The offbeat groom: Kyle, doctor-in-training
His offbeat partner: Drew, attorney
Date and location of wedding: Lake Union Crew Club, Seattle, WA — August 13, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: Besides the fact that we're two men, we decided to aim for a wedding that was all about us. We're both very talkative, very casual, and very into cooking (and drinking…), so we decided to make sure that those were prominent and emphasized in our planning and execution.
Our first plan had been for a late afternoon cocktail hour and a reception immediately afterward (seriously, why do so many people do a sit-down meal? Pricier, more complicated, and everyone says you never get to enjoy it anyway), but our search for a venue led us in other directions. We discovered that the venue we loved, a crew club, not only was one-quarter of the price during the daytime, but was available in the middle of August during the day, even though we were booking it only a few months before.
We ended up having a small and intimate ceremony in the morning (aka the time you WISHED you could start drinking) that was in the style of a brunch cocktail hour: Mimosa, Bloody Marys, deviled eggs, etc. After a free afternoon, and a nice dinner with immediate family, we had a nighttime “reception” that was at one of our favorite bars and open to any/everyone who wanted to attend.
We did the ceremony out on the crew club's floating dock. Drew wore a white linen coat, slacks, and boat shoes without socks, and I wore jeans with my vest (and saddle shoes that were featured on Offbeat Bride!).
The only decorations we used for the whole venue were our combo centerpieces/favors. Two months prior to the ceremony, we bought a variety of fruit at the local farmers' market and a bunch of booze (whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum) and made about 20-25 mason jars of alcohol-preserved fruit. We stuck bamboo skewers on the top of the jars we placed in the middle of the tables, and let guests pick at it as they pleased, and take home whatever jars they liked.
Friends of ours who work in our neighborhood bar did the bartending using booze and mixers we purchased ourselves the week of the wedding. It saved us a ton of money, and allowed us to really target the menu to go with our brunch-y theme. We bought a huge variety of pickled and preserved items to stock a make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar (which was a HUGE hit). Other than that, we pretty much kept to champagne-based drinks. Oddly enough, each of our mothers had insisted on a different hard alcohol being stocked for the brunch hour, resulting in a stash of Dewar's and tequila. It did make for a more interesting morning once those were cracked open.
Since it was a brunch, we kept strictly to finger foods. We wanted only things that could be easily picked up by hand and eaten in a few bites. Keeping with that, and the fact that one of us doesn't like cake, we ditched the idea of a wedding cake and bought a few dozen cupcakes and a dozen miniature cheesecakes. Not only did we not even have to think about those items until a day or two before the ceremony, but we just served them off of some of our own serving platters. They were such a low stress part of the experience.
Finally, our use of a local bar for the reception that evening really freed us up to invite everyone we wanted there. We didn't shut the bar down, and it wasn't an open bar, so it was basically just a night out at the bar where the vast majority of the people had a common reason for being there. It was cheap for us, low stress in regard to invitations (“Come on by! Bring anyone you want!”), informal, good for the bar (weddings buy a ton of drinks), and in tune with our low-stress, laid-back theme.
Tell us about the ceremony: One of our friends performed the ceremony and we eschewed the standard bridal party to have our sisters (and a might-as-well-be-sister friend) stand with us during it. Our friend Emmett wrote the entire ceremony, and we wrote our vows to each other the night before (at about 1:00 a.m.). Emmett was even able to find the instant message that Drew had sent to him after our first date (the benefit of having a computer genius perform the ceremony), which gave a really great perspective on the start of our relationship.
Our vows were pretty extensive (we're both quite talkative, like I mentioned), and we made sure to get in a few digs at each other to keep it light-hearted. But we still included some heartfelt moments. Guess it just goes to show that you can still be heartfelt even when you're telling your new husband you're always going to make fun of him for that time he slept through one of your first dates.
