The offbeat bride: Shawna, doctoral student (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Tim, IT god

Location & date of wedding: Aviation museum, Sacramento, California. — July 17, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted our wedding to be “us”: fun, full of love and personality, and focused on elements that were meaningful to us. It also meant seriously dorky! As my groom is an aviation enthusiast, we chose the theme “Love is in the Air” and incorporated all things airplane.

We held the ceremony at a non-denominational chapel on a retired Air Force base. We celebrated at the California Aerospace Museum, complete with a flight simulator ride.


We centered the music around flying themes. For instance, my ladies walked in to the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey and I followed with the ukelele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The laughter caused by the music carried through our whole ceremony from the time our officiant said “Love, true love” (really “Wuv, true wuv”) and ended with “You may now kiss the groom.”

We chose all local vendors, mostly small business owners. We also stuck to a budget (mostly) and did as much DIY stuff as possible. I designed the stationary and our friends and family DJed, made the barbecue, did the preachin', crafted my jewelry, did my hair, and organized everything.


My mom, sister, and I sewed 1,000 organza flowers for bouquets and wreaths. Slightly DIY-crazy, but it was fun and budget-conscious. Months later, I remember the process as completely joyful and the best party I've ever experienced.



Tell us about the ceremony: Most of the credit goes to our pastor, Dan Wysong, and his personalized homily. He incorporated our flying theme and made everyone laugh and cry. We asked that our friends and family do short readings including my favorite poem, “He Who Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats. There were also bible passages and a snippet from the TV show Numb3rs:

“At the request of the bride and groom, I'll keep my remarks short and not technical. Well, as you all know, the four fundamental forces of physics: electromagnetism, strong nuclear interaction, weak nuclear interaction, and gravity. We've been talking here about the forces that bind the universe. But what binds humans? Love. Powerful in small spaces, yet with profound effect on distance. Love defies time, outliving both its source, and its object. Love is faster than light, for light requires time in order to travel through space. But love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever, into infinity. And it's here, binding together two lives.”

My sister Brenda, lead singer of the Brooklyn-based band, North Highlands, sang an original song. We also said personalized vows to each other before walking out to Stevie Wonder's “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours).”


My favorite moment:

  • Marrying my best friend in front of our entire group of friends and family
  • Listening to (and crying through) a song that my sister wrote just for us
  • Telling my grandpa to stop crying during the photos
  • Being hoisted up by my husband's friends for their traditional “pick-up-the-bride” photo


My funniest moment: It has to be a tie between finding out that Tim forgot his vows at home and had to re-write them three minutes before the ceremony and also when I fell down while taking pictures. Our photographer wanted an action shot and told us to run. Not thinking, I took off and immediately stepped on the front of my dress and went face down. Who falls down in their wedding dress, seriously?



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Because the aerospace museum closed at 5:00 the day of our wedding (reception to start at 6), we were not allowed into the space until 3:00 to set up the reception tables and decorations. I was freaking out up until a week before the wedding because I hadn't asked anyone to coordinate the decorating for me.

I asked a couple of friends from the airport where Tim hangs out all the time and the set-up went perfectly. Another piece of advice for Offbeat Brides: Ask for help. Give everyone a job, even if it's small. When people offer to help, they actually mean it!



My advice for offbeat brides: Start by deciding what actually matters to you. I wrote a manifesto that I used during our pre-marital chit-chats with our preacher and throughout the planning process.

I outlined why we were having the wedding in the first place, what we cared about most, and also what we didn't give a crap about.

I was also explicit about what we would and wouldn't do such as not talking about the wedding nonstop until Tim's head pops off, referring to it as “our,” not “my,” wedding, and not overextending ourselves financially. Having this long mission statement really helped us in sticking to our values and goals.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? That weddings aren't about dresses, invitations, and menus. We considered eloping to avoid the stress of putting a big wedding together, but I'm so glad we didn't. I wouldn't give up the memories of declaring myself publicly, or falling down, or enjoying barbecue, or laughing and smiling until my face hurt.



Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on Shawna & Tim’s aviation extravaganza wedding

  1. “I wouldn’t give up the memories of declaring myself publicly, or falling down, or enjoying barbecue, or laughing and smiling until my face hurt.”
    truly awesome!
    incredible execution of a great idea!

  2. Beautiful! Who ever thought an airplane hangar could be so elegant?? You two and all your friends are adorable and obviously all full of love for each other. Congrats!

  3. Ooo, is there a tutorial for those organza flowers you made? They look quite fabulous. Brilliant work!

  4. LOVE this wedding. So great that you two did it in the Aerospace Museum! I also need to note that Icing on the Cupcake is super amazing, and I’m totally envious that you had their cupcakes on your special day! (We’re Sac locals, but getting married in Orange County, so completely impractical to get IotC.)

  5. Lovely wedding! Also–the best part? That you fell down and thought it added to the day, rather than stressed you out. 🙂

  6. This wedding is gorgeous, and the photos are stunning. I love that she can laugh off falling down. 🙂 It made for a great photo op!

    Also: Bride got her dress on eBay?? Oh my word, I never would have guessed — it looks like it was made for her.

  7. I just emailed my Fiance letting him know that THIS IS THE SPOT! I thought I would have to go to So CA to get an Airplane theme wedding. But right here in Sacramento! Amazing and your wedding looks so AMAZING! especially the Luv Trew Luv.

  8. Officially – my favourite wedding! My grandpa is a pilot and he was born on 17.07 🙂 I am born on the same date and I am an aviation fan myself. 🙂

Comments are closed.