You got a sneaky peeky of this color-asploded robots and cupcakes wedding last week and we promised the full story. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
The offbeat bride: Emily, Event Coordinator — Trade Shows (and Tribe Member)
Her offbeat partner: Kyle, IT Professional
Date and location of wedding: Clock Tower Resort, Rockford, IL — June 25, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: I wanted a rainbow wedding with cupcakes, Ring Pops, Converse, and robots. Kyle wanted to wear a kilt, a sword, and to have the Back to the Future theme song included somewhere. So we started there. All we really wanted to do was have fun.
I wanted a rainbow dress, but I couldn't find one that wasn't all pastels. I was set on the colors I wanted: red red, emerald green, royal blue, real purple, and hot pink. So I looked and looked for something that didn't exist until I was inspired by an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. There was a wedding episode in season two, where Raven wore the most gorgeous dress. I wanted that dress. So I scrapped the rainbow idea and started looking. Then, I found a similar dress on eBay, and it was purple!
The next step was to find accessories. I stumbled upon rainbow shoes on Modcloth, which I had to have. Then on BoomBoomBabyBoutique on Etsy there was this amazing sparkly green corset on sale and in my size. It had a gold bow and ribbon around it, but that was easy to change to the royal blue of my shoes. I found a place that could make a custom color petticoat to match the shoes and bow. It was all just falling in place and getting out of control with colors!
The bridesmaids' dresses were easy. I wanted a pinup style dress and found leopard ones that came in the colors I wanted, except blue. But we just got a white version and some blue dye. Then we added wigs. The guys wore kilts.
Everyone wants a story behind why we dressed the way we did. There's not a story. It's just that we will make any excuse to wear a wig, bright colors and awesome dresses. What better occasion than this?
For a while it seemed like it might turn into a disaster. We had no theme to stick to, and not one thing was like the other. We had robot bubbles and cupcake place cards. Ring Pops were our little table gift. We had garlands of ivy with cloth flowers we'd made. We covered some plastic centerpiece stands, and put stones and a candle on them with 45 records and black ribbon. It seemed like everything was so random and the girls' outfits had so much color, everyone was afraid it was pushing “clown.” It took tons of little touches to make things seems as though they belonged together.
Tell us about the ceremony: This was super short. A guest arrived ten minutes late, and the ceremony was already over. But they did catch the recessional. It took 12 minutes total.
I wrote our ceremony (well, I copied most of it from all over the internet) and we booked a local Unitarian pastor to do the thing. The thing we got the most compliments on was our “Love Box” ceremony, where we put a bottle of wine and love notes in a box, not to be opened until our first anniversary. I stumbled across the concept on on Amazon actually. They sell a box with stationary and wine glasses and it looked really nice. I thought it was a great idea, because we didn't have a sand or candle ceremony. We didn't include anything religious, since we are atheists, so we looked all over for something that felt right.
Here's how it went down:
Welcome! We are gathered here today, not to witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is! We do not create this marriage, because we cannot. We can and do, however, celebrate with bride and groom and their friends and families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken place in their lives.
We started by having grandparents and parents walk in a cluster to be seated first to a traditional Irish song, “Make Haste to the Wedding.”
Once they were seated, the craziness began as our Ring Bear shook his stuff down the aisle to The Dropkick Murphys' “Peg O' My Heart.” The bridal party followed suit a-skippin', a-jumpin', and a-clappin'. Within about two minutes, that was over and I followed close behind. I strutted my stuff to Social Distortion's “Don't Take Me For Granted” (edited for grandma's ears).
Then my sister did a reading we found on Offbeat Bride. She's crazy into zombies and so are we, so when she saw that zombie reading, she just about died.
The pastor continued into the wine Love Box ceremony:
In this box I will place a bottle of wine to be opened on Kyle and Emily's first anniversary. They will then place a love letter from each to the other into the box as well. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to get married. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. When they open the wine, they read the letters and replace with new letters and a new bottle of wine to then be opened and repeated every year.
This is the point in the ceremony when people talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metals are liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. The hot metal is forged, cooled, and then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful made from raw elements. Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It is the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, ‘You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.' Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another: acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.
Do you promise to laugh, play and enjoy the simple pleasures of life with Emily/Kyle?
