The Offbeat Bride: Faith, Technical Writer
Her offbeat partner: Aaron, Mechanical Engineering/Art Studio student and amateur blacksmith
Date and location of wedding: Sunrise Springs in Santa Fe, NM — April 28, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Both Aaron and I have many interests, so it was helpful to narrow down the theme to things that both of us enjoy equally: steampunk and Muppets. Aaron and the groomsmen adopted a Western/science fiction look to compliment the style of my dress, and my parents both attended in steampunk outfits they designed. We handed out spin drums instead of rice, used cue cards inspired by Stephen Colbert's “The Wørd” to entertain our guests while we exchanged private vows, and had a fabulous Muppet wedding cake.
Aaron is an artist and amateur blacksmith, and he made goggles for the entire wedding party, as well as ray guns (some of which fired LED “bullets”), and flame-powered centerpieces. My creativity was limited to the paper flower/Muppet/clock bouquet, cue cards, and family certificate.
Our wonderful friends helped by decorating the spin drums and editing video clips from The Muppets Take Manhattan and Sesame Street. We also had a thumbprint tree in place of a guest book and encouraged guests to contribute to a community art project we now have hanging in our living room.
Tell us about the ceremony: The Magnetic Fields' “The Book of Love” was a no-brainer for our processional. The words are just the right mix of poignant and irreverent.
We spent a lot of time on the wording and flow of the ceremony to make sure that it reflected both of us and was entertaining as well as meaningful. The opening of the ceremony mentioned the struggle for marriage equality, and included a blessing for all those whose love is not yet legally recognized. Aaron was concerned about politicizing the ceremony, but this was particularly important to me, as a bisexual woman.
We had two readings: “Tin Wedding Whistle,” by Ogden Nash, and passage from Plato's Symposium that references Hephaestus, the God of the Forge. I especially loved our ring exchange:
This ring, whose elements were formed in the inferno of a dying star, symbolizes my eternal hot, burning love for you.
Two of our friends performed a song written for the occasion while we signed the marriage certificate. Before the recessional, we brought the kids forward, and the officiant presented us for the first time as a family. We walked up the aisle to “Across the Universe.”
Our biggest challenge: I must say, we were hit with an unfair number of challenges. On a personal level, Aaron was laid off four months before the wedding, and his parents (from whom he is estranged) sued us for visitation of their grandchildren. On top of that, the wonderfully funky gastropub we'd reserved for the reception went out of business right before I sent out the invitations, and we spent several frantic weeks traveling between Albuquerque and Santa Fe looking for a replacement. In the end we went with a prominent steakhouse owned by the same company — they felt bad and cut us a real deal.
As stressful as those last months were, planning the wedding was a blessing because it gave us something fun to think about instead of dwelling on all of the negative things we couldn't control. Our theme allowed us to be as creative as we wished, and there were lots of fun projects to work on when we felt down.
My favorite moment: Aaron: We wanted my kids (ages six and eight) to participate in the wedding, but Faith didn't want to have a flower girl or ring bearer. After we exchanged private vows, we had the kids join us at the altar for children's vows. Faith and I promised to be good parents, and the kids promised to help us create a loving family. Then we all “signed” a family certificate with our thumbprints.
Faith: With Aaron estranged from his family, the elements of a wedding that call for joining two families were difficult to discuss and hard to work around. In the end, Aaron asked two older women (one of whom I've known all my life), who happen to be sisters, if they would be his new parents. They enthusiastically accepted, and we used their names on the invitations along with the names of my parents. During the ceremony, both sets of parents were asked if they would accept us into their families. It was one of the most beautiful and touching things I've ever seen. And it didn't stop at the wedding: these wonderful women have truly adopted Aaron as their son, and our family is joined to theirs in all the ways that matter.
My funniest moment: While we both liked the idea of writing our own vows, neither of us felt comfortable sharing them aloud in front of our guests. Instead, we exchanged a few public vows, then whispered our private vows to each other while the guests listened to “I'm Going to Go Back There Someday,” by The Muppets, and the maid of honor and best man held up cue cards we'd written to entertain the guests. We called them “The Vøws,” and had the maid of honor hold the “serious” cards while the best man held the funny/mocking responses. So far, so good.
While all this was going on, Aaron announced, “This may take a while,” and with a flourish he pulled out a sheaf of papers he'd taped together so they accordioned to the floor. I was still laughing when he started reading his vows, which referenced several of our private jokes. It was wonderful.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: One of the best decisions I made was to ask a friend with more experience at weddings to be my coordinator/personal badass. I'd only attended a couple of weddings before my own, and wasn't familiar with some of the basic elements of the ceremony and reception. My own wedding was pretty offbeat compared to the weddings Lisa had attended, but it was still helpful to know what the traditional expectations would be so I could either deliberately subvert them or find an acceptable alternative.
