Sarah & Mark's red ribbon rose steampunk library handfasting

By on Oct. 17th Photos by Sarah Mason Photography

Put on your goggles and your neo-Victorian gear, because this is STEAMPUNK WEEK! Today we've got a Victorian-styled red rose wedding paired with a book theme and a red dress with a peacock train.

The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, Librarian (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Mark, Librarian

Date and location of wedding: Wainsgate and Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK — May 25, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The book theme was a no brainer: we met working together in a library, and are both book and library geeks. I also make books, so we decided that the invites would be little coptic-bound books (a decision I nearly regretted after sewing about 50 of them!). We also made book page bunting and chapter number signs for the tables, and the table plan was a cast of characters with books on each table related to the wedding or to the guests at the table.








Tell us about the ceremony:
Our Celebrant, Lita, wrote a beautiful ceremony for us which included the vows we had written for one another. We'd been legalled a few days before as the chapel isn't licensed, but it was important to me to be able to write promises we felt were meaningful, and because it allowed me to thank Mark for the support he's given to me through years.


Two friends read Pablo Neruda's Sonnet XVII, and Kahil Gibran's "On Marriage."



We were handfasted while we said our vows, sadly not with the ribbons I had bound together for the occasion, as we forgot them. But Lita had fortunately bought a spare. We then exchanged rings, and carried out a rose ceremony (exchanging red roses as a gift to one another, to be remembered in years to come as a symbol of our love), before signing our vows in a book to which guests later added their good wishes.

We walked out to Elbow's "One Day Like This," which we had decided on in the euphoria of the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.



Our biggest challenge:
We were originally booked to be married in a different church, but the minister retired. And despite them telling us they'd get another, they never did, so a hurried plan B was in order, which threw off the whole schedule.

I also suffer terribly with anxiety, and have difficulty speaking to people sometimes, especially to complain or ask for something. So having to review things with different people was a real challenge.

Another challenge was dealing with some people's skepticism or downright rejection of our ideas and vision, which hurt quite a lot. But I know they just wanted the best for me, and our ideas of what that was were just a little different.


My favorite moment:
We were very thankful for the work our friends and family contributed to the wedding. Some of Mark's workmates made us things for the reception, like beautiful knitted bunting, and a lovely papercut.

My dad made a speech which meant a lot, as well. We had originally disagreed on some of the wedding choices, but he said he was proud we'd pulled it off and he saw why we'd put so much work in after all. The feeling of love and support around us was just amazing. We don't see our family and friends all that much, and were so glad that they had traveled to be with us.

After the registry office ceremony with just parents and witnesses, I wondered if that would have been enough, and if I should have gone to all the fuss. But the gathering of loved ones all there just to wish you well was the most wonderful thing. We all know in this day and age that marriages aren't guaranteed to work out. But weddings can be a big mutual crossing of fingers, of everyone saying "Good luck. We think you can do it, and we want you to do it," and celebrating something joyful. I think if magic exists, then it is this: shared intention, and intense emotion coming together to try and bend fate in your favour. It felt like magic to me.


My funniest moment:
There was also a funny moment when I got confetti shoved down my bra by my mother-in-law and a friend from work. Apparently it's a thing. Who knew? Not me.


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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