Jillian & Martin’s BBQ & craft beer garden wedding

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 | Photography by Daren Kelley
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The Offbeat Bride: Jillian, Craft Beer Champion and Dancer/Dancer Instructor (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Martin, Recording Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Elysian LA, Los Angeles, CA — September 21, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We wanted BBQ and beer (since we met at a craft beer party), and a venue that was reasonably close enough to most of our guests that they could affordably get a cab home. That led us to the Elysian, a fantastic warehouse-plus-garden combo hidden between a freeway and a concrete river. The “BBQ & Beer” theme definitely lent itself to a free flowing casual-feeling party, and the venue was perfect for that.

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View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

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One of our favorite elements of the wedding was asking guests to bring one bottle of beer (any size, any style) with them to open and share during the toasts in lieu of a “champagne toast.” Seating was open, so we put the bottles into buckets on the tables and let people pick into their “grab bag” in front of them.

View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

Our food was BBQ fare: brisket, BBQ chicken, cucumber salad, cornbread, mac-n-cheese, and our dessert was assorted pies. Martin's parents shipped in pecan pie from Texas, and our caterer made key lime squares and blueberry pie.

We also figured out that, while we were asking our friends and family for lots of help the morning of the wedding for set-up, we really did not want to be asking them for the bulk of the clean up. We rented a U-haul cargo van the day before the wedding and loaded up everything we were taking to the venue in one trip and then anything coming back with us got thrown back in at the end of the night. We left it on the street near the venue and picked it up the next day.

Martin's mom, my mom, and I went to the flower mart the day before the wedding and bought all of the flowers. Martin's mom created the boutonnieres and my bouquet, and I did the simple centerpieces in liquor bottles on the tables.

Our “Damsels and Signors of Majesty,” aka Wedding Party, were such team players. They were responsible for my makeup and hair, they became our event coordinators and decorators, they set up the photo booth and chairs, and were generally just caring and helpful support.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
I wanted to acknowledge the recent overturning of Prop 8, so a friend of ours arranged a stunning instrumental version of “Same Love” that the wedding party, Martin, and I walked down the aisle to.

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Our officiant wrote an original poem to open the ceremony. She incorporated little bits of each of us, a dash of dramatic flair, and ended by telling us that we made her believe in the possibility of love.

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Martin's mom wanted to read a more traditional pick, so we found Song of Songs 8:6-7:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy[a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of one's house for love it would be utterly scorned.

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My three nieces shared the reading “Falling in love is like owning a dog.” Martin and I are owners of a pup named Ava, and my nieces all have dogs as well, so it was a really sweet moment.

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Then we kissed in a flurry of bubble gun majesty!

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My favorite moment:
We incorporated several elements of our family members' belongings through the day. My ring was Martin's great-grandmother's, and the setting is unlike anything I have ever seen. I was so honored his family wanted me to have it. The bracelet I wore was one belonging to his other great-grandmother, and three generations of his family have worn it on their wedding days.

On my side, my grandmother passed during my engagement, and I wanted to have a representation of her (and my grandfather) there. The tables were decorated with almost 100 doilies, most of which came from her collection over her life. Although we did not have cake, we also used my grandparents' cake topper from their 1945 wedding on our pie plate.

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My funniest moment:
Our officiant has been a friend and creative partner of mine for years. She is also a poet and public speaker, so it was a no-brainer to officiate. Well, for someone who speaks eloquently for a living, she kept telling me for weeks that she was nervous because it was for her friends. Apparently those nerves turned into her calling Martin “Matt” twice before the whole chorus of our guests chanted back “Martin.” At least she wasn't trying to say “organism” — that could have been really awkward.

View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The small details don't matter as much as you think. What does matter: having so much fun that you realize in your pictures that when you are candidly, squealingly, ridiculously, happy, you make the funniest faces — ones you have never seen yourself make before. Getting to remember those same funny faces on your partner (in addition to reliving them in pictures).


On that note, get someone to take pictures — a professional, iPhone, handheld digishot, whatever. You will be amazed at how hard it is for your brain to remember every moment of your favorite people joining you for a overwhelming day of love.

View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

View More: http://darenkelley.pass.us/jillianmartinwedding

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Comments on Jillian & Martin’s BBQ & craft beer garden wedding

  1. Could you two BE more adorable together???? Congratulations! Beautiful wedding.

  2. SO AWESOME! I love the beer bucket grab bag idea! We did the same thing with the U-haul van. Best. Idea. Ever. Clean up took like half the time and everything got loaded into one vehicle so there was no “who’s car has the candles for the centerpieces?” Brilliant minds think alike 😉

  3. BBQ and pie! Yes! This is what we are planning. I had someone look at me funny when I said we wanted to have pie. Who doesn’t like pie?? We’ll probably have cake as well, cuz I love cake 🙂

  4. Awesome man.. looks like a very cool wedding…You must have had a graet day

  5. Love your wedding! We are also planning on doing BBQ and pie. Everyone looks so happy.

  6. So beautiful and fun!!! How was the Elysian LA as a venue? I’m a LA bride and that venue was on the top of my list as a not break the bank rustic tinged option. Any advice? 🙂

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