The Offbeat Bride: Stacy, Fundraising Professional and Artist
Her offbeat partner: Bart, Author of Paranoid Fiction
Date and location of wedding: Palace Theatre, Albany, NY — August 30, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to find a venue that offered a really unique ambiance and captured the spirit of our relationship. The Palace Theatre in our hometown of Albany, New York was built in 1931; it originally presented vaudeville acts between feature films. The two of us shared many date nights at the theater so it was a perfect fit!
We used the theater theme throughout the wedding, so as soon as guests arrived they were offered popcorn (in buckets which doubled as our ceremony program) and miniature cans of Sofia Coppola champagne. The ceremony took place right on stage in front of the red curtain, with guests seated in the velvety red theater seats.
Cocktail hour took place upstairs in the beautiful mezzanine, and when it was over the guests went back into the theater where the curtain was lifted and all the whole reception was set up on stage. We had food stations that were themed after our trips together (Southern food from a trip to Nashville and Tennessee, Mexican food inspired by our first date at El Loco Mexican Cafe, and a New Orleans dessert station). I think a lot of folks were surprised when we were introduced into the reception with the raising of the orchestra pit.
There were so many other details that we added which tied back to the two of us. Since we opted to go to Morocco for our honeymoon, we incorporated a lot of Moroccan flair (bright colors, lanterns, and decorative pillows). Bart is an author, so we used vintage books as table centerpieces. We gave away little bow tie cakes and mini bottles of champagne as favors, since we used to have “champagne weekends” when we were dating.
One of our favorite things to do is eat at diners, so the caterer passed diner breakfast hors d'oeuvres as a late night snack. We worked hard to incorporate all these little things while still keeping the vibe consistent and I think it turned out a lot like our relationship… perfectly imperfect!
Tell us about the ceremony:
We asked my high school English teacher, and very dear friend, to do a reading from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. She did a phenomenal job of reading to the very captive audience, and it was hard not to tear up when the fox tells the little prince about becoming responsible for his rose.
Our biggest challenge:
The theater was intensely beautiful, but it was a challenge to create a “flow” event that would make the whole crowd comfortable in such a large space. We did our best to set up different areas that would accommodate clusters of guests, yet keep everyone close enough to feel like they were all part of the same party. The DJ was on stage with a dance floor space surrounded by guest tables, and there were food stations set up in the corners. In the back of the theater, we created a quieter lounge area with leather furniture and Moroccan decor, and a separate bar. We also hired a tarot card reader who set up an area for private readings which was hugely popular! Since we did not want to have assigned seating, it was important that we gave guests easy access to food, drinks, entertainment, and plenty of seating all night long.
My favorite moment:
During the cocktail hour, the two of us took a 1937 Rolls Royce to nearby Washington Park, which is next to a little restaurant where we met almost five years ago. The photographer took pictures of us splitting a margarita in El Loco Mexican Cafe, and we even took a photo on the crosswalk where we first saw each other. It was super romantic to go on this little tour of Albany in a bad-ass car and to relive the first steps of our relationship on our wedding day.
We also spent a great deal of time selecting meaningful songs for our special dances, since music is such a huge part of our lives. “Unchained Melody” was our first dance… it was such a nice surprise that the DJ played it as the last dance, too, and invited all the guests to join us. My father and I love Aerosmith, so we danced to “Don't Wanna Miss a Thing,” but Bart selected the more lively “Build Me Up Buttercup” for he and his mother to dance to. We cut the cake to “I Put a Spell on You” by Nina Simone, I threw my bouquet to Tears for Fears' “Head Over Heels.” The soundtrack to the garter toss was Ween's “Voodoo Lady.”
My funniest moment:
The guy who caught the garter didn't know he had to dance with the girl who caught the bouquet. They were both really good sports and they lucked out because the awkward song that we picked out for them to dance to (“Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins) did not work when the DJ tried to play it. The nod to Phil Collins was in celebration of a solemn pact early on in our relationship to only fight using Phil Collins lyrics.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It's so important to stay focused on you, especially when so much of the wedding itself is about family and friends. It's easy to get caught up in trying to make everyone else happy. We kept a giant white board in our dining room the whole time that we were planning, and we took turns adding notes, making lists, and jotting down ideas to keep the creative wedding juices flowing. It worked really well, and now we are using it for post-wedding dreams and aspirations, and home improvement ideas! The key is to stick together, and to stick to the plan.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Upstate Photographers
- Floral & Decor: Renaissance Floral Design
- Wedding Invitations: LetterBox Ink by Laura Nehls
- Catering: Mazzone Catering
- Cake Topper: Jolie En Rose Vintage
- Bride's Jewelry: Michal Negrin
- Guest Poster Design: MDB Weddings
- Grooms' Cakes: Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!