Sarah & Nathaniel's “A Love For All Of Time and Space” wedding

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Photos by Scott Trippler

The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, Dance Instructor (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Nathaniel, CTO and Computer Programmer

Date and location of wedding: The Abbey and The Mezz, a stage and reception venue, Orlando, Florida — October 12, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My golden-hued dress and his vibrant blue suit were very important decisions since they made us feel amazing when we are rather-be-in-pajamas kind of people. We also had paper flowers, sci-fi-themed table numbers, and a photo booth to go with our "Doctor and River Song" journal guest books.

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One of the best things was a gift that Nathan bought for my birthday: an audio file from Patrick Stewart! We had him record the announcement for our entrance to the reception (which was a MAJOR highlight for all the Trekkies in the room). From our self-written ceremony, to our light-up venue with a full-sized TARDIS, to our sci-fi music medley during dinner, we made sure that everything we spent time, energy, or money on was something that we really cared about.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Nathan and I wanted a ceremony that fit us, regardless of what was traditional. I did a lot of research and bounced a lot of ideas off of Nathan when trying to get to an end result that he was just as excited about as I was. I ended up giving the final script to our officiant, venue coordinator, harpist, and photographer so they had an idea of what we were (and were not) going to be doing.

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We started with a ring-warming. The ceremony was accompanied by a wonderful harpist, who learned many theme-specific songs for us including "Rose's Theme" from Doctor Who, which was playing when Nathan and I walked down the aisle hand-in-hand. We asked our family to voice their support for each of us, with the Battlestar Galactica quote, "So say we all!"

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Our vows focused on supporting each other in the changes life brings:

I, Sarah, take you, Nathan, to be my partner, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know. I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the man you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.

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Even if I had a problem with a vendor, or didn't get seating charts done yet, I could sit down and make progress in one small corner of the self-planned-self-made-wedding-world that encompassed my life.

A big detail for me, and not so much for anyone else, was the backdrop that I made by hand. I made the heart cascade out of over a thousand paper hearts I made with a paper punch, and taped onto fishing line and attached to a rope that hung the length of the stage.

It was a huge task that took dozens and dozens of hours to complete, but it was my sign of constant progress that helped me get through the planning process.

Even if I had a problem with a vendor, or didn't get seating charts done yet, I could sit down and make progress in one small corner of the self-planned-self-made-wedding-world that encompassed my life.

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Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge was the choice to plan the event myself, which caused a lot of stress, on my relationship with my partner, and my relationships with my family. While I am not incredibly organized, I wanted complete control. Danger, Danger!

With nearly two years to plan, I thought that I was golden! I was overconfident with my three-ring binder and a dozen tabs for every category under the sun. Venue Contract? Under the Venue tab! Payment due in three months? On the Budget Calendar! And that worked well for quite some time.

However, the work started to take its toll as the wedding drew closer: my partner was working many extra hours (and I love and support his dedication), and all of my family and bridesmaids hundreds of miles away, I struggled with figuring out how to ask for and get help in a realistic way. Sometimes having someone go with me to a stressful meeting just wasn't an option.

A week before the wedding, I collapsed on the couch, physically and emotionally exhausted, talking to my partner about how stranded I felt, surrounded by tasks that needed finishing, and a wedding culture that kept shoving pictures of brides surrounded by flocks of her support-females at me. I felt defeated. Worse, I felt defeated while I was surrounded by piles of papers that couldn't find their place in the ridiculously messy three-ring-binder that represented my lack of control of the planning process.

It turned around a few days later when family started arriving before the big day. Everyone that arrived was completely ready to help with anything and everything, giving up time they could have spent on the beach to sit with me writing escort cards. At one point I had a mother, father, aunt, cousin, uncle, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all at our house helping us pack boxes into the car and disassemble our TARDIS. I felt incredibly loved and supported, which ultimately made up for all of the stress I put myself under.

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My favorite moment:
The most meaningful thing to me was all the guests who attended. I had anxiety dreams about various non-attended parties of my past (graduation party, you came back to haunt me!). On the day of the wedding, I was surrounded by 65 lovely people who came together to witness one of the best evenings of our lives. We had our two witnesses (a bridesmaid and groomsman) sign our marriage certificate on our backs, we had a photo of everyone that attended in front of the venue, and we had a room full of love and support when we walked down the aisle as a married couple.

