Shannon & Tim's mawwiage of two lovenerds wedding #Real Weddings: Western US#cake topper#fantasy wedding#game of thrones#gamers#geeky#interfaith#memorial#plus size#sci-fi#wedding favors January 17 | Offbeat Editors This week we're celebrating our sci-fi-loving, fantasy-squeeing, and comic book-collecting couples. That's right: it's geek week! Photos by Silverhorn Photography The Offbeat Bride: Shannon, Disputes Administrator Her offbeat partner: Tim, Chef Date and location of wedding: Encanto Park in Phoenix, Arizona — April 22, 2012 Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Tim and I fully embrace our nerdiness. After the epic engagement story in which he sent me on a "Quest Line" through the East Valley of Phoenix (a truly awesome story of its own), we just knew we had to keep with the fantasy/medieval/nerd influence for the wedding. In the beginning we really wanted to try for a traditional looking medieval wedding, but who knew stones, chainmail and swords could get so expensive? We ultimately ended up with a more general fantasy-inspired wedding. Think Dungeons & Dragons meets The Princess Bride. Our invitations were one of my favorite parts, and we had a lot of help making them awesome. Instead of "Yes" and "No" we said "Huzzah! Let's party like its 1399!" and "Nay. I'm a Knight who says 'Ni.' I mean, 'Nay.'" We gave guests the options of returning the RSVP through "Carrier Dove (mail)," "Clockwork Owl (email)," or "Wizardry Magic (on our website)." My favorite project was our favors — hanging Banners that could be used as bookmarks. This ended up being an enormous DIY project that I undertook but was definitely worth it. The favors actually served multiple purposes. Each member of the wedding party was assigned a "Court" and each court had its own sigil that represented its Lord or Lady of the Royal Court. For example, our Grand Duchess was represented by Hello Kitty and one of the groomsman had a Captain America shield. When guests picked up their favors, they used them to find their seats at their court. Additionally, the shape of the banner reminded the guest what they ordered (rounded shield shape meant beef and a squared end meant chicken). We also had a memory table for grandparents who have passed. They had their own favors at the table and belonged to "Our Heavenly Father's Court." Our slideshow contained at least one picture of every guest at our wedding (physically and in memory). It was a thank you to those there supporting us and making us the people we are today. Some guests came in garb, from kilts to renaissance wear. As an inside joke, Charlie Chaplin even made it into the group picture we took. Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony took place in a park in Central Phoenix. The park is beautiful and the section they allowed us to reserve was actually an island surrounded by a "moat" as the park features a lagoon. The Bridal Party donned medieval-style gowns and the Groomsmen "princely" tuxedos. We dubbed our Best Man "Lord Hand" and even got him the Hand of The King pin from Game of Thrones. The Maid of Honor was the Grand Duchess and the rest of the crew were the Lord and Ladies of the Royal Court. I wore medieval style shoes and custom-made medieval circlet, as well as a dress with medieval-style beading. Prior to the wedding, I spent hours agonizing over the ceremony music. Tim and I love music of all sorts and I was torn between trying to keep within the "theme" or choosing music that truly had a meaning to us. Luckily we were able to accomplish both. The processional song was "Concerning Hobbits" from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. The Bridal song was "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride soundtrack and the Recessional song was "Life's A Happy Song" from The Muppets soundtrack. My mom's gift to us was to do the flowers for the wedding. While they were not real, (my mom lives over 1200 miles away, so dragging real flowers that far is not only expensive but just silly) they were amazing. My mom went out of her way to focus on Celtic flowers, ranging from Irish Bells to Scottish thistle (Braveheart anyone?!). I had asked her to incorporate wheat in them too as it was often used in the Celtic medieval era, symbolic of fertility. They turned out absolutely beautiful! We asked Tim's uncle to do a reading for us during the ceremony and he picked the a great reading with a respectful balance of religion and non-religion, embracing both Tim's and my beliefs. Minus the 105 degree heat, we couldn't have asked for a better ceremony. Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge leading up to the wedding was budget. I think it is for most people. We had to cut a lot of our "dream" ideas. In the end we decided what mattered to us the most (aside from the whole marrying your true love thing) was celebrating with family and friends. So we focused on that. The biggest challenge on the day of the wedding was the heat. The incredible melting heat. We chose April because the average temperature is 85-87 degrees (cool for Phoenix!). Our wedding day? 105 degrees! I had a rain plan, but a devastating "break a 60-year-old heat record" plan? No one told me to make one of those! The officiant truncated some of the ceremony to accommodate the heat and we had water bottles lined up for the wedding party (our friends are more important than "perfect pictures"). Some of the cousins even brought a kiddie pool full of ice and put it in the back for guests to use