Emilia & Ryan's Victorian garden party wedding

March 28 |  
Photos by: Kari Renee
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Photos by Kari Renee

The Offbeat Bride: Emilia, System Administrator

Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Warehouseman

Date and location of wedding: Marshall House, Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, WA — August 11, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I have always been obsessed with the Victorian era. The goal of our wedding was to be authentic and natural to the era, but have it not be too costume-y.

The venue we chose was the historic Marshall House, a Victorian mansion in Fort Vancouver National Park that was built in 1886. The park and house itself is so jam-packed full of history, so it was really an honor to have the wedding there.

The mansion itself has a huge wrap-around porch, and we had all the guests eating on the porch to give it the feel of a Victorian garden party. We wanted the wedding to really make use of the amazing space.

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I had a Victorian reproduction dress made by a seamstress who specializes in Victorian era clothing, Christine Hall. She did an amazing job. I picked colors and fabric that would have matched the era. The dress I had made is in the natural form style from 1877-1881, which requires a corset, bustle, and petticoat.

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All the jewelry we wore was antique Victorian from Etsy. The amethyst engagement ring I have actually has the original owner's inscription inside.

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We were able to stay under $8,000 for the whole wedding by keeping it small, only 55 guests, and being resourceful. A lot of the decorations were obtained at the Goodwill bins and garage sales. We found vintage books, plates, trays, milk glass, doilies, and tablecloths. I hand-made a lot of items to save money and to personalize the decor, too. We made three-tiered trays from plates collected at Goodwill, French toile placemats, and homemade strawberry jam we picked and canned ourselves into cute two-ounce glass jars we gave away as favors.

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Our biggest challenge:
I'd say the biggest challenge was wearing the dress for an extended period of time. Victorian ladies did not have it easy. Wearing a corset and having a train trailing behind you all the time is not comfortable in the least. I can last about three hours. I don't know how they did it day-in and day-out back then.

Three sisters.
Reception dress!

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My favorite moment:
Saying our vows to each other. This was a magical moment that was all a blur, but quite emotional. I am so happy that I could experience that in front of our friends and family. The other most meaningful moment was just having all our friends and family together. It was so special to all be together in one place since so many people have moved away. That time spent with each other is priceless.

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He stole some cheese. He's more then welcome.
Cheese thief!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Gorgeous wedding! It's great to see details on a wedding in my area (lived in Vancouver my whole life, and am very familiar with Marshall House and Fort Vancouver), and I think that you two did a fantastic job with giving the entire even the Victorian feel you were going for! Congratulations!

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  2. So, so, so GORGEOUS and romantic! You rocked that dress! I loved all of your details that made it so unique and how awesome you were able to be thrifty. Congratulations!

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  3. I love this wedding! The dress is breathtaking, but I bet it got to be a handful (literally too) after awhile. Where is the reception dress from? It looks adorable!

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  4. Shout of from the Couve! Congrats on your beautiful wedding! I would have loved to get married there as well but there is just no way I could cut the number of guests. Everything looks so romantic and intimate. I love the little details that your dress has! *le sigh*

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  5. I scrolled through this and said "awww" out loud at almost every picture. You guys are adorable, and you did the Victorians proud. Especially with the parlor ceremony!

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  6. $8000??? Seriously?

    I am not the type of person to get caught up in the cost of someone else's wedding, but let me just say, you made that $8000 wedding look like a million bucks. Just stunning.

    You're also super-duper pretty. Congratulations on your lovely day!

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  7. Where were those bridesmaid dresses from they're just what I want!

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    • They were on the sale rack ad Urban Outfitters. $30 each! Super score!

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  8. Just stunning and dreamy in every way! Also, cutest cheese thief ever!

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  9. Love this wedding. Romantic, precious, nostalgic, breathtaking. It makes me think of films set in that era made in recent times, like Helena Bonham Carter's film A Room With a View, and even Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour, etc.
    I will check out Christine Hall's website. If you don't mind, may I ask what a custom dress by her cost you ?? P.S. Whatever it is, worth EVERY penny.
    Best Wishes in your life together!! Debbie

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  10. What a beautiful wedding! I love all of the vintage details and that you were able to add DIY and thrift to that as well. So inspiring!

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