The Offbeat Bride: Rita Marie, secretary of sorts (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Sergio, Investigator

Date and location of wedding: St. Paul's Chapel, Walnut Creek, CA — December 21, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of the marriage itself — everything else was simply icing on the cake. We met each other in April 2012 online and were married in December 2012. We tried to keep everything meaningful and stress-free. I don't know how brides who plan large weddings do it! Even our small wedding of eight filled up the days leading up to it. Sergio's mother is an Episcopalian priest in the Bay Area, and because we were getting married around the holidays (her busiest time of the year) we knew we would have to fly to San Francisco to accomplish that.


We were supposed to get married at the Palace of Fine Arts, but the wedding day proved to be rainy, cold, and windy. We didn't want our guests to suffer in the cold, so we moved the wedding indoors to the chapel at Sergio's mother's church. It was a lovely venue, and our photographers agreed to move locations. We then re-planned everything as an indoor wedding just one day prior to the wedding day!


The photographers even hung around town shopping until we finished the wedding dinner so that they could photograph us in the town square in front of the giant Christmas tree with the lights lit. That was an unexpected surprise and super sweet of them!


The groom arrived at the chapel the morning of the wedding while I was getting my hair done. He prepared the chapel alongside his mother and our florist, a family friend and member of the church. He even prepared our reception area. He is such a sweet man — I know I am blessed to have him. He wanted everything to still be lovely, even though there were a lot of last-minute changes and additions due to the weather.

A cookbook functioned as our guest book — guests could write blessings and well wishes in it. Now every time we cook a recipe from it we remember our loved ones. We both love to cook, so that happens often!



I made the wedding cake toppers, date signs, and Mr. and Mrs. signs. We had blankets made with the date and “San Francisco” embroidered onto them for favors (for the previously planned outdoor wedding). Everyone liked them as mementos anyway, even though they wound up not being necessary.



Tell us about the ceremony: We had a ring warming ceremony at our shower in our hometown in Texas before heading to San Francisco. When each of our guests touched the rings, they silently said a prayer, blessing, or sweet words to us. It was really memorable and so appreciated.


The new wedding program in the Episcopalian faith does not require the father of the bride “giving the bride away,” so I was able to have my mother and father walk me down the aisle. We participated in all the traditional wedding readings and holy sacraments. Because our wedding party was so small, everyone had a part in our wedding, either by reading or saying a prayer.



Our biggest challenge: Letting everyone know that we were having a small wedding in California instead of a large wedding in Texas. We both have a lot of friends and family who would have wanted to be a part of the wedding here in our hometown. Everyone was supportive of our choice and celebrated with us in various ways before we left.


My favorite moment: I loved returning to the honeymoon suite that my brother had arranged for us. There were chocolates, rose petals, and champagne. We decided to stay in that night and order pizza and drink champagne. It was memorable and relaxing.


My funniest moment: I walked into the chapel to Pachelbel's “Canon in D,” but we two-stepped out to The Highwaymen's “Waiting for a Long Time,” a country song. No one expected it, so everyone laughed.



My advice for Offbeat Brides: Take time to really remember the reason for the wedding: the blessing that you met the partner of your dreams are sharing a great commitment.

Make sure there is time carved out in the day where you can be alone with your partner. I am so grateful that Sergio and I had those moments at the end of the day. Our plan was to go out on the town by ourselves and celebrate, but staying in that night provided for such a great memory we will have with us forever.


Get the good photographer with whom you feel comfortable. Our photographers truly helped make our wedding awesome and now we have great photographic memories.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We learned that sticking to your budget pays off. We were able to buy a Wii U with our budget excess.



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Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

photographers: Wild About You Photography

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Comments on Rita Marie & Sergio’s intimate celebration of marriage

  1. Munnies yes! And I love that veil/dress combo of yours. Fabulicious!

    • The munnies were so fun to decorate! I was going to buy them through an artist, but didn’t really want to spend $150 on cake toppers. I scored some acrylic paint and tried to figure it out on my own. I had never painted like that before! I figured if I failed I’d use the vintage cake topper from my mom’s or grandmother’s wedding.

  2. The short veil is so cute! And it’s nice to see someone else who wants to wear theirs over their face to come in. Your wedding looks so happy and relaxed ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I actually forgot to put the veil over my face for the actual ceremony because I was so excited! We took some photos for the effect, so I could at least have that.

