The Offbeat Bride: Liz, MBA Candidate (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Kim, Sign Language Interpreter
Date and location of wedding: Millcreek Barn, Watervliet, Michigan — August 31, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Kim and I are complete nerds who love themes, dancing, and making things ourselves. Our wedding had a lovebird theme (I proposed at a penguin exhibit) with 1,000 origami cranes made by friends and family. We made vintage hanky invites, newsletters for guests, handwritten programs and kids activity books, and a same sex wedding FAQ to answer any lingering questions for guests.
We worked hard to stay on budget, which meant prioritizing making things and choosing items that were so cheap we could throw away or invest and resell. So we ended up with a lot of DIY and upcycling. We did all the decorations ourselves: collecting vintage birdcages, jars, insulators, handkerchiefs, bringing antiques from home, and making tons of signs. Our venue, Millcreek Barn, an old nursery barn in rural Michigan, had large paper lanterns and mix-n-matched bunting.
Kim is a sign language interpreter, and a handful of our guests were deaf, so a friend interpreted the ceremony, speeches, etc. so all guests could enjoy our corny jokes.
We wanted our wedding to be fun, casual, and comfortable for our diverse guest list. We decided we would not do anything that did not feel like us. Luckily, as a same sex couple, we made up our own traditions. Our hands touched nearly every detail throughout the day.
Tell us about your reception:
For the receiving line, we took a photo with each guest in front of an origami crane backdrop. Our bridesmaid owns The Organic Gypsy food truck and served ice cream sundaes. We had big band music during cocktail hour.
Kim and I met playing board games, and our guest book was a Jenga game. The centerpieces were a mix of antique birdcages, jars, insulators, and handkerchiefs. Kim and I tend to over-communicate so we had tons of homemade signs.
Our bridesmale made a marquee sign with our nickname “Lokey.” Dinner was southern barbecue. My mom has made the wedding cake for all of my siblings' weddings (I'm the youngest of six). It was very special that she made our banana split-flavored naked cake. We also had a Danish kransekage, Rice Krispies cake, and s’mores.
Kim and I are avid athletes, and many guests are teammates. The garter toss was highly competitive (guys and gals joined in). Kim tossed a softball garter belt and kept hitting the rafters. I tossed a football garter belt, and my teammates nearly tackled each other to get it.
As dance fanatics, we entered the reception to “Footloose.” At all of my siblings' weddings, my dad has given the “5 Cs” speech (caring, compassion, companionship, compromise, and communication). It was special to hear it one final time. We had a sock hop box, too. We danced with our mothers and fathers at the same time. We kicked off the dancing with a performance of “Man In The Mirror.” In the end, we jumped in a school bus and headed to the bar after party.
What was your most important lesson learned?
People suck sometimes. The biggest challenge we had planning was being hurt and let down by some of the people closest to us. Weddings, like funerals, can sometimes bring out the best and worst in people. We were shocked and hurt by some hate mail we received about being a same-sex couple. But it reinforced who really supported us in the end.
The best piece of advice I got from other Tribesmaids was to carve out time for you and your partner. I was extremely intentional about only getting ready together, having a sweetheart table, and, when it got particularly stressful, keeping close tabs on Kim.
Less is often more. A large bridal party = lots of people to manage. Tons of DIY = months of planning. Lots of decorations = more hands to help set up. If we went back, we would size down these components.