Let’s get together
Your Lord Dudeness will officiate whatever kind of wedding you want
Rawb Brothers likes to snap his own keepsake Polaroid of each wedding he officiates
A wise woman once said, “If you want to go into debt by throwing a lavish party you will barely remember, have yourself a big wedding.” (Full disclosure: that woman was me.)
For decades the wedding industry has grown at an unbelievable pace, ballooning into what is now a multibillion dollar industry, according to Forbes magazine. What used to be an intimate celebration that took place over the course of a few hours can now include several events across multiple days.
It’s not uncommon for a wedding weekend to consist of cocktail hours and dinners in the days before the actual ceremony, followed by a lavish and lengthy reception complete with an open bar and a fully catered meal. There is often a morning-after brunch to help soften the blow of the hangovers guests earned while trying to recoup the money they spent on their personal travel expenses in liquor.
There are chocolate fountains, photo booths, professional photographers, extravagant and personalized party favors, catered meals, mason jars everywhere, customized koozies, an entire botanical garden’s worth of flowers, dresses that cost more than my first car, centerpieces, themes requiring set designers to pull off, multiple cakes, live birds, a second dress, bands and DJs and emcees, and whatever else you can imagine.
If you attend a wedding trade show, you will leave with grandiose ideas about what your special day should look like, and it probably has very little to do with what makes your relationship with your partner so special.
The cost of such an extravagant event, as well as the impersonal nature it can take on, has caused many couples, young and old alike, to push back against the industry and redefine what a wedding should be.
Rawb Brothers, or Your Lord Dudeness, as it says on his business card, has been performing wedding ceremonies for seven years. What started as a joke among his high school friends became a reality when one of those friends asked Brothers to officiate his wedding.
“My best friend had all of his best men lined up and he asked me if I would officiate his wedding. We had always joked about it, but we decided to make it a reality … It was an Irish-style wedding, we were doing shots and drinking out of the keg. Part of the ceremony was actually about same-sex rights, and how [the couple] had the right to marry but same-sex couples didn’t. They wrote it for me, and I read it, because that’s what they wanted.”
Ensuring that couples have the ultimate say in how their ceremonies are conducted is key to the services Brothers provides, and part of the reason people seek him out. He has performed ceremonies for couples considered by many to be non-traditional and who may struggle to find officiants and locations that will serve their wedding needs.
He has married a trans couple, several same-sex couples, older couples entering into their second or third marriages, and couples who are looking to avoid the typical church wedding and have some fun with their vows.
“Why not have fun with it, make your wedding fun and about you?” Brothers said. “I kind of gained this philosophy at my grandma’s funeral because I was disappointed that it wasn’t about her … I thought, ‘Wait, I’m ordained, I could do this stuff and make it about the people, fully.’ That’s how it should be.”
Brothers is happy to oblige whatever requests his clients make.
“You get to tell me how you want it done. If you want a certain script written, or want to write it yourself … or if you want me to dress a certain way, I’ll do it … I want to make sure the couple has it their way, because it is all about them. It’s their wedding.”
Over the years he has collected a series of props to use during the ceremonies, including various texts he will happily use during the exchanging of the vows. His collection includes a leather bound book on Darwinism and a Star Wars box that, with a push of a button, opens to reveal a Star Wars book rising from the center.
He will also accommodate Dudeist weddings, and even has a Flying Spaghetti Monster unholy text. He once officiated a gothic-themed wedding and, at the request of the bride, wore a top hat, a long black overcoat, and a Texas Chainsaw Massacre t-shirt as the bride walked down the aisle to a song by the band Type O Negative.
Planning a wholly unique and individualized wedding often calls for an unusual venue. Although he has officiated weddings in more traditional venues like the Sapulpa Country Club country, many who use his services are looking to save money, which means avoiding costly rental fees and the stress that comes with planning a huge event.
“[Weddings] bankrupt people, or they have to have their families pay for it, yet you can do it for so cheap and have so much more fun. People get so stressed about weddings, and they shouldn’t be … Tulsa is your playground, there are so many great sites … buildings you can use as backdrops and so many great parks.”
Weddings are held all over Tulsa these days, including in landmark spaces such as the Circle Cinema, the Dresser Mansion, and the Center of the Universe, and in little dive bars like Mercury Lounge. Some couples choose to individualize their ceremony, but still go for a prime location that can accommodate a large guest list, like Cain’s Ballroom or
Ultimately, Brothers will go anywhere and do anything to assure that the couple getting married has the individualized, unique, and stress-free wedding they desire.
“I get a lot of joy out of it. I have a lot of fun, and they have a lot of fun. I want to give them a good memory, and it’s fun to see people click.”
For more from Amanda, read her article on Fern Holland, a TU law graduate who died fighting for women’s rights.