The Offbeat Bride: Abby, art museum peon
Her offbeat partner: Steve, e-commerce genius
Date and location of wedding: Queen Anne Masonic Lodge, Seattle, WA — September 14, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to keep the guest list smaller by only inviting people who know us as a couple. The short guest list helped us keep costs way, way down, so we could afford luxuries that we really wanted, like an open bar and a day-of coordinator (Shindig Events!). I also killed two birds (flowers and favors) with one stone, by making about 200 enormous crepe paper roses, lilies, bluebells, and daffodils to use as decor, that guests got to take home at the end of the night.
All of my vendors were personal friends: hair, makeup, photos, DJ, and officiant. Even the food truck we used for catering is a place where my mom and I have gone for lunch almost every week for years. So the entire planning process was incredibly fun — pretty much just hanging out with people I'd already be hanging out with anyway.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose a good friend of ours who is a standup comic as our officiant, and I gave her very little (probably annoyingly little) direction. We gave her a short reading I hoped she'd incorporate, and a vague directive to keep it short, sweet, and funny without being jokey. We never asked to see a draft, we just trusted her to knock it out of the park. What she came up with was absolutely perfect: just a simple meditation on the themes of happiness, friendship, and love. Listening to everyone we love laugh together was beyond priceless.
We had two additional readings, each performed by our best friends. The first was the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, and the second was an excerpt from “A Natural History of Love,” by Diane Ackerman:
Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings. How can love's spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of one syllable? If we search for the source of the word, we find a history vague and confusing, stretching back to the Sanskrit lubhyati, or “he desires.” I'm sure the etymology rambles back much farther than that, to a one-syllable word as heavy as a heartbeat. Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days. The heart is a living museum. In each of its galleries, no matter how narrow or dimly lit, preserved forever like wondrous diatoms, are our moments of loving and being loved.
Our biggest challenge:
Being fat, I really wasn't looking forward to dress shopping. I'd seen enough episodes of Say Yes to the Dress to gather that bridal boutiques don't usually carry very many plus size samples, and that I'd probably have to just look at size two dresses on hangers, squint, and try to imagine what they'd look like on me.
I ended up searching Yelp for ANY mention of plus sizes in local bridal shop reviews, and found a tiny boutique that a few brides had mentioned carried a good selection of plus size samples. I paid them a visit and HALLELUJAH, I was able to try on just about every sample I wanted to (thanks to some artful rigging on the rep's part). I found a foofy, glittery ballgown I adored, had it made knee-length, and called it a day. The whole process was super fun, and I loved my dress so much.
My favorite moment:
For some reason, I was totally against “first look” photos. I guess I thought they would be cheesy? I have no idea. But I specifically told my photographer I didn't want to do them. However, on the day of, I decided that maybe I did want to do them after all, which I'm sure was super fun for my photographer, since he'd had no time to plan a location.
We ended up doing them on the front lawn of the venue, in front of about half of our guests (who were arriving and milling about, waiting for the ceremony to start), and for reasons I can't really describe, it was so special to have so many people watching when Steve saw me for the first time. I know those photos are supposed to be an intimate moment between the couple, but ours will always be public celebration of how totally foxy I looked that day.
My funniest moment:
I had this whole silly thing planned where we would do a fake-out first dance to the first few bars of UGK's “International Player's Anthem,” and then do our real first dance to Willie Hutch's “I Choose You.” But after all the day's excitement we totally forgot about the fake-out and just did our whole first dance to the UGK song, with lyrics like “my bitch a choosy lover, never fuck without a rubber.” … oops! Sorry, elderly aunties and grandmas. Have another drink!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
To anticipate and seek the help you will need to get things done. I knew from reading Offbeat Bride that we would benefit immensely from a day-of coordinator, so when we planned our budget, I made that as much of a priority as food and photos.
Luckily, we happened to find the BEST FRIGGING EVENT PLANNER IN THE WORLD, Kelli Bielema of Shindig Events. Having her years of experience and expertise to call upon during the planning process, and someone to email with silly ideas/anxious questions at 3:00 a.m. (Me: “Oh god, chair covers?!?” Kelli: “Your chairs are fine, spend that money on honeymoon drinks instead.”) was priceless. And on the actual day, she turned into an honest-to-god superhero, juggling vendors and setup, tear-down and packing everything up. I never once felt a bit of stress — she and her assistant took care of everything. Honestly, if someone asked me for one piece of wedding advice, it would be to hire a planner. I'd have been lost (and so incredibly stressed) without Kelli.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Malcolm Smith
- Dress: Allure Romance #2513, custom ordered in knee length via Bellevue Bridal Boutique
- Jewelry: Rhinestone Rosie
- Groom's getup: Nordstrom
- Crepe paper flowers: DIY with paper from Castle in the Air
- Catering: Marination Mobile
- Bartending Service: The Invisible Hostess
- Planning and Day-of Coordination: Shindig Events
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
planners: Shindig Events