The offbeat bride: Jamie, copy editor aka word freak
Her offbeat partner: Mengmeng, system manager aka computer guy
Location & date of wedding: Beautiful historic YWCA building in downtown Fort Worth, TX — January 16, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: Despite my family being religious, we skipped the church and minister and had a secular wedding (more on that later). My brother-in-law was the officiant, and we created the entire ceremony ourselves, ditching what we didn't like and adding stuff we thought sounded more like us, which made it personalized.
We wanted to wear sneakers instead of fancy shoes. We chose matching Rocket Dogs in honor of our dog, a Welsh Corgi named Ein (short for Einstein), who is a bit crazy and super fast like a rocket!
Our wedding party was gender-blind, at least on my husband's side, because he had two Best Women and a Groomswoman.
We tried to save some money while also doing things that were personal and meaningful to us. We carried fans instead of flowers (I've never liked the traditional wedding bouquet and didn't want one), had an iPod instead of a DJ, and DIYed our centerpieces. They were made from things that had personal meaning to us: Welsh Corgi stuffed animals for our dog, longhorn stuffed animals for my husband's college team (UT), mini 1967 Chevy Impalas for my favorite TV show (Supernatural), and model ships from the TV show that we both love and that we met each other through (Joss Whedon's Firefly). We gave them away to our guests afterward as a memento.
I designed our wedding programs myself, making them into flyers promoting our wedding like it was an awesome new play, and establishing the “Jameng” theme (Jamie + Mengmeng = Jameng; it's a nickname our friends gave us).
And for favors, we had personalized chopsticks, which ended up being a good thing because there were a lot of extras that we wound up taking home. It always makes me happy to pull out one of the sets of wedding chopsticks at dinner.
Tell us about the ceremony: It was a very personalized ceremony. Because my brother-in-law was the officiant, we were able to personalize every little detail. We each picked out a reading (his was “It's Only Time” by The Magnetic Fields and mine was “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond” by E.E. Cummings); we did a hand ceremony, and we gave roses to our mothers as a sign of love and respect.
We also wrote our own vows. We decided we wanted a mix of touching sentiments and funny stuff in them. When my husband promised to cheer for my TCU Horned Frogs (so long as they weren't playing against his Longhorns), and I promised to support him as he tried to increase our Xbox gamer score, it was simultaneously the sweetest and funniest moment of our lives. Then we followed that up by using the Indiana Jones theme, “Raiders March,” as our recessional.
Our biggest challenge: My family is very religious, but my husband is an Atheist. So we wanted to do something that would be light on all the “God stuff” for him, without being too alienating to my family. We solved it in two ways. First of all, I had already fallen in love with a non-church venue that was very classy and beautiful, and my family ended up thinking it was lovely even though it wasn't a church. Score!
But that was just a warm up for the biggest hurdle, which was the officiant. Obviously, my family was expecting us to have a minister of some kind, but my husband-to-be was leery of the idea. We went back and forth on the subject for several months without an answer in sight, until one day the perfect solution basically fell into our laps. Originally, my brother-in-law was going to be my Man of Honor along with my sister (his wife) who would be the Matron of Honor, but he overheard us discussing the officiant issue and offered to do it for us. He leads the choir at his church, and we're very close, plus my family loves him.
So even though I think there might have been a few raised eyebrows initially, it ended up working out perfectly. Plus, it made the day extra meaningful for my husband and I to have somebody who knows us so well standing up there with us, rather than a stranger who just happens to be a minister.
My favorite moment: The moment when the music began (a piece of score from The Last of the Mohicans called “Cora” that I've always loved and imagined being played at my wedding) and I began my walk down the stairs and then down the aisle, I swear my heart started beating a mile a minute, and it was at that moment that everything felt real. I was getting MARRIED! And then when we reached the front and Mengmeng took my hands, it was totally nerve-wracking, and yet also completely awesome and exhilarating at the same time. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life.
My funniest moment: I think the vows were pretty funny and so was the first dance. Our song was Toto's “Africa,” and that got quite a few good-natured chuckles when people realized what song it was.
Also, the throwing of the “bridal Corgi” was a pretty funny moment. You see, since the wedding party carried fans instead of flowers, there was no bouquet to throw. However, I didn't want to throw a fan because they were made of wood and could hit somebody in the head or something! So we found an extra Welsh Corgi stuffed animal from the centerpieces, and that's what I threw. Tossing a miniature version of my dog over my shoulder in lieu of a bouquet definitely made me laugh!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We wanted to use a small, local caterer instead of a chain, but the one we chose totally flaked on us, which left us scrambling for a new one at the last minute. We ended up going with Central Market because they could work us in on such short notice. They were so nice and professional, not to mention reliable.
My advice for offbeat brides: Pick one or two things that are your “must haves” and work your budget around those. For us, it was the venue and photographers. Those were the two things we wanted to splurge on, so we cut back everywhere else (e.g. iPod instead of DJ, no videographer, no flowers, DIY centerpieces, etc.), and we don't regret it one bit. We had exactly the wedding we wanted, and we kept it to a reasonable price.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If you're going to do something that you know not everyone will really “get,” just try to be happy and optimistic when you explain it to them. I know it sounds a little corny, but you get more flies with honey, and your family and friends will be more accepting of your wedding choices if you call them up simply bursting with happiness about that beautiful non-church venue or how you're using fans instead of flowers. When you're happy, it makes other people happy, too.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photographers: Bella Pop Photography. They were super friendly and really care about making each wedding special. If you're planning a wedding in the DFW area, I highly recommend them!
- Bride's and bridesmaid's dresses: Alfred Angelo
- Fans: Asian Ideas
- Sneakers: Rocket Dog
- Cake: The Cake Guys. They were super nice and really excited about creating our Firefly groom's cake with the ship Serenity flying out of it.
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!