Remember when Ariel got all jumpy and hand-clappy over that gorgeous goth stripey bride? Where here she is with the whole gorgeous goth wedding details!
Her offbeat partner: Banger: Semi Professional Musician, Financial Services Consultant
New Orleans, LA, October 31, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted everything to have a very lush, theatrical, maturely decadent, and darkly sensuous dramatic feel. With the wedding being an immersive, interactive experience for our guests, not just something to be observed.
The day began with our guests taking a walking tour of haunted locations in the French Quarter, led by our officiant, which included info on the history of Voodoo in NOLA. The tour brought them to the outdoor ceremony location at Congo Square — one of the most sacred spots for Voodoo in the city. The sounds of "Sally's Song" from Nightmare Before Christmas, played on bass, accordion, and fiddle wafted through the air beckoning them to the site of the event. We were waiting for them as they arrived and, once seated, they were treated to an authentic NOLA-style Voodoo ceremony that included handfasting, the binding of bride-and-groom Voodoo dolls (which had been made from scraps of our wedding clothes and some of our hair), and the jumping of the broom.
Afterwards we all paraded through the Quarter, through throngs of costumed Halloween revelers, to the cocktail reception held at the gorgeous (and famously haunted) Muriel's. The bordello-fabulous décor in the Séance Lounge continued the eerily opulent atmosphere that we had been cultivating all day. Finally we landed at our balcony suite (at our haunted hotel, naturally) overlooking the insanely festive Halloween celebrations on Bourbon Street for bloody good red velvet Nighmare Before Christmas cupcakes and general liquor-fueled, bead-catching merriment!
Our biggest challenge: The two main challenges were creating a small, child-free guest list for a destination wedding that was still affordable for those we loved, and planning a ceremony from a different country.
Banger's family is HUGE and generally everyone gets invited to everything. My family is a whopping two people. We were paying for the majority of this ourselves, and wanted the day to be about US, not about wrangling 200 people (plus their expectations), and paying for hundreds of meals. The ceremony being child-free was also very important to us. So we decided on a destination wedding so we could weed out the guest list and not look like jerks while doing it. (It worked brilliantly!) Also, New Orleans at Halloween is not really a kid-friendly environment, so that made the argument against kids for us. (It also worked brilliantly!) Flying to New Orleans from Toronto wasn't overly expensive and we found everyone hotel rooms for about $95. Only about four friends declined due to costs, and all family made it, so overall it was very successful.
Planning everything from another country by phone and email was the scariest thing. It involved trusting that the recommendations people were providing were actually good, and then trusting that the people we hired would hold up their end of the contract to the standards that we were expecting. We couldn't see or sample anything in person — we just had to sign the contracts and cross our fingers. It worked out!
My favorite moment: When all our guests got their first glimpse of us as they arrived at the ceremony site –- they were all dressed up in awesome Hallows Eve finery, had gotten some take-away cups of daquaris at some point during the tour and were buzzing a little bit (that was an unexpected development) — and they all gasped and stopped in their tracks to take photos. Some clapped. Everyone waved at us and some jumped up and down. It was like we were Mickey Mouse and they were all five year olds at Disney for the first time… it was just pure joy and excitement and wonder. I really wasn't anticipating that kind of reaction from everyone at all, and it was very touching.
The other best part of the night was the fact that every one of our guests at some point came up to us to say that that is was one of the most fun nights of their entire lives. It was like everyone was sixteen again -– everyone was giggling, shouting, hanging off the balcony yelling good-naturedly at various people on the street below. The fact that the whole vibe of all the partiers in NOLA that night was so open, positive, and friendly made everything all the more spectacular. We had aimed to create an experience that was WAY more than just a wedding, and it was fulfilling to know we'd succeeded so magnificently in that aspiration!
My offbeat advice: While you may be forced to compromise on exactly how your vision comes to life, don't sacrifice your core vision for your wedding for anything! We wanted dark drama and sensuous spectacle, and our plans changed drastically several times during the planning phases, but we got it in spades in the end! I found that if you trusted the process, changes that you're forced to make end up opening opportunities for even more fabulous ideas and outcomes in the end.
Also don't get overly attached to how your core wedding vision will manifest. Specific elements can change in an instant due to all sorts of unforeseen happenings, and you have to quickly mourn the loss of one particular manifestation of your vision, and create a whole new one. But the vision itself remains the same and will ultimately come to pass.
There also comes a time when you just have to let go and trust that everything will work out. You can only double-check with your cakery/hotel/venue/officiant/florist so many times before you just have to breathe and let go. Going bat-sh*t, stress-hog, anal-bridezilla won't change anything, and will just make you sick and annoy the heck out of everyone around you. If things go wrong on the day of, just take it in stride and work with what you have!
Read up and start practicing Mindfulness Meditation methods. These easy to apply non-sectarian techniques will really help manage your stress and mental wellbeing!!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:
- Pics by photography goddess, Laura Nikisher
- Officiant: Bloody Mary, Mambo Asogwe
- Wedding Dress by Amber at Renaissance Dress
- Cake by Shirelle at The Royal Cakery
- Mini Top Hat
- Square Flower Ring Pillow: Blissful Moments on Etsy
- Ganesha Cameo Necklace: Eternal Autumn on Etsy
- Handfasting Cord Charms: Rose quartz & Garnet Heart Charm by No Stone Left Unturned on Etsy
- Custom Marriage Blessing Amulet by Moonlit Herbals on Etsy
- Silver Wedding Band Set: Laurey Sarah's Treasury on Etsy
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!