Kelley & Seth's pseudo-Victorian key-themed gaming wedding

July 26 |
Seth & Kelley Formal Wedding Portrait
Photos by Roy Cox Photography, Francis Abbey, and Matthew Creger

The offbeat bride: Kelley, Actor, Filmmaker, Programmer, and QA Analyst (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Seth, Contract Lawyer, Musician, and Sound Engineer

Location & date of wedding: Ceresville Mansion, Frederick, MD — January 29, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: My husband and I host a monthly game night at our house, so we made sure to incorporate gaming into both our ceremony and reception. In addition to a dinner menu placed on every table, we had a gaming menu! Some of the games available were Jenga, Star Trek Uno, Magic the Gathering, and Apples to Apples.

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We also had a steampunk-esque skeleton key theme. There were skeleton key escort cards, keys printed on the programs, key charms in the favors, keys used in our ceremony, and even tiny chocolate keys on every piece of our twelve wedding cakes. Other details included framed real Victorian wedding photos on every table and scattered throughout the venue.

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Other offbeat details included my ruby red dress and the metal sculpture bouquet. I purchased the base sculpture of the bouquet from a seller on Etsy, and then spent many a night wrapping it with wire and Swarovski crystals. The bridesmaid bouquets and the boutonierres we made were comprised of metal or wire elements along with feathers. I do like flowers but I did not like the expense.

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Attack of the Six-Foot Bride

We also made our own save-the-date movie trailer:

Save the Date – Ceremony at Ceresville from Kelley Slagle on Vimeo.

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was simple, funny, and meaningful. Our officiant's opening speech centered entirely on gaming.

"But no matter how many games we play, the biggest one we ever play is Love."

Our vows included promises to call the other on their "hair-brained schemes (unless we're sure it'll make for a great story later)," and "to be ready to board the door or reload the gun during the inevitable zombie apocalypse."

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We had a wine box ritual where we put secret gifts to each other and a bottle of wine in a locked box to be opened on our tenth anniversary, or before, if needed. The gifts were meant to remind us what we loved in the other. We each recieved a key.

The entire ceremony video can be viewed here.

Mr. and Mrs. at last

Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was actually acquiring my wedding dress. Due to some miscommunication with the vendor, their shop being in Madrid, and their busy schedule, the dress was not officially ordered until four months before the wedding. The dress was finally delivered about two months beforehand with just enough time to get alterations done. I would recommend ordering as early as humanly possible to anyone considering an overseas dress.

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My favorite moment: The most meaningful moment of the entire wedding was our first dance to "The Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel. Seth and I both could barely contain our tears as we barely danced but just hugged tightly and swayed. It was the most intimate public moment of my life.

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My funniest moment: We had a self-serve photobooth set up in the front parlor. We provided a bunch of hats for people to wear (pirate hat, top hats, fedoras, etc.) along with some fabulous boas. As the night went on it was great to see the hat-wearing population slowly increase. That or watching 30+ people thrusting their hips in unison to the Time Warp.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather! We had a good-sized snowstorm a few days before the wedding, but it ended up having almost no impact on the wedding or guests not being able to attend. It also made for some impromptu snowball fighting during the reception!

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My advice for offbeat brides: DO use Etsy.com or eBay to buy key (no pun intended) decorations or favors to completely tailor your wedding to your vision. DO NOT use Etsy and eBay to buy supplies to do absolutely everything by yourself unless you are a craft-master.

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If you're like me, you'll think it is a perfect opportunity to increase your crafty skills. But you'll be a control freak and think you can do it without any significant help. You will more than likely be stressed out and somewhat disappointed in your final creations.

I had an idea to make Christmas crackers, complete with handmade paper hats and key charm favors, for all of our 100 guests. When it came time to open the crackers, many of them did not pop as they were supposed to. But at least everyone got burgundy paper hats! The lessons I learned were to accept help when it is offered, be sure to ask for it, and if you can afford an already perfect favor, buy it — don't try to make it!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To let go. I'm really happy I was able to have fun at my own wedding without fussing over the details I no longer had any control over. Just let it unfold and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. I'm loving the key theme, and your dress, and OMG IS THAT MUNCHKIN I ESPY? Awesome, awesome wedding. Congratulations!

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  2. …. I can't even express how much I love that red dress! It's all kinds of noir-movie-star stunning!

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  3. fabulous, sexy couple, stunning dress, Yeah for QA! ;)

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  4. Congratulations!
    1st off the photo at the top of the page literately made me say damn!

    Then you have all these great ideas like a game menu, which I might do myself.
    And all these details such as the Victorian post cards and photos that make my history loving heart patter patter with excitement!

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  5. Wow….everything about this is just AMAZING! Congrats 1000 times over. So beautiful!

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  6. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this very special day. I love you guys!

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  7. I'm from Maryland too! I'd love to know who your photographer was if you don't mind sharing. Such gorgeous photos.

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  8. You are both ridiculously attractive. That is all.

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  9. You looked stunning in you beautiful dress! That red is just so WOW.

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  10. Your dress is to die for, the bouquet is brilliant, and the save-the-date video just made my day!

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  11. How did you incorporate Magic in your wedding? I want to really badly, but have no idea how. Do my friends who play just bring their cards, or should I premake some decks with instructions and hope some other guests try it?

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    • We pre-made the decks and put them on our gaming table for people to grab if they wanted.

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  12. Your STD video was EPIC! So creative and fun. You've set the hamster wheels in my head turning…

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  13. I love the beautiful, Satine-like look the bride rocks, the hilarious but heartfelt vows your friend delivered. Congratulations on being married!

    Oh, and if you like Munchkin, there's an awesome game called Talisman that you might dig. Another game where you can totally screw over your friends while sharing a laugh and a drink. Again, congratulations you crazy kids!

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  14. That's got to be one of the coolest alternatives to flowers I've ever seen! LOVE your bouquet!

    Gotta love the first dance song choice, as that's also my husband's and my song. Can't listen to it even now without getting a lump in the throat.

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    • Thanks! Yeah, I highly recommend REFINERII on etsy – great work.

      Yup me too!

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  15. I've noticed a few asymmetrical gowns, yet there is not a tag for it yet.

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    • We're lazy: give us some links, and we'll create a tag!

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  16. This is SO unique and interesting! I LOVE the dress (it looks amazing on!) and the whole key theme is so different! Bravo! I used to shoot weddings w my photographer parents so I thought I had seen it all!So cool! Well done!!

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