Offbeat partner: Nina, Director at a non-profit
Offbeat partner: Galen, Audio Visual Technician
Date and location of wedding: Ceremony: The old bandstand on Lake Merrit; Reception: Childrens Fairyland, Oakland, California — October 1, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The theme to our wedding was pretty simple: "these are a few of our favorite things." One of the things that made us fall for each other was our similar interests from childhood. We wanted our wedding to be full of nostalgic whimsy and, most importantly, us.
From the first day we were engaged we knew we wanted to get married at Childrens Fairyland in Oakland, a place near and dear to our hearts. You better believe I called the venue that first day while laying on the beach in Hawaii. It was the first "themed" amusement park in the United States. Fairyland includes 10 acres of play sets, small rides, and animals. Fairyland was built in 1950, and inspired numerous towns to create their own parks including Disneyland.
We have been living together and partnered up for six years so we saw this wedding was really just a celebration of us rather than a formal ceremony. I had my bridesmaids wear what they want (I just wanted to stick to the oxblood color), the invite dress code was "wear whatever you feel your most authentic self in." We wanted to mix references from our childhood (RUSH album covers, David Bowie, Cootie Catchers, Star Wars, etc.) with the story of how we met (mix tapes). I wanted the decor to look like you walked into some forgotten memory, with treasures hidden in moss laden tables and jars. Every item and path our guests walked down should take them through a whirlwind of joy and their childhood.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony took place at the bandstand right outside Fairyland on Lake Merrit. It has gorgeous architecture and provided the epic backdrop we were envisioning. My mother made fans to keep our guests cool during our Bay Area area summer. We made our programs into "cootie-catchers," a favorite pastime of childhood. Hidden in each flap were: timeline of the day, wedding party, and fun-facts (which included our childhood gullible moments, and a dare!).
My mom, ring bearers (our dogs), and my childhood best friend/officiant started the party off right by walking down the aisle to “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” (better known from Ghostbusters 2).
The groom and his crew walked down the aisle to the Imperial Death March from Star Wars. My bridesmaids and I ended the walk with "We Own the Sky" by M83. It is an epic song that always makes me cry. I fell on the way down to the aisle, but my father was a champion and pretended to fall to draw attention on him. The ceremony was full of laughter, references to the band RUSH, David Bowie, Doctor Who, Star Trek, and a special interview with us!
As the ceremony ended, we walked off in triumph until the best man had to frantically remind us that we forgot the ring exchange. We swiftly placed the ring on each other and laughed from our gut. As we exchanged rings, an orange smoke bomb was let off and we ran down the aisle to "We Belong" by Pat Benatar.
Tell us about your reception:
Guests entered this fairytale theme park and had cocktails amongst pumpkins, mushrooms, dragons, and a giant whale. Guests were encouraged to explore and walk around the park. I changed from my caped ceremony dress to an all fringe dress and sneakers. For guest table numbers and party favors, we made the guests mix tapes that told the story of our relationship through song. We used to send each other mix tapes in the mail when we first met.
Guests were also instructed to "dig" through the record bins to find their name and table number as a nod to Galen's past life as a DJ. Dinner was held in "Emerald City." Tables were arranged in one long horseshoe shape around the grassy area. The tables were covered in moss filled with Star Wars toys, dinosaurs, spaceships, pictures, and other little treasures we hold near and dear.
Each of the table numbers were handmade and different, some a Star Trek Enterprise ship in a bell jar, others a stack of vintage books. We wanted the tables to bring a feeling of nostalgia and be reminiscent of going into your childhood bedroom 20 years later. Dinner was buffet-style (and was apparently amazing even though we didn't get to eat!). The reception was filled with impromptu karaoke of "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips, a money dance, epic speeches, '90s R&B, and a whole lot of love.