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The Offbeat Bride: Lauren, administrative assistant

Her offbeat partner: Chuck, Project Engineer

Date and location of wedding: The Landmark Loews, Jersey City, NJ — February 8, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Chuck and I wanted to do something in a unique venue, and plan an event that wasn't typical. Once we saw the Loews, that was it. It perfectly suited our shared love of movies and Chuck's propensity for rocking bow ties. We loved the idea of Old Hollywood glamour but we didn't want it to be overly serious and stuffy. We wanted it to be a laugh riot like a Katharine Hepburn movie.

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We spent the bulk of our tight budget on the venue and catering. We liked that we could let the venue do the heavy lifting and focus on making everything we added to it personal and fun. That personality was the result of DIYing our faces off, and of course our friends and family. We hand-stamped our CD covers, hand-screened the CD labels, painted our guest book, and Chuck designed our escort cards. We also made our centerpieces, one of my favorite things, from cheap frames, velcro, and vellum. We gave LEGO superheroes some Old Hollywood flair for the boutonnieres, and added some LEGO block cufflinks to complete the look.

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My father walked me down the aisle to “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and my first dance with Chuck was a completely unchoreographed by the seat of our pants dance to an upbeat song, “Jackie Wilson Said” by Van Morrison. We wanted the whole day to be, not only a celebration of us, but our cherished friends and family as well. We celebrated my amazing Aunt Dot's “30th” birthday with a cake, and surprised guests with a trophy and medals for best response to our Mad Lib RSVP cards.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We take our commitment seriously, but we also want life and being together to be a big goofy adventure. Christian, our officiant, surprised us by starting off in the best, most appropriate cinematic reference: “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today.” I started my vows by imagining what it would be like if we were an old New York couple on one of the couches between scenes in When Harry Met Sally.

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We included one more contemplative reading from Madeleine L'Engle and a more whimsical reading from A.A. Milne. Finally, we exchanged rings using words from Jane Eyre: “I ask you to pass through life at my side — to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” Immediately following our first kiss, our DJ launched into bridal party introductions set to the Jock Jam Mega Mix which we had written with heights, hometowns, and nicknames like a basketball team. When we were finally introduced, it was to “Life's a Happy Song” from The Muppets.

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Our biggest challenge:
We had a very specific contract with our venue which laid out a very specific time frame. We only had 12 hours the day of and that was it, which meant there was no time for a rehearsal and no set-up was possible until noon on the day of the wedding. Having made so many of the decorations myself and being a bit Type A, I had a clear picture in my mind of how I wanted everything set up. Unfortunately I was going to be deep in hair and makeup when set-up needed to start. The only way to overcome it was to just trust everyone around me, especially Chuck, who led the groomsmen over early to team up with some of my rugby teammates to get it all done. When I walked in a few hours later for pictures, I was overcome seeing everything I pictured made real.

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My favorite moment:
I had written the bare bones of our ceremony for our good friend Christian, who would be acting as our officiant. It was the basic structure of everything and some of our views on marriage and commitment. It was wide open for Christian to fill in any way he saw fit, and we didn't know how he had done that until the ceremony itself. It was a wonderful and touching surprise to hear why he thought we were meant to be and it meant so much to us both coming from such a dear friend who was doing this amazing thing for us.

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My funniest moment:
We cut our cake to the theme from Jurassic Park. Having never ceremonially cut a cake before, we stood there with our arms around each other and the knife poised on the very top edge of the cake for what seemed like eternity so we could get the pictures. And then, when we finally made the cut, the most majestic crescendo of John Williams' score happened to hit at exactly the same time. It was the most hilarious moment.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I learned so much about letting go. We originally planned to get married on our five-year anniversary, February 1. We never thought to check when Super Bowl weekend was. They never play it in cold weather states like New Jersey. Whoops! We simply couldn't get a block of hotel rooms to save our life. And so, after letting myself completely panic for about five minutes, we decided that we'll just get married the next weekend — and we did. Getting married was one big lesson in looking at the big picture and letting go of the little things.

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Comments on Lauren & Chuck’s Old Hollywood goofball wedding

  1. I can’t believe our wedding is on Offbeat Bride! I’m so excited!! Thank you! I just want to give a shoutout to our photographers, Autumn and Craig Pittelli who are an outstanding, outrageous, amazing husband and wife team!!

  2. Oh this wedding is spectacular!
    So gorgeous!
    I love your take on the UP! fingerprint guest book (I did something similar, but not nearly as fancy. 😀 )
    and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the use of Paperman from Disney on your cake. That was beautiful.

    • Thank you so much Andrea! It means so much to hear that other people love the little touches that meant so much to us! I love that you did Up too! So great!! Our cake, was executed so well by Cocoa Bakery. Jessica is a baking genius!

    • Thank you Leon! Iron Man was my favorite (and I may have nudged my husband that way when he was deciding what super hero should be his haha). His little helmet flipped up and everything! We also actually made them out of minifigure keychains and pulled the chain off and kept it so the guys could put it back on after the wedding and keep it on their keys if they wanted.

  3. That final black and white shot of the two of you sitting in the seats is breathtaking! Congratulations! Gorgeous wedding!

    • Thank you so much Kerry!! It’s one of my favorite shots and something our photographers, who never saw the venue until the day of the wedding, came up with on the spot.

  4. What Madeline L’Engle reading did you use? We are on the hunt for good readings and I adore L’Engle’s books!

    • Hey Shannon! Sorry it took me a few days to get to your comment, I kept not being by a desktop computer to get to our ceremony I had saved. We used a reading from The Irrational Season.
      “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.—“

  5. I love so much about this!! The Peter & Wendy cake, Jurassic Park, but mostly the Up thumbprints! Brilliant!

    • Thank you so much Chelsea! Our Up thumbprint guest book is my favorite wedding keepsake!

  6. I love the bride’s dress. It’s gorgeous!
    Another awesome, beautifully crafted wedding. It’s so nice to see all these weddings that are obviously just what the couple wanted.
    I’m having issues with the decor and trusting anyone else to get it right… I’m so glad to hear it can work!

    • Thank you so much Katie! It’s actually a David’s Bridal dress that I got on sale! It can definitely work! Good luck with all your planning!

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