Date and location of wedding: Montmorency City Hall and Chateau de Dangu, Dangu, France — May 19, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding wasn't encumbered by tradition, as we were not raised in any religion, and have only been invited to a few weddings before. We didn't have that many ideas about what a wedding should be like.
So little by little we created a wedding day from scratch. First we incorporated everything that we like and that defines us as a couple: the rainbow palette for the colors, LEGOs instead of flowers for centerpieces, and Super Mario references in the ceremony, on the cake, in the decor.
When it came to invitations, we realized that in France the offerings available are even less than in other wedding aspects. So from the beginning, my partner knew that he had to design it by himself. He made this pixel art invitation full of colors, and designed our own little sprites. We then used it for everything we printed: the seating chart, favor labels, menus, information signs, and programs.
We also love social media and motivated our guests to participate from the save-the-date to the release of the professional photos. We used Mailchimp to create a mailing list from which we would send our emails. We had a special Facebook list in which we posted our best response cards to entice others to reply promptly.
On the wedding day, we created a Twitter hashtag that we encouraged our community manager friends to use. This way we could follow and regroup their many contributions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr.am, Cinemagr.am, Google+, Soundcloud, etc. We also created a Storify out of it. It's a great way to relive our wedding day through our friends' eyes.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was mostly the wedding party reading texts from English language children's books we had translated for them including the robot version of “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton and “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.
They also sang “Kiss Me Like You Mean It” by The Magnetic Fields, our favorite band.
The only text we didn't know about was one my mother wrote. It was really emotional and funny. The most amazing thing was that the way she talked about us was so accurate that she mentioned all the themes that we later had in the ceremony. She knows us well.
We wrote our vows independently, but somehow had some sentences that were exactly the same in mine and in his vows! This was also the part where we let our geek references fly including Back to the Future, Super Mario, Bob Dylan, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
We included a Japanese element in our ceremony by passing a few rolls of red ribbon and scissors which they used to make themselves bracelets, while our officiant tied our hands together with the same ribbon. That way we were all joined together when we exchanged our vows.
Our biggest challenge: Finding offbeat vendors in France. France is not yet very used to offbeat weddings, so even though we have families and friends who understand and support our little quirks, finding vendors was more of a challenge.
We made a lot of the decor ourselves, but looking through wedding photographers' portfolios was a bit disheartening, as was trying to find colorful men's attire. We ended up buying a lot of things through American and English Etsy vendors. Through friends we found a concert photographer who sometimes does weddings and a videographer more used to filming geek conventions.
My favorite moment: The first look was also a really emotional moment. We absolutely didn't know anything about each other's attire, hairdo, and accessories. When we saw each other for the first time on our wedding day, it was pretty intense.
My funniest moment: There were two really funny moments that we absolutely didn't expect. Both were in the ceremony. The first one was during the second speech of the ceremony. My bridesmaid and my partner's best man were to read a translation of “A Lovely Love Story” which we personalized by making it be about robots instead of dinosaurs. The day before, during the rehearsal, they didn't want to read the full text before us because of their surprise “interpretation.” The day of the ceremony, they read the whole text in a dialog both acting and speaking like robots!
The second moment was during my vows. I promised my partner I'd always be by his side, like when we play Mario Galaxy in co-op mode. My partner's eight-year-old nephew got up then exclaimed for all to hear “I've beaten that game!” bringing everyone back from the brink of tears to a huge collective laughter.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We planned everything for an outside ceremony, and even if the weather was a bit uncertain, we tried to do it outside anyway. All our guests waited outside the castle, and watched us make our entrance. Then it started to rain! We all had to run inside, carrying a hundred chairs and a sound system with us, and started the ceremony again in the castle's library. Everyone was a bit cramped, but it actually brought everyone closer together and the ceremony was all the better for it.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Plan everything. We used the Offbeat Bride checklist tool and Google Docs Wedding planner to share the longest to-do list ever. Because we had these tools, we had almost nothing to do for the last two weeks before the wedding but take care of ourselves.
A great video can really enhance your memory of the day:
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Ludovic Etienne
- Videography: Hicham
- Groom's beautiful multi-colored bow tie: Etsy seller VaVaSilkBowTies
- Groom's wedding band: Etsy seller TitaniumKnights
- Groom's LEGO cufflinks: Etsy seller BeadsandblocksUK (closed shop, but similar)
- Place tags: Etsy seller LovelyTreeDesign
- Straws: Hey Yoyo
- Fascinator: Posh Veils
- Shoes: bridal collection from Chie Mihara
- Bridesmaid gift bracelet: Anne Lison
- Hair for the bride, mother of the bride, and bridesmaid: Wafferkess Paris
- Custom Converse: Converse.com (which doesn't deliver outside the U.S., but thankfully another Tribesmaid received and transfered the package for us!)
- Printable paper toys for favors: Cubecraft
- Photo booth software: Sparkbooth
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!