Kara & Shawn’s Royal Tenenbaums movie theater wedding

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goodnight wedding!

The offbeat bride: Kara, hairdresser/doula/jill-of-all-trades

Her offbeat partner: Shawn, manager by day/writer by night

Date and location of wedding: The Princess Theater in Douglas, Wyoming (Douglas is the birthplace of The Jackalope!) — August 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat:

“I'm not talking about dance lessons. I'm talking about putting a brick through the other guy's windshield. I'm talking about taking it out and choppin' it up.”
– The Royal Tenenbaums

As soon as I got engaged, my sister and I started talking about wedding ideas. I droned on about how I don't want tulle, The Chicken Dance, dollar dances, garter tosses, and pretty much most wedding traditions that just aren't us. I'm not talking about veils and birdseed and cutesy-wootsy! I'm talking about taking it out and choppin' it up! Next thing I know, my sister had crafted a very Andersonesque invitation.

Hitchhiking bride

Princess Theater

We knew we would have to get married in my hometown of Douglas, Wyoming which is a little town of 5,000 people. The thing is, my family is what you could call “network savvy,” meaning we have friends. A LOT of friends. The challenge right off the bat was finding a venue that could accommodate an guest list off 150+. After digging around on Offbeat Bride, I saw a window of opportunity by using the movie theater in Douglas as a venue for the ceremony.

Brooch Bouquet

As I stated before, I wasn't very into some of the traditions in being a bride. I wanted to do the fun stuff like build a brooch bouquet but I didn't want to deal with other stuff like centerpieces. After a few months of my mom getting ready to kill me for dragging my feet on making decisions, we were offered a life saver in the form of a real life party planner to fill in the details. Maureen Morgan, wedding planner extraordinaire, took my half-assed protests and incomplete thoughts and molded them into pure genius.

leaving the theater

Wedding invitation

The best decision I made in planning my wedding was handing the reigns over to my friends who were actual professional photographers, graphic designers and (the ultimate friend-score) a party planner. I learned that being a bride means you are expected to work out the logistics of things like napkin colors but being a wise bride means being honest with your novice party throwing skills and trusting someone with more experience to make the right decision. The worst decision I made as a bride was choosing Chartreuse as the main wedding color. Do you know how many shades of Chartreuse exist in the world? It's staggering!

Princess Theater

I walked down the aisle to “Pure Imagination” from the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” soundtrack and as soon as we had that first kiss, “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright started blasting like the first time Wayne saw Cassandra in “Wayne's World”.


We danced the night away, ate way too much food, and had a blast. My sister (and Maid of Honor) gave a speech inspired by my favorite book Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins and the Best Man gave me formal notice of my induction into the “gang” he and my husband invented as kids. We had karaoke, a photobooth, and by the end of the night my cousins' kid was doing magic tricks on the karaoke stage. It was a successful night!

First dance

Big Kiss!

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was created by our very laid back preacher. We wanted something personalized and different without having to write our own vows. Not that I don't love the idea of writing our own vows, I was just sure that my husband being a writer by trade would show me up and I would end up having to follow his act with whatever sentiment I could cobble together.

Our ceremony was religious without being specific to a certain denomination. It was short and sweet and with the addition of my Taco Bell schtick (see the funniest moment below), the ceremony was quite memorable.

Princess Theater


Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was trying to plan a huge wedding at a distance of three hours from the wedding location. I live in Rapid City, South Dakota and the wedding was in Wyoming. I overcame it by delegating responsibilities and hiring help for the things I couldn't manage. No one from the wedding party besides my parents actually lived in the town the wedding was taking place. You can imagine how things like dress fittings were virtually impossible.


My mom was doing the best she could to find all of the little odds and ends to fill in the details, but overall I think we would have been sunk had it not been for the generosity of our friends either offering their expertise or finding one of their friends to help us. Case in point, one of my former coworkers put us in touch with a lady who was able to basically rebuild a bridesmaid's dress the day before the wedding.

Cutting the cakage

My favorite moment: The moments leading up to my wedding were quite memorable. The night before the wedding, my Uncle Dave basically slept in his truck to keep an eye on the pig we were roasting for the reception. I wore my late grandma's handkerchief pinned to the inside of my dress as my something borrowed.

Zombie Barbie and Ken

My bridesmaid, Samantha, made us a killer Zombie Barbie and Ken centerpiece for the gift table. My godfather said a little blessing over my wedding shoes like he used to do when I would get new shoes as a kid.

