Cindy & Joe's steampunk sci-fi DIY wedding

September 6 |
bride n groom 8
Photos by Emergence See Photography by El Dawn and Shannon Riser

The offbeat bride: Cindy, Customer Service lead by day, artist by night

Her offbeat partner: Joe, Production Manager for an arts center

Date and location of wedding: Two Brothers Roundhouse, Aurora, IL — April 27, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding had lots of crafts designed and handmade by me, which also saved us a lot of money. Thankfully, I had a lot of bridal minions to help me assemble all of the goodies. There were four overall themes with the things I created: cost-effective, steampunk, fun, and recycled.

wedding party cheer

I designed our RSVP cards in a Mad Libs-style, and we ended up making a book full of all the hilarious responses we received.

table-cards

Each table number was themed with elements of all the geeky shows/video games we love. We created boarding passes/tickets for each guest to "board" their spacecraft table. I made little sepia-toned placards for each ship. The head table was Deep Space Nine, because we thought all "tablecraft" should be able to "dock" with us.

bouquet massive

We made steampunk brooch bouquets fashioned from of old jewelry, hair clips, or new pieces purchased at various craft stores. Thankfully, one of my bridesmaids is into making jewelry, so many of the tools needed for this task were already at hand. They weren't that difficult to make, all things considered, but there is a bit of a learning curve with wire wrapping, and after day one of prepping jewelry for wire stems our hands were sore!

Because I went this route, I was also able to incorporate "something old" with my grandmother's jewelery, "something new" with everything we purchased to include, "something borrowed" with one of my bridesmaid's sparkly brooches, and "something blue" with the blue stones in my bouquet.

pint glass

I also designed a logo for the wedding and had it engraved on pint glasses for each member of the wedding party. Who couldn't use more pint glasses, right? I also designed our wedsite in the theme of our save-the-date magnets.

favors

The wedding favors were made out of recycled baby food jars that contained a little bit of Nerds candy in the bottom in our wedding colors (because we're huge nerds) and two custom-made dice made for each guest (because we're gamers).

bride w parents

reveal 2Tell us about the ceremony: We had discussed the ceremony basics with our minster prior to the ceremony, and he gave us one assignment before our big day: we each were to send him a letter of why we love each other. We did, but had no idea what would come of those letters. Right before we said our vows, during the ceremony our minister read the letters aloud for all of our friends and family to hear.

Cindy's letter:

I love Joe for many reasons.
I love Joe because I am the most comfortable with myself when I am with him. Our partnership is truly an equal one and I never feel like one of us has an advantage over the other. We each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table, but that's what makes us such a great team. We make each other strong and whole — he is truly my other half. We are on the same wavelength. We finish each others thoughts, have moments of telepathy where we know what the other is thinking and share inside jokes without speaking a word. We had this one moment where we were watching Deep Space Nine, and for some random reason we both thought of the terrible theme song from Enterprise. I was about to start singing it and he turns to me and says, "Did you just have the Enterprise theme in your head?" I said "I was about to start singing it," and we laughed.
He makes me laugh more than anyone I and I truly love myself more since I have been with him. He inspires me to be a better a person and keep up my side of our partnership. He possesses a patience that I will probably never master. He feeds my inner nerd and has allowed me to fully grow into the person I was meant to be but was a little too unsure of myself to fully embody on my own. I light up when he enters the room and I can see that he reciprocates that as well. He nourishes my soul and I know I want him to be by my side always.
The best and coolest thing is that I'm going to get to enjoy my soul mate and appreciate him for the rest of our lives when we join together in marriage in a couple of weeks.

dress backsJoe's letter:

I never realized how hard it would be to write down why I love Cindy. Even though we've only been dating for three and half years, it feels as if she has always been a part of my life and always will be. I love seeing her groggy, smiling face every morning when she rolls over in the bed to kiss me good morning. I love at night when we curl up in dark and do a crossword on the iPad until she falls sleep. I miss her when she's not around.
Cindy and I have a connection that is eerie sometimes. There are times many times when we're thinking the exact same thing, laughing when we both realize it. I have never been more in sync with another person in my entire life. I remember when we first talked about getting an apartment together and she said "I always just assumed we would move in together."
During most days when my mind wanders I find myself thinking about something Cindy said or did and it makes me smile. Our interests are aligned so well that when I buy her gifts, I sometimes feel bad because I usually want it too. When I took her to Gen Con for her thirtieth birthday, my family thought I was doing it for myself. We had only lived together a month at that point, but when then finally came over to our apartment they realized that we were made for each other. Not more that twenty-four hours after we had moved in together, she put up a shelf of all her Star Wars memorabilia, and I remember thinking "No one is going to believe that most of this stuff is not mine."
Cindy means the world to me. I know its cliché, but I don't know another way to express it. She's there for me no matter what. After longs days she'll rub my feet or listen to me ramble on about some gaming thing. Last year when I had come home from working a long day at Jazz Fest, she had a hot bath waiting for me.
I love Cindy and I'm not certain there has to be a "because" — I just do. I can't image my life without her in it. The mere mention of her name makes me smile. I've had other girlfriends, but Cindy is different — she's my best friend and soul mate. I don't care where life takes me as long as she comes with too. It's our life together and it's going to be awesome.

bride shoes

hair lights 3
Hair lights!

