Wedding elevator pose on @offbeatbride
Photos by Stark Bellamy Photography Co.

The Offbeat Bride: Nicole, Professional Dominatrix

Her offbeat partner: Asher, Mental Health Therapist

Date and location of wedding: Denver Courthouse and The Crawford Hotel, Denver, CO — August 5, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

The theme to our wedding was “freedom of expression.” Both Asher and I have had to overcome many obstacles from society in regards to our affectional orientations, our gender identities, and our professions. So, freedom to express ourselves was the top priority for the day.

Getting ready together on @offbeatbride

Getting ready together on @offbeatbride

Sweet kiss between the couple on @offbeatbride

We agreed that we each would choose our own outfits, without trying to coordinate with one another, and we trusted that the outcome would be perfect. It was. It was more important for us to each honor one another's freedom to express than to color coordinate. We knew that everything would come together exactly how it should be, and it did. It is a good metaphor for how we approach our relationship, which is basically just trusting in the process and the outcome.

Getting ready on @offbeatbride

Handmade peacock bouquet on @offbeatbride

I wasn't going to carry a bouquet, but at the very last minute I asked my sister to make one. I told her she could make whatever she wanted because I wanted to see what she would come up with when granted creative freedom. She made a beautiful bouquet out of purple calla lilies, and also peacock feathers from our 94-year-old great grandmother Angie's farm.

Peacock boutonniere

My mom and grandmother surprised us at the ceremony with extra finishing touches, like a peacock feather boutonniere for Asher, garters, and a broach that belonged to my late great grandma Ann.

Our wedding was edgy, outspoken, and a collaboration of creativity and trust.

Getting ready on @offbeatbride

Couple walks to the ceremony on @offbeatbride

Couple at the courthouse

Ceremony pre-show on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

On the night of our wedding, we decided to spend the night at The Crawford Hotel in Union Station. A short stay-cation in our hometown was perfect for us because we have two dogs, two cats, two birds, two brown widows, and a fish. Getting away isn't always easy due to our animal family.

Limo ride to the courthouse

We arranged to have the photographers start shooting as soon as we got to the hotel to get ready. After we were dressed, we spent some time shooting around Union Station. We traveled by limo from the hotel to the courthouse, and we listened to our hand-picked songs during the ride. The theme song of the day was “Laid,” by James.

Ceremony embrace on @offbeatbride

Ceremony and vows on @offbeatbride

Judge Alfred Harrell allowed us to rewrite the ceremony to represent our Buddhist philosophies of truth, equanimity, and presence. Our readings didn't include anything that had to do with the traditional “love conquering all.” Instead, our readings and vows included messages of reality, change, openness, vulnerability, and acceptance.

Cake cutting on @offbeatbride

Cake cutting on @offbeatbride

We invited our closest friends and family to meet us at the courthouse to witness the ceremony. Afterward, we all had dinner at Venice Ristorante. Dinner was a fantastic five-course gourmet Italian dinner. Highlights included butternut squash ravioli, calamari, and a red velvet cake my mom surprised us with. We had time for quality conversation with everyone we invited, and that was exactly what we wanted.

End of the ceremony on @offbeatbride

1000 paper cranes on @offbeatbride

1000 paper cranes on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

The Sunday after our wedding, we had a BBQ with all of our friends and family. We rented Skunk Hollow picnic area at Bear Creek Lake Park, and we spent the entire day outside by the river. Asher had spent the prior six months folding 1,000 paper cranes for me, and we brought them to the BBQ as a central decoration and testament of her commitment to me. We literally changed into our party outfits in the bushes right beside the picnic area as guests were starting to arrive. All in all, we had about 80 people show.

Reception picnic on @offbeatbride

Our general theme was a mix between traditional American and French country. Instead of having cake we had pies, donuts, and Oreo cookie “dirt.” At the BBQ, we had our first dance to “Just to See You Smile.”

Cotton candy favors on @offbeatbride

For guest favors, we ordered small bags of pink cotton candy from Georgia, and we personalized them with thank-you stickers. For our guestbook, we made a sign-able photo album that included pictures we had collected from the time we met leading up to our wedding. Bouquets of baby's breath decorated the tables in rustic vases we had found at the thrift store.

1000 paper cranes on @offbeatbride

Reception picnic on @offbeatbride

Reception picnic on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

The biggest challenge we faced was staying true to what we wanted in the face of others telling us what they thought we should do. We had to stay firm in our offbeat decisions that were a little out there for some. I think the lack of tradition was hardest for my mom to handle, but eventually, she came around. From the Buddhist readings to the pies in place of cake, we made our day our own, and we wouldn't have had it any other way.

The only thing we wish we had done is plan a honeymoon. After all the stress of planning a wedding and all of the stimulation from entertaining guests, a getaway would have been amazing. We didn't want to go into debt from our wedding, so we decided to go on a honeymoon at a later date. If we could go back and do it again, we would have gotten on a plane to France or Hawaii the day after our reception! A break after all that work is something I'd definitely recommend to other couples.

Reception picnic on @offbeatbride

Reception picnic on @offbeatbride

1000 paper cranes on @offbeatbride



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Comments on You’ll fall so hard for Nicole & Asher’s free expression, red dress, totally non-conforming wedding

  1. This is the sweetest ceremony. I absolutely love the black lace with the red dress. She looks stunning! And they both look so happy — what a perfect feature!

  2. Absolutely GORGEOUS!!! How wonderful is all of this, particularly how you made it your own! I totally get the having a hard time getting away because of the pets, because we have that same problem. But I also agree with you that after all the stress off planning (and she is as OCD as I am, if not worse!) that a true getaway will be so worth it!

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