Dad Dance

And I loved dancing with my Dad to “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright.

Jackalope City

My funniest moment: I started crying right before I walked down the aisle and couldn't get a grip. I didn't even realize I was crying, it was one of those weird hysterical things I suppose. So there I am, up on stage whimpering through my vows and I can't push Shawn's ring on his finger. I'm whispering, “You retaining some water from that Taco Bell we had yesterday?” Then our officiant asks, “He had too much what yesterday?” And I announced, “TACO BELL! HE ATE TOO MUCH TACO BELL!” It was very us, and it loosened up the crowd who had, until that moment, been watching me lose my shit and sniffle through my vows.

Bride and MOH


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Without getting into too much detail, I was terrified that taking that many people and adding karaoke and alcohol into the equation, that we were risking becoming a Youtube sensation for all the wrong reasons. But no one got hammered and sang “Janie's Got a Gun,” no one fist fought over the bouquet, and everyone got along swimmingly. I would like to give a nod to our special task force who kept note of how many Wild Turkey shots were ingested before providing a safe ride elsewhere.

Princess Theater

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Our friends and family love us to the ends of the earth. They put together this amazing wedding, they traveled to see it happen, and gave us the incredible experience of starting our marriage off with a bang! We couldn't be luckier!

before the ceremony

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Comments on Kara & Shawn’s Royal Tenenbaums movie theater wedding

  1. O I would’ve loved to have photographed this amazing wedding! Tenebaum-inspired? Grandpa shoe blessings? Brooch bouquet? Stunning Wyoming? Wow! I’m really impressed and hope one of my future brides asks me to photograph a Rushmore-style wedding. *swoon*

  2. This wedding is so badass AND beautiful! The first kiss to Dream weaver is so amazing I am kicking myself for not coming up with it myself. Also PROPS for that killer zombie bride and groom. And YAY for talented friends and fam.

  3. Memories from the booty-bumpin’ block rockin’ beatz booth:
    another little daughter of a cousin was super, super adamant about hearing Justin Beiber (she asked I swear to god over a dozen times), and Jay was all too excited to oblige her. But when it came up and “Baby” started she lost her nerve and it was hilarious.
    Hey, you know how one of my mom’s rules was I can never sing the song “Fever” because it’s inappropriate and “about a horny old lady”? Well, when we were decorating and setting up the stuff I put it on and sang “You give me boners” and the caterer was mortified.
    The town librarian sang “Love Boat”. You did your amazing karaoke gold classic “Strutter”. Don Hill and Ana sang “I Love This Bar”. Wow. Your first dance was to Teenage Fanclub “Did I Say” and it was lovely. You cut the cake to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. I’m pretty sure somebody screamed out “Crazy Train” at one point, too.

  4. I love the headdress! One of the best veil alternatives I’ve seen yet! This wedding looked perfect for the couple. <3 IT!

  5. Wow!

    I LOVE the photo of bride + bridesmaids in what appears to be a cornfield (but good photographers are canny and can transform patches of scruffy wasteland into something that looks much lovelier).

    Beautiful wedding! xoxo

  6. What an awesome wedding..I love it all from the movie theater location (um, how cool is that?) to the awesome photography.

  7. I remember a time long before meeting Kara when Shawn was lounging around my aparment smoking cigarettes, incessantly texting this girl he was certain he was madly in love with. When I finally met her and saw them together, I knew he was right. It was magnetic.

    To be a guest at this was wedding was truly an honor. What an amazing style that exists with these two.

    I love you guys.

  8. iconic and simply wonderful. If life could imitate art your life together should be marvelous!

  9. Inspirational! What I loved about this wedding was not only the beautiful shots but the awesome read to go with it – not the usual romantic blather, but stuff that made me sit at my desk on this dreary New Zealand morning, and smile. Congratuations 🙂

  10. I LOVE this wedding! The photographs were amazing and I loved every detail! Brava!!

  11. WooHOO! You live in Rapid? I’m from Sturgis! Yay for a little SD love! 🙂

    (ahem. sorry. Might have gotten a little carried away there…)

    In any case, your wedding is beautiful and the photography work is amazing! Congrats!

  12. wow, your photos are amazing! what a unique and memorable wedding you guys had! very inspirational. deffinately wished i had something that creative lol.

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