Bich & Justin's culture-mixing Mad Hatter wedding

Remember the awesome mini top hat tutorial? Well, here's how the whole thing turned out! – Becca

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The offbeat bride: Bich, Mapping Computer Nerd Overlord/GIS Team Leader (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Justin, Educated Hippy/Enviro Engineer

Location & date of wedding: Parents' house, then Sacred Heart Church, then Northbridge Chinese Restuarant in Perth, Western Australia — June 11, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: From the beginning of the planning process, our grand vision for the wedding included nothing more than a fun happy smiley day that not only would we enjoy as a couple, but our beloved guests would also enjoy — that, and a hat. Super happy fun times in a mini top hat!

20From there the rest of the wedding almost planned itself. Early on, I made the decision to pay homage and respect to my heritage/parents, and incorporate a traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony (well, as traditional as possible when only one side of the family is Vietnamese!). And with a tea ceremony, why not follow with a tea party?! Combined with my determination to wear a mini top hat, the Mad Hatter inspiration seemed a very easy choice to mix everything together.

Justin and Bich's WeddingThe food for the tea party and the reception in the evening was a mixture of both eastern and western food, and everything else that couldn't have a mix of cultures had a whacky whimsical wondrous Mad Hatter-feel instead!

Oh, and I must mention my centerpieces — we designed them to look real, but they were of course edible! Coloured white chocolate chess pieces (covered in metallic luster dust) on a bed of poprocks, in an "ashtray" of hard toffee. It was an absolute delight watching people figure out the truth, and the excitement that ensued.

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23Being of the crafty (and cheap) persuasion, many things for the wedding were made by myself and my sisters. Our hats, the veil, the bridal dress, my necklace, the bouquets, the boutonnières, the bombonieres (both the boxes and the heart-shaped tea foils inside), the centerpieces, the guestbook/cardbox topiary, the groom's surprise Yoda pinata… and I also modified some existing figurines for our cake toppers. We also made our wedding bands at Larsen Jewellers — but we paid them for that privilege.

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And somehow I got the idea that I wanted to zorb in our wedding gear, and get a photo of our friends and family lifting us up like the great metaphor that it is… so we did it! God bless ebay for making it possible.

And there we have it — we combined the best of two worlds with a Mad Hatter theme, we zorbed, we beat Yoda up for his sweet sweet intestinal goods, we ate chess pieces, we drank a lot of "tea," we got married, and best of all, we were surrounded by the people that we love all day!"

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12Tell us about the ceremony: We had two ceremonies! The Vietnamese tea ceremony is the traditional way to get rid of your daughters and let someone else feed them. While I wanted to incorporate the tea ceremony into our wedding, I most certainly did not want to be treated like livestock! So instead we used the tea ceremony to symbolize the joining of two families, rather than the draconian absorption of the bride into the groom's family.
Then we had a very quick Catholic ceremony in a beautiful church for the official law-recognizing marriage part of the day. Suspiciously absent were all the subservient wife passages from the old testament… Have I mentioned I'm keeping my name?

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22Our biggest challenge: My then soon-to-be sister-in-law and her two daughters and husband live in Maryland, US, and were due to be on the other side of the world in Perth, Australia, the Friday immediately before the Saturday wedding. Unfortunately, they were on an A380 which you may remember was grounded in early November 2010. We both dropped everything we were doing, put the wedding last minute planning aside and put all our energy into finding a way to get them to Australia! Our families are so important to us that it was pretty devastating to even consider the thought that they might not be there! Additionally, one of those daughters was our flower girl!

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24After all our efforts and every avenue was exhausted, I was beginning to focus my energy on consoling my poor future husband until by some stroke of luck, someone at Qantas actually decided to do their job and provide the customer service they should have 24 hours ago to the poor woman with a screaming three month old baby and a grumpy two year old toddler.

They had no luggage, and no heirloom flowergirl dress that was made of their grandmother's wedding dress, but they were on their way to Australia! We spent the dying hours of Friday pushing aside last minute wedding details to make sure they had clothes, baby stuff, and a flower girl dress! That moment brought home that the perfect wedding is the one where all the people you love are there, not the one where every ornament candle and hair is in place!!

