Four true and very different wedding stories.
Megan & Dave
I proposed to my husband on a trip I planned to Chicago to see one of our favorite bands. I made a little book that I wrote and illustrated about how we met, and I had an Etsy artist named Kathryn Reichert make his engagement ring. I asked David to marry me at the Chicago Diner, our favorite restaurant. He cried, I cried, it was a fantastic day, and we got a free slice of cake!
We decided to have our wedding in a new local music venue in Omaha where we live called The Slowdown. We loved the industrial construction in the building and the low-key atmosphere. Dave and I didn't want our guests to see our wedding day as a day to block off in their calendar or cause an inconvenience in their routine—call me unromantic, but I admit that I often feel that way when I receive wedding invitations still today: “My friend is getting married so it will be a long day of traditional pomp and circumstance while I stand up in a church pew and then wait in line at a buffet for dinner and feel forced to dance to a bad dj. And get nothing done all day.” (Any other workaholics reading this?) There are a lot of turn-offs in mainstream wedding culture, and Dave and I were eager to avoid them.
Our ceremony was at night on the stage at The Slowdown. We spent several weeks writing the text—it was important that our marriage ceremony be short and succinct, but also worthy of the emotional significance of that day. After we were married by my actor cousin who got ordained online, we immediately turned to cut our cake and signed the marriage license as our attendants distributed the cake through the crowd. Nobody wants to wait for the fun to begin at a party, and we wanted to do away with the drawn-out ceremonial gestures and get to the dancing, hugging, and reconnecting with our friends who had made the effort to come and support our union.
Because we had a night ceremony and reception, we started with a cocktail hour at 7pm and served hors d'ouevres and desserts, and capped the night off with a midnight pizza delivery. We got life-sized standup cutouts of ourselves to put outside for guests to take photos with. Gigantic round balloons swept the perimeter of the venue like oversized Japanese lanterns, keeping our décor simple as not to compete with the minimalist construction of the venue. I also designed my pink confectionery dress, with a fitted bodice and a full knee-length skirt, and my bouquet of felt flowers that later went on to take the wedding industry by storm and become the bread and butter of my design company, Princess Lasertron.
I don't think we tried to make our wedding “crafty” or DIY as much as it just became that way after I looked for what I wanted in the wedding vendor and party planning market and came up empty-handed—what I couldn't find, I figured out how to create myself. I think that same “crafty bootstrapping” when it comes to party planning and styling is what makes DIY weddings so unique from each other—although we may be inspired by some of the same online photos or project tutorials, adding our own touches and figuring it out as we go is why we keep going back to the blogs, back to pinterest, back to wedding inspiration magazines for more.
Dave & Mel
We were always very keen to stamp our own personality on our wedding – from the food, to the decorations, everything – it’s one thing to continue a tradition but another to create your own! I proposed to Mel in a friend’s coffee shop in front of friends and family, playing a song I’d practised with my best man. Mel was always adamant she didn’t want a fancy diamond ring (lucky me!) so I decided to have a chocolate one custom made instead. It was an oversized novelty but it did the trick, and I wrote a poem that went inside the (edible) chocolate box too.
In fact, poetry was a theme of the whole wedding – we had personalised rhyming vows, various poems that we’d written dotted around the venue in photo frames and we also left various quotes about marriage on the guests’ chairs, which they could read out during our service. Our mission was to get everyone as involved as possible. Our table centrepieces/placecards were customised CD cases with a ‘Now That’s Why I call a Wedding!’ design, with the table numbers and bridal party’s pun-heavy ‘band names’ on the front, and a menu ‘tracklist’ on the back. These were later given away as game prizes.
Music was very important to how we got together - our first dance was played by my best man on bongos and my original guitar tutor on the guitar, and we also had our guests to do a ‘wedding march’ to the Austin Powers theme tune, as well as giving them very loud party poppers to fire at will when we made our exit. We closed the night with a raucous singalong to ‘500 miles’ by the Proclaimers!
Jennifer & Dan
11/11/11, was a date that we had agreed on barely two weeks into our relationship. It was a casual, lighthearted, "what if we were to ever get married" type of conversation where we mentioned that it was the perfect date were that to ever happen. We then looked it up on our phone and figured out it was on a Friday, so it actually wound up sticking and becoming a starting point to our wedding planning after we got engaged.
Shortly after that initial conversation, I went to Christmas Party for Dan’s record label at the Masonic Lodge situated within The Hollywood Forever Cemetery grounds, which absolutely blew my mind! If you’re not familiar with it, check it out. It’s become a landmark in Hollywood, where they often screen movies and have picnics over the summer called “Cinespia” and feature shows such as Glasvegas and Flaming Lips in the lodge and on the grounds. I knew that if Dan and I were ever to get married, that the Masonic Lodge HAD to be the venue. So, from there, the “hints” started dropping. (wedding channel marathons on Sundays left on all day, photos of rings popping up on the computer, comments about how all of our friends were getting engaged, etc.)
Fast forward to around 8 months later (when I thought Dan was out of town) and he showed up to my favorite restaurant when my best friend and I were having lunch. He just marched in the door to our favorite song “Heart of Gold” playing (which was prearranged), got on one knee and proposed with a 1940s vintage ring! Of course, I said yes! After the initial celebrations, the planning took full-force and the first thing we did was secure the venue, only to find out there had never been a wedding held there, which we thought was grounds for a really unique and memorable experience.
When trying to consider a “theme” for the wedding, being as we’re both non-religious and fairly unconventional when it comes to these types of things, we really wanted something that reflected tradition without having to necessarily follow the rules. Keeping the venue and location in mind and the fact that I had my vintage inspired Manuel Mota dress picked out years ago (which was not easy to find!!), we pretty much settled on having an elegant yet casual and fun, old-school vintage Hollywood wedding with lots of candles and black calla lilies.
I had already found pictures of an awesome “hollywood-esque, gothicy” looking wedding cake with roses and a top hat a top hat, and a dress I’d seen in a Dakota Fanning wearing in Vanity Fair which served as the inspiration for the Bridal parties outfit. Our “Save the Date” photo was modeled after an old movie poster that we actually just had a good friend of ours from the wedding party (that happens to be an awesome photographer) take it in his backyard. The engagement pictures that were taken by the amazing Laurie Scavo shortly after were done around the Hollywood Forever cemetery grounds and Barnsdall Park to continue with the vintage Hollywood theme.
As no big fans of sit down dinners, overly traditional Weddings, and both having family coming in from out of town (I’m Texan, he’s English) we decided it would be more interesting to decorate an outside area and have food trucks by Los Angeles/Californian mainstays like In-N-Out Burger, Kogi's Korean BBQ and, of course, the one and only Los Angeles Bacon wrapped “Street Dog”...the trashy but spectacular LA staple that reflects a high percentage of our nights spent out together, come in to serve dinner while sipping on some signature cocktails.
Finally, as we both work in music and are so passionate about it, we decided that in addition to the having a regular DJ, the entertainment is going to include performances from a number of LA based musicians and friends covering some of our favorite songs. There’s also going to be a Polite In Public photo booth on hand to provide a talking point, something for the guests to entertain themselves with and another document of the day, a super 8 video being shot of the night from Lola video, and tons of other little surprises!
Melanie & Erik
Melanie Ann Lear married Erik Christopher Grieve on the 14th of October 2007. We would have loved actual Halloween but as a teacher I am kind of restricted by holidays. Anyway the dress code was black, white and orange and then I added red as I was going to wear it and people are so weird about orange.I wore a white skirt with hand painted poppies and a red velvet corset, jacket and hat to match. The red was inspired by Mina Harker from Bram Stokers Dracula. Erik arrived with best man in a Hearse listening to Robb Zombie on the way to the venue. I had a carriage with two black horses wearing black feathers. The bridesmaids also wore red and white and looked fantastic! They both carried Halloween cat bags which were filled with sparkly pumpkin favors made by myself. The venue was the original St. Trinaians school in Edinburgh which being a teacher was very apt. We loved it because of the gorgeous carvings such as green men and mermen and the amazing highly decorative ceiling.
The ceremony was lovely and I came down the Aisle to a gorgeous piece of music written by my husband who is the creative force and frontman of his band "Metal tech"(mixture of dance music and Heavy metal guitars) This piece however was more piano and strings. He really is very clever.We had two large candelabra covered in cobwebs,Chinese lanterns and ivy at the top of the aisle. Whilst we signed the register my eldest sister Susan sang the Annie Lennox song,"Love song for a Vampire" which was great. Just married my new husband and I walked back down the aisle to the theme tune from Bewitched which made everyone laugh.
Tables were decorated with pumpkins and gourds while the huge wedding cake had sparkly pumpkins made from model magic on the top. The venue was decorated with various Halloween figurines that now cover every surface of our home...all year round! The music set list included lots of Halloween songs such as ,"Spooky scary skeletons", "The Addams Family", "Theirs a Ghost in my house"..etc. etc. Our first dance was to "Waltzinblack" by The Stranglers.
The colour coordinated family and friends helped to make the wedding photos extra special and it was brilliant that everyone made such an effort. It really was a fabulous day that we will never forget.
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