Art by Jeremy Dale.
Art by Jeremy Dale.

The offbeat bride: Marisa – Action figure sales manager

Her offbeat partner: Patrick – Physics student/waiter

Location & date of wedding: Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD — March 14, 2009: Pi Day 2009!

What made our wedding offbeat: The most important thing to us when we were choosing our venue was to not hold our event in a ‘wedding box' like a hotel ballroom or run of the mill event space. We looked into boats, theaters, restaurants, our hometowns and backyards, where his parents married, etc… When we finally found our perfect place, we built the rest of the wedding around it.

Our Victory Lap!

To celebrate our respective geekdoms (mine being comic books and stars and his being physics and math) we married under an artificial night sky in the planetarium of a science museum on the nerdiest day of the year, March 14th. (Pi Day and Albert Einstein's birthday.) We partied on the constellation inlaid floors of the museum's lobby afterwards.

seating chart

We ran with the theme and created the “Periodic Table of Seating Chart” and used chemistry glassware throughout the reception.

He's also an amazing origami artist, so he spent a year making 200 origami roses for our bouquets and centerpieces. I commissioned a comic book artist to design our programs and used custom action figures for our cake topper. We also shone a Batsignal in our fauxto-booth.


Our dog, Einstein, is such an important part of our family, so we were ecstatic that he got to be part of our big day. Not only did he trot down the aisle in a tuxedo, but he even cut a rug during the reception.

Bat hound!

And our sweetheart table was underneath a giant dinosaur skeleton.

4418234027 8d038505e4 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Tell us about your ceremony: Our ceremony was written by the groom's family friend who just so happens to also be a minister. He even scripted our vows and they were absolutely perfect. We used Taylor Mali's “Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” as our main reading.

Look at the stars…

Our biggest challenge: When we started planning our wedding we lived in Baltimore and our families were in NY and Maine. Then, about nine months before our wedding, we unexpectedly moved back to NY. Our folks figured since we moved, we'd rearrange our wedding plans and bring it all to NY. Problem was, we had planned something that was such a perfect fit for us (and our budget) that moving our wedding was just out of the question.

Our Rockin' Bridal Party

So, we did everything long distance. Luckily we had had an amazing day of coordinator that really stepped up to the task of getting together our now incredibly non-local vendors. We also had some great friends in the Baltimore area who helped us pick stuff up and let us ship countless wedding related materials straight to their homes.

A quick stroll in the rain #2

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? March can be a lion or lamb, and for our wedding day, it was a lion. It rained steadily throughout the day. I was disappointed as I had hoped for some great shots out on the harbor. Instead what we got were some amazing pictures of us walking across the street under umbrellas in the rain to our wedding. Those pictures are among our favorites from the whole day.

A quick stroll in the rain #3

My favorite moment: As you can imagine, the layout of a planetarium can cause a couple issues with coming in and out of the room. To be fair to all the folks in a circular room, we did a lap around the giant telescope on our way out after the ceremony so we'd pass everyone. Our dog also took the lap with us. It was so amazing to see all of our guests smiling faces right after we became an official family while Coldplay's “Yellow” played in the background (“Look at the stars, look how they shine for you.“)

Dog on the dance floor

My funniest moment: I was the first one on the dance floor when it opened up. My partner, our twelve pound yorkie/miniature schnauzer, Einstein, all decked out in his tux. One of the tricks he knows is to dance, so I had him cut a rug with me!

My Superhero

My advice for offbeat brides: Making it yours does not always mean things will be tacky. You'll be surprised how you can subtly feature your quirkiness into details that will bring out such beauty in your event. Did I mention that there were Batman logos and pi symbols on our (fairly traditional-looking) cake?

Cake Shot!

Also, try not to move house twice while you're planning your wedding. It's just not fun.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned the important skill of letting things go. As a constant worrier, I was coached to relax and accept the things I couldn't change and just go with the flow. Even now I reflect on difficult or frustrating situations by thinking, is this problem worth all the time and anger I will go through just thinking about it? Don't sweat the small stuff, and everything works out to the best in the end.

And they all lived happily ever after

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Event planners: Howerton Wooten Events – We could not have had a more awesome team to help us put together this wedding.
  • Photographer: Jason Knauer Photography – He took some really amazing shots that accentuated the details of our day.
  • Rings: New York Wedding Ring – We handmade our rings in Sam's workshop. They're based on the infinite mobius strip.
  • Comic: Jeremy Dale – His wonderful artwork turned our programs into collectible comic books!

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Comments on Marisa & Patrick’s Pi day wedding in a science museum

  1. What an amazing wedding! I’m so envious of your idea to have it in a science museum – so creative. Love it!

  2. SOOOO JEALOUS! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WANT TO GET MARRIED IN A MUSEUM! okay I can breath now. My wedding will have 10 guests, so the local museums would be ridiculously large (and expensive) for that small of a wedding. But every time I see a museum wedding I say HELL YEAH!

    • The museum where I work(UK)also hosts weddings in the historic lighthouse which is ideal for small weddings – there may be a similar venue near you

      • Vicky, ohhh a lighthouse museum!!

        I am a history major and I have looked at all the museums in my province (Ontario, Canada). You will not believe what they want to use their facilities for a few hours. Now if you have 20 people plus it may be worth it; when you have 10 people, it just seems like a lot of money.

  3. I love the way you’ve managed to bring out the elegant side of nerdy. Will definately be showing this to my future husband.

    Also, you look fantastic!

    • “elegant side of nerdy” = EXACTLY!

      I love this wedding. It’s one of those where I see the pictures and wish I could have been there.

