Dramatically gorgeous dark fairy wedding

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride
Photos by Robert Wojtowicz Fine Art Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, Operations Manager

Her offbeat partner: Rob, Data Analyst

Date and location of wedding: Thornewood Castle, Lakewood WA — April 11, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

The theme to our wedding would be best described as unseelie (dark fairy) geekiness. We are former goths who love video games and RPGs, and we wanted our wedding to reflect our tastes. My mother actually found our venue, I had no idea there was a castle in the middle of Lakewood, but it was perfect for our needs. Moss, mushrooms, and birds made our dinner tables seem very fae, while the sword we used to cut our cake and our cake topper were more fantasy/RPG.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Both our outfits were a real manifestation of who we are. My dress was my own design (with tons of help from my tailor and Pinterest), and Rob's outfit was a cultivation of serious Google-fu and some gentle suggestions from me. We were very careful to make sure we each felt confident in the outfits we decided on and we're chuffed with the outcomes. It also made our photos really nice because you/we could see us in different levels of attire in the day. Some with glasses, some with pauldrons, so you really got the fairy tale and the geekiness at different points in our wedding.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

It was an overseas wedding for us, I planned almost everything from Australia. Skype and email and myself became tri-besties. I didn't meet a single vendor (other than my tailor) until three and a half weeks before my wedding. The groomsmen's suits couldn't be confirmed until days before the wedding.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We personalized our ceremony a LOT. The bridal party walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet's rendition of "What's This" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I walked down to their version of "Starlight" by Muse. Our recessional was "Still Alive" from the game Portal.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

During our ceremony we had my parents do readings in between the vows and the unity ceremony. My mother did a bit from The Velveteen Rabbit about realness and my father did the wedding vows from Dax and Worf's Klingon wedding ceremony from Deep Space 9. For our unity ceremony, we made a cocktail and talked about how each aspect of the drink represented our special joining. We also had my maid of honor's husband as our officiant, which meant we could basically create our own vows. It was important to us that they reflected what we actually wanted to promise to each other in our marriage. For example, we added in thoughts on how we would be dedicated to each other first, then our family — knowing that we wouldn't have children and that this mostly meant that our blood relatives, our non-blood relatives, and our loved ones would be most important to us.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

I think I stressed about the food the most. Did you know Australians make fun of our sugary bread? My caterer couldn't provide sugar-free bread. They could get bread using sugar substitutes, but not sugar-free. Weird huh? One of the many interesting food challenges I came across.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Our reception was at the same site, so no one had to travel that day, but half our guests flew in from Australia that week to attend. My family is from Washington, while Rob's family is in Melbourne, Australia. We decided on having the wedding in America to give my family the best opportunity to attend with the plan that we would have a second reception in Melbourne for Rob's much larger family (we're still working on that last part). We were very lucky that so many of our Australian friends could attend, because two of my bridesmaids and all three of Rob's groomsmen were from Melbourne.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

My favorite part of our reception would probably be the burlesque show we had. Or maybe the cake cutting? I had never used a sword to cut cake before.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

All in all, the wedding and reception were very small and intimate. I got a chance to have real conversations with all my guests and thank the ones who traveled across the world to attend. I have a bit of a problem with crowds, so it was perfect for me and everyone got a chance to spend some quality B&G face time.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

Hire a coordinator if you can, you can get them for different levels of help and day-of planners are super great at making sure your day runs well. Hire the best photographer you canThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them (a good photographer captures the special moments of your day to make it look amazing!). Pay off things ASAP, and don't wait until that day. Rob spent 45 minutes at our reception trying to get Paypal to work. He's still upset about it.

Rob was involved with most of the choices of our wedding, and it was more special/personal for both of us because of that. I picked two things I liked, he picked one of them. Sometimes it was the incorrect choice. Sometimes we'd argue about it. Learning to compromise is hard, but rewarding. Find a system that works for you.

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Unseelie dark fae wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

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  1. What a gorgeous wedding! Huge props to the bride's mother for finding such a great venue!

    3 agree
  2. Hi, I'm Robert, the groom from the wedding you've just been looking at! If you have any questions for me I'd be happy to answer!

    My beautiful bride Sarah is lurking too. She'll answer any questions that come her way ?

    3 agree
    • Hi, I'm interested in shamelessly coping your Unity celebration for my own Valentine's Day wedding! How did you organise this part of your ceremony? Did everyone mix their own cocktail following your lead, what happened exactly? Sounds a very romantic and also fun idea but could be quite tricky! Also, what was your chosen cocktail?

      1 agrees
      • Please do! Our unity ceremony had a cocktail that had meaningful ingredients; We both love vodka and it's a symbol for purity, Apple Pucker Sour to represent both the places we're from (both were famous for apples), cranberry juice to represent the cranes on the house sigil of Rob's family and 3 twists of lime speared with the 3 swords from my own crest. Basically we picked a drink we both love (a Cape Cod) and made some adjustments that suited our needs. You can google your crests and draw inspiration from there as we did, or pick something else in your life and look into the history of it for inspiration! There was no hard liquor allowed at this venue, we had to get special permission for this drink. As far as the vessels we used; I got some small jars with nice lids and poured all the ingredients out/prepped the lime long before the wedding and put it on a nice tray on a little table off to the side. I probably could have decorated them more, but you can get a nice tray at a Value Village for very little. Jars were from Michaels.

        3 agree
    • Hi, I'm interested in shamelessly copying your Unity celebration for my own Valentine's Day wedding! How did you organise this part of your ceremony? Did everyone mix their own cocktail following your lead, what happened exactly? Sounds a very romantic and also fun idea but could be quite tricky! Also, what was your chosen cocktail?

      1 agrees
  3. This wedding looks so great! The bride and groom look like they had just the wedding they wanted! Just wondering if the bride or groom are still lurking, where the bridemaid dresses were from?

    1 agrees
    • Hey, so I committed the sin of ordering dresses from China and the actually turned out waaaay more purple than I wanted because I couldn't see the samples without spending a TON of money. But, you know, one of the many mistakes that you get over as you plan. Turned out alright in the end. Anyway, I can't remember the name of the shop. I found it on Ali Baba. The person I dealt with was named Ivy and her email is groupsales1@163.com

      1 agrees
      • I'd also mention that we ordered a first run at a wedding dress from the same seller on AliExpress. It was 5-10% of Australian dress quotes, and I thought it was worth the risk.
        That dress was far below the quality that we were hoping for, but it did steer Sarah to a different (ultimately more flattering) design.
        I'd recommend AliExpress heartily for mass produced things (fairy lights!) that you can order early, but for bespoke things YMMV a lot.

        3 agree
      • I got my youngest bridesmaid's dress from the same person, she was really helpful and the dress arrived way before they said it would, we are in NZ and trying to get a plain navy dress for a 9 year old is a nightmare here everything is in ivory but AliExpress saved the day, it needs a little alteration but the money saved is worth it

        3 agree
  4. This is one of my favorite dresses of all time and I loved everything else about this wedding! The groom looked very snazzy also. We will have some similar RPG touches planned for our upcoming wedding so I love seeing how other people's come together to help visualize how I see mine coming out.

    6 agree
  5. Wow. What an incredible wedding! Everything looks so damn perfect 🙂 I am completely in love with the cake topper. You are both so similar to me and my fiancee, we've planned a lot of very similar details.

    3 agree
    • The cake topper is our design, but others can order it too, from Anna Crafts, she will do the same or make a completely new one for you! She was great!

      4 agree

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