The Offbeat Bride: Rebecca, Research Assistant
Her offbeat partner: Greg, Software Engineer
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Greg and I met at a board game night hosted by a mutual friend. A great friendship, and eventually an even greater romance, developed between us over time as we bonded over our love of games and cats and books. Greg proposed to me with a book (he knew I wasn’t keen on engagement rings). The book is a first edition of Undine with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. It had been on my dream book list for years.
We decided not to have a long engagement and soon started planning for an October wedding. Neither of us wanted a big wedding, so two months was plenty of time for us to plan. Within a week we had everything figured out logistically: secured the venue, contracted a photographer, set a date for cake tasting, chose our wedding rings, and hunted for the perfect ceremony location.
The wedding reception revolved around our love of games. The venue was an upscale arcade restaurant. We used game elements as our centerpieces. All of the tables were labeled using game cards. The reception itself was turned into an adventure quest.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a very private ceremony officiated by the woman who, for all intents and purposes, is a mother to me: Kathy. The only attendees were our witnesses: Greg’s brother, Eric, and my best friend, Jen. The five of us (and our photographer) gathered in a clearing next to a lake in a local forest preserve on a gorgeous, sunny October morning. The date, October 10th, was already special to me because it is the date of my grandfather’s birth and death. Kathy performed our handfasting ceremony and Eric and Jen each did a reading.
I braided our handfasting cord myself using blue, red, and white scarves. Blue and red were the colors we used throughout the wedding: handfasting cord, wedding favors, cake, etc. These colors represent the colors that we typically use when we play board games.
Tell us about your reception:
We turned our reception into an adventure game with quests. The reception was small: there were 50 people, including us. The venue was Level 257, one of our favorite restaurants. Level 257 is by NAMCO, the company behind Pac-Man. The restaurant is a “resto-lounge with boutique bowling and vintage/modern games.” Greg and I went there often while we dated. To turn the reception into an adventure quest, we sent out invitations that read like game encounter prompts for a new quest.
Guest favors were what really pulled the game together. We created many favors ourselves: chainmaille dice bags, a quest scroll, a program designed as a rule book, table name cards, guest seating cards, and zone labels. Greg made every chainmaille dice bag by hand — each one taking around 90 minutes to complete. I put together the graphics and layout for the invitations, thank you cards, rule book, quest scrolls, and table cards. We numbered tables with cards from the game Love Letter: Wedding Edition and gave copies of the game to each family.
The quest scrolls included quests such as: getting a photo with the bride and groom, building a house of cards, playing an arcade game, etc. Because we kept the reception small, we were able to include quests that would get us interacting with every single person there. The rule book as complete with rules and an FAQ about us. We used blank dice and playing cards as our Guild Charter (guest book) and had guests create custom dice for us and leave notes on cards.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Planning our wedding was so much fun for both of us. At first, we did not want to do a reception at all — we were very keen on the idea of a simple courthouse ceremony with no reception. The more we talked about it, though, the more we realized that we could share the day with friends and family in a way that fit us.
Our biggest challenge was sticking to our desires when it came to the ceremony. Greg and I are not very public people. A wedding ceremony is something that we both view as an incredibly intimate, private moment and we did not want an audience. It was hard for some of our family members to accept that at first — they wanted to be there. We decided to have our two witnesses, the officiant, and the photographer present for the ceremony and no one else.
We were more than happy to celebrate our marriage with family and friends at the reception. Initially our biggest turn off about a reception was all the stuff that happens at a reception: the ceremonial dancing, the toasting, the flowers, etc., but we decided not to do any of that. We had board games, arcade games, bowling, etc. It was a great way to do the things we love with the people we love. Don't let tradition box you in (unless you want it to).
- Officiant, Attorney for Estate/Life Planning: Kathy McNeely-Johnson
- Wedding Planning Tool: Wedding Wire
- Wedding Bands: Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry
- Wedding Photography: Kari at Essence Photo & Video
- Wedding Cake: Deerfields Bakery
- Cake Topper: Blue Butterfly Designs
- Ceremony: Busse Woods
- Reception: Level 257
- Love Letter: Wedding Edition: AEG
- Custom Dice: Las Vegas Wedding Favors
- Meeples: Meeple Source
- Materials for dice bags: The Ring Lord
- Dress: ModCloth
- Cloak: Bad Wolf Costumes