    • Thank you! That was the first dress I tried on! I had an idea of what I wanted so it was an easy choice. Those cake toppers were a labor of love.

    • Thanks! We toyed with the idea of all kinds of coffee table books and such, but the cookbook was the thing we knew we would both love and use.

  3. What a beautiful wedding, I wished I was there, but am so happy it was everything YOU wanted it to be. I loved the dress/veil, Sergio’s shoes/socks, the toppers, everthing. Thank you LORD for pairing them togeher!

    • Thank you, Tia Hilda. We wish you were there, too! I am truly blessed to have him in my life and to have all of you as my family now.

  4. The feeling I get from seeing you two together, and in so much love, is inspiring. It’s also that moment of ‘Oh my, I’m not the only one.” My boyfriend and I met and started dating in October of last year, and very much wish to be married by the end of 2013. I keep thinking with my modern mind, “This is crazy. You should do xyz..” Yet, seeing you, the way your love shines, the confidence, and grace of it all? We know we’re not crazy at all. “A celebration of marriage itself..” — THIS! Everything else a fortunate addition to that fact.

    May I also say that you and your groom making a fabulous pair? Your dress and veil combination rocked my morning, and his bowtie and saddle shoes sent me in to a tizzy. AND YOUR DATE! Yes, all the 1 and 2’s in combination. Your cake toppers are just too cute for words! In short? You two are just too fantastic. Your glow even shows on film.

    • Wow! Your comment floored me. Yup, we met and married pretty quickly, but it was just right. When you know, you know, as cliche as that sounds. I felt the same way- about things moving a little slower in moder society. My parents married in 1967 and they only knew each other 7 months on their wedding day. They have been married ever since and are so in love people always comment on it; they’re in the pic where they’re feeding each other cake. Modern or not doesn’t matter; what’s real is real. A wedding is about marriage and celebrating love and I feel so beyond blessed that he loves me and I get to love him.

      Thanks for the compliments! My groom is a pretty stylish guy and he loves to dress fancy. ๐Ÿ™‚ He wears bowties or suit ties when we go out almost all the time. 12/21/12 was all about the numbers; I have a thing for the number 3 (2+1=3) and he has a thing for 21, so it was meant to be. Haha!

      Thank you so very much for your sweet words!

  5. Gorgeous, sweet, and so purposeful. Loved this post.

    …Now, as true as that all is, the main reason for saying that is so that I don’t seem totally shallow for saying THIS- OMG, lady, you have some fabulous gams. No wonder you wore that gorgeous little gold number- you have got the legs to back it up!!!! (Sorry, don’t know where that came from- I’m not usually obsessed with other women’s legs, just after that first picture I was like “WOW”.):)

    • Thank you for noticing! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t think it’s shallow at all. I used to run 6 days a week, so my legs are still pretty muscular from it. I’ve had to cut down considerably, but they retain that muscle pretty well.

  6. I’m mother of the handsome groom and I’m so happy for him. He found a wonderful young woman who is his perfect mate. The wedding was fun and really lovely. As Rita said, we come from a huge family in San Antonio so having the wedding in California was a hard choice. I know they did it so that I could be there and get to preside, so I’m really grateful to Rita and her parents for making it possible. It just shows how generous she and her parents are! Loved the choices they made, the cake, simple yet elegant, the bouquet had a lot of texture and variety, the dress was so cute and the shoes were to die for! I loved the detail of the polka dot socks my son wore. It was such a great day!

    • Thank you, Sylvia! It was a great day and you and Sergio pulled off changing the venues nicely. It was an awesome day- exactly the kind of wedding that made the whole day special and relaxed, which was great. We are so happy you were the officiant. I love being able to be a part of your family. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I am so so happy I found your wedding, Rita!! We’re in San Antonio as well and are in love with San Francisco so we’d been toying with the idea of eloping there soon ๐Ÿ™‚ So seeing a fellow SA couple do it is just the push I needed, it gets me even more excited about the idea!! Your wedding was GORGEOUS and I love the ambiance of winter and Christmas time. Plus, your dress is to die for! Y’all are just a beautiful couple. I would love to chat with you sometime and maybe you can help me convince my fiancรฉ that San Francisco is where we need to get married ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Come by my blog so we can chat!

      I would love to give you any tips or ideas.

      And our photographers were AMAZING and reasonably priced!

      Hope you see this comment and get in touch!

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