Mr. and Mrs. Key

The offbeat bride: Nicole, Office Manager & Baker

Her offbeat partner: Marty (bass player for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists)

Location & date of wedding: Bankuet Place in Richmond, VA on August 9th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: We met working at a record store and then we were in each others bands for years before we got together, so music was a huge part of the party. All of our pals DJ'd and then we both did our own sets! It got very crazy!

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Instead of spending money on fancy rings, we got rad tattoos and cheapo rings. We had a friend marry us in a three minute ceremony. We had badges made to match my tattoo and everyone loved them. We had a mixtape CD and Virginia peanuts for favors. I made mad libs for the hotel rooms and cookies. Our pal made the invitations from an obscure gospel LP and we had another pal cater the event and yet another make our questionnaires. Everyone pitched in!

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We had a pal take pics in the abandoned vault and my husbands last name is Key(!) so keys were part of the motif. I got vintage skeleton keys to tie on the bags of nuts and spray painted actual deposit box keys for garland. My close friend, who works at a quilting store, and I sewed tons of garland from leftover scraps. I saved up tin cans and the flowers went in them with with ribbons tided around. They looked great, we chose flowers to match the ribbons and the decor.

We saved tons of money by asking for help from our talented pals and getting creative with it. Our focus was the food (which was buffet style), the drinks and the dancing. We did a third seated so people could eat, and then GET ON UP! We did have extra chairs about so folks could sit.

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We opted out of expensive photographers and albums and asked our good friend to just take party pics. I don't miss the structured “family photos” that take hours while guests wait around. I love the pics and lots of them keep coming from friends. The whole emphasis was on having a great time with our friends.

Our biggest challenge: The guest list was an issue, due to size of the venue and our bank account. And I have to admit, people were inviting themselves last minute or declining like day of and day before, but you have to let it go. When you have a wedding, the people who you love, who you want to be there, will come through. We did not get wrapped up in it, it was beyond our control so we just let it go.

I don't miss the structured “family photos” that take hours while guests wait around. I love the pics and lots of them keep coming from friends. The whole emphasis was on having a great time with our friends.

My favorite moment: I really loved the vault, as you can see people just let loose in there (and on the dance floor!). We had over 1500 pics at the end of the night! However my favorite part has to be The Proust Questionnaires instead of a guest book. We chose 13 questions from the Proust Q and had a graphic designer friend make us a gorgeous sheet for our guests to fill out. At first I was nervous it was too many intense questions but there was this one moment during the night when I looked around and tons of folks were filling them out all at once, like the SATs or something!

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It was great reading over everyone's answers in our hotel room that night and since then I have pulled them out often. At a wedding you don't get to see everyone for long, and these are so much better than the trite “best wishes” messages in a guest book. We really wanted to remember our guests and that night and it went over beautifully.

My offbeat advice: Let go of societal standards. Don't be afraid to ask your friends for help. They WANT to help you and it makes it WAY more meaningful later. It's like making a movie: many hands, many ideas, to create one fantastic whole. Push yourself to make it uniquely yours, you won't regret it. Food and drinks are really important, they are the foundation of a good time. Never throw a party you would not want to attend!

Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: Click the photo below to see some fun shots from Nicole & Marty's Beautiful Punk/Foodie/Redneck Wedding!

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Comments on Nicole & Marty’s Beautiful Punk/Foodie/Redneck Wedding


    Achem. And the wedding looks kickass as well.

  2. Oh man… Proust Q instead of a guestbook might be the most genius thing I have heard since I started planning!!!

  3. Seriously, most inspiring and fun wedding ever…I love the casual dress and casual photos…everything looks effortless! But not in the Martha Stewart, I spent 1000 hours to make this look effortless-way!

    Love it!

  4. Thanks so much everyone. It was so great and stress free. During planning Offbeat was a serious inspiration, I am so glad to share my experiences with other brides! Good Luck!

  5. Holy crap! Your decorations are amazing! And your dress is so perfect and simple and nice. The pattern really makes it adorable. Also, are you doing the sprinkler in the close up? That’s awesome.

  6. As an honored guest of this wedding I can tell you that it was brilliant in every way. The food, drinks, music, treats and love were all spectacular. The main unifying theme here is Marty and Nicole themselves. It’s has to start with the couple!

  7. Awesome wedding! :o) As a fellow Richmonder, I vouch for the tres leche cake from Kuba Kuba. It’s quite possibly the best cake I have ever tasted!

  8. Marty & Nicole’s wedding was the most fun I’ve had at a wedding and I’ve been to a lot. I took most of the candids. My website is:

    Dave Weaver took the vault photos his site is:

  9. Yo your groom’s shirt and vest are awesome. My groom loves them. Can you drop a hint to where you got them?!
    Thanks so much, your wedding looks fantastic.

  10. I’m curious what the experience of having a non-seated buffet was like. I want to do that at my wedding, but I worry that the stodgier/older relatives will complain. So, how did that go?

  11. What a jerk I am for not replying! Sorry!
    Laura, the shirt and vest Marty wore were from H and M!!! Ha! Dan, those who needed to sit, sat. Those who didn’t hung out and ate and mingled. It worked perfectly

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