The offbeat bride: Saleha, Housing & Homelessness Advocate (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Greg, Cellist
Location & date of wedding: Burned down flour mill turned museum, Minneapolis, MN — July 11, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted a meaningful (and colorful!) wedding that expressed our values, but wasn't so in-your-face political that certain extended family members walked out.
Our feminist theology professor officiated and wrote the ceremony with us. Our parents walked us down the side aisles and gave us away to each other up front. The “sermon” centered on our desire to project our love for each other outwards towards the world and use our privilege as a married couple to advocate for marriage equality.
We DIYed a lot, including handmaking the paper for our invitations.
Our loved ones really came through for us with the live music, flower arrangement, decorations, dance lessons, and more. As a surprise, my mom brought butterflies that she had raised, and released them at the reception surrounded by a group of adoring children.
My dress was blue. Greg's hat was red. It all took place in a museum.
But the most offbeat part was our kickass dance party. The father-daughter dance started it out with a merengue titled “Ojala Que Llueva Cafe,” which translates to “I Wish it Would Rain Coffee.” A third of the playlist was Latin dance and none of it was typical wedding reception music. The poor bartenders were bored out of their minds, because everyone was too busy dancing to drink.
Our biggest challenge: We wanted to serve alcohol, but also wanted to make it clear that we didn't expect everyone to drink. There are several alcoholics in my family, including my dad who is thirty-five-years sober, and other people were coming that don't drink for other reasons.
We insisted that there be a cash bar (which took some arguing with the caterer) and a prominent non-alcoholic option for toasts. We thought the caterer was on board with all this, since we talked about it several times. However, they only brought five bottles of sparkling apple cider and immediately ran out.
My favorite moment: Our first dance as a couple. It began as a tame waltz, then erupted into a salsa and closed with us pulling everyone out on the dance floor to “Love Train.” Dancing for me is an expression of true joy and looking into Greg's eyes just before we ran out and pulled everyone else in was possibly my favorite moment of my entire life.
My advice for offbeat brides: If you're on a budget, consider very carefully the cost of food. We had no idea and we're still paying for our mistake (literally). Practice letting go of things you can't control (e.g. family members' feelings, that you already signed a contract with your expensive caterer, etc.). I have a tendency to get stressed out when planning things, no matter how happy the occasion, and the mantra “I accept what I can't control” saved my sanity.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Larue's in Minneapolis
- Hat & Shoes: Robert's Shoes in Minneapolis
- Vocalist: Abiola Lepe
- String Quartet: Urthema
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!