to cool off. My favorite moment: Our vows. We wrote our own, and I may be biased, but Tim's vows were so beautiful that I tear up just thinking about them. In fact, we even rate our days based on his vows, "Today was a good puzzle piece." Mine referenced Game of Thrones, as I told Tim he is my "sun and stars." My funniest moment: Instead of clinking glasses to make us kiss, guests had to roll off against us, Dungeons & Dragons style (this idea was actually borrowed from another Offbeat Bride). Our general rules: guests would need to come up to the head table and challenge us in a roll off. If they beat us, we'd kiss. If we won, we sent them on their way. The catch: if a party Critical'd (rolled a 20) or epically failed (rolled a 1) there was a consequence. Rolling a critical allowed you to order the other party to do something of your choosing (within reason). Rolling a fail meant the other party got to choose something for you to do! Of the many rolls, we only critical'd once. We made one of our friends sing "I'm a little teapot" in the middle of the dance floor. He did a very solid "modern" rendition. But, the real fun for everyone was when we rolled a fail. A cousin challenged us to perform the Chicken Dance in the middle of the dance floor! Everyone was rolling with laughter, especially when someone pointed out that it was technically our "First Dance" since our real first dance hadn't happened yet! Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Have I mentioned that it was hot the day we got married? I know, I know, I haven't shut up about it. I was really concerned about the pictures and whether we would all be able to last for them to be taken. Outside pictures were something I truly wanted. Everyone in the wedding party, as well as my family, were such troopers and we got some beautiful shots before seeking refuge in cool air conditioning. My advice for Offbeat Brides: Narrow your choices! More is not always better and you will drive yourself INSANE if you try to weigh every option of every little thing you're deciding on. I'm known as the "researcher" around here. I want the best deal for my money, but I would get so overwhelmed that I would break down in tears. Eventually I learned to ask someone to narrow my options for me. For example, chairs for the ceremony. You have wooden chairs and plastic chairs and white chairs and black chairs and that store and this store and pick up or delivery. I felt like I was stuck in a Dr. Seuss book! I finally looked at Tim with tears in my eyes and said, "Please just narrow this down to three options for me." He did and the decision was so very much easier after that. What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? No matter how much you plan, it's never enough and you need to be ok with that. I was commended on how organized I was and yet in the back of my mind, I knew the billion things that didn't get done or the small detail that I had forgotten. I agonized over these things because I just wanted this to be the best wedding anyone has been to. Offbeat Bride continuously says "Your wedding is not a competition" and they are so right. It's not. You're not going to get a medal or award. You're going to get a life-long partner (a prize unto itself). Of course you want everyone to have a good time, but don't sacrifice your happiness along the way to make that happen. Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? Bridal Dress: Strut Bridal Salon I was having panic attacks about dress shopping. For a very big girl like me, I expected it to be the worst experience of planning a wedding. It ended up being one of my very favorites and it was all due to this local store. If you are plus-sized and are within driving distance of Phoenix, you NEED to visit this shop Bridal Shoes: Medieval Moccasins Bridal Circlet and bridal party earcuffs: Etsy Vendor, Thyme2dream Bridal Party Scale Mail Necklaces: Etsy Vendor, UtopiaArmoury Tuxedos: Rose Tuxedo Invites: A beautiful bridesmaid. Sorry, she's not currently doing this professionally (we're trying to get her to!) and she has a baby on the way, but I may be able to pass on your information if you would like to contact her about possible work Cake: A fantastic friend/co-worker. He isn't professionally focusing on wedding cakes, but if you're in the Phoenix area and would like to be connected with him, contact me (message below or on Tribe) and I'll pass on your information. Photography: Silverhorn Photography Officiant/DJ: Yep they were the same person! His name is Scott Carter and he does dj'ing through Birkett Entertainment. Custom Cake Topper: Clay Images Enough talk — show me the wedding porn! allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=photos%2F84479198%40N06%2Fsets%2F72157630957435046%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=photos%2F84479198%40N06%2Fsets%2F72157630957435046%2Fshow%2F&set_id=72157630957435046&jump_to=" width="800" height="500"> Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS The wedding industry isn't targeting you… it's targeting your parents NEXT Get literal with your photos using an ampersand Show/Hide comments [ 37 ] Oh my goodness, the bride is sooooooooo beautiful. This looks like a really fun wedding. And you can't even tell in the pictures that everyone is probably very hot/sweaty/uncomfortable; everyone just looks lovely and happy. 