The offbeat bride: Maddy, student
Her offbeat partner: Jacob, legal assistant/spreadsheet wizard
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Madlove Photography
- Awesome space ties: Etsy seller Cyberoptix
- Groom's cufflinks: Star Trek Official Store
- Bride's dress: Tadashi Shoji from Nordstrom Rack
- Bridesmaid dresses: David's Bridal
- Headpiece: Etsy seller FineNFleurie
- Necklace: Etsy seller Amula
- Earrings: Etsy seller CavalierCreations
- Hair and make-up: Foxfire Salon
- Invitations: Etsy seller GingerPDesigns
- Other paper goods: Vistaprint
- Salt Covenant: Centered Ceramics
- Cake: Corina Bakery
- Flowers: Jen's Blossoms