Madelinne & Doug's geeky Browncoat foodie wedding

January 16 |

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

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Photos by Selah Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Madelinne, professional photographerThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them and marketing student

Her offbeat partner: Doug, network guru

Date and location of wedding: The Whaley House, Flint, MI — November 11, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Doug and I had the "shiniest wedding in the 'verse." If you know your great-but-cancelled-in-its-first-season sci-fi shows, you'll recognize our wedding as Firefly-themed with Doug starring as Captain Malcolm Reynolds and myself as Inara Serra. We were just joking around one day when I suggested the themed party based on our favorite show, and it stuck. On our invitations, we invited everyone to come to "the shiniest shindig in the 'verse" and to dress the part. We provided links to clips from the show and costume suggestions.

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The wedding was very detail-oriented. I am a numbers person, so the date was important. We got married at 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11. Our reception ended at 11:11 p.m. We had 1000 hand-folded cranes strung, with 500 white ones made by Doug and me and 500 colored ones made by family members who were unable to attend.

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We started the wedding day with the ceremony at a local house-turned-museum in Flint, MI called The Whaley House. It is a charming Victorian-era house with gorgeous rooms and decor. It is tiny: we crammed 25 people in there, some standing, but it was perfect for what we wanted.

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We took the bridal party out to lunch at our favorite Lebanese restaurant. We are big foodies, and wanted to make sure good food was incorporated throughout the day. After that, the bridal party left to finish decorating the reception hall and Doug and I went for some "alone time." We got to chill out for a few hours and then went to the reception hall around 7:00. We danced, ate, and goofed off until 11:11 p.m. when we were sent off by a flurry of glow stick waving in the dark, a surprise orchestrated by my mom!

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In accordance with the Firefly theme, we had dinosaurs all over the tables at the reception. The food was all appetizers with various ethnic influences: Asian, American, Lebanese, etc.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We held a ring warming, where the ring is passed from person to person while they pray over it/bless it/send good thoughts our way.

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We wrote our own vows, each with three things we loved about the other person and three promises we made. We read them back and forth to each other and both ended with our favorite "I love you" statement. Mine was "I love you for forever and a day" while his was "I love you to the edge of the universe and back."

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Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was to keep the wedding ours. A big part of it was learning to say no, not only to family members, but also to myself. As an avid reader of Offbeat Bride and a member of the Offbeat Bride Tribe, it was hard not to want to include awesome things that others were doing that just didn't mesh with us. There's just so much cool stuff out there. You can't do it all, and trust me, you don't want to do it all. [Related post: When to stop looking at wedding porn]

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My favorite moment: Before the ceremony, Doug and I had our first look. The photographer came in and took pictures, and then left us alone for a few minutes. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to go through with this, and he looked me in the eye and said "Absolutely."

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My dad walked me down the aisle and then turned around and married us. He is not ordained, but he agreed to marry us, which is the most blessing I could ask for. Walking me down the aisle included walking down a flight of stairs where no one could see us. He told me that I would always be his little girl, and we both started crying. I cried all throughout the ceremony. We felt very loved.

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My funniest moment: The funniest moment was when I asked my mom to request "Baby Got Back" from the DJ. She had no idea what it was about, and the look on her face as she heard the heavily innuendo-laden lyrics was priceless — until she busted a move herself!

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Other than that, all of the random Nerf gun wars that broke out across the room pretty much made my night.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Firefly is a relatively obscure show (only 14 episodes) and so no one besides my immediate family knew what it was. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to actually dress up, but people did! It was about 25%, but those who did really put some effort into it.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: As a photographer, I bartered a lot of my own services: the cake, decorations, the hall rental, my wedding jacket, and part of the catering costs were all covered. Some cases involved three-way bartering. I photographed another girl's wedding in exchange for her helping the caterer, who then gave me a lower rate because he didn't have to hire servers. People are very flexible and generally want to make things work. Just know what you want and what you can bring to the table in exchange.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Nothing is going to be perfect, and according to Murphy's Law, it never will. We forgot the cake topper and the signs for the food/dessert/drink tables. We had tremendous technical difficulties trying to show a couple of videos at the reception. The thing is that I had no idea any of that was happening. I didn't notice because it wasn't important once we were married. So I let go and just relaxed.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. I've never watched the show, but I can see how much detail and work you guys put into everything. BTW I love the shot of the dinos holding the rings! I have two "pet" dinos myself and need to incorporate them into my own party. Thanks for the inspiration! Oh yeah, and your hair is very pretty!

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    • Thanks! We ended up keeping one and named him Herbert. He went on our honeymoon with us and we have pictures of him all over Nashville – with fake Elvis, taking a shot of moonshine, etc. Dinos are the best!

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  2. thank god for the slide show picture! I was getting concerned about the lack of Jayne hats!

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    • There was actually an abundance of Jayne hats! I think we had a couple of people pitter pattering in combat boots too.

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  3. Yay Michigan brides! I love everything about this SO HARD. A Michigan Firefly wedding with dinosaurs and nerf fights? **SWOON**

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    • Yay for Michigan! Also, this is just a fantastic wedding. I would have totally showed up in my Kaylee coveralls!

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  4. SO awesome! this is one I wish I had been invited to.
    love what you did with the origami cranes and pretty much everything.

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  5. I love this! Firefly was an amazing show, and I love you as Inara! I love themed weddings myself, and am trying to see what I can afford to incorporate into my own wedding… we're probably going to go for some sort of geeky theme, so should be fun! lols

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    • Awesome! The best part about the themed deal was that now we go to Cons dressed as Mal and Inara – I think I've worn my wedding outfit 4 times now?

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  6. As a fellow Michigander, I LOVE your wedding and how true you stayed to yourself! My fiance LOVES Firefly and though it's not part of our love story as a couple, he'd think this was such a cool wedding! The dinosaurs and costumes are especially neat, and it's nice to hear your guests got into the costumes: we're having a Disney-themed wedding and allowing our guests to dress up if they'd like :)

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  7. As the Auntie to these amazing two people and a guest who knew NOTHING about the show, I can say it was an amazing ceremony and a ton of fun recpetion! We had a Renessiance themed wedding where about half of our guests came in costume so I do understand the feeling of having them get involved in it. Reading this Madi makes me remember all over again how special your ceremony was. I am happy to call you my niece and very excited to see where your journey takes you!

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  8. Adoreableness. And as a Firefly fan, I can say "Be still my nerdy heart!" love all of this!

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  9. Another Flint area bride, yay! Your wedding is gorgeous. We actually looked at the Whaley but it was a little too small for our still pretty tiny 50 person wedding. I'm glad you used it, what a wonderful location.

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  10. This really made my day! I was born and raised in Flint but moved as an adult. I also love Firefly and food. (Who doesn't love food?!)

    It looks like you guys had a wonderful time. Congrats! Yay for love! :)

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  11. I love this wedding so hard!! You guys make the best Mal and Inara. The dinosaurs made me tear up a little. Oh, I'm a leaf in the wind.

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