We featured their Cthulhu card box in a Monday Montage and now we get to see the rest of this nerd-tastic wedding!
The offbeat bride: Paisley, Art Student and Children's Librarian
Her offbeat partner: Dougie, Pre-Law Student and Server
Date and location of wedding: Main Street Garden in Jonesboro, AR — October 1, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We crafted nearly every aspect of our wedding by hand including hand-stamped dice bags, burned CDs, DIY buttons, all the decorations (paper flowers, collected bottles, etc.), almost all of the food, painting our Munny cake toppers, building our “Cardthulhu” card box from spray paint and Halloween decorations. We have a long tradition of throwing parties, and wanted the wedding to be our best yet and everyone to feel comfortable being themselves.
We knew our wedding wouldn't be right without a healthy dose of nerdiness, and included things like a dragon piñata with a horde, D&D Jones Soda, an 8-bit Rick-Roll on our favor CDs, and a D&D groom's cake.
Our wedding party guys were instructed to dress in outfits inspired by steampunk and Doctor Who, and the girls were instructed to dress in retro and rockabilly style. My maid of honor made her own dress with paisley trim to represent me and dragon buttons to represent Doug!
For the bouquet toss and garter throw, we ended up throwing Sonic Tater Tot dinosaur toys instead. The reception was picnic buffet-style, and everyone brought quilts and ended up just lounging around while the kids played tag and generally had fun getting dirty.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our vows and ceremony were non-religious and highly personalized, including references to eating way too much at IHOP (the only restaurant open after 10:00 p.m. in our town) and our ongoing D&D campaign. Mine had a quote from our favorite show of all time, the Declaration of Principles from Babylon 5, and his were read from the Dungeon Master's Guide that he uses to run our weekly game.
The ceremony had the opening from The Princess Bride, Doug's favorite movie, and a reading from Plato's Symposium, which related to both our love of the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch and our support of all of our LGBTQ friends, including much of our wedding party.
We had a non-traditional handfasting taken from the Chinese folk tale of the Red String of Fate, rather than the Celtic tradition. I wrote the entire ceremony myself, and Doug created our handfasting rope. Our officiant was one of our best friends, a Pagan chef ordained by Universal Life, who brought a lot of humor and gusto to the proceedings, but often teared up himself, having known us for most of our relationship.
Declarations of Principles:
The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim, or Minbari. It speaks in the language of hope; It speaks in the language of trust; It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always, it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us, And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born. It is the small, still voice that says: We are one. No matter the blood; No matter the skin; No matter the world; No matter the star; We are one. No matter the pain; No matter the darkness; No matter the loss; No matter the fear; We are one. Here, gathered together in common cause. we agree to recognise this singular truth, and this singular rule: That we must be kind to one another, because each voice enriches us and ennobles us, and each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are one.
– G'kar, Narn ambassador to Babylon 5
Our biggest challenge: We had an intentionally long engagement. Over the two years we had been planning the wedding, we had gone through many things, and had lost a lot of friends. My grandfather, who I would have originally been given away by, passed away in February of 2010, leaving my mother to walk with me. Almost all of the people meant to be in the original party or involved in the ceremony were no longer close or in some cases even on speaking terms with us. This process really showed who we could depend on and who had the most love for us in their hearts. By the end of the planning, I was so spooked that I didn't even let my maid of honor know that she was my maid of honor until the night before the wedding. I was afraid the position was cursed. But in the end, we knew we were loved by all of the people who stepped up for us.
My favorite moment: For me, the sheer amount of people who love us that showed up was amazing. When I got to the top of the hill and was able to look down and see who was there, my heart filled with warmth and love. While walking up to take my place with Doug, our officiant gave me a sly wink, and that renewed my sense of confidence. The look of pure love, and the tears in Doug's eyes were amazing.
After the ceremony, one of our best friends, who is Jewish, laid a shawl around my shoulders and did a traditional blessing for us. This included a line hoping that “God would smile on us and our marriage.” Though we're not religious, the love and importance of this gesture was overwhelming and beautiful.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Two days before the wedding we were unable to get a hold of our friend from whom we were renting our PA system. We ended up having to borrow a regular stereo from a friend. The volume didn't go up too loud, and we had no opportunity to try it out before the ceremony. Though the music could not be heard throughout the entire reception, it was just fine for the ceremony.
Also, a lot of our friends often complain about how much they dislike the taste of no added sugar, low sugar, and sugar-free treats (Doug is diabetic). Our wedding was completely low sugar, and everyone snarfed our food up! They loved it, and Doug didn't even get to taste one of his special made cookies before they had all disappeared!
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Take advantage of the talents of your friends and get things done early! My maid of honor's mom made my dress and hair band. My photographers were friends from the journalism department of a local college, and one was the daughter of one of Doug's oldest friends. My mother made my bouquet and those of two of my bridesmaids. My boss made our tablecloths and assembled all of the sandwiches for our picnic. Just ask for the help and it will arrive.
Early on in the planning, I had found a few venues online that looked great. When we looked into the price range, they all cost at least twice our total budget. I didn't know what to do. There was this perfect garden down the street from our apartment, but I didn't know anything about it or who owned it. Eventually, I just typed a letter and pinned it to the garden shed door. The owner, one of our neighbors, let us use the site for the price of the event insurance.
Also, when you have to use a vendor, shop around for people who fit you. Our town only has one well-known bakery and they refused to make us low sugar or sugar-free cakes because all their cakes came from a mix. Awful! The bakery we ended up using is sort of hole-in-the-wall, but their quality was amazing, their prices were great, they made all their cakes from scratch, and they turned out to be giant nerds! So, don't despair, and look for people who want to work with you.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? Doug was previously married but did not have a wedding, so this time around, everything was new. He says that the biggest difference this time was having so much support and encouragement.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The people who really care about you will do anything in their power to help you. My boss took off the entire day before the wedding just to assemble our sandwiches. Not only that, but as a surprise, she made adorable labels for them with hand-glued buttons!
One of my friends stepped up at the last moment and volunteered to video the ceremony, without me even asking. When two DJs in a row had to drop out due to very good reasons during the week of the wedding, a completely non-musical friend jumped in and volunteered to learn the equipment. I learned not to judge friendships by the good times, but by the hard times as well.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress and headband: Tina Marie
- Photography: Krystin Phillips
- Second Photographer: Kayla Cartwright
- Cake: Jeny's Cakery
- Hair and makeup: Liz at Sugarfree Rockstar
- Groom's boutonniere: Etsy seller DesignsbyFriston
- Sugar-free cookies: Meals for Moms
- Groom's shoes: Converse Custom Creator
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!