If your wedding will be in a town different from where you live, enlist some friends who live there (or use Facebook) to keep tabs on your venues. And visit often! At my last visit to the bar we'd reserved for our reception, I noticed the menu had been greatly limited. The staff was tight-lipped about what it meant, so I asked two friends who lived in the area to let me know if they heard any rumors about the restaurant closing. Thanks to them, I got the bad news weeks earlier than I would have otherwise.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? Aaron had been married before, and had been largely excluded during the wedding planning. Until he told me that, I had a hard time getting him to help me make some of the decisions. Once he understood that I really did value his opinion and that I was dedicated to making sure the ceremony and reception reflected both of us, he got in the spirit of things. For Aaron, it was important to add a level of sophistication that had been missing at his first picnic/potluck wedding while still breaking with old traditions and creating new ones.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photographer: William Bledsoe. Will was not only sweet, but unobtrusive, appropriate, and endlessly creative. Thanks to Will, I now have pictures of my camera-shy hubby smiling and looking relaxed.
- Muppet wedding cake: ABC Bakery
- Venue: Sunrise Springs
- Dress: Etsy seller Bohemian Goddess
- Shoes: Hades Footwear purchased from Free Radicals in Albuquerque
- Hair: Antonio at Antonio's Hair Studio. Antonio is a true gem. I was so afraid of being intimidated into a typical wedding updo I didn't want, but Antonio didn't even blink when I handed him an enormous octopus barrette. He shooed my friends out of his studio and told me risqué stories that made me laugh until I cried. May every bride and groom have such a great pre-wedding experience.
Comments on Faith & Aaron’s steamy Muppet wedding with a touch of Stephen Colbert
It’s been a while since I’ve checked out a wedding profile on here since I’ve been married for about a year now, but when you put the words steampunk, muppets, and colbert in the same sentence, I pay attention. This is crazy! Would you look at that dress? And those shoes are awesome! Can I go back in time and be a guest at this wedding?
OMGoodness, I LOVE your dress. Where did you get it?
I LOVE my dress! I got it from The Bohemian Goddess store on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBohemianGoddess
This brilliant woman takes old wedding gowns and dyes them by hand, maybe putting together a skirt from one damaged dress to the bodice of another. And her prices are a STEAL. I had to have it altered, because the dresses are one-of-a-kind and all, but it still came in way, way under what I expected. Thanks for asking; I meant to list her as a vendor and felt so bad when I realized I’d forgotten!
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SHOES!? 🙂
I love the train. It’s like a flower!
that is one of the top 5 dresses I have seen on this site. brava.
so much love and so much TO love!
truly inspiring wedding!
Okay, so I definitely teared up reading this. The private vows thing. How absolutely wonderful. Weddings can get so crazy and I’ve noticed the focus starts to be more on the guests than the whole reason you’re doing it! That’s just so perfect.
On a lighter note: YOUR SHOES OMG OMG.
Oh my gosh, I’m so excited that our wedding got profiled here! Offbeat Bride was so inspirational and saved my sanity more than once.
The shoes are from a brand called Hades, and I got them from an awesome local store in Albuquerque called Free Radicals http://www.freeradicalshq.com . The owners are some of the coolest people on the planet; if you can use them, please do so!
The groom’s vow presentation is the best ever.
And that dress is one of the most lovely creations.
I’ll agree with everyone that the dress is truly one of the finest ever seen here, and I’ll even comment how much those cue cards absolutely tickled me! But…what I really wanted to say was, I’m very happy for you guys. It looks like Aaron really needed a strong, kindhearted woman in his life and he hit the jackpot. This goes without saying, but good on you for including him in the wedding plans! You can’t fake that kind of joy in pics, and he’s positively glowing standing beside his beautiful bride!
It brought a tear to my eye, sorry!
And now you’ve brought tears to my eyes as well! Thank you for your kind words. We really are ridiculously in love, and I definitely hit the jackpot with him.
Oh my … the dress! I can’t even … wow.
Thank you for sharing your special day. Best wishes to you and your family 🙂
I am so inspired by the way you created a special part of the ceremony in which to include your children! I’m getting married next year, and my fiance and I have two children together already, so we don’t feel like our wedding is just a celebration of our love but also our life with our kids. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful day. I will definately be giving some thought to incorporating our own family bond during our ceremony! Best wishes, and ps, your dress is AHMAZING! 🙂
OMG I like the bride dress… It is so nice like an mermaid……….
I LOVE that song “I’m going to go back there some day…” I am so excited to see someone using it like that. Perfect! 🙂
And the cue cards were hilarious. And yes, the shoes are amazing… Etc. etc. etc. 🙂
That wedding sounds PERFECT!
Love the Octopus barrette and the shoes and Wow – that dress is beautiful and purple! And who doesn’t love the muppets?
hahaha! I LOVED those signs the bridesmaid and groomsman held up. So cute and funny! And I am totally in love with your dress, too!
Love this! The steampunk and bride’s dress is wonderful. I’ve always planned on eloping but it’s been my dream to have The Muppets “Somebody’s Getting Married” and “He’ll Make Me Happy” be a part of my day.
Unique doesn’t even begin to describe this wedding. At first glance, I thought the couple through several different themes into a hat and blindly chose 3, but the more photos I saw, the more the theme actually worked. I really liked the cue cards they made me laugh.
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