The Offbeat Bride: Jen, playwright and educator
Her offbeat partner: Clynton, lecturer and photographer
Date and location of wedding: Gulu Private Resort, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa — October 4, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our wedding was rainbow steampunk-themed and most of the decor we made ourselves or begged and borrowed from friends. Having Saturday afternoon work-parties to cut ribbon and burn menus for a vintage look were total highlights and involved lots of coffee and wine for months before the wedding.
I loved being walked down the aisle by my dad even though we were both nervous, especially when practicing the moves the day before. I also loved walking down the aisle to my choir singing “Baba Yetu,” which is The Lord's Prayer in Swahili. My choir was so magical and even more emotional on the day than I was. I enjoyed the live music, which varied from bagpipes before the wedding to African a capella by my choir, to my brother and his band providing the alternative rock music for the reception.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose songs that were significant for us but also showed our alternative love for music. I am a choir teacher so I chose songs for my choir to perform during the arrival, signing ceremony, and while the guests were leaving the chapel. We used “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay for when the guests threw coloured feathers instead of confetti over us.
We also used praise and worship music lead by a talented local musician, Elizna, to celebrate our spirituality. We encouraged guests to dress up in either rainbow or steampunk attire and enjoyed them fitting in with the decor and vibe.
I love my wedding ring which is engraved with a Bible verse “what God has brought together, let no man separate” translated into High Elven (like the writing from Lord of the Rings). We exchanged rings and said our own vows. We made our vows comical at first but added a few serious ones. For example, my husband promised to do most of the cooking because he is the superior chef. I also love weapons so I enjoyed using my swords as part of props and photos.
Tell us about your reception:
The reception had a lot of steampunk decor with ribbons, old clocks, feathers, copper and silverware, telephones, inkwells, and anything our imagination came up with (as well as anything we could find in friends' homes or make from the materials we had). We liked that each table was individually and differently decorated.
The buffet-style food gave lots of options for everyone and the cake was plain white but steampunk-decorated on the outside, and had six layers of colour and flavour on the inside. We opened the dance floor to a local artist, Asanda Msaki's Crimson Love, and then it turned into a big party with the band Flaming Rush burning up the dance floor with their rock music.
We wanted to be the last to leave the party and managed to out-party the guests, which was also a bonus because I didn't want to be one of those brides who is so tired and stressed that she just wants to go to bed and misses all the fun. My husband's speech was very emotional and special, but other than that we kept speeches short and sparse and just enjoyed our time with special people and with each other.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
You can do so much on a small budget if you are willing to collaborate with friends and use what you have rather than buy new and discard after the wedding anyway. It is actually easier to be creative on a small budget because it pushes you in new and unexpected directions. Weddings can really stimulate you creatively and I enjoyed what I learned through my wedding, from web design to all sorts of arts and crafts to a lot of management skills.