kisses under the arches

The offbeat bride: Mich, special needs educator (and Tribe moderator)

Her offbeat partner: Dan, plumber

Date and location of wedding: The Views at Mt Fuji, Hillburn, NY — April 17, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We planned the wedding trans-Atlantically. I'm from the UK and my husband is from NY, and at the time of wedding planning we were living over 3000 miles apart. All the planning took place online, with emails and Skype calls to potential vendors and my husband looked at venues alone and booked our final choice without me even having seen it!

black wedding rings

I wore a black dress, handmade by myself, matched up with a pair of kick-ass wedding Doc Marten boots. We DIYed practically everything, from the invites to the decor, and the dresses to the bouquets. I walked down the aisle to “Arrival to Earth” from the Transformers soundtrack!


We had no flowers at the wedding — my bouquet was made from twisted metal, and we had balloon girls instead of flowergirls. We had a Japanese buffet-style dinner and the food was AMAZING! We had no religion in our wedding at all, just a whole lot of love. We also folded 1000 paper cranes for decor.


Instead of a wedding cake we had three towers of cupcakes: red velvet vegan ones for me, and regular vanilla and chocolate ones.

our ceremonyTell us about the ceremony: We worked together with our officiant to write a personalized ceremony that I really felt told the story of our friendship, love, and long distance relationship.

It included passages such as:

“When we look at our world we can see the way love finds its way into the darkest moment of our history and the brightest moments of our lives. Love finds its way. In Dan and Mich's lives, love defied time, and convention, and distance. The passion that these two have for one another, connected continents and refused to be separated by an ocean. Love found its way.”

Our friend Jill did this reading for us (a slight adaptation of Union by Robert Fulghum):

laughter and tears during vows

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks — all those conversations that began with, “When we're married,” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” –- all those late night talks on the webcam that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” –- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we've promised, and hoped, and dreamed? Well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment, you have been many things to one another, acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world, “This is my husband.” “This is my wife.”

I won rock paper scissors

We wrote our vows which we kept secret from each other until the ceremony. We chose three elements to include in our vows (I love you, I accept, and I promise) and started with rock-paper-scissors to see who would go first.

Me to him:

I love you because you make me laugh, every single day, even when it's something totally inappropriate that I should NOT be laughing at.
I love you because, despite the distance, we always made time for each other and continue to do so. And somewhere between the long talks and making fun of each other, I fell for you.
I love you because you make me happier than I ever knew was possible.
I accept that you will smack talk while playing Call of Duty.
I accept that you will make fun of the British things I say.
I accept that you'll keep doing it until I stop laughing.
I promise to fall in love with you at least once every day.
I promise to always plan adventures and exciting things for us to do together so we never get old and boring.
I promise to tell you that I love you every night before we fall asleep.
I'm marrying you today because I love you more than I have ever found a way to say.

Him to me:

I love you because you are smart, funny, and beautiful.
I love you because you get my sense of humor.
I love you because you are my best friend.
I accept that sometimes I may not understand what you are saying.
I accept that after the wedding you may never have long hair again.
I accept that you will always be right.
I promise to love you no matter how old and wrinkly we get.
I promise to always be there for you no matter the situation.
I promise to love you even if you get bitten by a zombie.

this is the photo we sent out

Our biggest challenge: We had a number of mishaps: our original officiant canceled on us, our rings went missing in the mail, we fell out with a few bridal party members, and had a DJ who kept trying to play his standard rubbish wedding mixes. But looking back at the wedding now, 10 months later, all of those things are a distant blur, and the things that stand out to me are the wonderful moments. So my advice to overcoming challenges is to just deal with them swiftly and then forget all about them. Don't let the difficult things taint the memories of your wedding day.

father/ daughter dance

My favorite moment: Walking down the aisle in a dress that I had sewn myself felt amazing! It gave me that extra confidence boost that I needed when my nerves hit me and the tears almost started flowing.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

My family worked together to add a few traditional elements back into the wedding, and it was just the right amount. My aunty asked if I would like to wear my nana's engagement necklace (even my nana was offbeat by having a necklace instead of a ring). I borrowed my mum's old, blue sapphire ring and she attached it to my underskirt with a new ribbon — old, borrowed, new, and blue! My dad walked me down the aisle, but let me walk the last few steps alone.

scottish good luck horseshoe

My niece gave me a lucky horseshoe, a Scottish tradition. This one was extra special as it had been handmade by my great-grandfather many years ago.

one balloon girl walking BACKWARDS down the aisle

My funniest moment: The funny stuff started with a balloon girl who didn't want to walk down the aisle saying, “I can't do it, I can't do it!” But she did it walking BACKWARDS the entire way!

my dads speech

The after-dinner speeches given by my dad and our wedding party were so funny! My dad's was especially funny to us, as half the guests couldn't understand his Scottish accent and didn't even get that he was telling a joke.

to honour!

