The Offbeat Bride: Sam, Engineer (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Tony, Engineer
Date and location of wedding: The Red Barn Experience, LaPorte, IN — August 9, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Tony and I really love amusement parks, festivals, fairs, carnivals, circuses — anything fun and exciting. We got engaged at my favorite amusement park on the planet, Cedar Point, and knew right away that this marriage was going to start off with fun and never stop. The geeky-carnival vibe just kind of came out of our initial discussions about what we wanted a wedding to be.
Everything at the wedding was handmade. From the decorations to the ceremony to the lawn games, most of the event was DIY. The help we received from family and friends was priceless. I spent many nights staying in to make bunting, my flowers, customized pint glass favors, my veil, our handfasting cords, and even a cornhole game set. Our centerpieces were made from pink foam insulation, dollar store plastic toys, and spare scrapbook paper. Doing it all ourselves saved us a ton.
Having craft beers and good food was also pretty important to us. We are huge beer geeks and brew together in our garage. Sadly, we couldn't bring any of our own stuff in so we made sure that we had some of our favorites on tap. We hired a pizza truck that we visit pretty regularly to cater. At first our families were a little worried what others would think about a pizza and beer reception but it turned out really well.
Table games such as Warhammer 40K and D&D are a weekend staple at our house so we incorporated them into an alternative to the usual glass clinking for kisses. Each table had cups of 20-sided die for guests to take home and to challenge us by rolling off against one another. If they rolled higher than us, we kissed. If they rolled lower, there were consequences. The kids at the wedding spent hours challenging anyone near them. I think we may have sparked a new generation of tabletop gamers that night.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Tony and I are not religious, but wanted to have the ceremony reflect our pagan leanings and connection to family and friends. That, along with my Scottish heritage, made a handfasting something that we really thought fit for what we wanted.
I was inspired by a color-coded handfasting featured on Offbeat Bride and made nine different cords from embroidery floss with charms that represented the blessing that the color stood for. Each cord had a family member or friend assigned to it that would come up, tie the cord, and get to give us a hug/kiss/word of encouragement before heading back to their seat. That was the embodiment of what the wedding was really about for me.
The ceremony music was something we really enjoyed planning. Tony is a big Legend of Zelda fan, so the seating and processional were to the 25th anniversary symphony. Star Wars had always been a bonding point for my dad and I, so instead of the bridal march, I entered to the Vitamin String Quartet's rendition of the “Imperial March.” We had kept it a secret from my dad the entire time. His reaction was hilarious, we laughed the whole way down the aisle.
Finally, the music for our recessional and receiving line was a nod to Tony and I's first trip to the drive-in together and some of my favorite movies. Epica's “Pirates of the Caribbean Medley” provided both dramatic effect and some laughter as guests began to recognize the main score.
Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was convincing our families that straying from tradition is okay. They were worried that our choices were too far from what people would be expecting and that we would alienate people by making everything to our tastes. Pizza and beer was a struggle for my mom. All the gaming/comic book/sci-fi references in the ceremony made his family concerned that no one would get it. Even the venue choice and date were challenged. We stuck to our guns and when all was said and done, everything worked out.
My favorite moment:
My grandfather had become pretty ill right before the wedding and we were not sure if he was going to be able to attend the wedding or if he would have to stay home in quarantine. It was so bad that he could not make the rehearsal the night before. The day of the wedding he finally got the okay to come. He was very concerned that he might get others sick (even though this was not the case). When it came time for the receiving line, he was very reserved and would not touch anyone. You could see that it was very hard for him. So when he asked to join my dad and I in our father/daughter dance, it was a very special moment for me.
My funniest moment:
First, I was pretty nervous through the vow part of the ceremony because I knew that I would probably cry. We had a pretty long set of vows that we exchanged line by line, alternating from me to him. I really didn't want to mess it up or start crying and not be able to finish mine after all the work we put into it. Once we made it through the vows with only a bit of shakiness, I was so excited to have gotten through the vows that I grabbed the wrong hand for the ring exchange. I had his ring halfway on before Tony loudly reminded me “Wrong hand, try again,” to a chorus of laughter.
Our best man is pretty well-known for his crude humor, so most of our guests weren't expecting his speech to be as heartfelt as it was. To illustrate how much he looks up to our relationship and how Tony and I are almost inseparable, he wished in his speech “that everyone could have a fraction of the fun with their significant other or even just themselves, as Tony and Sam have with each other.” Which was instantly taken as a masturbation/sex joke combo. He was genuinely embarrassed for maybe the first time in his life as he tried to explain that he had not meant for that to be taken crudely.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I know it has been said, but REMEMBER TO EAT! We got so caught up in socializing and dancing that we barely ate. I was lucky that my bridesmaids had been running me down with water occasionally throughout the night, but Tony and a few of our guests did not fare as well. He also found out the hard way that stuffing handfuls of cake in your mouth once you start to feel like you are on the wrong side of buzzed is a very bad idea.
- Photography: Catlin Humes
- Dress: Whirling Turban
- Caterer: Rolling Stonebaker
Comments on Craft beer and games at Sam & Tony’s geeky carnival wedding
I really wanted to be at this wedding!
This is VERY MUCH the vibe I’m going for at my September wedding – due to the number of people that we’re cramming into our tiny venue (legal, but barely), doors will be opened and there will be corn hole (check), croquet, D20 rolling (check!), and board games – in lieu of dancing, since the dude and I are not fans. Thanks for the inspiration!
Your dress+ your curves= SWOON.
Oh my gosh, everything is so beautiful! The colors, details, games, food, I love it all! It was such a beautiful wedding, congratulations!
I’ve been dreaming of a carnival /circus themed wedding for myself one day (maybe!) I love the games!!!
Also I am in LOVE with your dress!!!
Holy handfasting cords. Those are so beautiful. I LOVE them.
I love everything about this! As a fellow geek bride, whose family is concerned that folks won’t get the references, or feel put off by our nontraditional choices, this is just the kind of inspiration and support I needed to hear today. Thanks! (and also, LOVE the color themes)
D20 rolling! Stealing that idea to avoid the glass clinking to make us kiss!
WOW, this wedding looks like so much fun! I love all of the details and the wedding party looks fabulous.
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