  4. Your night-sky ceremony looks absolutely breathtaking! Also, my husband and I used the Taylor Mali reading too…the audience ate it up! You guys clearly put a lot of thought and effort into making such an awesome event. 🙂

  5. This is my dream wedding! Stars, science and geekdom! Absolutely fantastic! And can I just say that I LOVE that your mom’s name is Carmen Santiago!

  6. Represent Baltimore, represent!!! 🙂 We wanted to do the Science Center SOOO Bad, and it was booked!!! Doh! Such good ideas to incorporate your love for science.

  7. Great to see Marisa & Patrick getting some recognition for a truly awesome wedding, not a truly awesome geeky wedding…just an awesome wedding all around. Just wanted to mention that the star field projector is not bright enough (without being raised out of the pit like during a show) to get good stars in pictures. I added these public domain star fields in post. Why should something so frivolous as physics get in the way of awesome pictures?

    • That’s a good idea. Our planetarium wedding is next weekend, and while I managed to light us really well (I hope), there’s really no way to get the stars from the old projector to be bright enough, even with a tripod and even if we had the best camera ever. (Okay, maybe then we could. But we don’t have one.)

  8. What an awesome original idea! Love the pictures, especially the library \ study group shot. The comic program is pure genius. Just found this site via a photo forum, absolutely loving it!

  9. thanks for all the love folks! it was a lot of hard work but it was completely worth it. just yesterday patrick said to me “Our wedding day is my favorite day so far.” <3 <3 <3

    little notes
    – the library shots are in the lobby of the intercontinental harbour court hotel.
    – when i was thinking of having a custom dress, there were going to be hidden batmans in the embroidery. instead i opted for bonny 1812, with a batman garter.
    – the figures are compiled from different minimate parts, see the pic caption for details.
    – the rest of jason's amazing photos can be seen here:

  10. Um! I love your engagement ring! Exactly what I want!

    Love the PI day and the museum, amazing all around!

  11. To one geek bride from another geeky bride-ish person, this is awesome. Our wedding is next weekend in a planetarium in SC (we actually considered doing ours at that same venue you did, but we couldn’t afford it), and we’ve planned a few similar things.

    I love the pictures in the rain, btw. Yay for March weather in MD…

  12. I want your wedding, pretty much start to finish. And ironically–I saw Taylor Mali feature at the Berkeley Poetry Slam last night, and my friend asked him to read “Falling in love is like owning a dog,” and he did! I’m afraid I might have to have it read at my own wedding, too, and I think my girl pit bull would look great in a tux and tutu.

  13. Um, hi, coolest wedding EVER. Absolutely amazing. My theme is stars and trees, so I might have to look into our local planetarium! Your dog is way too cute, haha, and look at your talented husband! It takes a real man to fold 200 origami roses.

  14. This wedding brought me to tears!! And I could just hear the Coldplay song in the background, too!!

    Also, love the engagement ring (not to decry it’s beauty but it looks a lot like mine and I love mine too!!!)

    • Aww. Thanks for the love. Playing Yellow as our recessional was even more special because we used the string quartet version as the processional. We also played the Back to the Future suite as the postlude.

      Is yours tanzanite too? i love the non-traditional ring.

      • mine is sapphire, like the commenter’s below. 🙂 when my fiance gave it to me at first I thought it was black. I love tanzanite though, too!

  15. I absolutely love it! And bonus points for the bride’s mother getting in on the star action with that awesome jacket.

    Admittedly, stars + science geeky + comic geeky is pretty much guaranteed to win my vote, but it’s just perfect and beautiful and quirky. (I am also very amused by how similar our engagement rings are, although mine’s sapphire.)

  16. I love it! So great! The whole wedding and all the personalized details! 🙂 2 Questions: 1) Who’s the designer for the bridesmaid gowns? 2) Where did you get those shawls? My wedding is purple and silver too! LOVE your wedding ideas and pic.s! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Thanks for the love. as for your Qs, 1) The Bridesmaids wore Alfred Angelo Style 6716 in Grape. I loved this dress so much, it was my backup wedding gown. Unfortunately, I think it may be discontinued, as I don’t see it on the website. 2) I got them off ebay! The seller was yuyuste.

      Good luck with everything.

  17. omg, what a kickass wedding! so fun and nerdy, but personal and elegant all at the same time. i love so many things about it, especially the planetarium and the color scheme. thanks for sharinggg! 🙂

  18. This wedding looks so amazing! My fiance and I, both being declared nerds and lovers of all things quirky and science, are in the middle of planning and I am constantly trying to determine the line between quirky and tacky. This is a great example to follow! Do you have a link for how to create the origami flowers? They are awesome

    • I’m a nerd and my fiancée is a geek. We’re getting married in a planetarium in Sept. 🙂 I’m the youngest in my family, and I feel the need to prove I’m a mature woman now…. So I keep thinking we need to have mature, classy, elegant things at our reception, but still find a way to incorporate our theme – and still come out on the elegant side, and not childish or immature. I still struggle, though, with just embracing who we are, and doing whatever we want – not caring what people think. :/

  19. OMG !!! This is amazing !!! You guys are exactly like my fiance and I ! First, I WOULD LOVE to get married in a planetarium !! I’m gonna look into it. Second , those comic book style programs are AWESOME !!! You have just given me so much inspiration. I’ve been engaged since October and I really wasn’t sure what all I wanted as we’ve had so many ideas but this wedding just pushed me in the right direction. Everything about your wedding was PERFECT !!

  20. Your wedding is so beautiful and I know this may come across as somewhat crass, but how much was the science center? I’ve been waiting to hear back as it’s perfect, but I’m scared to go up there, hear a number, and be crushed. If you don’t want to answer I understand.

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