Our biggest challenge: Resistance to the theme. When we first announced our steampunk theme, I'm pretty sure that many of the people involved had feelings that were somewhere just shy of horrified. But this was only because they didn't know what to expect. As we moved forward and they started becoming more educated about what steampunk is and how we wanted to implement it in our wedding, they were increasingly more excited and into the theme.

wedding party casual

1st danceMy favorite moment: We hand-picked our entire pre-dinner and dinner music. Pre-dinner was a mix of some of our favorites that weren't really suitable for dancing. We played Mumford and Sons, Louis Prima, and even The Doors' "Whiskey Bar."

The dinner music was all video game themes, mostly recorded by actual orchestras. We had everything from "Super Mario Bros. Medley" to "The Legend of Zelda Theme" to the "Theme from Halo."

For our first dance, we chose Adam Sandler's "Grow Old With You" and Peter Gabriel's "Book of Love." We started the open dancing with Flogging Molly's "What's Left of the Flag" and ended the night coming full circle with Flogging Molly's "Drunken Lullabies."

groom boutinnereMy funniest moment: Joe actually caught wedding crashers at our reception. Towards the end of the night, he sat down with some strangers who he thought might be relatives of mine. They chatted for a bit when he started to have this feeling that he really didn't know these people. He finally said, "I'm still trying to figure out who you know here?" And one of the guys replied, "Oh, we're really good friends with the groom." He smiled and said, "Well, I'm the groom and I don't know who you are so grab your drinks and get outta here." It's definitely made for a memorable story to tell. There are even a couple of pictures of two of the crashers on the dance floor. I wonder how long they were there!

cake

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Don't be afraid to try to create things on your own, even if you feel you're not all that artistic. You'd also be surprised how many DIY tutorials are out there that aren't all that complicated.

My other piece of advice is take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. This is a huge occasion, and you're going to get more input than you ever wanted (and ever thought possible). Try to consider it and file it under "things to actually try" or "things that don't really fit what I want." You'll have to make some compromises, but ultimately don't lose sight of the fact that this is a celebration of the union of you and your love, and that it should reflect your personalities and tastes.

kiss

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Amazing! The hair lights and boarding passes are particularly fantastic

    2 agree
  2. Great wedding!!!

    And, I definitely need to learn more about hair lights!

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    • The hair lights were the creation of my amazing hair stylist, Gina Renee. She figured out a way to take those small LED, battery operated lights that you get at any craft store that can put inside vases for centerpieces and wound them into my hair. She even made a little 'hair pouch' for the small battery pack to rest in. It was amazing! I am so lucky to have all these creatives in my life.

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  3. I'd want to crash your wedding too, it looks like fun! :-)

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  4. Cindy has the cutest smile in all her pictures. She just looks so adorably happy!

    Also, those favours are amazing. How have I not thought of dice favours already?

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    • Thank you soooo much!
      We originally wanted to go even more geeky with the dice. My husband is really into Pathfinder (an offshoot of D&D), but anything other than a 6 sider gets expensive. Also the more faces you have, the less space you have to design. So we went with the 6-sider which ended up working fabulously.

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      • Mmm, D&D dice would be even geekier. On the other hand, the advantage of d6s is that even the people who don't play pen and paper RPGs can probably use them.

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  5. The groom's handling of the crashers is pure class – what a great man to be married to. Have an awesome marriage, fellow Steamers.

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  6. Ah… AHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    I love this so much! Your style! Your grace! Your beauty! Your creativity! DEEP SPACE NINE AHHHHHHHH.

    Ten points!

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  7. I can say first-hand that this wedding was AMAZING. Cindy has such a creative mind. What was also wonderful was that non-steampunk-adorned guests were not excluded in any way. It wasn't that type of deal. Everyone had a great time, whether they were in on the theme or not. I'd almost forgotten about the hair lights. FANTASTIC! Joe and Cindy really are as cool and sweet as they seem from this profile! Best wedding ever!

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  8. Question: How did you get those hair lights to work?

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  9. We are having our reception at Two Brothers roundhouse in December (so our ceremony is offsite at a church) and have worried off and on about crashers! I will have to share this post with my fiance :) (Oh and we are using Best Booths Plus too! Where did you have them set up?)

    The details that you put into everything are amazing! And having a steampunk wedding at an old train station roundhouse? Brilliant!!!

    1 agrees
    • Thank you! Once we saw the setting it seemed like a no-brainer. It's absolutely beautiful!
      We had Best Booths Plus set up in the Southeast part of the ballroom, right next to where the steps come into the ballroom. I think their photo set up is pretty standard there and it works well being close to the bar, but not so on top of it that things feel cluttered.
      You'll love the Roundhouse, everyone is great. If you're working with Nicole, she's fantastic!

      1 agrees
  10. Aww, your letters to each other were beautiful and made me tear up a little. Amazing!

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  11. The smiles, the creativity, the LETTERS! Your wedding looks so love-filled and happy, congratulations!!

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  12. (Also yay for fellow GenConers- perhaps I saw you at one :) )
    I can't blame the wedding crashers one bit- this was certainly an epic wedding to be at! Love the theme, the designs of everything, the DIY-ness. The love letters were also beautiful to read :) Congrats!

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  13. Is the 8th picture your hubby's reaction to seeing you??? It's epic!

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    • Yes it is. We actually did our pictures before the ceremony, but still wanted to have that wow factor of the first time he saw me. So we got ready separately & did a private reveal with just us & the photographers. It was awesome.

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  14. I wouldn't say we were "horrified"–shocked & surprised maybe! But the wedding was just fantastic! Cindy & Joe did such a magnificent job! One of our friends came up to me at the reception & said he'd been to many weddings, but this was one he would always remember. He thought it was just great!

    0 agree

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