Sarah & Corey's budget Viking wedding with a pop culture twist

July 24 |
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Photos by Matt Fagan

The offbeat bride: Sarah, Accounting Student (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Corey, Computer Engineering Student

Date and location of wedding: Uncle's Backyard by Lake Martin in Jackson's Gap, AL — May 5, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My family's heritage is a big mix of European cultures. But we heard that the reason my family is made up of so many nationalities is because of the influence of Vikings in the line. When I heard this, I immediately embraced my heritage. The best part is that Corey has always been a Viking culture enthusiast. We ran with it.

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Corey and I are both big costuming geeks: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, superheroes, you name it. There was no way that we weren't going to have a wedding that included costumes. I also wanted it to have a taste of the South. I have loved living here since I moved.

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I know it was a little weird for our families to go to a wedding that wasn't in a church, but I was glad that they embraced the wacky side of our personalities and dressed up. The invitations said to dress in Viking garb, but that Renaissance, fantasy, or any other sci/fi or historical dress would be great.

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My dad had the best costume. He made himself an outfit out of fur and leather and had the giant horned hat!

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I loved making all the flower crowns for the guests to wear with friends and bridesmaids. We also made the men's boutonnieres out of magnolia leaves (which is a Southern tradition) and wheat. Wheat is important in Viking culture, so I tried to incorporate it into a lot of the decor for the wedding. We also gave out gold coins and necklaces as our pillaged Viking booty, as well as Styrofoam horned helmets.

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Since we're both huge Star Wars fans and members of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, we had to include that in the wedding somehow. My Viking prince came to the rescue by providing two Mando figures to set atop our cake.

All of the music played was instrumental soundtracks from a few favorite movies: Lord Of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Jurassic Park.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We decided on a Viking handfasting, calling on many Gods. Corey and the party walked into the ceremony to Irish folk music, much to my family's delight. I walked in to my favorite instrumental from The Fellowship of the Rings.

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We wanted to have a blessing in the beginning to introduce the tone and make our guests smile, and we found some inspiration:

May you always be able to talk things over, to confide in each other, to laugh with each other, to enjoy life together, and to share moments of quiet and peace when the day is done.

May love flow between you as endless as the waters of Hvergelmir, as powerful as Thor's Hammer, and as fierce as the fires of Muspelheim. May the joy of youth and the wisdom of age bless your hearts until that day when the glorious final battle is upon you.

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After the vows, we exchanged rings on the tips of Viking swords. My brother was my official sword bearer. Traditionally, sword bearers were at Viking weddings to fight off any attackers who wanted to harm the bride or sully their ceremony. Luckily that didn't happen, and he didn't need to use the sword for anything but passing the ring to me and from me to Corey. But he did get to take the sword home as his gift from me.

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Our biggest challenge: The budget was our issue. We are both giving up our jobs and going back to school this fall, so we were saving money for that. Because we didn't have a ton of money to spend, I had to ignore the bridal magazines and shows.

To save, I made my own dress. The fabric, trim, and fur only cost me $52 total. I also made the minister's blue robe. He wanted to resemble Odin, with robes like the night sky. I fastened it with a replica of Gandalf's brooch.

We also had a member of Corey's band let us borrow his sound system to play the music. He even offered to man the iPod that we had all the music on. He dressed like Link from The Legend of Zelda!

One of Corey's friends from high school has done some semi-professional photography and offered to photograph the wedding for free. We're taking them out for a nice dinner in exchange.

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My funniest moment: My maiden name is pretty hard to pronounce. When the vows started and Corey was asked to repeat them, the officiant mispronounced it. My family's side, especially my dad, let out a loud groan. The rest of the guests and wedding party laughed at their reaction and there was a little bit of a joke for the rest of the day.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? May in the South could be described as "warm." It could also be described as the surface of the sun. I was worried that it was going to be so hot that everyone would be miserable, especially in their costumes. We were very lucky that it ended up only hitting about 85°F/30°C, so it wasn't unbearable.

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I had been married before and it was lovely, but it was a traditional Catholic wedding with a traditional reception. It was a celebration of a wedding. This one was a celebration of us as a couple.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Where did you get your swords from? I am giving my fiance a sword during our ceremony and we've had a heck of a time finding nice swords that don't cost an arm and a leg.

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    • We got them from BudK.com. They were super affordable. They even had a deal going at the time so we got them for $20 a piece!

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  2. OMG your dad's costume is the best! And I love the hat! A+

    What a great wedding, I love the photos! :)

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    • I saw that when I was looking for ideas on how to write and decorate the ceremony!!!

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  3. I love love LOVE historical themes, and this is definately one of the amasing ones. I know how much time and creativity is required to make it look wholesome, but wow this is great!

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  4. So happy this popped up on my search, my fiance and I want to get married at a local renaissance festival and he wants to wear his viking berserker garb he is working on. We both have been married before and each have a boy (6 and 15 at the moment) maybe they could be sword bearers… which would be hilarious (and cute) if my little one used his wooden sword.

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  5. Alice Roosevelt (daughter of Teddy) cut her cake with a sword. Totally B.A.
    Pretty wedding!

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