My funniest moment: There were definitely two. One was during the morning ceremony, which was on a floating dock on a lake in Seattle. We had gone out on to the dock before, and even done photos with our families out on it without incident. But put another 30-40 people on it, and the floating dock will settle lower into the water. Low enough so that when the wake from a passing boat hits it, it might cause waves to erupt up through the boards all over your shoes as you are in the middle of your vows. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
The second was at our nighttime reception at the bar. While we had a large portion of the bar designated for us, after a few hours, it wasn't being strictly enforced. Our party took up so much space, it simply wasn't an issue. And sometime post-midnight, we had a bachelorette party show up out of the blue. What gay wedding would be complete without some random drunk woman in a tiara we didn't know dancing in the middle of the crowd? It turned out that one of us knew a member of the bachelorette party, and it was a great and fun addition to the night.
My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to stress. Even with us trying to keep it as casual and stress-free as possible, we can TOTALLY see where the stress level could spiral out of control. Focus on the fact that this is something that you want to do and try to let the worries about things that aren't a priority just fall away. Just try to make sure that those things that really matter to you are those that are the most planned out, and let the other stuff fall out as it will.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If you tell people that you have a plan, and things are under control, and you do not need their input, they believe you. It sure keeps down on unwanted input. But more seriously, requesting manageable favors or tasks (e.g. getting coffee, picking up cupcakes, helping with clean-up) from friends before the ceremony results in such an easier time the day of.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Jenny Heath
- Saddle shoes: Bass Buchanon via Zappos
- Rings: Titanium Kay
- Catering: Blueacre Seafood (AMAZING food!)
- Cupcakes: Cupcake Royale
- Cheesecakes: The Confectional
- Daytime ceremony: Lake Union Crew
- Nighttime reception: The Capitol Club
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Comments on Kyle & Drew’s waterfront brunch and nighttime bar wedding
I love this! My FH and I are having a similar chilled reception (we’re going for an early luncheon of imported beers and wood fired pizza) and family dinner, followed by bar shindig. I love that it worked so well for you both, it gives me hope! A bloody mary bar is GENIUS.
Also, kudos to BOTH for you for scoring a smokin’ hot husband <3
Yeah, the whole set-up really worked VERY smoothly. Almost shockingly so. We’d recommend watching out your timing between family dinner and bar, though. That was the one point where we were actually kind of crunched for time (chatty husbands come from chatty families…). We ended up leaving dinner pre-dessert and heading to the bar because we were already close to half an hour late. Not a big deal, but giving ourselves another half hour blocked out for dinner would have been a good idea.
Yay Yay YAY!!!! I love to see these weddings here. Not that I don’t love other types of weddings, be it LBT or straight or whathaveyou…but something about giggley smiley men getting married just makes my tiny heart go pitty-pat. What a great start to my Thursday!
What a perfectly lovely wedding. While I understand the desire for formal sit-down dinners, I don’t really understand them.
Also – your outfits were totally adorable and perfect! Love it. Especially those saddle shoes. 😀
LOVE it! May steal some of these ideas for my completely imaginary/in-the-distant-future wedding!
Seattleites may be interested to know that I specially invited Kyle & Drew to the Offbeat Empire reception on 10/7. Be sure to RSVP if you want to be there, too!
This makes me wish I lived over on the other side of the US. Alas, I am in Ohio….I’ll just have to settle for looking at OBB on the internets.
I LOVE this wedding – it really does seem very chilled out and fun; all those cocktails sound fantastic….
This wedding is seriously an inspiration. Laid back and booze filled is pretty much how I want my wedding to be. Thanks for sharing!
wowowowow! this is so casual and SO stylish..I’ve been looking for an example like this forever and this is IT. congrats you guys
As a law student, I’m so happy to see that doctors and lawyers can get along. Yay! Congratulations!
OH SHIT ROWING WEDDING. I want to get married at a boathouse so badly! This is so stylish!
While we were SUPER happy with the location and how it worked out, I will point out that, holding it in a working crew club, if classes are going on when your event is scheduled, it can require a lot of flexibility about when you can take pictures on the dock, where caterers and guests need to park, etc. Just something to keep in mind!
