The offbeat bride: Maddy, student

Her offbeat partner: Jacob, legal assistant/spreadsheet wizard

Date and location of wedding: The Rose Garden at Point Defiance Park, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and Dorky's Barcade, Tacoma, WA — August 21, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The beginning of the ceremony kind of set the theme for the whole wedding: geeky music played by our friends and family. Jacob and the wedding party walked down to the theme from Star Trek: First Contact, and I walked down the aisle to the Han and Leia theme from Star Wars. A friend of Jacob's from high school played piano for both songs, and my brother joined him on viola for the Han and Leia theme.


The third and final event of our wedding was held at Dorky's Barcade, which is an enormous arcade and bar. We had beer, cider, root beer floats, and snacks. The band that played was Jack Smack and the Celiacs, which is made up of my dad, my uncle (who also officiated), two of my aunts, and sometimes Jacob's brother.

Rainbow cake

Our cake was amazing. It was gluten-free and decorated like this xkcd comic. The best part was that the top and bottom tiers were rainbow! We didn't tell anyone about that, so it was a big surprise. We did a bouquet toss, but opened it up to anyone who wanted to catch it, and my grandma caught it, which was very cool.

All the converse

We also asked everyone to wear Converse shoes, and a lot of people did, including the wedding party. Jacob and I had awesome matching blue suede high-tops.


Tell us about the ceremony: As I said, our ceremony was officiated by my Uncle John. The three of us wrote it with help from the internet. We aren't religious, so there wasn't much of a template to follow. Uncle John had done a couple of weddings before, so he had some excellent ideas.

Tyler and Reuben
Jacob singing

Jacob sang “The Book of Love” while my dad played guitar. I read “Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda in Spanish. It was in Spanish because the only people there who spoke Spanish were Jacob and I, and so I could say emotional stuff without feeling too exposed. And it's better in Spanish anyway.

Ring check!

We did a ring blessing, which involved passing the rings up and down the rows of people. It made everyone feel involved, and made exchanging rings even more meaningful. It was also a good way to let religious people be religious, without actually having religion in the ceremony. When we exchanged rings, Uncle John asked, “Does your heart beat only for this man/woman?” which is from the traditional Klingon wedding ceremony. We also did a salt ceremony. At the end he pronounced us married, and I said, “Yay!” which was not in the plan but maybe should have been.

Jacob and Maddy … under blacklight

Our biggest challenge: I'm queer. I struggled a lot with how big a role gender plays in traditional weddings. I didn't want to not look like me at my wedding, but at the same time, I didn't want our wedding to be a statement about my gender identity. So, I compromised a lot. I wore a fancy white dress to the ceremony and dinner, and then changed into white pants and a dress shirt for the party at Dorky's. I wore a veil, but only because it was my grandmother's, and it didn't cover my face.


My dad walked me down the aisle, because it was important to him, and he's important to me. Other than big stuff like that, we avoided a fair bit of gender references. Our cake toppers were a pair of velociraptors, for example. And we subverted a major gender tradition when Jacob took my last name.

Layne toasting

My favorite moment: The ceremony was amazing, of course, but the only things that made me tear up that day were the wedding party toasts. Stefan, Jacob's brother and best man, is pretty quiet. We knew that he was giving a toast, but I was completely unprepared for him standing up and saying all these really great things about his relationship with Jacob, and how everyone knew we were perfect for each other.

My sister, Layne, gave a speech about growing up together and how happy she was for us. I guess I could have predicted her speech would mean a lot to me, but I hadn't thought about it, so I was surprised by that, too. And then Danielle, my best friend from forever, completely blindsided me with her speech, which involved reading a letter she'd written me when I left for college years ago. All in all, it was a great reminder that our wedding was a celebration of both the love we have for each other and all the love we have in our lives.

Tyler and Maddy play air hockey
yrhhgg 021512 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Dinner was at the Old Spaghetti Factory in a banquet room that holds about 100 people, which is how many we had. So we made elaborate spreadsheets and charts and assigned everyone to a table. The table “numbers” were supposed to be set symbols from Magic: The Gathering, and everyone had a Magic card from their table's set. But then we had trouble printing out the table markers and figuring out where to display the cards. And it ended up not working out, which was frustrating since we'd spent so much time on it, and alarming because it meant no one would know where to sit. But my mom stuck reserved signs on the tables closest to our table, and I made sure my dad's family knew where to sit so they got the tables with gluten-free bread, and everybody else sat wherever they wanted. Everyone got food, which is the key thing anyway.

