Shannon & Tim's mawwiage of two lovenerds wedding

January 17 |

This week we're celebrating our sci-fi-loving, fantasy-squeeing, and comic book-collecting couples. That's right: it's geek week!

The newlyweds
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.

Invite - initial view

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)."

Favors/Placards

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.

Head table

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).

The crew that made it to the end

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.

So in love

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.

Wedding Party

Artsy shot

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.

Having fun on our big day

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.

Groom getting ready

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!

hehe photobombed!

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.

Giving of bride

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.

Artsy water bottle shot

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.

The amazing wedding cake!

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."

"Kissing" Game

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.

Uh oh, the king and queen lost the kissing game!

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!

Ceremony Decor/outline

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.

Bride Getting Ready

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.

Taking advantage of the bright sun and dark shadows

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.

Taking a rest, finally!

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!

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  1. 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.

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    • 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 :)

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  2. We've been looking for a kissing game and as we are D&D nerds this might be perfect!

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    • 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!

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  3. sounds a fantastic unique day! oh how i wish i could have written a poem for you, sigh!

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    • Aw thank you :) I bet it would have been a beautiful poem!

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  4. 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! :)

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    • 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 :)

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  5. 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?

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    • 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 :-D

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  6. 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!!

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    • 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 ;)

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  7. 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.

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    • 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 :-D Good luck on your wedding. Don't forget to have fun :-D

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  8. i'd LOOOOVE to know that bridesmaid's name who made your invites, if you think she could ever be wheedled…. :)?

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    • 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

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  9. 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!

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    • Haha! That would be awesome :-D Thank you for the congrats :)

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  10. 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!

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    • 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 :)

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  11. 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.

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    • Thank You! Concerning Hobbits is great because to non-geeks its just some nice instrumental music, but to geeks, its a great nod :-D

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  12. 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! :)

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    • 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 :)

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  13. 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.

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    • 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 ;)

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  14. 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!

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    • 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 :-D

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  15. 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!

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    • 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 :-D

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  16. 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 :)

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    • 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!

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      • 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 :)

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