Tracey & Michael's steampunk Venetian masquerade wedding

September 13 |
IMG_3971
Photos by Annesha Montez

The offbeat bride: Tracey, MBA Fulbright Grantee

Her offbeat partner: Michael, Visual Effects Artist

Date and location of wedding: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon — June 24, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: We did a steampunk/Venetian masquerade theme for our wedding. We couldn't decide which we liked more, so we just did both. We marched down the aisle to an electric guitar played by the Best Man. Then we tied the knot Dr. Suess-style, with vows that rhymed.

Epicly awesome

After the ceremony, which was performed by our steampunk minister, we headed to the reception room, which was decked out in purple and teal colored lights. We ate some food, heard some touching toasts, and danced our first dance to Muse's Feeling Good. Then we partied to dubstep. We ended the evening by cutting the steampunk cake and watching a troupe of fire dancers perform while we ate.

Steampunk wedding cake!

Tell us about the ceremony: My bridesmaids and groomsmen danced down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon, rock 'n' roll-style. Then I walked down the aisle to Wagner's Bridal March played Jimmy Hendrix-style. We kept the ceremony itself short and simple, as most of the guests were standing.

Ceremony

I wore my mask down the aisle in place of a veil. Michael also wore his mask during the first part of the ceremony. Then we did an "Unmasking Ceremony," where we promised to always be our true selves to each other and never wear a "mask" of false pretenses. We ended with our rhyming vows and the blessing of our union by The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

mark1111

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was not losing my cool. Overall, everything went smoothly, but there was a time early in the day where everyone was calling me with their problems and expecting me to fix them. Then my phone battery died and it was the best thing that happened all day.

Our First Dance To Muse's Feelin' Good

My favorite moment: We did the Dr. Suess vows, which were lighthearted, but we left room for some seriousness when we placed the rings on each other's fingers. I tried not to cry, but the speech Michael prepared choked me up. The speeches given by my friends and family were also very meaningful.

The Head Table

My funniest moment: Probably my dad's speech. He tried to give all of the moms and grandmas gifts to remember the wedding, and right before he got to my mom, she had to rush out the door to take my daughter to the bathroom. My dad said, "She left me once before. Seems like she's gone and done it again."

The crew getting rowdy

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? My biggest concern was that we ran much later then I wanted to and did not have time to get as many pictures as I would have liked. Or so I thought! We ended up with over 2000 pictures! Since my husband edits media for a living, that's a lot of potential photographs.

etsy11

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't be afraid to really own a theme. I obsessed over even the most minute details of the wedding to make them fun. I didn't want a guest book, but I wanted people to leave something that said they were there. So upon researching, I found the idea of doing a Mad Libs guestbook!

Mad Libs Guest Book!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Follow your heart. I got so many mixed reactions when I tried to explain to people what I was going for. I stuck to my guns and loved how it turned out.

Smooch

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Oh man, what I wouldn't give to have been at this wedding! It's absolutely stunning, the two themes work perfectly together! Congratulations on pulling off such a beautiful event, and that whole "married" thing that went along with it! :-p

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  2. This is the most beautiful and stunning wedding I have ever seen! I love love LOVE it!

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    • Wow! Considering the other awesome weddings on this site, that's high praise! Thank you!

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    • Thank you! They really made the day magical – and they look great on our wall now :D

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  3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! We are planning an October 13, 2012 wedding, and I just love the concept of this! I am purchasing a Maggie gown, and I was wondering what was the style name of your gown? It looks quite similar to the one I have picked out

    • It is "Perisia" It is an older model. I got it as a pretty beat up sales floor sample. It was like 3 sizes too big, then I lost a bunch of weight so it was more like 5-6 sizes too big, but my seamstress was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It looked brand new when she was done with it. Well better actually because it fit like a glove :D

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  4. I love your gown! (Very similar to what I'm wearing). The venue fit perfectly too! Congratulations!

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    • Thank you! The museum is located on the campus of the university I went to – the same place where two years ago my hubby proposed to me :)

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  5. The unmasking ceremony sounds awesome! How exactly does that work? I would really like to know.

    • Here's the what I wrote for our unmasking ceremony:

      This wedding today is a masquerade ball, which historically have been about deceit -the hiding of ones true identity for the sake of frivolity and intrigue. It is also symbolic of life, and the faces we must wear to the world around us. We are here today then, to witness the unmasking of Michael and Tracey to each other in marriage and celebrate the love and total acceptance that they bring to each other. So I ask you this, will the two of you release any false pretenses you may be holding on to and face each other as open souls?

      Michael and Tracey: Yes

      Then please take off your masks as a symbol of your willingness to always be true to yourselves and to each other.

      ::Michael and Tracey take off their masks placing them on the pedestals and face each other::

      Then we moved into the rings/dr. suess vows etc.

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  6. Wow! What an amazing wedding and theme! I am planning a masquerade reception for my own wedding in September of next year, but never thought to bring that theme into the ceremony as well. What a great idea! I'd love to hear more details about the unmasking ceremony!

    • I knew from the get go that I wanted to wear a mask down the isle instead of a veil (Same concept after all right? and pretty much the same price – Veils are expensive!) I got a lot of mixed reactions – some people loved it some though I was crazy. But I stuck to my guns and afterwards I had a lot of "You were gith" from the doubters :D

      Funny thing was… at my final fitting I made the mistake of trying on a veil with my dress and mask, and of course I fell in love with it. But even discounted at $60 I wasn't willing to pay for it. So instead I bought some tulle for $1.50 on clearance at Joanne fabrics, and come 99 cent combs and with a hot glue gun and some rhinestones, I made my own veil! Can you tell? ;)

      As for the unmasking ceremony, I posted an excerpt from the actually wedding ceremony about it a couple of comments up ^ :)

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  7. oh holy fucking hell! I LOVE THIS WEDDING! I love every stinking detail about it! The cake! The masks! the unmasking ceremony bit! love it all!!!