Bouquet toss

My advice for offbeat brides: Have as short an engagement as is feasible for you. I would have gone crazy if I'd spent much longer planning the wedding. We were engaged for a bit over five months, which seemed to work well to me.

If people tell you that you can't do something because it will be too confusing for elderly people, remember to assess the actual elderly people involved. Our grandmas weren't fazed at all by RSVPing online, for example.

If you haven't been to a lot of traditional weddings (or weren't paying much attention to random traditions), try to find out what people are expecting so you aren't caught off-guard by people being really confused. For example, I drastically underestimated how attached people are to the groom's side/bride's side thing. If I'd realized, I would have made signs. As it was, people were confused when we didn't stand on the traditional sides.

First look

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Comments on Maddy & Jacob’s garden and arcade geeky wedding

  1. What an awesome wedding. So individual! I love the fact that she walked in to Hans and Leia’s theme… could it be any more awesome?

  2. I remember seeing photos from this wedding on madlove’s blog, and thinking that it looked like so much fun. I’m really glad I got the rest of the story!! Everything about this wedding is made of win, in my opinion at least. 🙂

  3. People get uptight over the brides side/ grooms side thing? Welp, I guess they’re just gonna have to deal at my wedding since the sides are unbelievably uneven. I think I’d rather shoot myself than walk down the aisle being able to actually see the 4:1 ratio of his side to mine, how depressing.

    • You can always put up a sign that says “At the end of the day, we’re all family anyway. So sit where ever you please!” Even though our “sides” are both even, we’re doing this because I really didn’t want it to be a game of “who has more guests?”

  4. Downplaying gender roles, ftw! Love that he took her name. LOVE LOVE LOVE the heart-holding velociraptors. And the cake looked fantastic. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Oh my god! We had almost the exact same cake!
    Our cake was made by a friend and we had the same xkcd comic strip recreated on our cake. We even had the same dinosaur cake topper! Well, we had one dinosaur (representing my husband) and one pony (representing me). I bought them when we first started dating. I went on vacation to Las Vegas without him so I brought him back these toys from FAO Schwartz as a souvenir.

  6. So much envy for having the reception in a barcade. We wanted to do that so badly, but there aren’t any good ones near us. This wedding seems like it was a ton of fun!

  7. Lovely wedding 🙂 I just don’t understand what she means when she says she’s queer? Sha married a guy. Or are they transgender. Sorry if anyone finds this rude. I’m not tryin to be.

  8. I’ve got to know where your cake topper came from. My honey wants dinosaurs, and his face nearly fizzled off with envy when I showed him this post.

    And I love what you said about defying gender norms -your post reminds me a bit of what Erika Moen talked about when discussing hers.

    • Funny thing is I got married only about a month before Maddy & Jacob and used the same thing. I know I got mine at FAO Schwartz but that was almost 5 years ago. Don’t know if they still carry it.

  9. I am fairly certain that by bride’s side/groom’s side, Maddy is referring to where each of them stood for the ceremony, not where guests were seated. Traditionally the groom is stage left. According to THE INTERNET it’s so the groom’s sword hand is on the outside and free in case of attackers? Which is kind of cool because hey, swords… but nevertheless it’s something I fully intend to ignore.

    Also, that garden is SPLENDID! Totally drooling here! Same goes for the all-white second outfit. So snazzy! Heart.

  10. “My dad walked me down the aisle, because it was important to him, and he’s important to me.”

    I think this might be my favorite line on OBB. So much about how to compromise about things, and more importantly, why. Beautiful.

  11. I helped the owner of Dorky’s make the paper Donkey Kong favors and it’s really, really awesome to see the couple I made them for! You two are adorable.

    Just a heads up, although Dorky’s by all means is a fantastic “barcade,” I don’t think legally they can use that term because it’s been copyrighted by someplace in New York. 🙁

  12. This looks like an amazing wedding. Kudos to the both of you for understanding the need for compromise. I hate when people forgo things important to them because it’s not traditional, but it can be just as bad when they don’t take any of their guests into consideration when planning. This looks like you made sure the day wasn’t just important to you to, but important to both families as well. I wish you all the best!

  13. Hello all, I just wanted to let you all know Dorkey’s is not the place for a larger reception. 6 to 10 PPL is ok but when you have 20, 30, 40 PPL you are packed into a tiny little area like sardines. We had about 30 PPL. Very noisy and absolutely no place for father daughter dance. On the other hand Pizza was good, service was good.

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