The Offbeat Bride: Mary, Recruiting Manager (and Offbeat Bride member)
Her offbeat partner: Mike, UX Manager
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The way Mike and I met, through mutual friends, is the only old-fashioned and traditional thing about us. The rest has been a journey of discovery of where we could break free from “old-fashioned” and “traditional” and come back with what felt good for us. I think our wedding was an extreme culmination of that: a chance to see where we could stretch ourselves, and where our family and friends would willingly (if not a little begrudgingly) join us.
My father indicated an interest in walking me down the aisle, and I balked. So I had to take a moment to figure out why. I felt my family “gave me away” to the world at 18. I lived abroad, I dated many people, and generally took care of myself. I'm not saying my family didn't help and support me, but the whole patriarchal ties of it didn't sit well with me. Mike and I made the decision to get married together, and we wanted to walk down the aisle arm-in-arm and leave the same way.
I opted out of a white dress. I mean, white means pure, virginal. Heh. So, I looked for something that was a dress, and lovely, but that felt more like me. I found mu multicolored dress and loved it.
Even in offbeat culture, someone usually chooses a friend or a spiritual leader to them. I gave the job of officiant to my father. As a judge in California, it worked well, but he also got to be legally responsible for our marriage, something that I thought meant way more than “giving me away.”
The first thing I remember deciding was that I wanted a multi-day affair in Los Angeles. Mike and I had been speaking to quite a few recently-marrieds, and everyone said the same thing: your wedding day goes by in a blur, and it's over before you know it. I didn't want that at all. I told Mike I wanted to make sure we got as much time as possible to spend with all of these great people who we took the time to invite. When it was clear that the ceremony would take place on Friday afternoon, with a party on Saturday, Mike was skeptical about the pressure of asking people to take a Friday for our celebrations. For what it's worth, all of these concerns were completely valid and worthwhile. But we did it anyway.
Our themed reception was really the kicker. Would our friends indulge us enough to contribute to our retro sci-fi chic “Over the Moon” extravaganza? Both Mike and myself are fans of cosplay and dress-up overall, so it felt right to bring that element into our wedding celebrations.
Rebel Belle worked their tails off getting us almost every single vendor for our two-day wedding. They also helped us visualize and design the reception space, an over-the-top contribution, especially since we were planning this wedding out-of-state.
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony was lovely and intimate. We limited the guest list to 50 of our very closest family members and friends. We chose our music carefully for the processional and recessional (M83 and The Walkmen), and then DJ Pasha took over and created an incredible list of music that spanned chronologically from the past 100 years.
Our parents and bests preceded us down the aisle, and we followed up hand-in-hand. My father officiated and wrote all his own material. Our best people read letters that Mike and I had written to one another, and then we repeated our handmade vows, before being introduced as married. We held a cocktail hour where we passed out our wedding favors, pairs of funny/wacky socks, no two pairs alike. Then we moved into lunch, where our bests gave their speeches, followed by our mothers. Then came the “communal cake forking,” before Mike and I had a final slow dance together.
After a brief nap and wardrobe change, we headed to Moonlight Rollerway with boxed wine, retro t-shirts, and sweatbands. For two hours, our friends had uninterrupted roller rink access and BYOB drinks. We were also able to expand the guest list for this affair, and thus got more time with friends who weren’t at the ceremony.
The following Saturday was the biggest day, despite everything from the day before. We allowed ourselves a sleep in, and then got busy transforming ourselves for our reception party. By the time we committed to this costumed retro sci-fi vision, we knew we’d need hair and makeup to match. Mike went from normal haircut to mohawk, Drew Bird, our costumer, dressed us in her vision, and Jennifer Corona set us up marvelously with airbrushed face paint and Chromalights for our hair.
