The Offbeat Bride: Jess, Architect
Her offbeat partner: Paul, Software Engineer
Date and location of wedding: The Icehouse, Downtown Phoenix, AZ — November 15, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
When planning the wedding, I came at it from a design stand point. We questioned everything: where did the tradition come from, what does it mean, and is it right for us? If it wasn't, it was out. We included our dearest friends and siblings in our bridal party, which meant having bridesmen and groomswomen. And since his family is so much larger, our bridal party was asymmetrical. But it was beautiful, and it was amazing to not stress about adding people just so that they were in pairs.
We created a lot of things ourselves, which cost more in some areas and saved some in others, and we put an emphasis on only buying things that could be reused or repurposed. Our EL wire tables numbers were the most expensive pieces, but they were an expression of us and really set the mood for the party to come. We even used leftover wire to make light-up glasses for the dance party, and they were my favorite part of the night.
We saved a ton of money on flowers by reusing Frappuccino bottles as bud vases (Paul was all for drinking coffee in the name of helping for the wedding). Our aisle decor were pictures from our engagement shoot that are now on our wall. We bought a small portable pool table instead of renting a nicer one, but we can now pull it out and use it at home. The rug is now on our patio, as well as the marquee ampersand my mother and I built to graphically link the ceremony and invitations together.
We made a giant paper mache D20 which we made guest roll instead of clinking glasses to see if we would kiss, although if you rolled a ten or under, you had to kiss someone else. I created and printed my own invites, menus, programs, and Paul built our photo booth out of an old monitor and a raspberry pi and picamera. A friend of ours poured concrete planters for some of the tables, and our favors were concrete candles I poured myself. A friend of my mother's made our cakes. My father built a couple cornhole boards for us, and a number of friends helped us dip silk flowers in plaster for the centerpieces. Everything was a labor of love, and you could really feel it when it all came together in the space.
Tell us about the ceremony:
For our unity ceremony, we saw someone on Offbeat Bride had built a LEGO heart and that felt perfect for us. But we took it a step further and gave every person in the bridal party a LEGO which they passed to us during the ceremony and we built the heart together. After the ceremony, they surprised us by writing a note on each piece and reassembling it, It is now one of our favorite mementos from the day. Here was the wording from that part of the ceremony:
“A partner is a great thing to find in life, someone who supports you, has your back, someone to make a life with. Each of you have brought a piece of yourselves here today. You join together to make something new, something that is greater than the two parts separate. But you two aren’t the only piece of this relationship. Your friends and family send their love, their wisdom, and their support. But only you can use their influence to build a stronger relationship. This LEGO heart symbolizes the multiple facets of your relationship. the individual parts of your lives that you are putting together to construct a new life together, the family you come from, the family you’ve chosen, and the family you create today together.”
Our biggest challenge:
This man fell in love with me exactly as I am, so I should be able to marry him looking and feeling like me.
One of the biggest challenges for us was feeling like we had to do something because its a wedding and that's “what you do.” All my life I’ve had this notion that I would be thin for my wedding day, that getting married would be the one thing that would make me lose the weight. But when we got engaged I was just so excited about being married to the person that I had already created this wonderful life with, the idea of changing who I was or how I looked because that's what people expected, or because there would be photos, felt wrong. This man fell in love with me exactly as I am, so I should be able to marry him looking and feeling like me.
And I found that once you say no to just one thing in the wedding planning process its gets easier to say no to a lot of things. So I chose not to lose weight. I chose a gorgeous dress with amazing lines and I cut off all the rhinestones and lace that had been stuck on just to make it “bridal.” And we got married feeling comfortable, confident, in love, and like ourselves.
My favorite moment:
We were married by our dear friend, who actually let slip a few weeks before we planned on asking him to get ordained and marry us, that he was already an ordained priest of the Church of the Dude. Paul, our friend, his girlfriend (my maid of honor), and I spent many nights (and many bottles of wine) writing our own ceremony. It was full of many inside jokes and sci-fi references, of which all of our friends now refer to as “easter eggs.” It was secular, short, honest, and funny, And it was a way for us to express to everyone how we feel about our relationship. Some of our “I-do’s” turned into “I’ll-try’s,” which had everyone laughing, especially when I was asked if I would laugh at all of Paul’s puns.
Paul friends from college surprised us by requesting “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey as the last song of the night, as that's how you end every wedding in Detroit. And it was really special having everyone come out for our wedding, but still feel like he was back home.
My funniest moment:
Paul and his brother dancing and sword fighting to the entirety of “Holy Diver” takes the cake. Our maid of honor's speech was the second funniest moment. Paul is a bit of a story teller, and when asked about the story behind the scar over his eye, he will regale you with the tale of how he dove in and saved a bunch of puppies from a burning “puppy orphanage.” Our maid of honor wrote a beautiful speech about how she met and fell in love with each of us, including watching Paul rescue puppies from the “puppy orphanage” where she worked. All of our friends died of laughter at this point.