The offbeat bride: Monika A, Fluevog Asst Manager, Professional Tarot Reader and part time vegan baker
Her offbeat partner: Carter , build and release computer engineer
Location & date of wedding: Hakone Gardens, Saratoga , CA — September 20, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: When a Pagan, tarot reading, Fluevog Pimpette decides to marry a Floridian, blond/blue eyed, computer geek, atheist, your wedding has to be offbeat! We found our middle ground in having the wedding in an amazing Japanese Garden, which was alive with nature and her beauty. We did almost everything ourselves and don't regret any part of the year of collecting cutlery, making cherry blossom center pieces, and searching Craigslist for the perfect table cloths.
The ceremony itself was performed by my dear friend who is also an amazing Priestess and therapist. We designed a ceremony that honored both my traditions and Carter's belief in the Darwin. My dear friend performed Into My Arms, by Nick Cave as our musical offering. We wrote our own vows and also wrote love letters to each other that we heard for the first time at the ceremony. We released doves at the end of the ceremony.
Since I am a belly dancer, my dance sisters (Red Lotus Belly Dance) performed at the reception. Our uber talented friend, Chave, belted out a medley of amazing jazz standards. We decided to have a potluck dinner since we are surrounded by vegan, kosher, wheat-free, lactose-intorelant foodies and knew that having everyone bring enough food to feed six to eight people would create an amazing spread.
Finally, everything I wore was made by people I love and admire. John Fluevog made me boots for my wedding gift, and Dark Garden made my dress.
Our biggest challenge: Honestly the biggest challenge was figuring out how to organize the potluck. The Jewish mom in me was worried that their would not be enough food for everyone (wrong!). I made Victorian styled food cards where people could write what they brought, and created on Google Forms an amazing form people could fill out. The form was my life saver. The geek in me loved that it converted everything into a spread sheet where I could see the balance of what people were bringing and what we needed to provide (we supplied chicken, desert, beer/wine and some appetizers). It totally worked.
Other issues included nicely wording that we didn't want children under seven attending. No one complained.
Finally, we had less than an hour and a half to set up a wedding for 120 people. Thank the gods for my friends who volunteered their time and talents to helping us do a whirlwind setup!
My favorite moment: I would have to say the love letters and the dove release. Being able to tell Carter why I loved him so much in front of all our friends was so important. It was such a ritual. Hearing his letter to me made my day and just validated how much I adore him.
The doves were a slight splurge but were worth every penny spent. One of my maids of honor released four doves, the best man another four. Carter and I released two to the wonderful sound of More Than This by Roxy Music.
Really the whole wedding went by so fast, I would say it was all my favorite moment!
My offbeat advice: Take your time. Choose what is important to you. Learn to compromise between what you want and what your partner wants — you will be doing it all your life anyway. 🙂
My other bit of advice is to hire a day-of coordinator. Whether it is a good friend or a pro, I couldn't have have made it through our wedding without her. She kept me in line, organized the volunteers, and had us running on schedule.
Finally, if something doesn't work, breaks, etc., just take it in stride. Your day will be fabulous even if you don't get every last light up!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? If I didn't make it myself, I bought it from independent vendors who are either local or stand by my code of sweat shop free, conscientious products. What ever I didn't keep, I donated to appropriate charities.
- Dress: Dark Garden
- Boots: John Fluevog
- Hat: Hey-Sailor
- Cupcakes (vegan): me and Sibby's Bakery (super yum) — Sibby's Cupcakery
- Wedding Cake: Cake Coquette
- Groomsmen vests: Gentleman's Emporium
- Invitations: EnFin Voila on Etsy
- Favors: Custom blend chocolate lip balm by Apothekerri. (Note: her site is being updated.)
- Venue: Hakone Gardens. Not the cheapest venue but since it is a non-profit organization anything after 2500 dollars is tax- deductible. SWEET!
- Henna: Darcy from Henna Lounge
- Photography: Kristine Adams and John Pettitt
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!:
Comments on Monika & Carter’s Neo-Victorian, Pagan-Atheist, Japanese, Peacock, Love Fest
I'm getting married at a non-profit and haven't heard about this tax deduction! I will have to check this out!
Everything about this wedding makes me drool! So beautiful — I love the candy bar and lip balm favours!
How perfect and wonderful! I opened your YouTube music link in another window and went through your slideshow while listening to the song – it fit so well. You're a gorgeous bride and it looks like you had a beautiful wedding day. Congrats! (I also noticed one of your guests wearing my green wedding dress!)
Hey! A wedding in my hometown! What a beautiful wedding! I'm absoutly in love with your dress!
So much awesomeness, I don't even know where to begin. 🙂
Is her cupcake stand a cupcaketree.com stand? It looks great and I'm debating on ordering one or not. 🙂 Thanks!
Jax the stand is from cupcaketree.com It is the full size one without the bottom layer. If you want advice on how to cover the sucker, ping me on my offbeattribe page.
these pictures were so beautiful; your wedding looks amazing. the potluck tips were super useful, too. I hadn't thought to use Google Forms. thanks for sharing.
Stunning and gorgeous!
How freaking cool is it that your wedding boots were a custom-made gift from Mr. Fleuvog??? Holy cow!
my thoughts as well! so jealous! hoping to scourer the sales over the next year so my wedd party can all wear Fluevogs!
I totally forgot to give kudos to Darcy at http://www.hennalounge.com . She is the best dang henna artist in Northern California….
Thank you! I'll add you. Your wedding is awesome!
Thanks for sharing your wedding! Can you tell me how you worded no children under seven? That's something I've been trying to figure out!
I basically said:
We would like you to fully enjoy yourselves and be present at our wedding and therefore we would kindly request that no children under the age of seven attend.
I used nearlyweds for my wed page and I just put that as the information on the RSVP link. I just switched it to my Florida wedding ( don't ask) so I don't have the original info any longer. Good luck!
Thanks for replying Monika, many years of happiness to you and your husband! I hope your marriage is as lovely as your wedding.
Custom Fluevogs = LUCKIEST BRIDE!
Congratulations on your beautiful wedding! May your marriage be just as lovely.
So pretty! I am in love with the gown. Such a lovely color and style. Very pretty wedding 🙂
I spy a Carolena 😉 There will be a li'l ATS and a li'l Fluevog action at my wedding saturday as well. Awesome photos, thanks for sharing!
You have amazing friends which makes sense because you seem pretty amazing yourself.
I am super jealous of the custom made Fluevogs! I love Fluevogs!
OMG…I had my first wedding there! What a beautiful location. The dress is amazing, wonderful pictures. Congrats! ^_^
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