All gussied up as Galactic King and Queen, we headed to Union Station early for some photo ops. Pro tip: if you look like something out of a modern Buck Rodgers, do not expect to get away unnoticed at a public train station during a post-USC football game rush hour. For the party itself, we were expecting around 130 people starting at 8PM. We planned for more of a glamorous-themed Hollywood party, so we informed folks to eat ahead of time, and plan for passed appetizers and an open bar at the venue. What was less widely known was that we had a few tricks to keep the party moving to our 2AM end time.
In addition to Summit Event Catering’s scrumptious almond bread pudding, we also hired SuperCool Creamery to create liquid nitrogen ice creams from scratch, and we added in a late night taco stand that would magically appear at midnight.
We envisioned something of an adult carnival for the reception, and so we planned for stations where people could entertain themselves throughout the night. We had a dance floor, naturally, but we also had some extra things up our sleeves. We hired some lovely folks to be our “Honor Guard” and act as general costumed merrymakers, or party pushers, if you will. We had someone doing Turkish coffee grounds reading towards the quieter end of the venue, next to our In Memorium.
We had someone I had seen at an earlier Lucent Dossier party host his headphoned “Leisure Listening Lounge” just outside the front door. We had the man-in-the-moon Photo Booth with our personalized Muppets as props. We had Jennifer Corona set up a makeup station for any friends who didn’t think we were serious when we said, “themed wedding reception.” We also had a laptop and headphones where people who wanted to view the recorded ceremony could do so. We had an area filled with simple and classic board games. We had an open bar with frikkin’ laser beams and specialty themed cocktails.
Our biggest challenge:
A notable challenge was the fact that we stayed with the multi-day theme, thus inciting our family and friends coming to the ceremony to call our events the “four-day wedding.” It was not a term of endearment. Tack onto that the need for an “afternoon chic” ensemble for the ceremony, comfy gear for rollerskating, and a costume for the “retro sci-fi chic” reception party, and we had a lot of mildly grumpy wedding goers. Thankfully, after it was all over, the grumpiness receded into much more happiness and we were pleased with the response.
My favorite moment:
We ended the ceremony lunch with a cake our friends procured for us that had, “We’re Married, Yo!” written on it in icing. But rather than cutting slices of it and passing them around, we decided to use the opportunity to start a tradition we lovingly called, “communal cake forking.” Everyone took a fresh fork and dug straight into the cake, partaking of our love through food.
After the ceremony, we had our post-nuptial Xanadu-esque rollerskating after party – and it was amazing who laced up in the name of celebrating matrimony! The skating party was such an unexpected treat of the weekend. When we looked back on it, we decided that the lack of pressure and organization required for the event really gave it space to breathe and evolve naturally. People skated routines, raced on the rink, fell down time and time again, and just generally allowed themselves to feel young and free.
And finally, a select hardcore group hung with us until the un-bitter end of the reception party at 2AM. It was an exquisite fatigue when it was all over, looking at my costumed and make-upped comrades, knowing they had done it all for us.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Event planner and designer: Rebel Belle Weddings
- Photography: Mike L. Photography
- Photo Booth: Photocube
- Ceremony venue: Mohawk Bend
- Postnuptial After Party venue: Moonlight Rollerway
- Retro Sci-Fi Reception venue: Union Station, Fred Harvey Room
- DJ: DJ Pasha Entertainment
- Catering: Mohawk Bend and Summit Event Catering
- Ice Cream: SuperCool Creamery
- Ceremony Makeup and Reception Hair and Makeup: Jennifer Corona
- Ceremony Hair: Scissors Paper Rock Salon
- Costuming: Drew Bird
- Wedding Suit: Hugo Boss from Nordstrom
- Wedding Dress: Chantal Gown by Alice + Olivia, from Neiman Marcus
- Rentals: Apex Rentals
- Photo Booth Backdrop: Paper Moon Vintage
- Lighting: Pacific Event Lighting
- Turking Coffee Grounds Reading: Eleonora Barna
- Leisure Listening Lounge: Super Tall Paul
- Ceremony Party Favors: The Sock Monster
- Invitations: Vanilla Retro
- Printing: A&A Printing Inc.
: Mike L. Photography
: Rebel Belle Weddings