Nicoel & Danny's nuptials in the sky

January 23 2014 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Shaun Baland
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Photos by Shaun Baland

The Offbeat Bride: Nicoel, HR Recruitment & Training Specialist

Her offbeat partner: Danny, Network Administrator

Date and location of wedding: Hot Air Balloon, Calistoga, California — August 12, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to have an intimate ceremony with close friends since neither of us has any family. Little did they know what they were all in for! Because our wedding was so small, we wanted to do something special and exciting, so we got married in a hot air balloon!

Both Danny and I love steampunk, too, so we tried to incorporate this in our theme. We even gave our guests a steampunk gun with their invitations and a note that said, "keep an eye out for sky kraken and keep your weapon loaded at all times." I wore a blue steampunk Victorian-style gown. I matched it with a blue octopus necklace and steampunk Hades shoes.

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I chose not to have any flowers and made my bouquet out of brooches. My veil was a paper quilling piece from Miaettia Creations. It had the song Katniss sings to Rue in The Hunger Games written into it:

Deep in the meadow, hidden far away. A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray. Forget your woes and let your troubles lay and when it's morning again, they'll wash away. Here it's safe, here it's warm, here the daisies guard you from every harm. Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true, here is the place where I love you.

I chose this poem because we both love the books, and it reminds me of courage in the face of fear and always trying to do the right thing (nerdy, I know). I also chose it because we've known each other since sophomore year in high school and we used to spend a lot of time in the woods by our school together. It was a place to escape school and family. It reminds me of happy and simpler times before we grew up and had bills and responsibilities. It reminds me that despite those things we still love each other, and that's the place where our love will always reside.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose August 12th as our wedding date as it is when the Perseids meteor shower occurs. We both are into astronomy and thought that watching the meteor shower would be a good way to celebrate our anniversary each year.

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When we got to the site, we took a few pictures while the balloon was being inflated. Although it was a lot of fun to watch, I was terrified. None of us had been in one before and I'm afraid of heights. I looked at it as an opportunity to do something amazing and overcome a fear.

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We had the ceremony in the basket while we were still on the ground. Our pilot was also our officiant, and my favorite part was at the end we put the rings on each others' fingers at the same time and said, "With this ring I thee wed." Then the pilot said, "By the power of your own love, I now pronounce you husband and wife." For some reason the "by the power of your own love part" has stuck with me. It reminds me that it is not anyone else that dictates our marriage but our own love, and it is by our own love that we will strive to make it last.

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After we kissed, the balloon began to lift. It was scary but exhilarating! We floated for about an hour and it was very calm and beautiful.

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We had a champagne brunch reception at The Kaffee Mocha & Grill. After the reception, we all drove back to the vacation rental that we had shared and everyone but Danny and I left. After that, we took our first nap together as husband and wife.

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Our biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge was staying calm and happy when everything seemed to be going wrong. We needed to be at the meeting location at 6:00 a.m., and the pilot called asking if we could be there earlier because of weather. We got to the meeting location and realized that we forgot the box that contained everything including the rings, my bouquet, and the marriage license! Danny and his best man had to go back and get it (an hour drive round trip.) But on the bright side, there was a Starbucks across the street that was open so the rest of us walked over and ending up having a lot of fun.

On the hour drive to the new location, several of us got car sick and I could barely breathe due to my corset. I just had to accept that not everything was going to be as perfect as I saw in my head, but it was perfect because we were together.

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My funniest moment:
After the balloon ride we were all super tired, so we stopped at a convenience store to get snacks and energy drinks. It was funny to see how excited we were to get caffeine, all dolled-up and running around like kids grabbing candy and chips.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Ballooning company: Wine Country Balloons. They were amazing, answered every question I had, and even arranged for the cake to be delivered to the restaurant.
  • Cake: Village Bakery
  • Cake toppers: Jayne Danger
  • Veil: Miaettia Creations
  • Dress: I got from Avail & Co.
  • Necklace: Delicious Hobo
  • Brooches for the bouquet: Fabulous Brooch
  • Shoes: Hades Shoes
  • Photographer: Shaun Baland and his wife Melissa were the best photographers anyone could ask for. They endured an hour-long car ride, car sickness, and being dragged up into a hot air balloon all while remaining professional and fun. They got amazing pictures and I'm truly glad that they were our photographers.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Wow! I remember from my own wedding feeling like we were in such a special little bubble of time right after the ceremony. But then we had to run off and do pictures, etc. Now I'm imagining basking in that glow from the awesomeness of a hot air balloon!!

  2. How have not more people commented on this?! I love everything about this wedding! The colors, the ceremony, THAT HAIRPIECE! Marvelous!!

    • This! This! This! It's looks so amazing I was moved out of lurkerdom to comment! Also, I love that you chose the date of the Perseids to get married on so that you can watch on your anniversary. I'm having an "OOOOOOhhhwwww" so sweet moment.

      • Best idea ever.
        And yeah, everything about this wedding is incredible. The bustley back of that dress is just so swoony. And ahhhh quilled hairpiece I can't! It's too good!

  3. Wow, Mrs. air balloon Steampunk Epicness, you and your belovéd are absolutely stunning, with brains that act as magnification of that. The bouquet drew me to this post, your story held my little heart. Congratulations. Octopi are amazing, and silver with blue is a fab colour combo, to match your astronomical talents.

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