BELOIT, Wis. — Wedding officiate and Rock County Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer may have officiated more than 4,000 weddings, but April 20 marked his first tattoo shop ceremony.
The Beloit Daily News reports that Rich and Amber Ziemer tied the knot at House of Lexx Tattoo and Piercings. After Amber's uncle Cliff Ball escorted her down the shop's center aisle, she and her groom took their seats. Instead of exchanging rings of gold, they took on a more permanent symbol of commitment — "Mr." and "Mrs." tattooed on their ring fingers by tattoo artists Gabriel Rocha and House of Lexx owner Alex Valadez. Shortly after the tattooing they exchanged their vows chair-side.
Meyer told the small crowd of friends and family the couple was getting "wounded" in a good way.
"To know someone's wounds is to know something about them," Meyer said.
After the Ziemers exchanged vows and a kiss, they showed off their decorated fingers.
The couple, friends for 22 years who reconnected on Facebook in October, thought a tattoo shop wedding was the perfect idea. Amber has 10 tattoos and Rich has his entire right arm covered.
"We both have multiple tattoos and it's something that fits our personalities and who we are," Amber Ziemer said.
With seven kids between them, a grandchild and another on the way, Amber said she and her husband are homebodies. They not only wanted to honor their love of tattoos through their wedding, but give a nod to Beloit business. She said Valadez was eager to host the wedding.
"We like the atmosphere and the fact it's a local small business," Amber Ziemer said.
The couple were planning their reception at Fresco Fajita House and using local photographer Viviana Nadowski as they continued their Beloit-focused wedding.
Although it may have been the shop's first nuptials, those at House of Lexx often get unique requests. The people seeking tattoos have gone from the more rowdy crowd to just about anyone.
"It's doctors, lawyers and police officers. It's definitely grown," Valadez said.
Valadez said the business of nine employees is going on its sixth year downtown. It features one of area's most popular piercers, Teagan Squires. The shop has tattoo artists specializing in portraits, dot work, calligraphy lettering, colors, realistic flowers, futurist designs, watercolor tattoos and more. The shop also features permanent eyeliner and lipstick as well as eyelash extensions and eyebrow microblading.
Because of its reputation, many offerings and diversity of tattoo artists, the shop typically attracts people from an 85-mile radius and beyond.
"We are not just local anymore. We have people who fly in from California, New York, Texas and New York. We are everywhere," Valadez said.
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Beloit Daily News.