I love everything about this post. The venue. The booze. The boozy fruit (I am totally using that one!). The ‘meet us at the bar’ reception. This one is a keeper, for sure! Congratulations guys!!!
Thanks! Also, if you make boozy fruit, find some recipes for inspiration and pay attention to the (kind of shockingly large) amount of sugar you need to add to the jars. Cut it down, and stuff doesn’t taste particularly good. Also also – go with berries and drupes. The pomegranate seeds looked cool at first, and after a few weeks of soaking, turned a little…er… off-color (ie. grey) when taken out of the jars.
We got the basic recipes for the fruit from the NYTimes (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/22/dining/22appe.html?scp=1&sq=boozy%20fruit&st=cse), but I totally started experimenting and had great results! Make sure to use a fair amount of sugar or the fruit can get a little too boozy (not possible! you say. sad but true.). I ended up commendeering the nectarines with a cinnamon stick and anise seed in brandy, using the bamboo skewers like chopsticks. Classy, I know.
Love the boozy preserves! Thanks for sharing the link! 🙂
Years later, we still make the boozy fruit. It is legit never a bad thing!
“What gay wedding would be complete without some random drunk woman in a tiara we didn’t know dancing in the middle of the crowd?” = The best line I’ve ever seen in one of these profiles. Love the idea of having the afternoon off between the wedding itself and the reception.
The afternoon off was pretty awesome. We didn’t need to rush anywhere, didn’t need to worry about having presents, decorations, serving platters, etc floating around in our car or in limbo somewhere, and let us spend some time with our unofficial bestmen. Also served as built-in naptime for our various guests, and who would fail to appreciate THAT?
i was so about to comment on this very thing!
..random drunk woman in a tiara…
I looked at that venue! We were thinking about a 4th of July wedding, though, which is… not cheap. Not where you can see the fireworks up close and personal like that.
I love this wedding so much! I definitely dream of finger foods. (And it just kills me that you’re a doctor-in-training and I’m a post-bac pre-med looking at UWSOM as my first choice, and he’s a lawyer and my fiance is in law school. We’re just a bit behind you, but… brain twins?)
Er, apparently yes to the brain twins. Crazy.
We were extremely happy with the venue, but I can’t say I’m surprised that it would be at a premium on the 4th. =\
And fingerfoods? DO IT. So many times easier than stuff that definitely requires utensils. It encouraged mingling and conversation, and even kept down rental expenses since we needed only one type of plate (one size fits all) and only forks. Also made it way easier for us to talk with everyone there and still eat, without needing to carve apart some chicken breast or chase the walnuts around in a salad while doing so.
The Offbeat Groom features tend to be my favourite, because men – whether or straight, genderqueer or cis – are told so often they’re not supposed to actively want to get married, not supposed to care about details when they do, and women, also, are far too often told these things about men and marriage as if they were a fundamental law of the universe and that any rejection of their gospel truth is naive and deluded.
Thanks for the Groom features; for every man out there who is genuinely excited about getting married, and/or has some thoughts on how he’d like the whole shebang to go, they make me smile a little. 🙂
I just wanna say the picture captioned “No, wait, it gets better” literally made me laugh out loud. Thanks for sharing the pictures! They speak volumes. 🙂
This is what a wedding should be.
I love this. My fella and I are getting married in May. After reading this, we are completely changing our wedding plans to have a brunch wedding/family dinner/night out at the bar too! 🙂 The place where we’re getting married has really pretty grounds,so were going to set up a croquet court and cornhole too! 🙂
I LOVE this wedding! It captures so much of what I want to do for our vows/blessing in Ohio. Go FINGER FOODS and bar receptions!
Love the boozy fruit! Also, I’m pretty sure the top wedding band is the celtic dragon design that my husband and I wear so kudos on having good taste in jewelry. 😉
This was a great read with very helpful tips on keeping the wedding stress-free. Thanks and best wishes to you both! <3
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