Monica & Anthony’s Mexican-American sugar skull soiree

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 | Photography by Icarus Photographic

Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange? This is Halloween… week! Today's wedding is a bonus Dia de los Muertos-themed shindig!

Halloween in an Alley

The Offbeat Bride: Monica, stylist and makeup artist

Her offbeat partner: Anthony, stylist and salon manager

Date and location of wedding: Cilantro, Homewood, IL — October 29, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We kept certain aspects traditional: church ceremony, white dress, dinner, and dancing. But our smaller details were more in line with a Dia de los Muertos theme, like sugar skulls on the invites, an autograph skull instead of a guest book, sparkly skull necklace instead of a string of pearls, and lots more SKULLS! Margaritas flowed while chips and guacamole, quesadillas, and a build-your-own fajita bar filled our bellies.


These Are the Details That Blew My Mind

Bad-Ass Babes of the South Side

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was at the Oak Lawn Methodist Church, which is a glorious vintage gem! We had a pianist play the Smashing Pumpkins' “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” while the wedding party entered and my father walked me down the aisle.

My Favorite Shot, For Sentimental Reasons

Didn't See This Pic Until Recently

The service itself was short and to the point — no readings and no communion. We lit our unity candle while Nine Inch Nails' “La Mer” played. I was so fluttery, I don't really remember the rest of the experience. I was honestly just happy I didn't trip, start a fire, or pass out. I do remember that the vows I recited were the very same that my parents recited over 30 years prior, even the removal of that pesky little part about obeying.

Unity Candle

Leaving The Church

Our biggest challenge: We planned the wedding in five months. Having too little time and money proved challenging because I didn't have enough time to order things for fear that they wouldn't be here in time. For our own sanity, we decided to do away with most of the traditional details that would have costs us more money and time, such as programs, thank-you gifts, place cards (actually, the whole seating plan!), and the bouquet and garter toss.

Our Cake Topper

My favorite moment: Our officiant was a retired Methodist minister who also performed my sister's wedding three years earlier, and my parent's renewal of their vows on their 25th anniversary, AND my grandparent's renewal on their 50th! So that was special for me.

There was also a special moment when, after a close family friend said the meal blessing in English, my mom handed the mic to my grandmother, who said the traditional meal prayer in Spanish, as I always did, every day before every meal growing up.

One of My Favorite Moments of the Evening!

Another moment, towards the end of the night, was when the entire dance floor cleared for Anthony's grandfather and lady-friend to leave. They use walkers to get around, and with that extra support, they felt confident enough to dance and shimmy towards the door while the rest of the crowd clapped and cheered them on. His grandfather passed away a few months later, and this moment shines on as a great memory for the entire family.

Our Guest Skull

My advice for offbeat brides: Something goes wrong at every wedding. I've attended, worked, and stood up in enough to know this. I poked myself fixing someone's boutonniere and a few drops of blood fell on my dress. The last hour of my wedding, one of my last-minute DIY alterations on my dress came undone.

When that something inevitably happens to you: acknowledge it, laugh about it, and move on. If you dwell on what went wrong, it'll cast a shadow not only over the rest of the night, but also in your memory of the day.

Photos Do Not Do This Justice

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Comments on Monica & Anthony’s Mexican-American sugar skull soiree

  1. This is by far my favorite wedding here. I love the theme, the fajita bar idea. Just amazing.

  2. What’s a communion? Where’s the handy link that the religious aspects usually get?

    • Our handy links are typically links to our archives (ie, handfasting references will often link to We do not have an archive for communion.

      That said, while we try to anticipate terms the majority of our readership may not know, we also trust our readers to do their own research on any cultural or religious concepts they’re unfamiliar with. 😉

      • Ok. Your lmgtfy is pretty condescending, and yes I could have googled for myself, but at the same time in this post ( the word “ketubah” is defined. And in this one ( there is a link to wikipedia on “Sufi.” So you actually don’t expect people to do their own research when it comes to religious aspects. I’ve seen you do this for lots of other religious terms as well. They aren’t links to other OBB pages, they are informational. What’s with the Christian supremacy that the word “communion” isn’t linked to a definition? In good faith, I thought it was an oversight, but I see now it’s not.

        • Hey there! I just wanted to jump in since I do totally see your point. It is Christian-centric to not link the word “communion.” But it isn’t because we as editors (me on this post, in this case) favor it in any way or are actively trying to be Christian-centric. I’m not a Christian, so it wasn’t a vendetta.

          Since the majority of our readers are from the U.S., Canada, U.K., etc., and Judeo-Christians are represented by a large portion of the people (or at least have been long enough to affect our vocab), we do often assume that some Christian terms have entered the vernacular and don’t need to link them.We almost felt it was like linking to something in popular culture that most people probably know. But sometimes we’re not right about those.

          I do understand that it does make things seem slanted and we totally will take that into consideration. Thanks!

          • Thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate that you took the time to hear me and to consider what I’ve written. This is what I like about this site.

            As a side note, I wish people would stop linking “Judeo” in with “Christian.” People who know what communion is don’t know because they’re Jewish (they might know *if* they’re Jewish, but not *because*). Also, Ariel’s link still doesn’t explain what it is.

      • While I understand what you’re saying Ariel, the lmgtfy link goes to a London-based independent music website. Which made me snort-laugh somewhat ungracefully, as it must be the least helpful page HollywoodMarie could possibly ask for!

        • HAAAA! makes a fool of us all. 🙂 I updated the link to be more helpful, although by its very nature, it will like still strike some as condescending. 😉

          • Since even this version is a bit confusing to people who aren’t familiar with Christianity:

            Communion is a portion of many Christian services when congregants partake of wine and bread (sometimes wafers that are more styrofoam than bread, to be honest). The background of it comes from a point in scripture during dinner with the disciples, where Jesus hands them bread and says (paraphrased, because I’m on lunch) “this is my body, which I give for you for the forgiveness of sins” he does a similar thing with the cup of wine.

            Depending on the type of church, the bread and the wine during the practice of Communion can fall under the following beliefs:

            – The bread and the wine become the actual body and blood of Christ. The Catholic term for this is Transubstantiation.
            – The bread and the wine are unchanged elements, but Christ’s presence by faith is made spiritually real in and through them.
            – The bread and the wine are unchanged elements, used as symbols, representing Christ’s body and blood, in remembrance of his enduring sacrifice.

            I hope that helps!

  3. This wedding is fantastic! I love all of the vibrant colors. Your picture under that tree is amazing. Love the bouquets, shawls, your necklace, decorations, cake topper, and dress!

  4. omg, beautiful! i love all of it. “mellon collie” too…we’ve earmarked “tonight, tonight” for the recessional at our wedding.

  5. “La Mer” is such a great song and it fits so well with the wedding’s vibe. And how could I expect anything less than fabulous from two stylists!

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