How the Beatles Inspired This Wedding, 16 Years in the Making

Pittsburgh musician Paul “Weird Paul” Petroskey found wife Niffer Desmond through twists of fate that led them to a “Yellow Submarine”-themed wedding in Hawaii.
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Sixteen years to the day of their first date, Paul Petroskey and Niffer Desmond were married.

But their love story began well before their first date.

While working at a record station in college, Desmond discovered one of Petroskey’s CDs — his artist name is Weird Paul — and fell in love with it. It wasn’t until the internet provided search tools that the two were able to connect; she listed Weird Paul as one of her favorite bands on MySpace, and Petroskey found her and sent her a friend request.

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In 2007, Desmond, who was based in San Francisco, decided to visit her aunt in Butler, not far from Petroskey’s home in Pittsburgh. Petroskey met her there, and a week later they were officially dating.

Petroskey, it turns out, had been made aware of Desmond in a way too — a former girlfriend had given him a DVD music video from the San Francisco band The Residents, a video Desmond had produced.

“We both had kind of been exposed to each other’s work and art before we met,” Petroskey says.

The two said their entire relationship has been like that, finding out little things that seem to say they’re made for one another.

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When they married on Jan. 20, they chose a Beatles “Yellow Submarine”-themed celebration in Hawaii. Their theme was meant to celebrate their love of music and the Fab Four, and their locale was chosen for a few reasons — Desmond’s father lives in Hawaii, and it also fit perfectly with the name of one of Petroskey’s songs from 1995 — “I’m Gonna Go to Hawaii.”

“I’ve always said, I’m not real big on travel, it’s not something I’m excited about, but I’ve always said I wanted to go to Hawaii. I wanted to see Hawaii,” he says. 

Petrosky notes one of his favorite things about their celebration was it became a spectacle; their officiant wore a yellow submarine costume and the couple dressed in colorful costumes inside the Byodo-In Temple — Desmond curates vintage Japanese wares in her Etsy shop, KimonoSoul. Many tourists stopped to watch, and the next day, in the hotel elevator, a man recognized him.

“They said, ‘oh, you’re the one who got married yesterday in the temple.’”

“We wanted to share this occasion as a big celebration of love and make it really fun also for everyone involved,” says Desmond. “People really seemed to have a good time. We gave them kazoos so they could sing along to the ‘Yellow Submarine’ song.”

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To celebrate with local friends and family, they’ve decided to host a celebration in May in Pittsburgh complete with a ring exchange — in Hawaii they only exchanged leis. The theme will be the Roaring ‘20s.

“I think Niffer and I, really when we do things, we like to make it memorable no matter what it is,” Petroskey says. “We want it to be something people won’t forget easily, and I think the wedding was still part of that.”

“I don’t think I have that in mind, it just happens naturally,” Desmond adds.

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