Sarah & Jeff's steam-punk, victorian military wedding extravaganza

Updated Oct 12 2015

Who doesn't love a man in uniform or a bride who wears wings to her reception? Not me. If you were intrigued by that dignified portrait of Sarah & Jeff I shared with you a few weeks ago, then you'll enjoy reading the rest of their wedding details! -Coco

Our Wedding 27
The offbeat bride: Sarah – graphic designer and artist (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Jeff – Ensign in the Navy

Location & date of the wedding: US Naval Academy, Annapolis and Belvedere Hotel, Baltimore MD — June 5, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: First off, our wedding bands don't match: mine is a family heirloom. It is a wedding/engagement set from my Great-Grandmother, and Jeff's is a black banded Titanium ring I bought for him the first year we were together. I also insisted on wearing all the rings I normally wear (much to the chagrin of my family), because they all have meaning for me. Our Wedding 11

We had a military wedding (complete with a sword arch) and a victorian steampunk fairyland reception, where my husband wore a top hat and I wore wings hand made by a friend. Most of our guests dressed for our theme. I let the bridesmaids wear whatever they liked, as long as they wore a black dress for the formal military ceremony (half the wedding party changed for the reception).

The bouquets, reception centerpieces, and my veil were made by me and were decorated with clockwork charms made by my husband. The centerpieces were made of birdcages, painted sticks with hanging lanterns, and framed photographs of Jeff and me.
Our Wedding 9
Our playlist was specially crafted on my iPod and played on my friend's PA system: we were announced to the Doctor Who Theme, cut the cake with a Navy sword to the Star Wars Theme Song, and played all types of swing and ragtime (including music from Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter). The boys even got together to sing me "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." It was fantastic!

Our Wedding 14Our biggest challenge: Standing my ground on my vision for the wedding. My parents were helping pay for the wedding and wanted to have input, but my Mom and I have never been on the same page about anything. She didn't understand my vision and thought I wasn't focused enough. She felt that I was focused on the wrong things and didn't understand the importance of expressing ourselves for our wedding. It only worked out the day of the wedding when she was finally able to SEE my vision. All I wanted to do was show everyone how much I loved my man in my own way.

Our Wedding 21
Walking under the sword arch.
My favorite moment: Our first dance. Jeff thinks he can't dance and is very self conscious about it. He would always joke around whenever we took lessons. But this time he took it seriously and we had an amazing dance! His dancing skills were actually very impressive, and it meant a lot to me he tried to put his own feelings aside to make it special for me.
Our Wedding 45
My funniest moment: It was either when I walked into the first sword in the sword arch… or when all the guys got together and sang "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,'" to me at the top of their lungs.
Our Wedding 48
Mini lanterns on their centerpieces!
My advice for offbeat brides: Stay calm and focused as best you can. Focus on what really matters to you for your wedding, and let everything else go. No matter what happens around you, your wedding day will still be amazing. You'll be with your partner (who thinks you look gorgeous, btw), you'll publicly express your love for each other, and you'll celebrate with your friends.

And on that day, you won't care that the cake topper, or what not, didn't work out. Try to keep everyone else who's involved in your wedding focused on YOUR goal as well – I had to tell my mother a hundred times that I didn't care what the cake looked like, I just wanted to marry the man I loved. Some things just don't matter in the end. Focus on the things that do.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I love how you managed to blend together a traditional (for the most part) military wedding with your reception. I think it's very creative and it turned out amazing!

    • Like I said on the comment above, The mini lanterns are these from Target that (after pulling them off the string lights) I modified with battery operated tea lights from the dollar store.

  2. I love how this wedding is soooo beautiful and still formal while still managing to be so creative! This would be a great example to show a reluctant mom if she just doesn't understand offbeat.

    Congrats Sarah & Jeff!

    • It's in Savage Mill, Maryland. Sadly part of it collapsed last year with the heavy snow storm, but it's still beautiful. The building directly behind it hosts weddings, and you can look down into from the balcony. It's really a neat place.

    • Don't forget to post the pictures on the OffBeatBride Flickr page! I'd love to see them!

  3. Awesome! Love seeing all the corsets, goggles, and tophats that the steampunk theme inspired!

    Beautiful. Brava!

  4. My FOH and I are HUGE Doctor Who fans and it never occurred to us to come into the reception with the theme song!! Love that idea!

  5. I love how they did their wedding! It was so beautiful they definitely capture themselves in it. Quite lovely.

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