The offbeat bride: Sylvia, Artist, Musician, Teacher, and Event Manager (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Tyson, Welder and Singer
Date and location of wedding: Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, Perth, Western Australia — July 13, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We have been dubbed “crazy bird people” by our friends and family, so it was only fitting that we would have a bird-themed celebration. We keep and breed birds, and are on the committee of an avicultural club together. I am a lover of the 1950s, and Tyson is a total metalhead, so we took these quirks and combined it into something that represented us.
I created a lot of the art used on our stationery, as well as my bouquet. Tyson put together an epic wedding playlist that had the floor filled for the entire reception, with everything from Ugly Kid Joe to Salt ‘n' Pepa.
We nixed a lot of traditions like spending the night before the wedding apart, limos, hotels, garters, and tossing stuff, and went with something small, practical, and relaxed instead.
My mum made my dress, and the scarf I wore was made by my great-grandmother for her wedding nearly 100 years ago. I put my bouquet together the morning of the wedding with flowers purchased at the supermarket the day before, using an online tutorial. I made our cake toppers (birds, of course), and our decoration (bird cages). For a guestbook, we used a book given to us by a friend for our engagement, and a pen with my artwork on from Vistaprint.
We weren't going to have a bridal party, but ended up changing our minds. The groomsmen could wear any black suit, though they all had matching Cyberoptix ties, and the bridesmaids could wear any red dress they liked. They didn't have bouquets, but I made them all a fabric flower corsage, and made extras for my new sisters-in-law, our mothers, aunts, and other family members.
We also sang happy birthday to three guests who had their birthdays on or near our wedding day, and they each got a cupcake with their own candle. I made up gift bags for our many nieces and nephews with colouring books or visual diaries, toys, treats, and dress-up items.
Tell us about the ceremony: We didn't feel we were missing out on anything by having a registry office ceremony (which is not allowed to make any mention of religion), since we are non-religious. It was all about us and our marriage, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
My favorite moment: Tyson and I stuck together the whole ceremony. I did not walk into the registry room after him, and although we arrived separately, we did not stay apart before the ceremony. I felt much stronger with him there, so when we weren't sure how to enter the room, or where to stand, it wasn't just me standing awkward and unsure. We were being awkward and unsure together.
We packed out the registry office with our immediate family (Tyson has a large family, and our bridal party came as well), and I felt really secure knowing that everyone there totally loved and supported us. This is good, because I've been known to cry during movie trailers and TV ads. So of course when Tyson started saying his vows I couldn't hold it in, and ended up infecting the entire room with my blubbering tears.
We had our first dance (a tradition I was more than willing to give up, but Tyson was not) to Rammstein's “Ohne Dich,” which was great. “Ohne dich kann ich nicht sein” is engraved on Ty's wedding ring, and it means a lot to us.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I wasn't quite sure how the music would go at the reception. We had Tyson's dad's band playing for some of the time, and the rest of the time an iPod DJ did the job. We hadn't worked out the exact timing of the evening (when the band would start and stop and when the iPod would take over). Tyson insisted we'd work things out “on the night,” but I couldn't relax about it. I thought I'd be running around in the midst of chaos not able to communicate with anyone. But it turned out just fine and it was fun to hear the mix of the eclectic iPod mix and the rock ‘n' roll stylings of Ty's dad's band.
Also, a week before the wedding I made a snap decision to order favours. I found a very cheap supplier who could deliver them a few days before the wedding, so I sent a few inspiration photos of sachets of hot chocolate powder and marshmallows that I'd admired online and felt happy knowing that another detail had fallen into place so easily.
Two days before the wedding, a box of what we quickly dubbed “poo scrotums” showed up at the door. I couldn't believe how hideous these things were. So I asked a bridesmaid over and we spent the afternoon fixing them. They transformed from saggy, lopsided, plastic sacks of brown into slightly smaller, tighter, more firm sacks of brown with bows. Despite their interesting appearance, lots of guests ended up taking them home. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw someone pinch about 10 of them.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Don't be afraid to go on the honeymoon immediately. I know a lot of people say it's better to take a break between the wedding and the honeymoon, but it can be so exciting to get up bright and early the next morning and head off to the airport as fresh newlyweds off on your first adventure as a married couple. We spent the week after the wedding in Sydney and had so much fun exploring the city.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? For me, it was more of an exploration process than a learning process. There were so many different avenues and options to explore, and in the end there were no right or wrong decisions to be made. Perhaps I learnt more from the Tribe than from planning the wedding itself. I learned to gracefully give up ideas that won't work. It can be really hard when you trawl through Pinterest and Offbeat Bride to see all those fabulous ideas and not use all of them.
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