of family feuds was for naught, and I think the wedding might have even mended some of the broken bridges from our past. I learned that the only thing that matters is the commitment you are making with your partner. When you focus on that and do it in a way that celebrates your love genuinely and honestly, everything else will fall into place and the love will infect everyone else. Celebrate who you and your partner are and everyone can't help but come along for the ride.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Erica Clark Photography
- Bride's dress: Azrael's Accomplice
- Red velvet corset: Azrael's Accomplice (specifically, this corset!)
- John's suit: Denver Bespoke
- Cake and tasty treats: Market Street
- Groom's pie and tartlets: Tart Bakery
- Fabulous after party as well as bridal party makeup: Vivienne Vermouth of Broads and Panties
- Side-show entertainers: Circus Freaks
- And last but NEVER least, the fabulous venue that inspired it all: The Quixotic World
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
venues: The Quixotic World
dresses: Azrael's Accomplice
Comments on Sandi Jo & John’s Neo-Victorian circus sideshow wedding
incredible ceremony inspiration and WOW photos!
wishing you a wonderful marriage!
I pretty much love everything about this. Congratulations on an amazing wedding!
Brilliant and moving cording ceremony. I must draw heavily upon that for inspiration.
What an amazing venue, and all your personal details are wonderful! Congrats!
Color, and texture, and burlesque; Oh, my!! Congratulations to the lovely couple! I’d love to hear more about the logistics of hosting a fabulous after party : )
Hey Michele – Thank you 🙂 As for logistics – once we found the venue and got the idea I went straight to a friend of mine who runs a local burlesque troupe (Dallas has great burlesque). I ran the idea by her to see what she thought and she wanted to do it immediately and started planning out how it would work with the theme we wanted. She has the experience and connections and I give her full credit for making it spectacular and gathering the talent, cast, emcee, and crew. The venue already hosts music, burlesque, etc on a pretty regular basis so she had experience with the owner and set-up of the place. It was only slightly higher in price than hiring a DJ or live band and a wedding planner. It was well worth the money we spent. I didn’t have to worry or think about a single thing other than feeling the love and being mesmerized by all the sparkling people once the music started for the ceremony that day.
As for other’s wanting something similar? I would say to just go to shows and meet some of the performers. Tell them what your idea is and ask them who they would recommend talking with about your ideas. They can point you in the right direction for local show producers and go from there. I happened to have originally met “Vivienne” at a show we both attended and then we talked via facebook. Looking back it was probably a wee bit stalkerish on my part but turned out fabulous.
Hope that all made sense – I have not had my morning coffee yet.
I have no words.
THIS is so beautiful
Your wedding looks so fun! I love the dress, your guy’s sideburns, the burlesque, everything!
I just LOVE Robert Fulghum’s “Union.” It’s spot on!
Your outfits are AMAZING too! <3
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