The offbeat partner: Chris, Tattoo Artist
The offbeat partner: Miranda, Vocalist
Date and location of wedding: Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio — June 18, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We were very particular about having a non-religious ceremony. We severely underestimated how difficult it would be to find a non-denominational, yet still beautiful place. We ended up making the unconventional choice of having it in a cemetery. There is a stunning chapel at Lakeview Cemetery — the interior was designed by Louis C. Tiffany and built at his studio in New York. There is a large stained glass window and two glass mosaic murals on either side wall. The chapel was built in 1901 and is very elegant. It was the perfect setting for a secular yet sentimental ceremony.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a live guitar player, Dave Rich from The Beyonderers, who performed "Slow Dance with a Fast Girl" by the Aqua Velvets to come down the aisle to, and "Miserlou" by Dick Dale as we left the chapel.
We had a really awesome jeweler that helped design and create Miranda's black diamond engagement ring. Wes Airgood at Wanderlust Jewelers had us out to the studio where we made each others' wedding bands by forging the silver in his workshop. Our friend Linda did the flower arrangements and bouquets: they were circus roses, black baccara roses, and white lilies.
We wrote most of our vows since we are pretty particular about language, but we left some room for Randy, our celebrant, to say a few things that resonated with him and his thoughts on marriage. All-in-all it went famously, but it was the hottest day of summer thus far and the venue wasn't air-conditioned. Luckily the ceremony only lasted about 15 minutes so no one died of heat exhaustion.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception was in the basement at a restaurant called Bar Cento in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland off of W. 25th. The theme of the Speakeasy space is 1920s prohibition. Bar Cento provided the food so we had pizzas and meat and cheese boards as well as some other appetizers like pomme frites. Our friend Lindsay made these amazing cocktail-flavored cupcakes that were the rage with the kids as well as the adults. We had a limit on the open bar, but we just did mid-shelf liquor and it wound up being a lot less than we anticipated. So instead of cutting it off at a 8:00, we were able to keep it open all night.
We had a mix of music from the '50s and '60s with a strong emphasis on doo-wop and surf. The surf band The Beyonderers, a local Akron band, played a set at our reception. They were recommended by our friends Daikaiju from Huntsville, Alabama, who are another amazing contemporary surf band who unfortunately couldn't make it due to touring conflicts.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Our biggest challenge was finding a secular celebrant. It took us until a month before the wedding to find the right person. Luckily, we came across Randy Pelton who we later found out had just put his profile up on The Center for Inquiry website a few days before we contacted him. It turned out we had very similar philosophies as non-theists. We also found out that it would be his first wedding ceremony but weren't worried because of his credentials as a teacher and orator.
We feel like we did a great job getting everything we wanted out of our wedding including making it affordable. If we had advice to give, it would be to not be afraid to think outside of the box. Oh, and remind each other to eat — it's really easy to forget, especially once you start drinking!
- Photographer: Cody York Photography
- Dress: Wedding Dress Fantasy
- Venue: Lakeview Cemetery and Bar Cento
- Music: The Beyonderers
- Makeup: The bride did her own makeup
- Rings: Wanderlust Jewelers
- Veil: DIY by the groom