Our reader survey told us that half of you identify as Academia Nerds, so a theme week was in order. This Bookish theme week is for the academics, the bookworms, and the card-carrying library buffs!

Red Seats

The offbeat bride: Emily, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat partner: Phil, Archivist

Date and location of wedding: The Temple Events Center, Denver, CO — November 6, 2010

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We have been together for seven years, have an incredible group of friends, and our families are big, loud, and amazing! We wanted a romantic ceremony because at times we're reserved and romantic, but we also wanted to party with friends that we don't often see. We got married in a historic downtown Denver building, The Temple Events Center, which is featured on Denver haunted places tours.


My mom and grandma walked me down the aisle, and my attendants walked down the aisle to an orchestrated version of The Cure's “Just Like Heaven” and I walked down to an string version of The Smith's “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” My martial-arts loving husband thought it appropriate to exit the church to the Karate Kid II ballad, “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera — '80s goodness!

Dessert Buffet

Other details included opting for a grocery store cake buffet instead of a costly white monster cake, wearing a gold dress and no veil, and having a bridesman and a groomswoman in the party. I made all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages out of feathers.


Cousin Brian

Our centerpieces were piles of books by genre as a theme for each table, and as a favor, each guest got to take a book home.

Family Sings

My family wrote and performed a personalized song for Phil and me. They surprised us with the performance at the reception and the whole crowd joined in!

Gorgeous Venue

Tell us about the ceremony: Since our ceremony was non-religious, and we had a friend marry us instead of an officiant. We scoured the internet for ceremony scripts and cut and pasted a few together to suit our tastes. We kept it very short, but we wrote our own vows.

Our Awesome Friends

Our biggest challenge: We were definitely tight on the budget. Our parents helped a bunch, but we ultimately paid for most of the wedding out-of-pocket. We wanted no wedding debt, so I got creative.

I am a graphic designer, so I designed, printed, and assembled the save-the-dates and invitations. I also chose feathers over flowers because I could slowly buy them over a longer period of time and spread out the cost.

For the rehearsal dinner, we crammed our close friends and family into our 750 square foot apartment for a casual pizza party. There, we handed out our attendant gifts and parent gifts, which were our framed engagement photos. The parents didn't know we'd even taken them.

Cool Patterns

To save money on my dress, I looked at non-wedding dresses. I originally wanted blue, but I fell in love with a gold Sherri Hill dress that I saw online. The only place to get it in Colorado was a pageant dress shop. They didn't even have it in stock, but I went out on a limb and bought it even before trying it on!

Three Generations

My favorite moment: Our personal and unrehearsed vows were by far the most intimate and meaningful moment. However, my mom and grandma walking me down the aisle was a very close second. They were the two people present at my birth, and it was absolutely fitting that they gave me away.

Escort Cards

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Go with your gut on every aspect. I was lucky to have a mother and mother-in-law who wanted me to do everything my way. I imagine it's probably pretty stressful when family and friends are pressuring you to do something you're not completely comfortable with, so try to stick to your guns.

A Toast

Bride and Groom

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Comments on Emily & Phil’s romance reading and revelry wedding

  1. Your dress is absolutely stunning! I loved the venue–the chairs in the ceremony space are lovely. I’m pretty sure I liked everything in this post!

  2. Holy crap! That dress is full on amazeballs. It’s a mermaid dress…with SCALES! I wish I could wear a mermaid dress…so so so pretty on you! And your whole event looks so funfilled and loving! So cool.

  3. I clicked on offbeatbride instead of offbeatmama by mistake. I saw your amazing dress and had to read this post.


  4. I love this idea of a pageant dress, rather than a traditional wedding dress. Thank you so very much for sharing that idea, and the rest of your beautiful wedding. 🙂

  5. Oh My! I (almost) tear up at work (break time!) when I Saw the picture of you walking down the aisle with your Mother and Grandma!
    Oh, and what a dress dear! Perfect. 🙂

  6. Ahhh, I’ll be walking down the aisle to the same Smiths song orchestrated as well!! Beautiful wedding and awesome venue!!

  7. I love love love the books on the table- and I spied a Laurie Notaro book in one pic. She’s my favorite author! EXTRA points for that!

  8. Hooray! FINALLY a Colorado wedding! They’re few and far between on here, and I’ve been scouring for ideas! Love this! you’re stunning. BTW, your necklace is to die for!

  9. Loved it all! Adored your dress! Everything — so beautiful and fun!

    I watched the slide-show and have a question. Please tell us, what was the row of photos, with the little labels beneath them…?

    • Thanks for asking! Instead of printing a million programs that our guests would undoubtedly leave on the seats after the ceremony, we printed pictures of each attendant and added a personal comment about our relationship, friendship, feelings, etc. Then we gave them to the attendants after the wedding.

  10. the dress makes me want to swear, you know? like in the happy “holy f—” sorta way

  11. I work with Emily’s Mom so it’s very cool to see a feature wedding where I know someone! Beautiful wedding Emily and I LOVE love love your dress!

  12. Love, love, LOVE your cake idea!!! That is just brilliant, to have a bunch of smaller different flavors instead of being roped into one. I absolutely love it (and will run with it!)

  13. You said you paid for most of the wedding yourself. How much did renting the Temple events center cost? It’s such a gorgeous venue.

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