Grow with her by encouraging, appreciating and supporting her?
Help her stay focused on the important things in life?
Greet her with a hug and a kiss?
Be there and comfort her always?
And to be always faithful to her?
The promises which you have spoken to each other today are inscribed forever in your minds, in your hearts. But words are fleeting and so those who marry wear rings as visible, tangible symbols of their commitment and of their emotional and spiritual connection.
I would now like to ask Molly and Zach to join as witnesses as Emily and Kyle sign their marriage license
(Our friend Andy played the Back to the Future Theme Song on acoustic guitar.)
Emily and Kyle, you have chosen each other; you have made your choice known to this company. Go forward from this place as husband and wife.
Our biggest challenge: I wanted to do everything myself. I made the invitations, jewelry, centerpieces, flowers, the gift card mailbox, and anything else I could get my hands into. We had a year and four months of planning so I thought I could do it. But time management became an issue for sure. In the end, I bought a lot of things and had some things custom made, like my wig.
My favorite moment: The most meaningful moments were the reactions we got from our families. I always felt like my family looked at me and thought, “Why can't she be normal?” They've hated my tattoos and hung their heads each time I had a different hair color, so I thought they wouldn't be as supportive as they were. I've always been a little over the top, so I warned everyone I spoke to about how the wedding may not be what they expect out of a wedding.
Our wedding website was full of doodles of dresses and foreboding messages of things to be. But every time I told my parents and grandparents something new about the wedding, all they ever said was, “Whatever you want.” In my head, I knew as soon as they saw it, it would change to them saying, “Oh. my. god. no.” But it never did. It was all positive from them. I don't think anything could have been better.
My funniest moment: The reception was a huge party. There were so many funny parts. An adorable bridesmaid showed off her “bite me” underpants to the most inappropriate of guests. A friend twirled my grandmother around the dance floor doing some weird cat-like dancing. A groomsman wore the kilt “the proper way” and wasn't afraid to show you. Random sombreros showed up. The ring bear costume disappeared and reappeared.
But the funniest bit was probably one of our friends (who may have been drinking a bit too much) going around telling every girl in the place that they were the most beautiful girl in the world. He would walk straight up to a group of girls and start talking, tell one she was the most beautiful girl in the world, no one could compare to her, she was beautiful! Then he would pause, look at the girl standing right next to her like he had just noticed her, and say, “You're the most beautiful girl in the world, no one here compares, you're just so beautiful.” He hit some moms, the bride, and maybe a few dudes as well.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I used a Wilton's giant cupcake pan to make giant plaster cupcakes for the centerpieces. It was my first attempt at working with plaster and it seemed like everything was going well. I mixed paint into the plaster to make them pretty colors and when the two pieces dried I slapped them together with more plaster. Since the first couple worked so well, I decided that was what I was going to do. But when we went to box them up the weekend before the wedding, the two pieces separated! We had to sand them down and tried to re-plaster them together, but only two or three held together. We finally went and bought some hardcore glues and tried them until we found one that worked. That was the day before the wedding.
The wine bottle table numbers were a challenge too. I made my friends drink a lot of wine. The hard part was cutting the bottoms off the bottles using a candle, a razor, and ice cubes. But that was more fun because if I messed up, we had to drink another bottle of wine.
My advice for offbeat brides: Go for it. I knew people were going to look at us and either be amazed or horrified. Honestly, I got both reactions. Some people I thought would love it hated it, and vice versa.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Write things down for people. If you only tell people 100 times to be somewhere at a specific time, they will show up whenever. As evidenced by two people showing up to help me decorate the day of the wedding and I expected to have at least six. That caused me the most stress I think I've ever had.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Corset: Etsy seller BoomBoomBabyBoutique
- Pettiskirt: Pettiskirt Style
- Brides wig: Etsy seller SweetHayseed
- Brides shoes: Modcloth
- Tights: Amazon
- Robot bubbles: Oriental Trading
- Robot Cake Toppers: Etsy seller TheJunkBucket
- Cupcake place cards: Dreamy Occasions
- Kilts: Rented from Kilt Rental USA
- The bride's dress, bridesmaids' dresses and wigs: eBay.
- Photography: ABC Photo Studio in Chicago
- Ceremony and reception venue: Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, IL
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!