The Offbeat Bride: Becky, Doctoral Candidate in Architectural History
Her offbeat partner: Pat, Special Collections Librarian
Date and location of wedding: Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee, WI — July 21, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Returning to Wisconsin (where we met) from our current home in Boston was really fun, and we included a lot of Milwaukee inspiration wherever we could. For instance, our venue was the restored tasting room of the Pabst Brewery, and with its beautiful stained glass, two courtyards, and amazing woodwork, spoke to our mutual interest in architecture and Milwaukee beer!
We love color, so we avoided white flowers whenever possible and instead had color in EVERYTHING, down to the drink straws. We picked everything we liked, from the illustrated invites to my retro dress to the colorful accents to the meal of fajitas and pie.
Tell us about the ceremony: We had a relatively traditional ceremony at the church my family attended while I was growing up. The officiants of our ceremony were a minister who used to work at the church and who is nowbased in Washington State (he flew out for the ceremony), as well as a priest from Chicago who has been close to Pat's family for years. Their making the trek and leadership of the ceremony were definitely meaningful for us.
Musician friends of ours played all the music, which ranged from Morrissey to Lindsey Buckingham to Sufjan Stevens. My parents walked me down the aisle to their wedding song, Cat Stevens' rendition of “Morning Has Broken,” performed as a duet by two friends; my husband walked down the aisle with his parents to Smog's “To Be Of Use.” A number of friends performed Lou Reed's “Satellite of Love” as our recessional, which was AWESOME. Hearing some of our favorite people play music that is special to us was truly breathtaking.
Our biggest challenge: The distance. We had to plan the entire wedding from our home in Boston, only visiting Milwaukee once the summer before for initial vendor meetings. Contracts, deposits, and logistics were all handled via phone, email, and mail. Certain situations, such as a major staffing upheaval at the church in the months before the wedding, were difficult to work with from afar, for sure. While definitely a challenge, we kept a really good schedule of handling wedding-related tasks, and we rarely faced stress with wedding stuff.
Distance was also a personal challenge, as my bridesmaids, my mother, my in-laws, and I all live in different states, making it impossible to get together. There was never an opportunity to gather everyone together so they could get to know each other and get excited. While many people totally stepped up and reached out as we got closer to the wedding, others were not so mindful (out of sight, out of mind, I suppose), which was hard. At the end of the day, I tried not to be too sensitive and the total love we received from our families and guests at our wedding far outweighed any distance, physical or emotional, felt beforehand.
My favorite moment: I was always really interested in having a ring warming, which was a new concept to pretty much everyone else. Realizing that we had simply too many people attending the wedding (about 125) for it to work during the ceremony, we gathered the wedding party and immediate family in a room at the church as we waited for the ceremony to begin. We passed the rings among these 20 people or so, and everyone said a prayer or warm wishes. Having it among our close circle allowed people to speak to us directly, and there were many tears shed as we listened to our parents and friends wish us well minutes before the ceremony. We walked into the ceremony in great spirits and feeling so loved. It was truly unforgettable and the most special moment of the day.
My funniest moment: I was definitely the biggest wedding klutz of all time! From slowly tipping over on wobbly lawn chairs (learn how to manage the weight of your dress, ladies!) to wiping out on a drink-strewn dance floor, Grace Kelly I was not. While I was horrified at the number of literal falls I took (no doubt aided by the strong margaritas I was handed all night), I've learned to focus on the fact that I was having a fantastic time and that's all that matters.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We made the choice to pay for the wedding ourselves, and made a deal that we would not discuss exact figures with our parents so there would be no judgement or concern regarding how we chose to spend our money. This took the burden and stress of financial conversations out of the equation with our families, and both sets of parents were extremely supportive and good-natured about our wedding. Though it was hard to save funds (especially since I'm in school), it was absolutely worth it to have our families arrive that weekend and simply relax and enjoy the event rather than writing checks.
Don't get wedding obsessed too far in advance of the big day! I set up a schedule of devoting one day a week to wedding business (Sunday) when I also allowed myself to indulge in guilty pleasures of the bridal variety. This was my routine for over a year, and as we inched closer to the wedding, it slowly but surely required more attention during the week. By handling planning systematically and not overloading ahead of time, I was able to commit the time and energy to wedding business with a mellow attitude.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Gown: Dolly Couture
- Shoes: Christian Louboutin (my big splurge!)
- Groom's suit: Mark Russell Clothing
- Groom's tie: Thomas Pink
- Bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen ties: Alfred Sung
- Church: Crossroads Presbyterian Church
- Reception: Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery
- Photographer: Kat Schleicher
- Caterer: Ball & Biscuit Catering
- Pies: Honey Pie
- Wedding coordinator: Jami Jakubek, All Dressed Up
- Flowers: Laurel Flannery, Bloom Floral & Event Design
- Hair: Knick Salon and Spa
- Invitations: Mok Duk by Anne Benjamin
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
dresses: Dolly Couture