1 agrees Reply Thank you Lesley! I was SO happy that the pictures turned out so great. Trust me, we do have some sunburned/sweaty shots that are pretty hilarious to pull up every once in awhile too. We had such a blast though 1 agrees Reply We've been looking for a kissing game and as we are D&D nerds this might be perfect! 1 agrees Reply I really loved the idea too. The original gal used a big blow-up dice but those are really hard to find (I'd recommend searching for it though, as it would definitely be worth it). I'd also come up with a list of ideas for hits/misses/crits/fails before the big day if you have the time. Coming up with something on the spot was tough! Reply sounds a fantastic unique day! oh how i wish i could have written a poem for you, sigh! Reply Aw thank you I bet it would have been a beautiful poem! Reply I absolutely LOVE the invitations! "Come my love, and I'll tell you a tale…" Such a perfect quote for them! Especially since you had that song as your recessional. Brilliant. I also love the purple touches on your veil and dress, and the flowers (seriously, they look gorgeous!) and your banner ideas (reminding people what they ordered is SUCH a good idea) and basically this was an awesome wedding! Reply Thank you for the sweet comments!! My husband actually came up with the idea for the invites. He's the creative one of us lol. The purple touches were added to the dress by my grandmother who also made the veil. And my mom will be so happy to know that her flowers are a hit! (Btw, we're about to have our first baby… due in 6 weeks! So the wheat did its job 😉 ) DIY is so much work but totally worth it in the end 2 agree Reply I LOVE the banner favors! They are so cool and they look like they took a long time, but I bet it was worth it in the end. Was it really hard or just time consuming? Reply The hardest part for me was figuring out the dimensions and creating the stands (lack of proper tools caused that problem lol). Other than that, they were just incredibly time-consuming but I really loved how they turned out in the end 😀 Reply Wow, I am just loving all the Geek Week weddings and this is no exception! ADORE your music choices ("Life's a Happy Song" and "Concerning Hobbits" are both two of my favorites!!) and there are so many gorgeous details: I especially love your favors and invitations!! Reply Thank you!! I'm still in love with our invitations And my husband put in The Muppets cd in my car the other day. I get teary-eyed everytime I hear Life's a Happy Song now lol. Concerning Hobbits makes me smile, thinking of our best friends who would definitely be closing out The Green Dragon every night if we lived in the Shire 😉 Reply It's so much fun seeing weddings from Phoenix. I love encanto park and your wedding looks like so much fun. The 105 degree temps scare me a bit for our wedding in April but this cold snap we're having is calming me down. Love it all and congratulations on you little bundle coming soon. Reply Not sure if this will help qualm your heat concerns or not, but I kid you not that the weekend before and the weekend after our wedding the temps were in the 70's. We picked the ONE weekend that month that hit triple digits! Leave it to us and our Irish luck. I like to think of it as the Arizona equivalent of rain on your wedding day, which is supposedly a good blessing right? lol. Thank you on the congrats! Scared and excited all at once 😀 Good luck on your wedding. Don't forget to have fun 😀 Reply i'd LOOOOVE to know that bridesmaid's name who made your invites, if you think she could ever be wheedled…. :)? Reply Feel free to email me your info and I'll can try to get you in touch with her. She just recently had a baby too, but she loves creating offbeatbride (at) shannonandtim.com 1 agrees Reply D&D nerds of Phoenix unite! If my wedding and your wedding were people I'd suggest we set them up on a date…or at least a trial gaming session. Well done and congrats! Reply Haha! That would be awesome 😀 Thank you for the congrats Reply Oh my goodness I just had a nerdgasm! This is so fun, so gorgeous, so fantastic…giant squeee from me! My fiancee and I are planning a Game of Thrones/literary themed wedding for October. Your post got even more ideas brewing, and provided great inspiration. I'm a plus-sized gal, and seeing you looking so ah-freaking-mazing is really helping me let go of my dress issues. Thank you for sharing…you rock! Reply Thank you for the kind words! We LOVE GoT. You're going to have a great wedding! Definitely try to have fun with the dress shopping. You will look beautiful too 1 agrees Reply I love your music choices! Concerning Hobbits is going to be our processional music too. Man, I love geek week. This wedding is so amazing. Reply Thank You! Concerning Hobbits is great because to non-geeks its just some nice instrumental music, but to geeks, its a great nod 😀 Reply I love your wedding! I've shared a few of your ideas with my fiancee and we're going to borrow a few of them. Thank you for sharing! Reply Thank you! Definitely feel free to borrow. Have fun with the planning and have a fantastic beautiful wedding day! Can't wait to see your wedding on here Reply I've been really trying to think of how to combine all the things my fiance and I really enjoy into one "theme" like thing. I hate to say it, but you almost have what I would call the perfect wedding. I sincerely hope you don't mind that I borrow a bit of your stuff for my own special day. Reply You could also just skip the whole idea of a theme: http://offbeatbride.com/no-theme Reply Sorry I never caught your comment. Its SO hard to put everything you love into a