Holly & Fernando's teeny tiny Harry Potter renaissance festival wedding

Updated Dec 18 2019
 
Photos by: Allyson Wonderland Photography
Ren Fest Wedding
Photos by Allyson Wonderland Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Holly, orientation and commencement coordinator at a small college (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Fernando, IT wizard

Date and location of wedding: Secret Garden, Fairy Wing Forest, Minnesota Renaissance Festival — September 21, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We got married in a small secret garden at the Renaissance Festival that only allowed space for twelve guests. We chose not to have a wedding party and considered everyone a guest of honor. I even wrote biographies about everyone on the back of the Daily Prophet programs I made, and had other Harry Potter-inspired details as well.

Ren Fest Wedding

Always necklace

Neither of us particularly like being in the spotlight, so we wanted a very small, short wedding that suited our personalities. The fact that we wanted something small also helped us save a lot of money, since we both would rather spend that money on good eats and good beer! I wrote the ceremony, which was reflective of us as a couple and as individuals, from the Ravenclaw-colored theme, to the vows that ended with "I accept the terms and conditions."

Ren Fest Wedding

Immediately following the ten-minute ceremony, we were able to attend one of our favorite Ren Fest shows: the Danger Committee! It was really nice to get married during a bigger event because right after the wedding, no one really was even paying attention to us. There were so many costumes and other Renaissance shenanigans that the pressure was off.

We didn't want a formal reception, so a month later, we had a line dancing hoedown with some of our friends and my line dancing troupe, the Sassy Steppers, who all happen to be over the age of 55! Why not have a wedding reception at the local senior center?!

Ren Fest Wedding

Tell us about the ceremony:
You can read the whole ceremony here. We opened with our favorite quote from our favorite movie, Juno:

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you… the right person will still think the sun shines out your [bum]. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.

Ren Fest Wedding

My mom read excerpts from I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warberg. Fernando is a man of few words and didn't want to write his own vows, so instead, I wrote vows that were recited by my best friend/officiant, and we simply agreed to them by responding, "I accept the terms and conditions."

Ren Fest Wedding

Fernando, do you take Holly to be your lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do you part? Do you promise to always say yes to ice cream, to never put pineapple on pizza, to always fix the Wifi when it goes out, and to always love Holly, even when she refuses to call pop 'soda?'

Holly, do you take Fernando to be your lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do you part? Do you promise to always say yes to ice cream, to never put pineapple on pizza, to always try turning it off and on again before asking Fernando to fix the Wifi, and to always love Fernando, even when he refuses to call soda 'pop?'

At the end, we closed with our secret high five instead of a kiss!

Ren Fest Wedding

Our biggest challenge:
We only had a few weeks to plan everything. For the most part, that worked out in my favor. My job involves planning commencement (graduation) twice a year, and that's enough event planning to make me want to tear my hair out! The fact that we only had a few weeks helped to at least condense the stress into a smaller time frame. I simply had to make decisions quickly — no hemming and hawing about what dress to get, no formal invitations were mailed out, and I chose jewelry that I already had or things that could be shipped quickly via Etsy. I emailed a college friend at the last minute to see if she'd have time and interest to take a few photos. Luckily, she did!

Ren Fest Wedding

My favorite moment:
The Renaissance Festival is a place we both love, and had extra meaning as a venue. They ended up having an opening on September 21st, which was my grandma's birthday. She passed away a few years ago and I couldn't think of a better way to honor her memory than to have our wedding on that day.

My best friend not only got ordained to be able to officiate, she also made my bouquet, veil, and Fernando's boutonniere. Fernando's friend Ashley owns a flower shop and made corsages for my parents. My mom raced against the clock to knit me a shrug, and even made sure to make it the Ravenclaw-approved colors! It was so special to have the people closest to us surround us with such support and care, and to have our wedding exactly the way we wanted it: short, sweet, and nerdy with lots of subtle and not-so-subtle references to Harry Potter!

Ren Fest Wedding

My funniest moment:
The secret garden where we held the wedding is also home to a small pond. My three-year-old nephew kept himself entertained for the duration of the ten-minute ceremony by throwing rocks into the pond. At one point, we heard a giant splash and I thought he had fallen in! It turns out he had just thrown a really big rock into it.

Ren Fest Wedding

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. This is just the sweetest wedding. I'm enjoying every little detail! So impressed that you managed to sort it out in such a short time-span! And how lovely to have it small, intimate, and just what you wanted.

    Congratulations!

  2. I'm so excited to see a wedding at the MN renaissance festival! That is my absolute favorite place to be at the end of summer, and the photos from the weddings there always look awesome. Yours is no exception!

  3. It is so fun to see a theme come through so strong – especially with the favorite Harry Potter. The "mischief managed" rings are so fun!

  4. This made me sigh with a mixture of relief and pleasure, it was really refreshing and reassuring to see a highly detailed wedding, full of personality and offbeat-ness, yet also relatively short and relatively uncomplicated. Absolutely beautiful x

  5. I just can't believe that a wedding like this could be possible, nice idea though. I'm a Harry Potter fanatic and I just love it. I just hope I could make my own wedding to be like this as well.

  6. I love the intimacy of the ceremony and adore the Harry Potter references! Sadly for me my fiance is not a fan so it's not something I can get away with having. It looks like you had a wonderful day, congratulations!!

  7. I think it is really cool that you used the traditional vows (because I think they are beautiful and powerful) but also added in something fun, sweet, and quirky to make it your own. That is awesome!

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