My bridesmaid fulfilled her role perfectly with embarrassing stories and tales, and concluded her speech with our favorite drinking toast “to Honor,” at which the top table continued the toast by mumbling under their breaths “… get on her, stay on her, and if you can't come in her, come on her.”

dirty dancing

We drank, danced a lot, and laughed more than ever on the dance floor. We broke out the robot, grinding, reenacting Dirty Dancing (and that was just the guys), and at one point Dan and I ended up sliding through each others' legs on the dancefloor!

so funny

My advice for offbeat brides: As a girl who had never dreamed of getting married, or planned imaginary weddings when I was a kid, I felt kinda thrown in the deep end when we started to plan our wedding. Initially my thought was “ARGH, I want this to be so totally different and offbeat” that I didn't even know where to start. So instead, I looked at each aspect of a “traditional wedding” and worked out how to keep, change, or cut it to be true to ourselves.

Oh, and if you're going to fold 1000 paper cranes, start early!

last dance to "journey - don't stop believing"

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Comments on Mich & Dan’s gothic Transformers and cupcakes wedding

  1. Woot! So happy to get to see this again (since it was on the Tribe too). That is one heck of an example of how to rock tattoos at your wedding.

    • Thanks Little Red Lupine.
      Designing and sewing my own dress was definitely beneficial to showing off my tattoos.
      I knew that my lotus looked best with a sweetheart neckline, and I wanted a scoop back to show off my wings πŸ™‚

    Massive caplocks out of the way, your wedding dress is absolutely stunning. I wish you the best of luck! <3

    • sweet avenue bakeshop cupcakes are the BEST!!!
      We had regular choc and vanilla cupcakes provided by the venues bakery and then red velvet sexy sadie cupcakes.
      I kept telling other people they were vegan in the hope that they would be put off and not eat them so i could have them all to myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (it didnt work)

  3. Everything was so beautiful and personal! I love the rock paper scissors idea!

    • thanks,
      it got a giggle from our families when the officiant announced it, and then a roar of laughter when we actually went through with it!!
      I’m glad I won and got to go first, his vows made me cry so much I dont think I would have managed mine at all

      • We’re doing rock paper scissors lizard Spock to determine who goes first πŸ˜€

        • Awesome!
          Although I’ve never quite figured out who beats what when the game gets that complex!

  4. YAY
    so excited to see my wedding featured on the blog πŸ˜€

    I was just looking through my wedding album the other day and I LOVE the work that Tiffany Arment did for us.
    She was so awesome and even let me do the post processing/editing of the photos myself afterwards

  5. I love the pic where he’s looking lovingly at you and you’re looking lovingly at cupcakes. That would totally be me πŸ™‚

    • heehee
      I love cupcakes!!
      I love my husband more, but the cupcakes had certainly caught my attention at that moment in time πŸ™‚

      we had quite a lot of amusement trying to feed each other cake, neither one of us could get the wrapper off the cupcake and then I poked him up the nose with the little origami crane!

  6. So gorgeous, Mich. Your day is really inspiring and certainly seems like it was heaps of fun! Well done!! x

    • thank you
      it was the most fun day EVER! I got sad when I realised it was the end of the night

  7. I needed to read this! Our wedding is in ten days, and there are some similarities between what y’all did and what we’re doing! I’m even wearing a black dress! The vows are especially helpful. We have really struggled to figure out what we wanted to say, and I knew I wanted to make a few promises to each other but I love that you included the “I love” and “I accept” parts as well. I may definitely be borrowing those as we spend the next few days writing vows. Thanks for sharing your beautiful wedding!

    • feel free to borrow away.
      Having the 3 part structure meant that my husband felt comfortable writing his own vows and that our vows would sound good together rather than me talking for ages and him just saying “yeh ditto”

  8. brilliant, beautiful wedding, and I love the boots! the divine, rose embroidered boots. amazing job on the perfect wedding dress! wishing you a life together that’s as much fun as your wedding!

    • Wedding DM boots were my first wedding purchase!!!
      My family have joked since I was a teenager that I would walk down the aisle in a pair of Dr Martens!
      and the best thing about choosing “sensible” wedding shoes… I get to wear them all the time πŸ™‚ and then I look at my feet and smile coz I’m wearing my wedding shoes πŸ™‚

  9. This is just amazing! I love how offbeat and awesome your wedding was. Did you find you struggled at all with your family accepting some of your non-traditional ideas? And the dress you made was incredible!

    • My Mum was awesome, she even suggested the skull and roses fabric for the balloon girl dresses.
      she enjoyed bragging to people that I was going to be wearing a black dress and since the wedding has shared the photos with EVERYONE.

      My Dad was great, he made jokes about my tattoos and piercings in his speech including claiming that the neighbours used to ask him to keep my indoors at halloween because I was scaring the neighbourhood kids!!!
      Seriously tho, he kept telling me how beautiful I was and how much he liked my dress.

      and the rest of my family are just used to me by now, at least my hair was a “normal” colour for the wedding!!!!
      My husbands family may have been a little more shocked tho. His extended family didn’t know how tattooed I was OR that I was wearing a black dress until I walked down the aisle!!! and we think some of them would have preferred a normal wedding in a church with a white dress and traditional stuff.

