Karen & PJ's nerdy gamer zoo wedding #Real Weddings: Western US#couples of color#gamers#geeky#rock band#san francisco#spring#video games#zoo May 29 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatariel The 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!? Thanks 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. Because 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. When 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 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: Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS Decorating a park ramada NEXT Honeymoon registry from buy-our-honeymoon.com Toggle comments [ 18 ] A zoo wedding! How totally cool! Reply Excellent! We'd originally wanted to do games at each table, but it was proving too expensive for us. I love that someone was able to do it and do it well! And that carousel is wicked! Reply This wedding is fantastic! Everything about it is so fun and unique! I can see similarities to what I want in my wedding. Thanks! Reply Oh. God. A. Carousel. That is, like, every fantasy I ever had come true. Especially the one at the San Francisco Zoo which is just perfect. A totally spectacular wedding! Reply this is in my humble opinion the coolest wedding evar ever EVER – sigh! Reply […] more about it here. Filed under: wedding crap | Tags: cool wedding, other people's […] Reply I totally think I went to HS with the groom, but we weren't friends really. random. what a fun wedding, looove the hungry hungry hippo centerpieces. Reply this is totally awesome. the video of the wedding party playing rock band may be the single greatest wedding porn video ever. Reply […] just read about the quirkiest/coolest wedding ever on Offbeat Bride. The wedding included a carousel, photobooth, rock band at the reception, hungry hungry hippos as […] Reply […] absolutely love this post on Offbeat Bride about two gamers, their love, and celebrating it at the zoo. Check out this quote: [W]e decided the best way to smooth everything out was to offer a variety of […] Reply I KNOW THE GROOM! OMG! He was my brother's friend growing up! HI PATRICK! Reply dude. i am a professional gamer and i believe that… basically…you are hot. hahah im going to do video games now at MY wedding. Reply lol.. I already have a master chief and arbiter cake topper… now I am going to add rock band to the list!! Now how can I fit oblivion and D&D in… Reply I am seriously copying your exact wedding it's that rad. So awesome! Reply I am officially in love with this couple – thank you for sharing and for having completely awesome explanations on your flickr sets (I especially love that you point out a photo in which hair is flying into your mouth with a titel of "hair in my mawf"). Congratulations on a really awesome wedding and kudos on working around some difficult situations with the seating! Reply this appeals to my sensibilities. squeeeee! <3 nrrd sp34k/lolcat pidgin also love the green shoes! and the giant sucker bouquet! totally "sweet" Reply You know a "Carnie" wedding, is one ride around the carousel? So technically, you got married twice that day! How cool is that? Reply I feel like we knocked this one out of the park. And hi Kate and possibly Megan! And Karen! 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