Remember last week's tentacular steampunk octopus cake? Now we've got the whole snowy steampunk tale to tell!
The Offbeat Bride: Sheyne
Her offbeat partner: Glenn, Biologist
Date and location of wedding: Pine Rose Cabins, Twin Peaks, CA — November 11, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Glenn and I are both members the Steampunk performance group, "The League of S.T.E.A.M." We are both costumers and performers who attend over-the-top costume balls and events in and around the Los Angeles area. We decided on "The Scientific Investigation of Love & Romance" as our theme. Bringing drama and a well-executed theme was very important to us.
Glenn and I worked on DIY projects for months leading up to the wedding day. Our save-the-dates and invitations were DIYed by me and some friends. We hosted an invitation-making party where 12 of our friends got over 100 invites made in four hours.
I created a key wall for guests to find their table place cards. Each guest had a tag tied to a Victorian key bottle opener (one of their wedding favors). These keys and tags were hung from vintage and vintage-like frames to which I had attached chicken wire.
Our handmade centerpieces represented element of our love theme: "love" chemicals (like Dopamine), chocolate, roses, and minerals. We also stretched a bit and expanded our table themes to subjective ideas like "Dance," "Pursuit of Knowledge," and "Spirit of Adventure." Using a tutorial we found online, we transferred the chemical diagrams on glass chandelier crystals and hung them from manzanita branches.
With the help of a homebrewer/infuser friend, we created a custom rum infusion that all our guests received in potion bottles. We attempted to re-create a lavender basil lemonade Glenn and I discovered while venue hunting.
Signage was an important way to convey the theme and inform guests of what was to come. My favorite sign recommended our two favorite cocktails, and had a warning that being at 5800 ft. elevation would make drinks hit twice as hard than at sea level.
We also created a Mad Scientist-themed candy table with jelly-filled gummy brains, gummy fingers, sugar rats, and many other sweet and creepy treats. The table was decorated with spooky props such as a zombie hand in glass, a glowing human heart, and a brain being distilled in a jar. We also used dry ice to create a spooky fog that crept across the table.
Tell us about the ceremony: My heritage is Norwegian and Jewish ("Jewegian"). Although both Glenn and I are atheists, we decided to honor my Jewish family and their traditions with our own twist. Duane (our officiant) had his friends made us a fragile glass drinking horn. We both drank honey mead from the horn (a Viking wedding ritual), and then we placed it inside of a bag and broke it underfoot.
We had a robot ring bearer built by our friend, Grant. He was named Heisenborg, and he delivered our wedding rings in a test tube and Erlennmeyer flask. Later in the evening, using the remote control, Grant had Heisenborg danced with a few friends on the dance floor.
Our biggest challenge: I commissioned an amazing artist friend, Brian, to draw a secret portrait of Glenn and me. The illustration was printed on our wedding program, and on the welcome sign to our wedding. Keeping this image a secret from Glenn in the weeks leading up to the wedding was very difficult, especially since Glenn and another friend, James, designed the wedding program. I had to secretly contact James to let him in on my plan so he could help execute the job he was doing and not spoil the surprise. While Glenn had a clue something was going on, he was happy at result of my scheming.
My favorite moment: Some of the most meaningful moments where things I had little control over. The words our friend and officiant, Duane, said during the ceremony moved me deeply. We had meetings with him, and exchanged emails, and we knew the basic framework of what he was going to talk about, but we couldn't tell how great it would be until we saw it in action. He was an instrumental element of our ceremony.
Listening to the speeches made by our friends might have been one of the most meaningful moments in my life. Friends said such kind and wonderful things about us. When my father tried to read his speech at the microphone, he ended up getting a little speechless and cried.
My funniest moment: During the reception, one of the groomsmen (and fellow League of S.T.E.A.M. member) was lighting cigars with a flamethrower, and I ran down to see what was going on. Some of the funniest photos of the reception came from that interaction!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The wedding ceremony and reception was at 5,800 ft, in an all-outdoor venue. The weekend before, the venue was at around 60 degrees with 40 or so at night. Days before our wedding, an Arctic storm blew in, and that Friday the first snow of the season happened. We had to rush to rent every single heating lamp on the mountain! We warned our guests about the cold, and it did get quite chilly (21°F/6°C) by the time the party ended. We got to take advantage of the light layer of snow for pictures, though!
My advice for Offbeat Brides: A tip I would tell other non-traditional types is to not be afraid of some traditions. I ended up treasuring experiences at wedding showers and dress shopping.
Even though I wanted a custom dress, going to a bridal bouquet with my mother and trying on a bunch of dresses was a wonderful mother/daughter bonding moment.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Having a very DIY-heavy wedding, I learned when to just declare something done. Learning to be happy with what we created the first time and not re-making it to death saved my sanity. For personal prop and costume projects I tend to fidget and constantly change/update things. I had so many lists of so many things to achieve, I couldn't afford that habit.
I have many amazing seamstress friends, some even made offers of making me a dress, but I was very happy with my decision of going to my amazing corset maker, Exquisite Restraint, and engaging in a business exchange. Because money changed hands and paperwork was signed, I had full confidence that dress would be exactly the way I wanted it and in my hands before the day of the wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Exquisite Restraint
- Groom's Coat: Salacious Hydes
- Photographer: Pixie Vision Photography
- DJ and Photo booth: Arrowhead DJ
- Caterer: Graystone Catering
- Hair and makeup: Splendor Beauty
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!