Karen & Terry's steampunk, peacock, and pop culture wedding

HayleyRuth Photography - Karen and Terry-1388
Photos by Hayley Ruth Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Karen, ebook creator (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Terry, software engineer

Date and location of wedding: Quy Mill Hotel, Cambridge, UK — March 8, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: As we're both older and were paying for the whole wedding ourselves, we felt it a lot easier to do what we wanted to without so much external pressure. I've always loved making things and I've always loved quirky things, but I promised Terry from the outset I wouldn't end up making everything myself and having a nervous breakdown. In the end, we did have to make lots of things because what we wanted just didn't exist or wasn't quite right. Thankfully my co-conspirators, Mandy and E-J, both loved making things so we had several gin-fueled weekends where we managed to make everything we needed.

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We also wanted to blend lots of things that we loved, and wanted to use the wedding as a way of sharing with our friends all the things we enjoy. There were several groups of people who had never met that we know through different routes, so it was a way of making them feel at home. The trickiest bit then was working out how to add in ALL THE THINGS without it looking like we'd added in ALL THE THINGS.

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We decided that our ceremony room would have steampunk touches to match our outfits, although we had rainbow chair sashes just because we could. We decorated the windowsills and the plinth in the room with model airships and rockets that we bought as kits and glued together. Terry did most of those as we've both learnt from experience that superglue and I are not the best of friends.

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Our cake was also an amazing steampunk design. Before we'd even decided to have any steampunk at the wedding, we saw this cake at a wedding faire and fell in love with it. It was also one of the most delicious cakes we'd ever eaten.

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The reception area we decorated with World of Warcraft bunting that we made up from some existing bunting we had, spliced in with some Alliance, Horde, and Darkmoon Faire flags.

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As we are avid board gamers, we decided to raid our stash and bring games for everyone to play at the reception. Just to tie it in to the theme a little, we also had a giant foam Connect 4 game that I customised by adding the Alliance and Horde crests to the pieces.

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We made paper flowers which were used to decorate the water wheel arch in the ceremony room as well as being used to make my bouquet, the buttonholes/corsages, and also used to decorate the bags that my friends were carrying. I added cogs and peacock feathers to tie that in to my peacock feather fascinator and the steampunk theme. I also used the cogs to make tie pins and to put on the place cards.

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To bring in the Discworld elements we wanted, we had a Luggage as our card box that we made out of a wooden box, Fimo, and duct tape. The table favours were held in little mini-Luggages. The favours were chocolate gaming dice.

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We also decided that, as we had a captive audience, we could let them learn about all of the cool things we liked. So in the programme for the day, we added a little paragraph about all of the influences in the wedding and where they could find out more about them if they were interested. I really enjoyed doing that because it gave us a chance to share our passions in way we probably couldn't at any other time.

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Last but not least, to bring in Adventure Time, we made tiny little Fimo snails that we hid in each flower arrangement and in my bouquet. One of our favourite things is to spot the snail hidden in the show, so we wanted to hide them and not tell anyone they were there. I also made steampunk-style picture frames for the table numbers and named each table after one of the main characters. We asked the florist to theme each table's centrepiece around the character and she did an amazing job. Finally, I made the seating chart using a poster board printout of the treehouse from Adventure Time.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We decided that the wedding ceremony would be a fairly standard civil ceremony with our only reading being "A Lovely Love Story," and that the decoration in the room during the ceremony would be steampunk in style to match our outfits.

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I really wanted the reading to be more lively than just a reading though, so I scanned in the whole book, coloured in the pictures and then printed them out on A4 cards so that one person could read the words and the other could hold up the pictures and point things out. Both Mandy and E-J did a fab job of being really expressive during the reading and people were laughing along.

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My father did walk me down the aisle which was something I wasn't too sure about initially. But I think that he was proud to be able to do it and it wasn't worth upsetting him over it to me. Our parents weren't really involved in much of the planning, so it was nice to be able to include them in the day as much as we could.

I walked in to the music of Stormwind from World of Warcraft, and we made our exit to the end theme from Adventure Time. For the bit in the middle where you do the paperwork, we chose the Divine Comedy song "Songs of Love" (also known as the Father Ted theme tune) and some Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band songs. It was really important to us that the whole event wasn't too serious, and when we first met we discovered we were both fans of the Bonzos so it was fitting.

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My funniest moment:
I'm not suggesting that my friends and I drink a lot but… well, we have been known to drink a fair amount. Before the wedding, we checked with the hotel that they would have a particular beer available that Terry liked, and they also got in a bottle of my favourite gin for us.

We did mention to the hotel that we suspected our lot would drink well, but I'm not sure they entirely listened. By 4:30 p.m., the first of the real ales had run out and the bottle of gin was almost gone. By mid-evening, all of the rest of the beer had gone and we'd drunk them dry of two different types of gin. By midnight, well, you get the idea.

The next morning, the bar manager happened to be on duty while we were all eating breakfast and he came to chat to us. He said that we managed to drink more in one evening than they had in the previous two months put together. We did warn them!

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
There was one thing that everyone told us about but for some reason I didn't think would apply to us: we wouldn't really get a chance to sit and chat with anyone. They were right. It was 1:00 a.m. before Terry and I got a chance to sit together with friends and start to relax. It wasn't that we weren't having an amazing time; it's just that there were so many people, and we wanted to spend time with them all so we didn't get a chance to have much meaningful time with anybody.

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  1. Ooh, where did you get that Fellowship of the Rings ring box please?? That's such a clever idea. Or did you make it yourselves?

    2 agree
  2. I love so much about this, but my favourite is the addition to the program, where you explain the influences! I might just steal this idea, because it's brilliant!

    2 agree
  3. What a beautiful gown! That is the perfect shade of purple (aubergine?) for your complexion and dark hair, Karen, and the gathered detailing is spectacular. You are, clearly, one classy steampunk lady!

    6 agree
    • Thank you! It's one of my favourite colours to wear and when I found that colour in the range I just desperately wanted it 🙂

  4. I was sucked in by her gorgeous purple gown & then, omg, all the wonderful little touches like the music paper & map paper flowers! Such a lovely wedding!

    1 agrees
  5. This just looks to be about the best wedding ever. Love all your fun fun FUN details!!!

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  6. There are just too many special touches in this wedding that I'd be here all day listing the things that I love! Your dress looks like it was made for you, it's so beautiful. FH and I will be exiting to Adventure Time's credit song too!!

  7. Your dress was just gorgeous! My favorite color is purple. I'm just in love with so many things from your wedding. We too have world of warcraft in our wedding. Also my dress is half purple. I'm going to steal your program part about influences. yours looks like an awesome fun looking special wedding

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  8. Look at that love in that man's eyes!! He is head over heals in love. I hope you all are doing great. What a gorgeous bride!! I'm so happy for you two. God bless!!!!!

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  9. Hi there, did you make the program yourself or did someone else create it? If you made it would you be willing to share a copy?

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