How This Couple Turned Their Wedding into an Epic Rock Opera
Musicians Rebecca Bortman and her (now) husband Bryan Garza first met in 2012 at the iconic San Francisco music venue Bottom of the Hill. Two years later, Bryan pulled off an epic proposal at the exact same spot by performing Elvis’s classic song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” live on stage. Obviously, Rebecca said yes (and now they have the best engagement story ever). So, what happens when two ultra-creative musicians start planning a wedding together? It turns into a rock opera.
When Rebecca (the leader singer of the band Happy Fangs) and Bryan (the lead singer of Scissors for Lefty) began to brainstorm how they wanted to tie the knot, Rebecca tells us, “We wanted to get back to songwriting after we got engaged, since that was our original premise.” She recalls saying to Bryan, “Why don’t we sing songs and make it an awesome concert?” And Bryan, being even more theatrical than she is, replied, “What if we did a rock opera?” Rebecca admits she was tentative about the idea at first, as she didn’t want the most memorable day of her life to turn into a cheesy high school musical. But with a lot of planning the couple was confident they’d be able to nail the concept.
Speaking of planning, there was A LOT of it. The two pulled this off in 10 months’ time, but Rebecca tells us that meant doing little of anything else. The rock opera was about an hour long and consisted of eight original songs (listen to a few here), all performed at the SF-based music venue The Chapel (the name is a charming coincidence). They recruited their bandmates’ help and even hired a stage manager as opposed to a wedding planner. All in all, Rebecca tells us there were 20 people in the show and about 12 more who helped with other aspects of production.
The hardest part to pull off? Rehearsals. Rebecca’s bridesmaids (who were also her backup singers) were all the way across the country on the East Coast. She says, “We attempted to practice a couple of time on Google Hangouts. It was hilarious to try to harmonize over that.”
While the two definitely ditched most wedding traditions, they kept one: The first look. Rebecca recalls, “That was more climactic than I thought. I thought he would just be like, ‘You look awesome!” But he told me, ‘You look like a Disney princess!’ We’d done a little bit of the traditional thing in that he’d never seen me in my dress, and so when he turned around it definitely had an impact.” And after that, it was showtime.
As Rebecca and Bryan’s 350 guests (!!) filled the venue, they were greeted with finger food, drink tickets and even a poster from the show. It started as a traditional wedding does, with a wedding processional. Then the performance began. The story of the rock opera follows the way they met and fell in love. She says, “The way we wove it into being more of a theatrical performance is we’d start with a song we’d written, and then to get to the next song, we’d have different people from the bridal party introduce it.” At one point their mothers got up on stage and told embarrassing stories about them and later their dads channeled Statler and Waldorf (the two grumpy dudes from The Muppets) by hilariously heckling them.
The vows were incorporated in the final song as they brought things down a notch to read what they’d written for each other. But after all that was said and done, it was time for the grand finale, a donut tower and a dance party.
So, what are they doing with all that hard work now? Relishing in it for one. But also, the couple says they also want to put out a Love, Jerks album for their first anniversary, which will include songs from the rock opera. (PS Love, Jerks is the name of their band.) We’re thinking that’s a great idea… if this doesn’t get picked up by Broadway and turned into the next hit musical before then ;)
What’s the most creative wedding you’ve seen recently? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Amber Gregory)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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