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Another really sweet moment was the father/daughter dance. My father is much more traditional that I, but he has always encouraged and accepted my unique view of the world. Even though we haven't lived within 1,000 miles of each other for nearly four years now, he still wanted to make our dance something super special. He really wanted to share my love of dance, and decided he was going to work hard to achieve that goal: the waltz. He took dance lessons with his wife for months up to the big day, and the night before the wedding we practiced in a hotel ballroom. He worked so hard to make those two minutes happen, and it turned out wonderfully!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It's okay if you don't use all of your ideas. This was a hard one for me, and I'm sure for many others that are simultaneously wedding planning and using Pinterest. I had so many ideas! They were too much for me to handle given the time and resources I had — they would have been too much if I had Martha Stewart armed with Mary Poppin's magic bag! I had to come to terms with the thought that I was going to have a great, beautiful, awesome wedding even if I didn't get a Yoda mask for the photo booth in time, or twinkle lights on the ceiling, or a smart phone scavenger hunt personalized for the people we knew weren't going to be dancing.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Florida Specific vendors:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Tom Baker is my fave doctor, so seeing the officiant dress up like him was great!!

    I LOVE the dress!

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  2. OMG, Fringe! That show gets so little recognition. And the Jayne hat…
    And the crowning glory… That brilliant TARDIS cake!!!!
    I love everything!

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  3. I love everything about this! You pulled it all off beautifully!

    I have to know… how did your husband get an audio recording from Patrick Stewart? My fiance would likely pass out from excitement if I could surprise him with something like that.

  4. Ohmygoodness I literally caught my breath when I saw that photo of you standing behind him, holding him softly before the first look…that was so tender! Your face was so sweet and beautiful and his face was so excited. I can tell how in love you two are!

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  5. Such a great nerdy wedding! I loved recognizing all the details. You looked gorgeous and I love his 10th Doctor suit!

  6. I LOVE the heart backdrop. I can't believe you did that all by hand yourself. I know it took a long time, because when I was a maid of honor, I helped similarly hang natural cotton balls as a back drop, and that took forever! And we didn't have to make each one like you did the hearts. I love all the décor, really. I guess those are just paper lanterns in the reception shot (?), and they totally read as "planets." Also, I love Doctor Who, so…SOLD! I want a timey-whimy secret room in my house. I think you should design it for me. haha

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, the backdrop took forever! I was able to get it down to a science, so I got it pretty precise while producing the strings…but it still took so long to cut the paper down to size, punch out the hearts, randomize the colors, paint some of them in reflective paint, do the math for the spacing, create the strings and create a single unit transportable enough to make it to the venue….oi with the poodles already. Even more of a bummer it seems to have been a one-off use: when the venue packed it up the strings got so tangled that even though I still have it, I don't know that it is worth trying to untangle!

      Yes, those are paper lanterns in the reception shot. Some of them are plain, but I also did some alterations to some of them to make them read "planets". I used black or white spray paint to create sparse "clouds" on some of them, and used spray adhesive and glitter to get some of them to reflect. The yellow "star" was originally white, so I got it yellow, sparkly, and used some glow-in-the-dark paint and an internal lantern to try and get it to "glow".

  7. Beautiful! Loved your dress and so many great details! Is the tardis available for rent??? Really need one for my son's wedding in Oct.

    Please let me know!
    Thanks! and CONGRATS

    • In Central Florida? I'd love to see if we can make it work. Now to find a private way to contact you…

      • Hi Sarah,

        Let me know if you got my email address. Unfortunately, we are in California!!!! Got any ideas ?????

  8. I loved your dress is my dream dress but in gold is it custom design? Did you ask to be two in one?

    • Hi Mandy!

      I love hearing that people like my dress! I had some snooty people at big-box-bridal-store tell me the look I was going for was "too costumey" to be found anywhere, so every compliment soothes the memory of those insults. I think I mentioned that I based the design off of one of my favorite dresses from a TV show, and I worked with IEIE to design the dress, including the gold color and the 2-skirts, 1-bodice design. The whole design was custom, and IEIE does a great job with that. I believe that my dress design is still "for sale" in their shop…if you follow the link to their page and click around they have tons of options.

      If you are interested in something custom or similar, I highly, highly recommend IEIE. The sizing was GREAT and they communicated clearly with me. I told them I wanted a shorter "dancier" skirt and came up with what I got. I told them I wanted a gold dress with lace and that's what I got.

      Best of luck with your wedding!

      Sarah

      • Thank you so much. Too costumey? I have much did it cost to custom it? I came from family of dancers I can understand. Dancing always been important at families get together. I remember going wedding of relatives where the bride has to change dresses or dance less. Is it easy to remove the skirt and attach? I wondering I can do red and gold. I love how gold lace is place on the dress.

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