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2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 1 - Pre-wedding (10)

The Offbeat Bride: Julia, Teacher

Her offbeat partner: Shane, Comic Artist

Date and location of wedding: Celebration Farm, Iowa City, IA — June 30, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our theme was “technicolor,” which allowed us to be as eclectic as we wanted in our outfits and decorations, incorporating any color of the rainbow. My mom made my dress, which had hand-dyed layers of orange, yellow, pink, lavender, and blue. We also dyed the bridesmaid dresses together.

I think my favorite thing about our wedding was that every single aspect involved close friends and family. One of Shane's aunts took photos during the ceremony, another contributed handmade prayer flags, our cousins made origami cranes for the tables, my sister made our cake topper, my dad played MC throughout the night, and our reception photographer and caterers were all close friends. It was so incredible to see everyone we love coming together and contributing their talents to make our wedding special.

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Music was a really important aspect of our wedding. Shane and I are in a theatrical rock band together called “Techno-Lincoln and the Technicolor Union,” and we performed at the reception. It was so amazing to be able to play for all of our friends and family at the same time, especially since we were moving across the country soon after the wedding and this was our last show. Plus, it had always been a lifelong dream of mine to play guitar in a wedding dress! Our last song is called “Blast Off,” and during the loudest part, I threw my bouquet.


The other musicians were good friends of ours: our friend Billy played ukulele before our grand entrance, and a phenomenal bluegrass band called Porchbuilder played after us during the reception.

Shane and I did a fair amount of DIY as well. Instead of programs, we created a two-sided wedding marquee together. We have these zombie and unicorn calendars with paper dolls you can fold every month, so we used those as decoration, and also made paper flowers out of sheet music and comic books. For our guestbook, we found a small tree and made little tags for people to write or draw on and then hang on the tree.

2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 1 - Pre-wedding (8)

Our venue was quintessentially Iowan. The reception took place in a big round barn with gorgeous chandeliers, and the ceremony happened outside. There was also a nice grassy area, and as people got tipsy, there were lots of guests frolicking around outside, which was fun to watch. It was elegant enough that we didn't need to do a ton of decorating, but was casual enough that it gave the whole day a laid-back vibe.

2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 2 - Actual Ceremony (13) 2

Tell us about the ceremony:
Shane and his groomsmen walked in first to “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Then came the bridesmaids to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (led by my nine-month-old niece Charlotte, the tiniest flower girl!). My dad walked me down the aisle to “What Is Life” by George Harrison.

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Our officiant was my husband's tattoo artist and close friend. He started out with a short speech about what it means to be married, and to grow closer and love more and more deeply as the years go on. It was romantic yet also very down-to-earth. Then he read an excerpt from Dr. Seuss' “Oh, The Places You'll Go.”

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My friend Esther read two e.e. cummings poems; “love is a place” and “i carry your heart.” Then Shane's brother read an Irish blessing.

After that we read our vows, which we had each written on our own:
Julia's Vows:

From the moment we bumped into each other on the dance floor that fateful Halloween night, my life has been more colorful and beautiful because you are in it. With you I feel that I am always growing and evolving, and that each day contains the possibility of adventure. I love you because you live playfully and purposefully, you see magic even in the mundane, and you can always make me laugh. With each new experience we share, and each new insight into each other's characters, it becomes more and more clear to me that you and I are of the same universe, speak the same language, and bring out the best in one another.
2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 2 - Actual Ceremony (32)I promise to laugh with you, create with you, and always find reasons for celebration.
I promise to listen with an open heart and to communicate fully and fearlessly.
I promise to accept and appreciate your personality quirks and help you to understand my own.
I promise to walk beside you through whatever changes and challenges our lives may bring.
I promise to work hard toward our shared dreams and encourage you in your individual passions.
I promise to support you mentally, emotionally and spiritually so that we may continually grow together.
I promise to live with intention, and create a reality together that is healthy, harmonious, and fulfilling.
I promise to be your lover, companion, and confidante, your consolation in disappointment, comrade in adventure and best friend for life.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.