      My solution before the wedding was to only share details with people that I knew would be accepting (or that I wanted to shock and didnt care what their opinion would be)
      And after the wedding: My husband and I had THE best day and our friends still tell us how fun our wedding was so thats what was more important to us than worrying about whether a distant family member who we never really see liked the non-traditional aspects of the wedding or not

      Thanks for the compliments on my dress πŸ™‚

  10. I am in love with your bouquet and boutonierre. I’ve been getting frustrated with what bouquet to use (fake or real flowers) but my dress has spikes on it and a metal bouquet would match and fix everything. I hope you don’t mind, I’m headed straight to etsy to get one! Also, you did fantastic work on your dress. Very flattering.

    • Amber from Refinerii did us such a great job on the bouquet and boutonniere.
      Glad that i’ve helped you find a bouquet to go with your dress (which sounds super interesting)

  11. Amazing! I remember looking through your pics on the Tribe and LOVING them. Your dress is amazeballs! A real WOW moment when you walked down the aisle. Also rocking the tattoos. I’m pretty sure it was your photos that planted the seed of a chest piece in my head!

    The cranes look lovely too. Where they all black and red?

  12. yay for chest pieces!!!!!!!

    the cranes were mostly black and red (used to hang in the pagoda, behind the cake table and as scatter table decor) there were also mini silver cranes used as cupcake toppers, on the name cards for guests and sent out on the invitations

  13. OMG: so much fun to see the actual wedding πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for posting all the pics–I’m so glad you liked the bouquet & bout πŸ™‚ Love the contrast with the black dress: absolutely perfect!


  14. I’d be interesed in knowing more about planning a wedding when both partners are in different countries.
    My Boyfriend lives on the West Coast of the USA and I live in the UK so if he ever proposes, that’s going to be a huge logistical undertaking. Especially as I’m not sure where we’d have the wedding, being as neither of our families can hardly afford to buy plane tickets in either direction :S

    • It certainly was a challenge, but the key aspects were online planning and communication

      I had more free time so I did most of the preliminary research online and then during skype dates we would discuss and make decisions.
      My husband was then responsible for contacting vendors and visiting venues.
      We even manged to kep some vendors to do skypee calls with us.

      As for choosing which country to get married in, we chose the one that we wanted to live in because it made immigration easier.

      My immediate family were ableto fly over for the wedding but unfortunately many of my close friends were not

  15. LOVE LOVE LOVE This!
    I also love the venue location, didn’t realize Japan was only two hours away from me :-D.
    Tempted to change my plans and use your venue but everyone would kill me especially because its a 2hr drive. May visit there someday though =)

    • You should DEFINITELY go for dinner ther at least.
      They do an awesome Sunday brunch in the banquet hall, or fantastic hibachi and sushi upstairs every evening.
      Can’t wait to go back for our anniversary dinner!!

      I would 100% recommend the views as a weddingvenue, we now LOVE bruce the catering manager/wedding organizer/all round awesome guy.
      And all the staff gave amazing service all day

    • You should get them and then we can be shoetwins!!
      They are SUPER comfortable because they are made of soft girly leather rather than the usual thick tough leather than means your boots take months to wear in

  16. OMG, you made that. Wahhhhhh why couldn’t I have been a better seamstress? Seriously though your dress is beyond amazing. The baloon girls dresses are so cute and your boutinere and bouquets are stunning. Love, love, love your wedding. Wish I had been there, lol.

    • Wanting to be a guest at my wedding – that’s a pretty huge compliment THANKYOU
      I’m so lucky that I learnt/taught myself to sew at such a young age that I was able to make my own dress.

  17. I love everything about your wedding! Especially your shoes and the rings!! Where did you guys get your rings from??


    • mine came from a company that turned out to be in Hong Kong (despite a USA address on their website) and that we had bad customer service from so I won’t recommend them.
      But my husbands ring came from and they shipped very quickly

  18. We will be using 1000 cranes too!! I love the idea and I love seeing how you placed them all.

  19. It’s our 1 year wedding anniversary today πŸ˜€

    it seems like a whirlwind year has sped by so quickly, yet also seems like we’ve been together forever (and in a really good way)

  20. “Initially my thought was “ARGH, I want this to be so totally different and offbeat” that I didn’t even know where to start. So instead, I looked at each aspect of a “traditional wedding” and worked out how to keep, change, or cut it to be true to ourselves.”

    Please, may I borrow that viewpoint??!! That is such a fantastic, freakout-free way of planning, and kudos to you both for doing it all long-distance. Your wedding was absolutely amazing.

    • Of course you can borrow that viewpoint.
      It really did help me focus my thoughts

  21. I so love your fascinator!! How do you make one, though, isn’t it difficult?

  22. I really really love the reading about the commitments you make along the way and your vows symbolising those. Please could I borrow it for our wedding ceremony? It’s a perfect description of how our relationship has been taking shape and how we see our wedding in the context of our commitment to each other.

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