Photos by Vladimir Chaloupka

The Offbeat Bride: Monica, Administrative Assistant (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Eirik, Writer

Date and location of wedding: Pecos National Monument and Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza, Santa Fe, NM — May 4, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Eirik and I wanted our wedding to be outside and when we found Pecos National Monument we knew it was the right place. Our parents loved it because it was technically a church, and we loved it because it was the burned down ancient ruins of a church. Since most of our guests were flying in, we mixed our love for pop culture with New Mexico culture.



Despite the outdoor, sand-filled location, I wore a poofy dress. I wasn't afraid of sand, but the many ants that found their way into my dress were a bit distressing. It was a windy day, which made for some great photos.


Some of the pop culture and New Mexico culture references we made overlapped. We designed our own program with photos of dinosaurs on the cover that represent us — a T. rex for him (his favorite), and a parasaurolophus for me, since it's from New Mexico.


Our save the date magnets were based off the When Harry Met Sally movie poster. This was one of my favorite movies growing up, and Eirik's grandparents are extras in it. We had an iPod playlist for the reception and asked guests to make requests. We picked our wedding date as May 4th and used the phrase “May The Fourth Be With You” on the invites and anything we printed for the wedding.



We used flags at the ceremony (based on this tutorial!) which had film/TV/song quotes, our last names combined, and fun cartoons printed on them.


Eirik handmade all the flowers. Since we met online, my bouquet was made out of paper that I had printed our very first emails to each other on. My bridesmaids' flowers had their respective names printed on them, the moms had white flowers with “Mom” printed on them, and the groomsmen and dads had boutonnieres made out of pages from comics books. All of our centerpieces were movie themed and had popcorn containers filled with our favorite candies: Reese's and gummy bears.


Tell us about the ceremony: I was so nervous at the beginning of the ceremony, which I hadn't expected. Eirik's cousin Matt, a pastor, was our officiant. I had met him before and we had spoken via email about the ceremony, but I didn't know him that well. At the beginning of the ceremony, my veil flew right into Matt's face. The laughter of our family and friends and the look on Matt's face immediately put me at ease.


Matt performed a beautiful ceremony, keeping it simple and exactly what we wanted. We had two readings — one from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, one of Eirik's favorite books, and used a passage suggested on Offbeat Bride. The other reading was my choice, and I had a really challenging time finding something. Thankfully the Offbeat Bride Tribe had a great suggestion: “Love” by Erich Fried.


It was beautiful weather, but very windy. My sister had to hold my veil for the entire ceremony so it wouldn't continue whipping people in the face. Eirik's uncle Mike played us out to an acoustic version of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros' “Home.”


Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was that most of our guests were arriving from out of town. There were flight delays and a lot of travel itineraries to contend with. I made an effort to email everyone a wedding schedule in advance, with times, addresses, and phone numbers. The night before the wedding it was really challenging not to be nervous about who hadn't arrived and who was still stranded in other airports — especially since two members of the bridal party and our music man were included in that group! Everyone made it in time though, and I'm so glad they did.


My favorite moment: We wrote our own vows. I got super emotional during mine, even though they were fairly silly and light-hearted. Eirik is a writer, so I knew his were going to be great, but they really floored me. I was sincerely amazed. Right after the ceremony we ran off and asked for a couple minutes alone. It was so special, we finally had some time to ourselves to take in the last few hours. Our photographer snuck up on us and took photos anyway, but I'm so grateful he captured that moment!


At the end of the reception the final song was “Alive With The Glory Of Love” by Say Anything. Eirik and I sang it to each other at the top of our lungs with our friends/family in a circle around us cheering us on, which felt spectacular.




My funniest moment: One of Eirik's groomsmen, Toryn, pulled me aside before the cake cutting and said Eirik was going to smoosh cake in my face, so I better be ready. He did the same to Eirik. Neither of us had any intention of smashing each other's faces with cake, but we were sure the other one was going to. It was pretty funny later when we realized it was Toryn's fault, so I made sure to get some cake on Toryn's face too.


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was positive everyone was going to get lost. Our reception was held 40 minutes from the ceremony site and was not listed on any GPS. I emailed and handed out maps designed by a surveyor friend, only to find out the day before the wedding that there was going to be a construction detour! I also appointed a “map master” who could give directions or help if someone was lost. Thankfully, no one ended up lost or hopelessly wandering the desert!


My advice for Offbeat Brides: Try to keep both your material and emotional expectations realistic. Plan to a point that it may seem a little crazy — it will be worth it! And then when you've inevitably forgotten a detail (in my case, who was going to clean up at the end of the night) be open to everyone coming together to make it happen!


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Comments on A pop culture desert wedding

  1. Wow, so many great things in this wedding and write-up! I love that you made your bouquet out of your first emails to each other; I find that ridiculously romantic, especially since my husband and I spent a lot of time talking to each other online after we first met.

    I love all the pictures of your veil in the wind – it’s the first time I’ve actually really liked a veil! I love all the little details you put into the wedding, without them being distracting. Well done and beautiful!

    Oh, and we totally forgot about after-party cleanup too. 🙂

  2. Thank you! I didn’t even want a bouquet at first, but once we came up with the email idea, I loved it!
    I’m glad the photos came out so well with the wind- it made the chairs almost blowing away and the general wind drama totally worth it.
    I was so thrilled that everyone came together to make cleanup happen. We are so lucky!

  3. Oh my gosh, you two are an awesome couple, your wedding was amazing, and the photos are fantastic! As a pro photographer myself, I am soooo glad that you made great photography a high priority. I’ve seen some wonderful, creative weddings, but it makes me a little sad when the photos aren’t very good, because I can always imagine how much better they could’ve been. Looking at this post, I was just 100% happy for you, because your photographer did an outstanding job! Congratulations! Oh, and can you share the quote you used from _So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish_? Thanks so much!

  4. I love the paper flowers! I tried to make paper flowers a few times and always ended by throwing my hands up in a huff of frustration. Ha.

    Seriously though, beautiful wedding. Congrats.

    • Thanks! Honestly, that’s exactly how I felt about making them. Eirik has a lot more patience than me. One of the many reasons we’re a good match. 🙂

  5. Your venue is amazing! Absolutely beautiful! Congrats to you both, you both look so happy. I’m such a sentimental nerd, I love, love, love that your bouquet was made from your first emails to each other.

  6. Wow, what a stunning backdrop for a wedding!

    I thought there might have been some Star Wars mixed in there since you were married on May the 4th!

    • We had trouble sticking to a theme! We did have a Star Wars Centerpiece (not pictured), we used the Star Wars font in our invite, and we sent thank you cards with Yoda on them. Even our thank you cards were a little mixed up…we also used Spiderman, Batman, and Winnie the Pooh cards.

  7. Beautiful wedding venue and you are one gorgeous bespectacled bride! I have loved the idea of using that passage from So Long and Thanks for all the Fish ever since I saw it on OBB too.

  8. Great pictures! I love the brilliant blue sky against the red sandstone. I also really like your movie themed tables and might have to suggest it to a certain mister. Congratulations!!

  9. Your beautiful smile brought tears to my eyes! I hope I look this joyful and excited on my wedding day. Congratulations to both of you!

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