Photos by Kelly Davidson Studio

The Offbeat Bride: Kate, Project Manager

Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Graphic Designer

Date and location of wedding: Cochran Chapel and Lanam Club, Andover, MA — October 13, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Ryan and I are both creative, nerdy people, and we wanted to be sure that our shared loves came through in our wedding. We both love the creepy/charming artwork of Edward Gorey, and that was the jumping-off point for our wedding's theme.


Both of our venues were covered in dark wood, and we tried to let that dictate the antique Victorian style. Ryan spent hours drawing our table cards (characters from our favorite television shows) in a gothic style. My creativity is more in the craft zone, and I spent hours on smaller projects – designing our programs, gluing seed cones, and writing out escort cards.

The first look

Tell us about the ceremony: Neither Ryan nor I are particularly religious, and we had to tread carefully to keep ourselves and our families happy. In the end, our ceremony took place in Cochran Chapel, a stunning non-denominational chapel on my high school campus. We figured we were getting married in a “church-shaped building” and that would have to be good enough.

First kiss

Most of our music selections were traditional, but we included “God Gave Rock & Roll To You” by KISS during the prelude, and the families and groomsmen walked in to the Throne Room Theme from Star Wars.

Both of our mothers did readings, which was very special. Our ceremony was camera-free, and we included lyrics from a Mr. Rogers' song, “It's You I Like,” in our program:

It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys
They're just beside you.
But it's you I like
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge for us was learning how to blend two families' ideas of what “family” is. My family is smaller and more emotionally conservative; Ryan's family is much larger and has a more expansive idea of what counts as family. This became an issue in terms of the guest list. I really struggled with control issues regarding the guest list, and worked my hardest to realize that my family didn't actually need a huge guest list to include everyone important (and that's okay!), and Ryan's family did need more.


My favorite moment: I really lost it was during my mother's reading, “Love” by Roy Croft:

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.
I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can't help dimly seeing there.
And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I still tear up reading it. I have struggled with depression, and sometimes I still can't believe that someone as optimistic and wonderful as my husband could ever love me just as I am.

Seed cones

My funniest moment: The birdseed recessional! We asked our guests to toss birdseed at us as we left the chapel, and it was a wonderful mess. Ryan's uncle held onto his birdseed until the very last moment, then threw the entire cone right into Ryan's face. I was covered in birdseed; and I mean COVERED. My trusty bridesmaids changed me entirely out of my dress to brush me off during the cocktail hour, and then picked through my hair like patient little monkeys. When we took my bouquet home the next day, it tipped over in the car, and guess what fell out of the lilies: more birdseed!

Tasty cake
The cake that came out just right

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our groom's cake was made by a separate vendor and was completely wrong. We'd asked to have the logo of a television show, and they gave us a Ferrari cake. I saw the cake seconds before my mom did, and a lesson from Offbeat Bride sprang into my head: no one ever wants to be more upset than the bride. I stepped between my mom and the cake and said, “Mom, the cake is wrong. It's okay, we're going to eat it and it will be delicious. It's not a problem. Let me get you a drink.” And I was right! Most of our guests didn't even realize it was a mistake.

Ryan & Grandma
Our DJ rocked it so hard

My advice for Offbeat Brides: You are never going to make everyone else happy. Know that in your heart. It doesn't even take much; I qualified my wedding as offbeat lite, and I still had people tell me it was really different than most. I cannot imagine the resistance other brides must put up with. So, own it, and use your talents and loves to create something that is true to yourself.

Bridesmaid bouqets

Let your vendors use their expertise. I had a very unchangeable idea of my bouquet, but let the florist have free rein with the bridesmaid bouquets. I LOVED mine, but I could tell that the bridesmaid bouquets were real pieces of art. If I could do it over again, I would have been more open to their suggestions. If you like a vendor's style, trust them to do their best work.

Smooching after the toasts
Our sweet ride

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Comments on A gothic chapel Edward Gorey wedding

  1. Our venue doesn’t allow birdseed, so I’m hoping to be picking petals out of my hair for days afterward 🙂

    My fiance tells a good story about how his sister and brother-in-law borrowed his car for their rice-tossing getaway and how he was finding rice in the air vents years later.

  2. So much pretty!

    Also, a big THIS to “I have struggled with depression, and sometimes I still can’t believe that someone as optimistic and wonderful as my husband could ever love me just as I am.”

  3. I’m using the same “Love” reading for my wedding (in 23 days!). It makes me tear up every time I read it too, so I have no idea how I’m going to make it through the ceremony.

    Your wedding was wonderful! Love the photos!

  4. Beautiful photos. Love the cake, love love LOVE the bouquet, the bride’s dress is amazing, and the photo of the groom and his guys hiding behind trees is priceless!

  5. I love your wedding! My mother read the Roy Croft reading at our wedding five years ago and I still tear up reading it. Nothing else has ever summed up love for me quite so much.

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