When most girls dream of their wedding day, they picture themselves walking down the aisle in a white gown. They imagine their fiance dressed in a tuxedo and grinning ear-to-ear. They even conjure up details like wedding colors -- will they be red and yellow, or purple and blue?
But Kate Dana is not like most girls. Her idea of a perfect wedding, she said, has always been something free of any fussing or frills.
"I don't like drama," said the 33-year-old art teacher.
That is why, from the moment she met Sean Detwiler, Kate knew she'd found her ideal match.
"He's just like me. We're both anti-commercialism and anti-consumerism," she said. "And we like things to be nontraditional and almost goofy."
Take their first encounter, in April 2001, at an annual party for the Baltimore City Paper held at DeGroen's Bar and Grill. Kate was helping friends at the paper raffle off a vintage Vespa scooter -- a job that involved dancing around the bike dressed in go-go boots and a leopard-print mini dress. When Sean stopped by to purchase a raffle ticket, Kate stopped dead in her boots.
"I wanted to talk to him," she said. "But after I finally got up the courage we chatted for about five minutes and then, he vanished!"
Six months later, Kate ran into Sean, an aspiring artist, at a bar in Fells Point. Sean, 30, had just ended a seven-year relationship. Kate had been stood up by her date. The two bonded over a few beers and by the end of the night, Sean said, they were smitten.
"She was artistic, smart and beautiful. I knew she was the kind of person who doesn't care what other people think," he said.
"I really fell for him," said Kate. "We talked all night and had so much in common."
Kate and Sean are fans of 1960s style -- everything from Andy Warhol and go-go boots to bowl-shaped haircuts and scooters. They like to shop at vintage stores, watch independent films and eat Korean food. After six months of dating, they were talking about marriage.
True to their style, Kate and Sean's engagement was not a dramatic, or traditional, moment. It was more like a mutual decision.
"There was no 'surprise, here's a diamond' thing for us," she said. "Sean knew I didn't want that."
Instead, the couple took a trip to Montreal, where they took in the International Jazz Festival and shopped for titanium wedding rings. "We chose titanium because we both work with our hands a lot," said Kate. "We also found an unusual setting for my diamond because we wanted something different."
Not surprisingly, they also wanted a different kind of wedding.
"We wanted it to be a blast for our guests and a wedding like no other," said Kate.
On Oct. 12, Kate and Sean were married outside the Preservation Society in Fells Point in front of about 75 family members and friends. The patio was decorated with Gerber daisies, tiki torches and plastic pink flamingos.
The bride wore a mini dress paired with black shoes and a leopard-print pillbox hat; and the groom donned a '60s-style suit that the couple found at a local thrift shop. The newlyweds left their wedding on their 1964 Vespa scooter (not the one from the raffle) decorated with a "Just Married" sign.
Kate and Sean planned and financed their wedding on their own, and said they have no regrets. Why?
"Because we did it our way," said Sean.