  8. By the way,does anyone know where I can find a coat similar to what this groom has, but in white? I'm not having much luck on that one!

    • I do I do! You should contact Hedges8 on etsy (See link above) – the lady that made my groomsmen vests and shirts – She's WAAAAAY AWESOME! She custom made everything for me, and since she used recylced materials (My groom's vest was made out of an old curtain XD) It was all very very inexpensive! I bet if you contacted her and asked, maybe send her a link to the jacket and ask if she could make it in white, I bet she could :)

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  9. Just thought I'd share for those of you considering a big ball gown, you can see how it handles movement :) We choreographed and practiced this dance for about a month before the wedding. one of my bustle buttons snapped halfway through – perhaps you can tell when I hesitated haha.

  10. Oooh, I have been considering masquerade as a potential theme (I'd feel obligated to play some Phantom, too). But mostly right now, I want to steal the idea for that guest book! More info, please?

    • I got the idea from googling madlibs guest book. I had three options for guests – "well Wishes", "In the Bedroom" and "Financial Advice" Many of my guests did one of each. A lot of them didn't make any sense after they were filled out – but they were funny. Some of them were hilarious but also made a lot of sense. I think if I did it over again though I would make a point of setting aside a time where everyone did it as a group, because I had a lot of leftovers – IE not everyone filled one out. Basically to make them, I found some pices of advice that I thought were good advice, and then took out key words. like for example:

      "Never argue with your clothes on. If you are out and about to fight, wait until you're home and undressed. By then you've usually forgotten what the trouble was about."

      This becomes:

      "Never ___(Verb)__ with your clothes on. If you are out and about to ____(Verb)___, wait until you are at ___(place)___ and __(adj)____. By then you've usually ___Verb Pst Tense)___ what the __(Noun)___ was about."

      Or something along those lines. If you want me to send you the actual ones I wrote and used, send me a message and I'll be happy to oblige. You can do it one of two ways: (Unless you come up with your own way I guess) You can do it like I did it above, where you have the word right in the paragraph, so that people know what they're saying and how it affects the overall paragraph, or you can do it like this:

      http://www.thebrokeassbride.com/2010/07/diy-or-die-mad-lib-guestbook-last-minute-cheap-fun/

      I opted for the first way, just because I was running out of time and it was simpler. But this otherway would have been fun too.

    • Thank you! We had so much fun practicing! It's inspired us to take up actual dance so that we have a hobby together :)

  11. I was in Venice right after Carnevale this year, and I saw some steampunk masks in the shop windows!

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  12. Hi, I'm loving this theme. I bought venetian masks for my wedding favours for my guests and really want to wear one down the isle (I am also wearing a hood instead of a veil) but think my family will think I am nuts if I try to incorporate it into an English church ceremony should I just do it? if so should I try and pursuade the bridesmaids to wear them on the and not tell anyone beforehand?

    • Hello,
      Without knowing what your overall look is that you're going for, or how much time you have until you're wedding, I'm not sure what to tell you, other then that it's your day, so you should be able to do what you want. If you bought masks for your guests as favors, then I would give them out to everyone as the reception starts, and have everyone wear them, turning the whole thing into a masquerade ball. I wanted to do that, but it wasn't in budget, and I had so many people that were so excited to buy a mask for themselves to wear, so in the end I let everyone choose their own masks.
      As for your bridesmaids, well I'm not sure that I would drop the masks on them at the last minute unless you think they would seriously object if you gave them too much time to think about it?
      Maybe if you incorporated something about the masks into the ceremony like we did, then everyone would go oooooh, that makes sense. I had a lot of strange looks when I told people I was going to wear the mask in place of the veil, but after I did the unmasking ceremony, everyone thought it was beautiful and romantic. They said that it made more sense to them now.

      Good Luck!

  13. Holy hell, it's the Schnitzer! I knew people did weddings there sometimes, but I had not a clue that they could be so freaking amazing. Seriously lovely. Was it a difficult space to book?

    • No Not at all! The rental coordinator there was so helpful! I loved working with her :) She acted as my day-of wedding cordinator. She was not only open to some of my more out there ideas (Like fire dancers and purple and teal lit walls and tables) but she went above and beyond to make it all happen for me :D

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  14. OH TRACEY!!!!! I only just now got to FINALLY read your messages and find the pictures and this link! WOW!!!!!!!!!!! This is the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen, Tracey (counting my Four Weddings weddings!!!!) The incredible venue, beautiful you and your gown, those gorgeous costumes, etc! etc! I'm SO HAPPY that so many people get to see your wedding like this! Thank you so much for letting me know, Tracey! XOXO
    P.S. WOWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! :-)

    • Hi Shawna,
      Thanks! I'm so glad that I went with your feather fans! They were perfect! The colors of the feathers – with the clock hands that matched the boutonnieres – Well you see the result! And the bridesmaids just loved them :) Thank you so much for your help in making my day beautiful :D

  15. Hi Tracey,
    I am the photographer that snapped your picture at the Campbell House when you were checking in. I have it and would love to send it to you.

    Wendy

    • Hello Wendy! Small world haha! Yes I would love the photo! you can email me at tracey At Fulbrightmail dot org Thanks!

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