The Offbeat Bride: Alia, Designer
Her offbeat partner: Mig, Googler
Date and location of wedding: Padua Hills Theatre in Claremont, CA — July 9, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
I wanted our wedding to transport our guests to a magical fairy realm of wonder and enchantment so that they could share in the magic of our love, and Mig joined in the endeavor. Our setting was filled with beautiful trees that we used as a recurring symbol. I love the personal touch of handmade things, so we included a lot of our own projects. My favorite project was my handmade dress I crafted using handmade silks and beaded embroidery work on the bodice.
This was my dream wedding with my dearest love, and as someone whose dreams frequently need adjusting due to chronic illness, it felt truly awesome to bring this dream into reality.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was outside under the trees and began with my uncle John playing the penny whistle, which he learned just for us. He played Picard’s solo from “Inner Light,” a very special Star Trek the Next Generation episode. Both my matron of honor and I carried lanterns containing live monarch butterflies as we walked down the aisle. My bestie/bridesmaid/flower girl carried my little nephew in his dapper tux.
There was a swing festooned with lush greenery made for me to sit upon during the ceremony. It was such a fun way for us to accommodate my inability to stay standing upright due to one of my conditions, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
Our interfaith, spiritual, and nature-loving ceremony was lead by a beloved pastor. He shared that Mig and I were joyous that we were being married during a time of relative marriage equality in our country. My aunt Linda did a lovely reading from Corelli's Mandolin in which the nature of love is described as trees growing together. We had a tree planting ceremony and our parents participated by bringing us soil from places of family history to symbolize the foundation they have provided throughout our lives.
Our ceremony concluded with a flourish as live butterflies were released and an instrumental piece from the movie The Last Unicorn, a long time favorite, guided everyone off to further revelry.
Tell us about your reception:
Our ballroom was a converted historic theatre and we had it transformed into an enchanted woodland wonderland with trees, moss, glowing lights, and iridescent accents — very Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We gave out fairy wings, animal ears, and masquerade masks to get our guests in character, and for the photo booth, of course. We also gave each guest a small plant, symbolic of growth and to tie in with our tree planting ceremony. The baby plants were each in glass bottles that I painted by hand.
The highlight was definitely our first dance to Electric Six’s “Danger! High Voltage,” a song Mig loves. What a lot of people don’t know about my condition, POTS, is that while I can’t stay standing very long, I can sometimes do fast paced activities for short durations (well, on a good day, but pay for it later). Mig and I love going dancing (especially in our tall boots!) and we’ve been missing it, so I had to try. A fast dance was our best shot and it worked out:
What was your most important lesson learned?
Often, people tried to protect me from taking on too much as I insisted on making my own dress, butterfly lanterns, jewelry, and so on. Indeed, my health was slipping and there were some things I couldn’t get to. It was great finding the talents of others to help with the rest. Family and friends helped out with many of our handmade projects — even Mig decoupaged table numbers!
I took care to select vendors who were open to working with my ideas. Everyone did a great job. Friends, family, and vendors all have their own way of doing things, so getting them to try something different sometimes involves compromise on both sides, and a few things may fall between the cracks. The joy about planning all of the details is that they come together like brush strokes in a painting and the end result is that much more special because so many wonderful people created it together.
- Photographer: Pixie Vision Photography
- Dress and bride's jewelry/accessories: Bride
- Bride reception boots: Hand Painted Fluevogs by the bride
- Venue/Caterer/Cake: Padua Hills Theatre
- Florist: Aquafuzion
- MC/DJ/Lighting: Entertainment Express
- Groomswear: Bride
- Groom boots: Doc Martens (vintage)
- Bridesmaids' and mother's dresses: Jasmine
- Bridesmaids' and mother's jewelry: Bride
- Makeup and Hair: Fairytale Hair and Makeup and Jennifer Taylor
- Groomsmen/Fathers/Ushers: Menguin
- Top hats: Village Hat Shop
- Butterflies: Swallowtail Farms
- Bride/Groom Reception Masks: Falcon Moon Studio
Comments on Get ready for the breathtaking handmade dress of all our dreams
THAT SIIIILK GOD SO GORGEOUS where did you get that beautiful fabric omg
I got the main dress fabric, a beautiful iridescent silk dupioni, from SilksUnlimited on Etsy. It was a dream to work with. https://www.etsy.com/listing/237367812/iridescent-peacock-dupioni-silk-100-silk
OMG, I love the colors <3 What a great, cheerful, magical wedding!
And I really want to steal this jewelery you made. BEAUTIFUL!
This is soooooo gorg!
The bride looks so gorgeous, and I LOVE the hair! I am in massive hair envy right now, I could look at the vibrant colour for hours. The style is awesome too; what a fantastic way to keep it out of your face but still have it flowing down your back.
I also love the shots of the bride and groom dancing. You look so happy and energised!
THAT BEADED EMBROIDERY OH MY GOSH
Wow! Freakin’ gorgeous bride…and the talent to make that exquisite dress – speechless. Loved all the lovely nature touches, the handing out of living plants, the subtle Celtic touches. Beautiful!
You looked like a queen on her coronation day. C: I love how happy everyone is, even in the posed shots all of your joy just shines off the screen!
OMG! Not only did the theme and fantastic colors, mention of Picard, lovely people and lush greenery take my breath away, but you two danced to Danger! High Voltgage!… I am absolutely in love with everything here! Amazing! Congratulations!!!
One thing I am a bit concerned about is the live butterflies on the lanterns. I’m sure you took all precautions for them, like releasing them in an appropriate place and with good weather and so on, but I’d hate for someone else to copy the lovely idea and not realise there are more things to consider than simply ordering butterflies from the internet and releasing them wherever they felt like.
I had to come back and look at all those gorgeous photos! I was blown away the first time by the amazing hair and vibrant colours, this time I was awed by the bottled plants and those fantastic “tree” centrepieces! So many brilliant details.
Gothcatz, you are so right. The amount of preparation and the strict timeline were absolutely key with the live butterflies. We needed to keep their temperature controlled the whole day, time when they were transferred to their containers, and time their release. We also ensured our venue and surrounding area had the right climate and food sources for the butterflies. Swallowtail Farms had very good directions and I had at least two “butterfly wranglers” on point to be sure our little darlings were safe and happy. Anytime live animals are used, extreme care needs to be taken. We were really thrilled with how the butterflies worked out and we are so pleased to help with re-populating the species, even if just a small number.
Thanks for your comments! 🙂
“Anytime live animals are used, extreme care needs to be taken.” Yes, this times a million! So true. I love animals and I’m trying to find all the ways to include them that are appropriate – so far the cats are proving tricky! Horses are surprisingly much easier 🙂 The butterfly release must’ve been spectacular.
Everything about this wedding is gorgeous! What a lovely dream you created. As a fellow chronic illness sufferer, this gives me the hope that we can dream big for our wedding, too. Thanks so much for sharing!
Blue is my favorite color and also one of my top 5 favorite things. So this wedding is MY FAVORITE!
OMG you made your dress! I’m obsessed with blue and ‘drapey’ plants, so I’m loving this wedding so hard.
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