The Offbeat Bride: Ellen, Graduate Student
Her offbeat partner: Chris, Professional Graduate Student Supporter
Date and location of wedding: A friend's community theater in Northern New Mexico and The Toolshed, Dixon, NM — September 6, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our theme was very much Wes Anderson everything. The two movies we got the most influence from was Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. We held it over Labor Day weekend and it was a four-day event, including rafting down the Rio Grande, as a favor to our wedding party. It was the perfect time of the year — the old apple orchard the theater was situated on was ripe with apples. We created the weekend as a “backyard destination” wedding, since most of our wedding party lived within five hours of the venue. There was a vacation house mere steps from the venue that we rented out for the entire wedding party.
Speaking of wedding party, we left their clothing options up to them. Because our wedding party and most of our friends were theatre people, they took the theme and absolutely ran with it. My husband even found his own suit, which was very Fantastic Mr. Fox.
We got to have the wedding at my friend's theater space, because I had volunteered with this small community theatre for around five years. I had started a children's theatre camp that uses the space every June. I asked my friend Simon very nicely, and he said he would take care of all of the details. He hired all locals (mostly theatre people!), including a wonderful chef named Winston, and we drank local beer and wine and danced the night away.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My grandfather presided over the ceremony; he is an orthodox priest, and so he did the ceremony in all of his orthodox regalia. He even let me pick out the color of his vestment, a special bonus he only let his youngest grandchild do. He also used to be an Episcopal priest, so he did the Episcopal service from the Book of Common Prayer. He promised he would keep the ceremony under 17 minutes, and would not accept any lateness. We started at 4:00 sharp, and yes, the ceremony lasted a whole 17 minutes. Our florist surprised us with a wonderful backdrop covered in flowers.
My grandfather's first parish was the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1960. He remembered the Lakota blessing and sang it for us as part of the ceremony as a special bonus. I'm the only child, so both of my parents walked me down the aisle. As we retreated through our friends, we provided dried lavender for them to toss.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception was as a Wes Anderson wonderland. Emily, of Floriography Flowers, took it upon herself to combine found objects, flowers, and real candles to create the reception space of our dreams. My theatre mentor Holly Haas (and the reason I ever came to this small mountain town in New Mexico) painted the wonderful backdrop to match our invitations that we sent out.
Our guest book was a vintage globe, and we collected our cards in the trout basket that Suzy had in Moonrise Kingdom. Chris and I aren't big on cake, so we created a vintage suitcase display that had heart-shaped baklava made by my mother, macarons, custom chocolates, and meringues. The weather was perfect, so we could throw the doors open to the reception area and people could lie on the blanket under the backdrop and stare at the stars (which were numerous, since we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere).
What was your most important lesson learned?
Be nice to everyone always, and cash in on all that good karma! Trust in your friends that want to help, especially because we were planning this wedding long-distance from Oregon. It was such an outpouring of love that we experienced, and everyone was so kind and loving and volunteered to help.