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My favorite moment: No particular moment, just the whole day! Where else are you going to be able to catch up with every single important person who has ever been in your life at the same time? Nowhere, that's where.

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My funniest moment: Giving my husband his wedding surprise — a Yoda pinata. There was a look of pure joy and happiness when he realized it was made specially for him (and made awesomely I might add), which pretty quickly turned to horror upon realising he wasn't going to be able to keep it because it was designed to be DESTROYED for candy.

It was delicious.

The candy was pretty good too!

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48My advice for offbeat brides: Take a chill pill and remember that NOTHING is important other than you and your life partner getting married on your wedding day. Sure, try and get all the small things done to make it as perfect as you like, but honestly all the stressing and worrying about things that no one is even going to notice is just going to drive you nuts if you insist on micro-managing.

46Make sure that on the big day, you have no jobs assigned to yourself or your partner. Enlist the help of friends and family to get this to happen. As a whole, people love to help — and it makes them feel really important to you that you are trusting them with tasks! This way, if something goes wrong and needs immediate attention, you have the time to spare.

25When you're a bit unsure about decisions, talk to as many people as you can (joining the Offbeat Bride Tribe comes in real handy here!) By asking others, you'll find that you already know your answer, and the more advice you get the more you realize that you knew the answer all along; you just needed the confidence to make it happen.

And if you haven't already, join the Offbeat Bride Tribe! I can't really put in words how positive an experience being part of the Offbeat Bride Tribe is — being able to communicate with other brides all over the world and help each other with one of the most memorable days of our lives. As a not-so-girly girl with no idea of what constitutes a "wedding," it was really helpful to know what other brides were doing, so that I could use (steal?) all the pieces I wanted to construct my own!

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37What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To trust the people around you and stop paying attention to details. I had no idea what my dress was going to look like as a whole until a day before the wedding, but I totally trusted my sister's skills and taste — and nothing terrible happened. In fact, it looks effing awesome!

There were a few other instances where I was forced to trust people and once I let go of the idea that something bad would happen if I wasn't there to prevent it, a big weight felt like it had been lifted off my shoulders. And I was able to enjoy my wedding day by allowing other people that I totally trusted to run it!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Kudos for keeping your name! I'm doing this too, and even though we're not married yet, the battles with strangers and others who believe it is the wife's duty to surrender her identity are beginning. Luckily my partner is a gem and puts all such people in their place. Good luck to you and much happiness!

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  2. Your dress is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Major props to you and your sisters! Was there a pattern that you based it off of or was it completely from scratch?

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    • I believe my sister drafted the design herself – she makes a hobby out of corset making (lucky me!)

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  3. Those chess pieces! How did you make them? I've been looking for a cake topper that's a King and Queen that are larger than the standard set, and I cannot find them.

    • We got the moulds from a cake shop in Perth called cakes n tins or something to that effect. I have seen them since online so anywhere that sells chocolate moulds should sell them 🙂 from memory these ones were made in south australia

  4. Love your wedding and especially your idea of tying the rings to the ears of the bunny. This a great and different way of having the ring bearer bring them in.

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  5. This is the first time I've ever been jealous of a wedding. Mad props for the funnest-looking wedding ever.

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  6. I accidentally read "ruin" instead of "run" in that last sentence and was momentarily shocked, lol

  7. Congratulations!
    I have to say I'd never heard of zorb(ing?)but it looks like a lot of fun!

    The details came together very nicely the chess pieces are delightful!

    (Unrelated: You have a really effortless writing style that was really enjoyable to read.)

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  8. WOW!!!! You and your sisters are amazing!!!! That dress was made by your sis? It's absolutely stunning as are you… Nice wedding- love the fun element. XX

  9. Wow. I can't believe I didnt see your post before my wedding and i cant believe I didnt look up zorb balls on ebay! I did not know or even think that you could buy them for private use!!! I know they do zorbing at the Gold Coast and they advertise that they are the only place in Australia.
    Everything looked super awesome btw x

  10. So cute! Love the incooporation of traditional culture and pure modern geekiness! May I ask which photographer you used?

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