A metalhead boat cruise wedding with headbanging and battle-axes

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding
Photos by Matthew Bender Wedding

Offbeat partner: Mary, marketing specialist

Offbeat partner: Alexandra, mechanical engineer

Date and location of wedding: Spirit of Washington, Washington, DC — May 20, 2017

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

My wife and I originally met through our university's Metal Club, so it was only natural that we have a metal-themed wedding to celebrate the style of music that brought us together. The venue was the bottom floor of a yacht that does lunch/dinner cruises, which we chose to both reflect our desire to have both a classy affair and a mark our viking voyage in life as wife and wife.

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

Most of the day followed a relatively traditional pattern, but we tweaked a few things and made sure every detail was authentic to who we are and the kind of party we'd want to host to celebrate our relationship.

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

Tell us about the ceremony:

We processed into the ceremony to Blind Guardian's "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight," which starts out very calm and beautiful. Our officiant was a close friend of ours from the Metal Club, and he did a great job of leading a casual, fun, and lovey-dovey ceremony.

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

Two of our bridal party members read "When Someone Helps Us To Be Ourselves," which we more or less sprung on them at the rehearsal dinner the night before… but they both killed it!

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

We exchanged vows we wrote ourselves. Then for our unity ceremony, we poured a rum and coke together into a wine glass with a dragon on it. Finally, we did the ol' ring exchange and kiss, and we recessed to the second part of "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight," which is more upbeat and heavy than the beginning, so it reflected the happy mood at the end.

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

A metalhead boat cruise wedding

Tell us about your reception:

We selected a few heavier tunes to play during the cocktail hour. When the bridal party returned, we went straight into couple and father/daughter dances. Alex and I danced to "Ih-Ah!" by Devin Townsend Project, a song that carries a lot of meaning for us.

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

After a delicious buffet lunch, our fathers and the Maid and Man of Honor gave really sweet toasts. We then cut our cake to Amon Amarth's "A Beast Am I" (another song that's got an inside joke attached to it for us) using a straight-up battle-axe we got from the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The axe wasn't in the room before we used it, so no one was expecting it. When our day-of helper brought it out, she had to walk past most of the guests to get it to us and everyone cheered as she came over!

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

In lieu of tossing a bouquet and garter, we tossed engraved drumsticks just like drummers do at the end of concerts. We also hosted a headbanging competition to Strapping Young Lad's "Love" and took a metalhead group photo after, an idea I have to admit I borrowed from a fellow Offbeat Bride!

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

For the dancing, we opted to have a mostly disco and '80s pop playlist. I've been to some weddings where it seemed like the DJ was pulling teeth to get people to dance, and I was worried that would happen at ours. I was really happy when we had so many people on the dance floor throughout the reception.

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

What was your most important lesson learned?

That DIYing everything is not feasible nor worth it. We did DIY a number of things, but I originally had much bigger ideas for the centerpieces — that didn't end up happening, but it wasn't a big deal. Also, pad the timeline of the day even more than you think you need to. The entire day ran about 20 minutes behind because I thought we could squish more into a shorter amount of time than is realistic.

A heavy metal boat cruise wedding

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