Becca & Justin's butterflies and dragons fantasy wedding

September 27 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Charanza Studios
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Photos by Charanza Studios

The Offbeat Bride: Becca, recent Ph.D. graduate

Her offbeat partner: Justin, IT Guy

Date and location of wedding: Caldwell Civic Center in Caldwell, TX — May 25, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to hold our wedding in the small town where we both grew up and both sets of parents still live, rather than the slightly bigger, but still not metropolitan area, a half-hour away where we both live now. We are introverts with only a few friends leftover from high school, but we both have big extended families we wanted to be able to include. I think the hometown feeling was exactly right for us, and we certainly saved money and effort by holding the ceremony and reception in the same location.

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We and our families also put together the majority of the wedding paraphernalia ourselves, especially my mother and me who have been unemployed and therefore had the time. I really wanted to do a monarch butterfly theme, which I consider my mascot. When I was younger I used to think they were not pretty because they were not very flashy, but as I grew, I began to recognize that they had their own kind of beauty. I identified with them because I tried to see myself the same way. I made my own bouquet, the corsages for our mothers, and the flower girl's headdress out of feather monarchs, which we also put just about everywhere: on paper chains, on the topiaries and faux Ficus trees we brought in, and in the centerpieces.

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I really wanted it to represent Justin, too, so I decided to pair the monarchs with dragons, which paved the way for the treasure chest card box, castle programs, and dragon-and-castle cakes. Since I could not find dragons close in size and cost to the feather monarchs, I ended up buying some rubber bats on sale after Halloween and modified them! My heroic mother took my mock-up centerpiece and made enough for all of the tables! She also made all of the Reese's Pieces butterfly favors, punched out all the paper chain links, and helped me with the guestbook tree, ribbon wands, and treasure chest.

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I gave my brother Mike a sketch for the cloud canopy and he exceeded my wildest expectations! My father helped him build the frame, and Mike made a cloud shape out of wire and covered it with batting. He put a set of regular household lights in it (and tested them to make sure they wouldn't start a fire) and made the top removable/adjustable in height! Justin and I love to watch storms together, and we sing a song to the tune of "You are my Sunshine" where he calls me his "Storm Cloud" and I call him my "Lightning Bolt," so it was perfect for us.

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We had our guests sign leaves and attach them to our lighted cherry blossom tree in lieu of a guestbook. Instead of throwing a bouquet or garter, we drew two names off of the tree and gave away two of our inflatable dragons.

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We also wanted to make sure we included our Czech heritage, so we supplemented the cake with some delicious kolaches made by my aunt, and Justin's aunt and uncle led us in a Grand March. My father/daughter dance was to a polka version of "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" because my father used to polka around the living room holding me when I was a very young child to eight track music, including that song.

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flower-girl

Tell us about the ceremony: We are really closest to our families, so I had my two brothers instead of bridesmaids and Justin's brother was his only attendant. Justin's three nephews were our "dragon guards" and his niece was our "butterfly princess."

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Our ceremony was a hodge-podge of bits from our officiant's sample, stuff we found on the internet (including OBB), and stuff I wrote myself. We wanted to stay fairly traditional, but without religious elements. We did include a bible verse as a nod to our religious families, but we picked Ecclesiastes 4:9-12a: "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him."

Because it's so pragmatic it really worked for us. We also included e. e. cummings' poem "i carry your heart." We recited the standard vows from memory, although both of us focused so much on memorizing them that we both forgot the line we were supposed to say when we exchanged rings!

We also got to express our personalities through the music we chose: selections from Lord of the Rings and World of Warcraft for the guests' entry, "Garden of Life" from World of Warcraft for the processional, "Throne Room and End Title" from Star Wars Episode IV for my entry, and the opening title of Stargate SG-1 for our exit.

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Our biggest challenge: The most difficult thing for us to deal with was differing religious views with our parents. Thankfully, they recognized the values we do share such as commitment to our partners and celebrating with our loved ones.

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My favorite moment: My mother gave the most beautiful toast during our reception. She was the only one of us who read a prepared speech, and boy did it show in quality! It was just amazing and heartfelt. When we got home and dug into our card box, we found sweet personal notes from Justin's mother to each of us. Because of our differences, I sometimes feel like our parents love us despite who we are rather than because of it, but their words to us really made us feel appreciated for who we are both individually and as a couple.

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My funniest moment: The sweetest thing was my cousin's daughter Cassie's face when we drew her name for one of the dragon giveaways. She was supposed to be the flower girl in another wedding about a month before ours, but she got really sick and wasn't able to do it. Her mother dolled her up in her blue satin flower girl dress for ours. She's an absolute beacon of light and no one deserved a dragon more.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The best advice I found was to plan like crazy up to the rehearsal dinner and then just let it go and relax. Things will go wrong, but they will likely work themselves out even if it's not in the way you expected.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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    • I Think your Brother needs to create a tutorial for how to make that canopy for Offbeat Home & Life so I can make one for over my bed…*Nods Frantically*

      11 agree
  1. I'm filled with warm fuzzies reading this. I love your theme and that bouquet is amazing. I may just save that first picture and oggle it from time to time!

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  2. Holy effin' crapballs, that bouquet is the most amazing thing I have had the pleasure of laying eyes on!

    12 agree
  3. Holy cow, I LOVE that bouquet! And the butterfly princess was masterful.

    I can totally relate to what you said about family loving you despite your personality, not because of it. I'm so glad your mother was able to put those fears to rest and make you feel surrounded by love on your wedding day.

    4 agree
  4. That bouquet! If Pinterest and the rest of the web doesn't blow up from how amazing it is, there is something wrong with this world! I can just see it, butterfly bouquets are going to be the next big thing…
    Congratulations and have a lovely marriage!

    5 agree
  5. I love the butterflies everywhere! So cute to have them look like they are just flying around the centerpieces! Beautiful wedding! Congratulations!

    1 agrees
  6. Where did you buy the butterflies from? I am looking for royal blue monarch butterflies and am having such a hard time! I adore your bouquet and consider monarchs my mascot as well! I love them!

    • There are some on eBay right now (listed as "peacock blue" but look royal to me). What I did was a Google search and then I broke down price per butterfly by the different sizes and then I ordered the cheapest ones. I got some from Oriental Trading Company, I think, and there were several different places I bought them from (including eBay). I do think you are at a disadvantage because it's harder to find packs of all one color in any but the traditional color – but know it exists (I actually have a running search on eBay and look at all the new "monarch butterfly" items every day because I'm a freak like that). Your plans sound wonderful and I hope I get to see some pictures of your wedding!

  7. Eeeeee! Everything looks amazing, but I just wanted to tell you how INCREDIBLE your dress is! It's so so pretty and it looks great on you!

    • Aww, thank you so much! I was bummed for the longest time because I couldn't find THE dress. I finally decided to make do with well enough… and after the alterations, it turned into THE dress! Now I only wish I could figure out a way to wear it again 😉

  8. I want that bouquet with different butterflies! Since you made it yourself, I'm going to have to find a place that can make me one. I have a bunch of butterfly tattoo's and it would be so neat to match them to my bouquet. What a wonderful idea instead of flowers 🙂

    • I did link the instructions I used, so you could make it yourself (or pass them on to your crafting surrogate). It really wasn't that difficult or time-consuming – I did it all within one day. The best part is that you can just keep it after that without having to preserve it in any way. Of course, mine is still waiting to be installed in a nice shadowbox. I'll be looking forward to a picture of you with your gorgeous tattoos and matching bouquet!

      1 agrees

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