Offbeat partner: Natalie
Offbeat partner: Jonathan
Date and location of wedding: St. Francis Hall, Washington, DC — October 14, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding was held at a gorgeous hall that is owned by a Franciscan monastery, which has little details that make it look like a medieval church (in the middle of Washington D.C.!). My husband collects swords, so our cocktail hour featured friends from the HEMA Alliance (the society for Historical European Martial Arts) performing a demonstration of sword fighting through the ages.
Afterward, they let our guests pose with the weaponry (and pose they did!). The color scheme was purple and silver, driven mainly by my passionate desire to wear a slinky purple evening gown as a wedding dress. My husband has some Scottish blood, and is known for wearing a Great Kilt to the Renaissance Faire every year, so he completed our look with a purple formal kilt, complete with johnny coat, fly plaid, and a silver brooch. Oh, and did I mention the pre-dinner toast was performed with Oreos?
Tell us about the ceremony:
We wanted our ceremony to be short and sweet. I didn’t want to be “escorted” by anyone — we walked in to the ceremony together, on each other’s arm, because we wanted to signify that, as adults who have chosen one another, are already partners in this life together.
We had our guests seated at their dinner tables, so we didn’t have to have any kind of aisle — we wanted this to feel like more of a communal experience, as opposed to a traditional wedding. The brief ceremony consisted of poetry read by a civil officiant on a stage at one end of the room. Then we walked out together, to start the party at our outdoor cocktail hour.
Tell us about the reception:
This wedding was all about the party! The appetizers at the cocktail hour included sushi rolls (for my Japanese heritage), and mini chicken & waffles as a nod to Southern cuisine (we both went to college in Virginia). Our signature cocktail was the Dark & Stormy, which is the go-to drink at our home bar. But that’s not a very wedding-y name, so we winkingly re-named it the Bright & Sunny.
After everybody had a drink, our friends from the HEMA Alliance performed their sword fighting demonstration. Then we all got a chance to pose with the swords, which made for some excellent photos. Back inside, we were toasted by our friends. I am known for hosting tastings of weird foods, including the many limited-edition novelty-flavored Oreos, and writing reviews on my tastings blog. So my friends surprised us by announcing that this would be an Oreo toast, as they passed out celebratory Oreos to everyone.
Our dinner buffet featured more of our favorite things, including a mac & cheese bar with toppings. After the chocolate cake, our purple and silver candy buffet was laid out, with gift bags so guests could take some with them. Other favors included purple and silver commemorative beer koozies, and champagne-flavored jelly beans in mini bottles. My husband and I met in high school in the '90s, and we never got over our love of '90s dance music, so the DJ took it from there, and we ended the night in an epic dance party that brought the house down.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We were overwhelmed at first when we tried to choose a theme for our wedding. We knew we did not want a traditional wedding in any way, and once you shed tradition and say, “we can do anything we want,” the choices are endless. And the problem with that is… well…the choices are endless! We thought about having a Renaissance Faire theme, a Halloween theme, a film noire theme, an ancient sea monsters theme… it got a little out of control.
In the end, we said, you know what, screw having a theme. We are just going to make each decision in a way that makes us happy, and not make it conform to any particular idea. We wound up with a wedding that was all our favorite things, even if it doesn’t fit nicely into any kind of label. Just like us.
Photography: Aarography • Venue: St. Francis Hall at the Franciscan Monastery, Washington DC • Wedding Planner: Julie Vient of IMPACT Collective • Catering/Cake: Catering By Teatime • Non-Traditional Gemstone Rings: Brilliant Earth • Kilts: Celtic Croft • Dress: Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids, from Nordstrom