The Offbeat Bride: Jess, Graphic Designer
Her offbeat partner: Pete, Navy Sailor
Date and location of wedding: Ceremony: Treillage Tower, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. Reception: Thornleigh Community Centre, Sydney, Australia — June 16, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Originally, Pete and I had booked a standard wedding venue in Sydney that was going to cost a lot of money. As the time for us to start planning began to draw nearer, I started to freak out. I didn't want one of those picture-perfect, white, blinged-up weddings. I wanted a wedding that showed our personalities and was interesting for our guests (plus, I started to feel sick about how much it was going to cost!). So Pete and I cancelled the venue, halved our budget, and decided to go completely DIY, with a theme that matched our personalities: glam horror!
We used purple and black as our colours. The biggest thing I had to take into consideration when creating décor and invitations was to not make it tacky or too over-the-top. Although, my grandma was scared of our save-the-dates and invitations! But once she saw how we had set up the venue, she loved it.
I did massive amounts of DIY for our wedding, some of which included: hand-painting zombies holding each guests' name onto people-shaped paddle pop sticks (these were attached to the bomboniere and acted as place cards), collecting and spray painting hundreds of sticks that went into custom-made black centrepiece vases (to give the tables a haunted forest kind of feel), designing all the stationery myself (including the invitations and the signs we used at the bar), and building a small coffin which we used as a wishing well.
As we hired an empty community hall, we spent the day before our wedding setting EVERYTHING up ourselves (I never want to tie a chair cover again!). Although it was a bit stressful, it was liberating to have complete control over everything. We hired/bought absolutely every element for our wedding, including purple spot lights, linen, crockery, rose petals, a sound system, serving ware, etc. It was a lot of work to think about every little detail, but it also gave us the opportunity to make sure that every detail was about us and our guests. For example, we hired the owner of our favourite local restaurant to do the catering. We also got to choose a variety of alcohol, rather than been stuck with set-venue alcohol, because we bought all of it ourselves from an online auction site.
We wanted all of our guests to really enjoy themselves, so entertainment was a big factor. We hired a photo booth and set out some horror-themed props that people could use.
We also hired someone to theme a dessert table for us, including chocolate brownie hearts, “I love Zombies” mousse pots, and Tim Tam white chocolate brains. We even had a custom-made cake topper created with us and all of our pets (four cats and two dogs!) as zombies.
Our cake was appropriate to the theme, too — it looked like a chunk had been ripped out of it and it was bleeding. As there was a bit of travel between our ceremony and reception venues, I decided to utilise my design skills and create a wedding program in the form of a magazine to help keep guests entertained. It had all the info anyone would need for the night, including what was on the menu, a ceremony overview, a map of how to get between the venues, and games and zombie jokes to lighten the mood.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My grandad used to be a marriage celebrant until he got very sick. Because we weren't able to have him as our celebrant, we asked him to do a reading for us. The second verse was totally apt for us:
Let us give thanks,
For the homes from which Jess and Pete have come,
And for the development, of their unique personalities.
Our biggest challenge:
My biggest challenges were all in the lead-up to the wedding. I found out a month before the wedding that my dessert caterer was out of business, so I had to try and get my money back and find a new caterer. A week before my wedding, I found out that my ceremony decorator was a scam artist and has been stealing from brides all over New South Wales, so I had to quickly organize another decorator. There were a few other mishaps that happened with contractors, too (the joys of not having a wedding planner), but in the end I think everything happened for a reason because Pete and I could not be more grateful for the amazing contractors we ended up with who all went above and beyond.
My funniest moment:
The whole ring exchange was hilarious. First, when the best man Alex came up and handed Pete my ring, the celebrant didn't see the exchange and got Alex and Pete's names confused. So she stood there repeating “Give Alex the ring,” which confused Pete and Alex who swapped the ring back and forth a few times until the celebrant realised the Pete was the name of the groom, not Alex. Then when it was my turn to give Pete his ring, the celebrant slipped up again and asked me a few times if I give myself this ring as a token of love and devotion. Sure I'll marry myself, no worries! Everyone had a good laugh.
My favorite moment:
I think what will always stick in my mind was walking down the aisle and seeing Pete absolutely bawling his eyes out. He had been adamant before the wedding that he would not cry, and yet he was the one who needed tissues. And I think besides just being able to marry Pete, it meant so much to me that each guest was there because they all meant something to us. It was an honour to be able to share such an intimate day with them.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Jesse McCoullough
- Celebrant: Mardi O'Donnell
- Chair covers/linen: Designer Chair Covers
- Ceremony Décor: Decorations by Jelena
- Dessert Table: Sucre Cakes by Maly
- Wedding Cake: Cakes by Jo
- Cutlery and dinnerware: Absolute Party Hire
- Dress: Abbey Bridal
- Black Bolero: Tulip Bridal
- Catering: Zacs Great Food
- Lighting: Partytime Hire
- Photo booth: In The Booth
- Cake topper: Philip Hynes Sculpts
- Hair and Make up: Sweet Her
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!