Michelle & Matt's royal Texas Ren Fest wedding

February 13 |
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Photos by Amanda Allen

The offbeat bride: Michelle, Teacher-in-training/Nanny

Her offbeat partner: Matt, Computer Technician

Date and location of wedding: The Texas Renaissance Festival, Magnolia, TX — November 26, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Matt and I wanted our wedding to be two things: personalized and fun. We knew that our definition of those two concepts would not be better fulfilled anywhere but at The Texas Renaissance Festival, an establishment that has been a nearly life-long tradition for both of us. We are also both history nerds and lovers of fantasy, so it seemed only logical that we choose a location that embodied both of those things.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was an original piece written by the festival itself, and it was designed to sound (admittedly vaguely) as though it were from the Renaissance period.

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"Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls has come our way through all paths of belief and from many cultures. The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing. Without love, death hath no redemption. Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this."
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Vulcan kiss!

Our biggest challenge: Our only real challenge was keeping everything organized and on schedule so that we wouldn't leave anything out. This got rather exhausting as the wedding neared and I can remember reaching a "screw it" point with a lot of the minutia. Whatever we got done, got done, and whatever we forgot was simply omitted. All of those little, tiny details that had seemed so important during early planning quickly became very low priority later on. After the wedding, I was especially glad I allowed myself to stop obsessing over it.

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My favorite moment: I will never forget standing up at the altar and holding Matt's hands as he did his best to say his vows while choking back tears. I had always envisioned that it would have been him providing the strength for both of us, but it turned out to be me in the end. It was especially meaningful because I had never felt more supportive or connected to him than I did in that moment as we vowed ourselves to each other in front of the people we loved most.

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My funniest moment: While in the carriage en route to the chapel and ceremony, my youngest flower girl suddenly exclaimed, "My tooth fell out!" and very proudly handed it to me. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first so I decided just to laugh. When we exited the carriage and the band started up playing, I had to quickly and inconspicuously look around for her mother so I could hand off the tooth, lest Matt find a very startling surprise when he took my hands at the altar! Thankfully, she came to my aid and received the tooth before anyone could suspect anything.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? It rained all throughout the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. When I say it rained, I really mean it poured relentlessly. As a result, the grounds were very muddy, and because there was a cold front blowing through, very chilly for all of our muddy, soaked guests. While I got ready, I was just waiting to find everyone looking completely miserable when I arrived at the chapel, but that was not the case at all. Honestly, it was as if the sun was shining brightly and the air was cool and dry. Neither the rain nor the mud got us or our guests down one bit.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Keep in mind that the actual wedding day will go by faster than you could have ever imagined, and you will be so swept up in the love and happiness and fun of it all that you will not notice the absence of a certain decoration or the omission of a song on the reception playlist. Or if you do, it will seem quite trivial at that point, trust me. Don't stress yourself out, especially over little things.

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I encourage not having inhibitions with showing your personality. Matt and I considered, for a time, doing something more traditional and adding in little hints of our offbeatness, like a nerdy cake-topper or something. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with that if that's truly what you want, I think no one should have to compromise in this area if they truly want to do something different and maybe a little more "outrageous."

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Bride's dress and groom's outfit: Pendragon Costumes. I highly recommend this company to anyone who is considering a period-style wedding and want authentic garb. Their customer service at their shops in the festivals is amazing and all of their costumes are of very high-quality and are all extremely beautiful.
  • Photographer: Amanda Allen. She was absolutely wonderful and captured the intimacy and happiness of our day perfectly.
  • Venue: The Texas Renaissance Festival. Much thanks and love go out from us to the hardworking wedding staff and cast members. They made our day truly spectacular and took a lot of the stress out by providing the food, the cake, the venue, and the music.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Thank you for this I loooved it. My fiancé and I are considering a Ren Faire wedding as well so this was perfect timing. Your photos are wonderful you two look so lovely and happy!

    2 agree
    • Thank you so much! Of course, I would definitely, definitely recommend a Ren Faire wedding, though I acknowledge that it's not for everyone. Every festival is different, of course, but TRF pretty much provided everything for us and that meant that we didn't get to customize a whole lot. Some people understandably don't like that, but Matt and I did because it meant that we weren't having to agonize ourselves over everything. That was just my experience though, like I said, it'll probably be different depending on which festival you decide to get married at. Congratulations on your engagement and best of luck to you and your finace!

  2. Good for you for not falling for the "they won't understand it if we get married at Ren Faire" line!

    …also, love the headband, where'd you get it, I want one!

  3. I adore that picture of you and your wedding party – so cute!

    Did you get a section for yourself at the fair, or were there all sorts of curious bystanders present at the wedding?

    • There were a lot of curious bystanders. That's just sort of a part of the atmosphere, I guess you could say. There were bouncers who kept uninvited folks out of the chapel and reception area, but we were pretty much submerged with the rest of the fair-going folk. That was fine by me, as I knew that was how weddings there were handled (since I was a little kid and watched them happen, wishing I could be the bride someday! XD). That's how TRF works, though, I know other Ren Faires in other places work different. Sherwood Forest Faire, for example (near Austin, TX) holds weddings outside of the season, so you have the option to have a private ceremony/reception there, if you want. Other faires might offer similar options.

  4. Love, love, love this. Beautiful wedding party attire and you all look so happy.

    1 agrees
  5. Question, we are looking to having our wedding at the TRF. Can I ask which package you went with? Was it it the King and Queen Jubilation package? Thanks in advance.

    1 agrees
    • I believe we chose the Prince and Princess package and added things on to it, but I'm having a hard time remembering now. The packages have since changed in price and criteria, so it's worth it to go check on the website and see the current status. Hope that helps!

    • Thanks for the correction, Kay. They're actually right next to each other, as you probably know.

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