Karen & PJ's nerdy gamer zoo wedding

By on May 29th

Gamer weddingThe offbeat bride: karen, gamer

Her offbeat partner: PJ, video game journalist

Location & date of wedding: san francisco zoo, april 19, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Hoo boy. The tender union between two child-at-heart game industry kids is, of course, *unnormal* to say the least. We're both avid gamers who love animals. The venue really hit the nail on the wall. PJ proposed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and how fitting it was to have the actual wedding at the San Francisco Zoo!?

Rock band brideThanks to our tight budget, we had to come up with ideas on the cheap. And because of that, our wedding was filled with more personal details: DIY stuff (like centerpieces, lollipop bouquet, stationery, decorations), and having our talented friends be the musicians, photographers, and emcee. We also incorporated a lot of video game details too!

For us, the wedding was just a chance to throw a big party for our friends and families. Sure, the spotlight was on us but we wanted the guests to feel like they're the special ones.

Our biggest challenge: Both of our parents got divorced last year and the very thought of a big family function was uneasy for all of our families. But it was our wedding and we wanted everyone to have fun! So we decided the best way to smooth everything out was to offer a variety of activities during the reception to keep people busy and dizzy with fun. We had dancing, a photobooth, Rock Band, a carousel, and trainers with live animals, and the trainers offered informative tidbits about animal conservation.

sabotage entranceBecause of the tricky family situation, I also did *a lot* of work planning the seating arrangement. It was like solving a giant hard sudoku puzzle or playing Tetris. But all of the work was worth it!

As it turns out, everything was a hit.

My favorite moment: Riding on the carousel at night. The San Francisco Zoo has an amazing historical carousel complete with quasi-creepy carnival music and awesome bulb lights everywhere.

carouselWhen I first got to the carousel, it felt like it was *magic*. Then when we all got on the carousel…man, the lights, the laughter, the spinning. Fucking Magical.

I also loved seeing everyone at each table playing with the Hungry Hungry Hippos centerpieces and the Barrel of Monkeys.

My eco-friendly save-the-datesMy offbeat advice: Ask friends to help! If you're an offbeat-bride-to-be, chances are, you have rad friends. And Rad Friends definitely would love to partake in your wedding festivities.

At first, I was trying to be polite and try to not "burden" people. But as it turns out, my friends were all really eager to help out. And they were all excited to showcase their talents. One of best friends from college worked for National Geographic and is an "urban explorer" and he was ecstatic to be my main photographer, so I ended up with really great photo journalistic shots. My musician friends even personally arranged the ceremony music.

And it just makes the whole affair so much warmer and fuzzier.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Here are the National Geographic shots, and if you want even more info and photos and videos, head on over to Karen's 1UP blog.

Rock Band at the reception: