The Offbeat Bride Arroxane, Technical writer
Her Offbeat Partner: Mike, Techie, inventor, and business owner
Location & date of wedding: The Max recording stage in Dallas, TX — January 18, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: From the theme to the attire to the food to the entertainment, it was about what we liked and wanted. OK, there was some “make the folks happy” and crowd-pleaser elements, but 90% of the wedding was creative expression of our love(s).
Built on the platform of a Jewish wedding, we picked and chose from many traditions and then adapted “the usual” with modern twists. For example, the chupah traditionally represents the newlywed's home, but we made a canopy of “stars” to show that the whole universe is our home, and that our love is bigger than any abode.
We were entertained by a belly dancer, had Moroccan food and lanterns, and used a Persian poet's words to reflect the celestial theme. Our colors were silver and gold and we asked all guests to wear something with either color to be a part of the starry ambiance. Our outfits were Renaissance-inspired and made by the bride and mother-of-the-groom. We also made the bouquet with equal parts glitter, flowers and stars. Instead of tossing a bouquet and garter, ribboned ‘shooting stars' were tossed at eligible guests.
We had two aisles flanking the head table in the center of the room and no one gave anyone away! Rather than a unity candle or sand, we used all four elements in a unity ceremony that symbolized the union of two families. Instead of a giant traditional cake, we had a starry, two-layer (chocolate bottom and vanilla top) cake at the head table, and each guest got a star-shaped cupcake.
We assembled the favors ourselves: a pair of silver or gold candlesticks and a celestial charm. We provided a list of the ceremony symbols, meanings, and origins on the back of the program. The whole evening had a “soundtrack” so not a moment was in silence –even the memorial to our ancestors was accompanied by music and punctuated by the Mourner's Kaddish. We carefully selected the music to encourage dancing and bribed our guests with a raffle ticket for each song danced. Raffle prizes were all celestial themed, of course.
Finally, at the end of the evening, we shocked the crowd by announcing that we were BOTH taking on a new name which we'd jointly chosen.
Our biggest challenge: Other than money, our biggest problem was getting all the lights up to create the starlit sky overhead. We consulted a professional X-mas light stringer and got permission to come in a couple days before the wedding to set up the overhead lighting. If we hadn't carefully planned out the design, it would not have worked at all leastwise in the time permitted by the venue. We are grateful that they were so helpful and cooperative. We'd never imagined how time-consuming it cold be to string around fifty strands and a handful of net lights.
My favorite moment: We had so many wonderful surprises… The venue letting us come in and decorate days ahead, the number of friends who volunteered to help, the experts who casually contributed at no cost, the priceless advice of other offbeat brides (past and future), the cooperation of incompatible family members, and the joy in the air throughout the evening.
But the one thing that really caught us off guard was how many people got up to dance for the raffle prizes. Folks who on other occasions wouldn't dance if their lives depended on it! And they surprised themselves by really enjoying the music and dancing — even those who didn't win one of the six celestial prize packages.
My advice for other offbeat brides: Even if you are going to “do it yourself” always consult with experts — on clothing, lighting, theme, designs, cake, favors, whatever. They are the experts for a reason and can tell you how to avoid the worst bridal nightmares. These wonderful professionals understood we had to do it our way and helped us circumvent what might have been painful, dangerous, or costly problems.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:We made our outfits from materials were found on sale or clearance at fabric stores such as Hancock Fabrics and Joann. We got nearly all of the decorations on Ebay, Craigslist, and Freecycle.org. Other good deals were found at off-season sales for Party City and local specialty stores.
The biggest key to saving money was a long engagement with plenty of time to bargain hunt, window shop, and compare prices.
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: