I got married in a Philadelphia bar called the Kite & Key on an overcast Sunday afternoon in late November 2009, surrounded by a half-dozen acquaintances we'd known for a month or two. The officiant was a woman I'd contacted over the Internet who agreed to perform her services—basically, signing papers—in exchange for beer. Our cake came from the Whole Foods down the street. My wife, Adri, jokingly held a knife to my throat as someone snapped a grainy cell-phone photo, the closest thing we have to a wedding portrait. And that was that. Husband and wife.
We were new in town, and we needed to get hitched so Adri could get on my employer's insurance. Beyond that, the institution didn't really matter to either of us. Our slapdash wedding reflected that ambivalence. It also suited our personalities. No formality, no ceremony, very little expense. Just good people and good drinks and good memories—and a good story to tell.
But our wedding wouldn't work for everyone. And truth be told, there are days when we wonder whether we should've gone the more traditional route, with family and friends and a champagne toast, with dresses and tuxedos and a DJ and an honest-to-God honeymoon on a tropical island. Or at least, some version of that tradition that we bent to meet our needs. Because weddings, like the couples they celebrate, should be unique.
The INDY's Alternative Wedding Guide was conceived on that same principle: that all couples are uniquely beautiful and they deserve to be celebrated for who they are. In the pages that follow, you'll find stories about how the wedding industry is being flipped on its head, advice from a divorce lawyer on keeping your relationship strong, a profile of a dressmaker who caters to those who can't find what they need on the rack, and much more. Whether you're planning to tie the knot or are already married—or even if matrimony isn't your bag—we hope you enjoy it. —Jeffrey C. Billman
The INDY’s Alternative Wedding Guide:
- Wedding Planner Alex Fisher Says N.C. Couples Are Spending More But Ditching Patriarchal Traditions
- Big Day Stressing You Out? Here Are Some Ways to Relax.
- How Same-Sex Marriage Has (and Hasn’t) Changed the Triangle’s Wedding Industry
- A To-Do List For Your Out-of-Town Guests
- Couples Are Unique. Weddings Can Be, Too. Including Unique Wedding Venues.
- Escape Rooms: Bars Where You Can Avoid Your Family
- Brooks Ann Camper’s Wedding Garb is Custom Made, But It’s Hardly Customary
- Last-Minute Gifts for Your Favorite Freaky (or Foodie, Vintage-y) Couple
- Tips from a Divorce Lawyer on Things to Look Out for If You’re Tying the Knot