wedding. If you've already had your wedding, Congrats! I hope it was everything you hoped for! If not, please do borrow. I love that we could inspire others Btw- you could always do a "Our favorite things" theme and incorporate whatever you would like that way 😉 Reply Oh, that's my home! I love to see az weddings! Hoe were the logistics at the park, ie sound and strangers and whatnot? I want so badly to just get married in a park or in the desert somewhere, but can't figure out all of those little details. And I have the same concern, the Damn az weather….triple digits whenever it wants to, then, when you least expect it, RAIN. You definitely had a beautiful wedding, and I am sooooo going consider all of your local vendors! Reply Many months and a baby later, I discovered your comment! My apologies I didn't comment earlier. If you've already had your wedding, I hope it was fantastic! I'll leave some venue details for you just in case you're still in the planning stages: Encanto Park logistics. Sound is difficult. There are no electical hookups, so if you want a sound system, be sure to get a generator too. We were tight on budget so opted for a $35 karaoke machine that ran on batteries. It wasn't the best, but it did its job. The audio was on the video even, so that was impressive. But then again, the ducks in the background were too 😉 The great things about Encanto is that you can reserve Amp Island for the whole weekend (so we were able to do the rehearsal the day before) and there's only 2 bridges to rope off. So no random people crashing the party Oh and its FREE to reserve. That was our determining factor ha! I was so irritated with the weather the weekend we got married. Not kidding that the week before and the week after the temps were in mid 70's. Leave it to us to find the one day a 60-year-old heat record was broken!! And the vendors I have listed are all ones I recommend. I decided to leave ones off that I found mediocre or terrible (and unfortunately, there were a couple). Thank you for the lovely comments btw 😀 Reply I love your wedding ideas and will for sure be sharing them with my fiance in hopes he is down! We live in AZ too and are lucky to be getting married at the Castle at Ashley Manor so love the medieval themes! We too love all fantasy things…Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings, Magic(him). If you have any other ideas on how to utilize the fantasy theme into our wedding please share. One question I want to ask…to start with…did you quickly explain the D&D Kissing Game to your wedding guests? I know not many of my family members will have any clue what any of the geek incorporations we want are ha. Congrats on your newest prince or princess! Reply Sorry about the very late comment Shawna. Our lives have been a bit topsy turvy with the little Prince… well technically Dragon. We named him Dracen which is Olde English for Dragon. Yeah. We're nerds. He has a normal middle name just in case he turns out to be a Jock or something and curses us for the nerdname 😉 If you've had your wedding already, congrats!! I bet you found a way to make it absolutely beautiful (especially with such an amazing venue. That was my dream venue for sure! Unfortunately we couldn't afford it.) In case you're still planning… The D&D Kissing Game was explained by our DJ. We also had table signs that explained various things, including the game (and the sigils and how the open bar worked etc) Luckily we had enough nerd friends (including our D&D group) at the wedding to keep it going. Once people got the hang of it, the rolling was a lot of fun. The bride who inspired us had found huge blow up dice to use. I tried and tried to find some, but gave up. If you can find some, I'd definitely recommend that! As for incorporating other fantasy things, definitely check out the weddings on this site. So so so many good ideas. I also became addicted to Pinterest. A lot of fun things on there! In fact, I have wedding boards still posted. Mikidee is my username on there. You're welcome to check them out 😀 Reply LOVE your cake and the Clay Images cake topper! Can't miss seeing my friend's work! They do a fantastic job! have been following their work for years.. ever since I first met them in 1989 Reply Thank you, Wendy! We love Clay Images too (we found them at Arizona Renn Faire years ago) and have a number of their pieces, only limited by our wallets 😉 we were so excited and grateful when they offered to make a custom topper for us as they had stopped making the piece we were originally going to use. Love them! Reply I have actually contacted them about doing a custom designed piece.. I know they are extremely busy right now.. and gave them plenty of time lol.. I drew out a design and asked Melissa if she would have time :). I collect their mugs and cups Reply I'm in love with the flowers – the inclusion of the wheat is brilliant! Is it fake/silk or just dried? I'm planning a medieval/gaming wedding myself, so I was squeeing the whole time I read this! Reply Thank you!! The flowers are actually fake. My mom put them together and was traveling from Montana to AZ so knew dried/fresh wouldn't be a possibility. Have fun with your wedding!! I look forward to reading your story and seeing your pics! Reply Oh my god. I'm in love!!!! This wedding is so fantastic… how did you guys do the hanging banners though?! Seriously they are too cute Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. 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