Michele & Matt's steampunk, cocktail party wedding

January 18 |

Wow, we've been teasing this wedding for quite a while now… Remember the "Yay!" flags, made by OBT member Michele, that everyone loved so much that we made Michele give us an "how to" post? And then remember the awesome steampunk groom fashion post? Well that was all from the same wedding and we finally have the whole scoop!

hanging out at the train stationThe offbeat bride: Michele – interior designer (and OBT member)

Her offbeat partner: Matt – character animator

Location & date of wedding: The James Ward Mansion, Westfield, NJ — October 9, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: The decision to throw a Steampunk cocktail party came early, so we decided to address every detail by making nearly everything to create the wedding of our dreams.

Matt designed and made the beautiful copper pipe candelabras — twenty-one total, all different. I started in July making the felt flowers for the bouquets. My mother made my skirt, and the rest of our 'outfits' were purchased and altered by us. We worked for months creating the perfect cocktail menu, which included such concoctions as "The Rye Elderflower Manhattan" and "The Aviation" (original recipe).

Our officiant was also our dj — he wrote a beautiful ceremony and played nothing but the best indie music, which everyone is still raving about. "Yay" flags were passed out to all guests before the ceremony, and were a hit all evening with people waving them and yelling "yay" each time we walked in the room.

We exchanged vows in sealed envelopes and read them in private later on.

For the ceremony, we walked in together to the title track of Edward Scissorhands and walked out to "Wonderwall" by the Mike Flowers Pops. We exchanged rings and had a handfasting. We exchanged vows in sealed envelopes and read them in private later on.

The venue is made up of numerous rooms, and we filled them all with small tables for people to mingle easily and sit wherever they wanted to, which was perfect for the "never ending cocktail hour" theme. We served an assortment of pies instead of cake. Matt also did Michele's eye makeup — one of Michele's favorite moments!

formals

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was finishing all of the projects we had started. We are both artists and decided that in order to totally create the party of our dreams, we needed to make everything we could. Most of the production was started in July.

The centerpieces.

The list of diy projects included:

  • felt flowers, enough for three bouquets and three boutonnieres (embroidered and adorned with buttons, gears and copper)
  • copper pipe and fitting candelabras
  • "Yay" flags
  • Michele's jewelry, hair piece and skirt
  • Michele's bustle
  • all arm/leg garters, belts, cuffs — all leather items were made by Matt

Items we altered included:

  • Michele's corset (Matt made the safety pins lining the front out of brass)
  • Michele's shoes (added brass to them)
  • Matt's goggles (stripped them to their original brass construction and made the leather straps)
  • Michele's jacket (embroidered M&M on the sleeve, trimmed it with lace from Mom's wedding dress, and added the leather straps to the back)
  • Matt's jacket (tailored it with leather, buckles, and brass hardware for a more fitted look).

The main challenge resulting from the diy endeavor was finishing the pie toppers. Matt was still working on the sculpting the morning of the wedding, which meant painting them minutes before we got in the car! They were finished and beautiful, but it was a stressful morning.

The Yay flags in action!
The "Yay" flags in action!

My favorite moment: Michele's favorite moment: I loved when Matt started crying when we were pronounced officially married. I loved the moment right before we walked into the ceremony, when it was just the two of us and it was so quiet and we couldn't believe what was about to happen. It was a moment of pure peacefulness and being madly in love with each other… so excellent! And I have to say that even though this happened pre-wedding, my most favorite moment was when Matt did my eye makeup. I was fairly stressed: the pie toppers weren't finished, and I really wanted help with my eye makeup. Matt is an incredible artist, so I asked him to apply the makeup. He had never done this before, and wasn't sure he could do it 'right'.. but it was perfect and I absolutely love the fact that he did my makeup for me on our wedding day.

Matt's favorite moment: Matt loved the whole ceremony. Everything we did — the music, the rituals, the rings, the silent vows, the kiss. He loved the whole thing.

train station kiss

My offbeat advice: Decide on your concept early and stick with it. Whether your inspiration is a specific color palette or a full-steam-ahead theme, try not to change your mind along the way. Not only will this enable you to address every detail to fit your vision, but if you decide to make items for your wedding, you will have enough time to finish your projects. It will also save you money along the way by not making purchases of things you won't be using.jump!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. AWESOME
    i love how much FUN everyone is having! and the outfits! everyone looks great :) and i might have to steal those yay! flags

    2 agree
  2. I adore the idea of exchanging vows in private. My husband-to-be has really bad stage fright, I think that we'll definitely have to steal that idea.

    2 agree
  3. Congratulations!
    I really love the 'look' of your wedding, and how coherent your vision is. Your sealed vows are charming, and your advice about one idea is really helpful.

  4. I want to know more about exchanging vows in private…..What was actually said in the ceremony?

  5. What fun! I love seeing Steampunk themed weddings. You guys did such an amazing job. The details are great and you both look lovely. Congrats!

  6. Nice idea to exchange private personal vows later on I m sure the ceremony did include the tradtional Ido type of stuff to be offically " married" I just loved the fact that everyone dressed up and showed up to the wedding ready to have fun. I love that idea !! Nice color combo on the bride and groom. Looks like they really had a nice time through it all. The place looks very fitting to the wedding iteself! Great pictures and Congrats to the couple!!!

  7. Thanks everyone! For all those curious about the vow exchange, here's how it went down: we both felt that this very personal exchange of words should be just between us, and for no one else to hear. We tripped on it for about a minute, thinking "is this what people come to weddings to hear?"- but that hesitation didn't last long. We strongly believed the ceremony was about us, and not the people watching. I mentioned the idea to my mother to see if she thought anyone would be offended by it, and she said no- the ceremony is about you two, etc.- she loved the idea. We wrote our vows on beautiful paper, sealed them in envelopes, and exchanged the envelopes during the ceremony. Our officiant guided the guests in what was going on by saying something like, "Michele and Matt are now going to publicly exchange their vows privately." I think most guests were surprised, but said how sweet it was, and asked when were we going to open them, etc. It was a 'tear down the cheek' moment, and added some mystery to the ceremony.

    There also were no "I do's".. After the ring exchange, vow exchange, and handfasting, we kissed and were pronounced officially married. -m

    1 agrees
    • I'm wondering what kind of food you served. We are also doing a cocktail party style reception but more art deco. Any suggestions?

      • @nicki– our caterer gave us a list of about 50 passed hors d'oeuvres to choose from, and we got the package that let us serve 20. The servers walked around with them all night. We chose a variety (I'm a veggie, he's not) and everyone said there was plenty of food. I loved that we didn't do a sit-down dinner, because everyone mingled and no one was stuck in one chair all night. It was called the "never ending cocktail hour." We worked for months on the bar menu and served cocktails that were mainly pre-prohibition. It went well with the Steampunk theme- maybe consider something like that for your Art Deco party!

  8. What an amazing wedding! I've never considered a steampunk styel wedding and it is absolutely fun and georgeous. I might have to steal the idea….teeheehee

  9. I love that your guests entered into your idea so enthusiastically :)
    All you photographs are beautiful and it looked like such a fun and personal day, everything a wedding should be!

  10. I saw those gorgeous flasks on the groomsmen and I wondering who made them :D

    Your entire wedding was absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations and I hope you two live a fantastically steamy life together!

  11. Hi! I saw your pics! They are great! Ironically your page popped up when I googles never ending cocktail wedding. My fiance and I are doing the same thing! Using the same caterer and having it where you did!! LOL I was wondering.. how many people did you have? I am nervous that it will be too crowded. We have 140 definites.. what are your thoughts on that amount of people? Thanks so much!
    Theresa

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