The Offbeat Bride: Stephanie, Teacher
Her offbeat partner: Kyle, Lawyer
Date and location of wedding: The Cottage at the Milleridge Inn, Jericho, New York — August 10, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I originally wanted a very small (20-person) wedding at a carnival. The wedding I ended up having was more traditional than I thought I wanted, but after everything was said and done, I don't think I could have been more perfect for us. I haven't been to many weddings myself, so I did not realize how many things I did that were out of the norm. We did not have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, I had a male bridesmaid, my dress was pink, and both of our mothers walked us down the aisle.
We also had Harry Potter programs, Lord of the Rings cake topper, Mickey Mouse ear hats, a Star Wars head table sign, and a surprise birthday cake. I also made the cake topper and the bird terrarium and book centerpieces by hand.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our officiant was Kyle's great aunt, and she incorporated two lovely traditions in our ceremony. The first was a ring blessing where we held up our rings and all the guests sent their good energy, prayers and wishes. The second was a “first kiss” ceremony. In this ritual, before a couple has their first kiss as husband and wife, they get a kiss from the person that gave them their first kiss, in our case our mothers.
We both wrote our vows. I asked the guests to participate by including a Harry Potter-themed question (clue: their response was “Always”). We got married under a traditional Jewish wedding arch called a chuppah. My older sister knit the canopy which took her over nine months to make. It is an amazing labor of love that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
Our biggest challenge:
Managing expectations was a challenge. Kyle and I have been in each others' lives since the age of 16, and everyone who has crossed our path since that time had two cents to add. I have to admit I bought into the “my wedding has to be a perfect representation of my dreams” mindset a lot of brides fall into, which was hard coupled with our families' more traditional ideas. My culture also came into play. I'm second-generation Haitian, and in my culture, weddings are not as much about the couple as they are about the families, so it was hard having my voice heard without making people feel I didn't care about them.
Another big challenge was our budget. We live in New York where an average wedding is $65K. At the time, I was an associate teacher at a private school and Kyle worked for the city, so we did not have that much to spend. We had a two-year engagement and chose our battles wisely which helped with both challenges.
My favorite moment:
My parents split up when I was eight which I have always been okay with. My mother is amazing and I never felt I was missing something. Ever since I was a little girl I imagined her walking me down the aisle. I cannot describe how fulfilling it was to have her take that honor at my wedding. When I grew up, I always wanted to repay her for all she's done. We all fall short, but sometimes you get these little moments where you feel they understand how much you appreciate them.
My funniest moment:
During the Hora (Jewish dance where they put you on chairs and lift you up), the ushers dropped me! I was having such a good time I just hopped right back on and had the ride of my life.
While the wedding party was waiting to be announced, my maid of honor (who is my younger sister) and I randomly broke out in song. We sang “Love Brought Us Here” from Muppet Treasure Island. I was Kermit, she was Piggie, and by the end we were dancing and screaming. It was nice to have such an intimate moment with her in public, it was pure sister magic.
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