Shane's Vows:

On the night that I met you, just a few moments before, I felt for the first time in a while, a great confidence in myself. I felt content and assured that I could be happy being single for a long time. Then God laughed and pushed us into each other on the dance floor, two souls colliding and finding they would never be apart.
I vow to keep my humor, for your laugh brings warmth to my heart.
I promise to stay productive and curious, to share in your joy of creating and experiencing new things.
I promise to listen, to further our understanding of and compassion for each other.
I will admit when I am wrong, so I can continue to be a good husband and your best friend.
I vow to care for you when you are ill, or hurt, or sad, so that in such trying times, you will know that you're never facing them alone.
I promise we will explore this world together, seeking out new adventures so that we won't miss out being all it is to be human while we're on this planet.
And though there may be times where temptation is strong, I vow to never stray from the path our love has forged, with your hand in mine.
I will grow old with you, everyday our love and light will grow more radiant.


Our unity ritual was based on the Native American tradition of the double-sided jug. We each poured in a glass of water and then our officiant read this speech:

The wedding vase has two spouts coming from the same vessel. As individuals, you bring together different strengths and you come from different families and backgrounds. You have had different experiences. The two spouts of the wedding vase represent each of you as individuals. As husband and wife, you will continue to be individuals, yet you will always drink from the same vessel of life. The common vessel represents all that you will share together. Julia and Shane, as you share this one water from two spouts, so may each of you share contentment, comfort, and happiness from the common cup of your marriage.

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Our recessional was “All You Need Is Love,” by The Beatles, which was also the song my parents used for their recessional. We were so excited that we were all skipping up the aisle.

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Our biggest challenge:
One challenge for me was worrying about keeping my emotions in check. Since we were about to move far away, the wedding also felt like a going-away party, and I was worried I might get overly sentimental. I guess instead of trying to overcome it, I just decided to roll with it. After all, if there's anywhere that it's OK to get teary-eyed, it's my own wedding! And for the most part, the day was so full of fun and joy that those are the emotions I most remember.

2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 4 - Early Reception (28)

My funniest moment:
After the ceremony, it took forever to get our recessional to play. We had our first kiss, and then there was an awkward pause. We looked around, looked at each other, and then just started kissing a bunch more until it finally came on. The crowd was going wild and it made that moment all the more triumphant!

2013 06 30 Shane and Julia's Wedding 5 - Late Reception (38)

We also had someone bring a random cardboard cut-out of Liberace to the wedding, so that made for lots of hilarious photos.


My favorite moment:
Our first dance was to “Rainbow Connection,” from The Muppets. It started out just the two of us. Then on the chorus, our wedding party came running out and danced around us in a circle and at the end, we all sort of collapsed into a giant hug. Thinking about that moment still brings tears to my eyes.


The experience of reading our vows to each other was also very meaningful to me. I was super nervous about reading such personal things in front of so many people, but as we read them, we were focused only on each other, and both of us teared up a little, which to me is so incredibly beautiful.


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Comments on Julia & Shane’s whimsical rainbow technicolor wedding

  1. This wedding looks like it was a BLAST! I love those colors, and oh man, those vows! So touching and heartfelt. Congrats!

  2. I’ve been looking on offbeat bride for some time now at all the weddings and although I can say honestly that all of them have been beautiful and unique, Julia and Shane’s wedding has encompassed exactly what a wedding should be in my eyes! The music choices were perfect to a tee. The way in which they expressed their very beings through their decorations, attire and even entertainment was magical to see. I think the vows were the crowning glory, absolutely beautiful, nothing more to say really, just beautiful! It’s so clear that these two were made for each other, and not that they’ll need it but I wish them all the best and hope their technicolor lives are full and happy!

  3. This was so beautiful!! Every picture is just amazing. Sounds like such a great upbeat time!

  4. This was a beautiful, beautiful wedding. Every picture looks very heartfelt and it seems filled with supporting and fun loving people! Also the colours of the wedding party were bombtastic!!!!

  5. How beautiful and special and wonderful and ooooh, I wish I could’ve been a guest at this wedding.

    And I’m glad we weren’t the only ones with an awkward pause prior to the recessional. We did a handfasting, were pronounced married and kissed, the officiant announced us to the crowd. Then we waited… then the wrong song started to play and I (with my eyes huge and a giant grin plastered on) went, “not that song” just loud enough for everyone to hear, before the right song finally began. Everyone was cracking up. It was awesome.

  6. The most original wedding I have ever experienced. Nice job, Ken, Jeanne, Julia and Shane.

  7. Sadly, I was unable to attend Shane and Julia’s wedding. How wonderful it has been to experience it through this wonderful blog. A lot of quirky weddings are hard to participate in because there is so much that is unfamiliar and understood just by the couple. They were able to create a wedding that had so many aspects that made the guests feel at ease, while still creating this very private, intimate, quirky celebration for the two of them.

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