The Offbeat Bride: Faye, Journalist (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Mike, Retail Sales
Date and location of wedding: Douglaston Manor, Douglaston, Queens, NY – — May 17, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Mike and I met years ago LARPing and volunteering at Renaissance faires (which we still do together), and wanted a wedding that spoke to that shared interest. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that the nearest Renaissance faires were too far from airports for our out-of-town family and friends. Plus, the family wasn't comfortable with the idea of costumes. So we picked our venue, Douglaston Manor, and planned our own spin on “medieval with a twist.”
All our invites, ceremony programs, menus, and signs were done up like illuminated manuscripts by my talented bridesmaid. We had a fantasy map which acted as a seating chart with names of our favorite fantasy cities like “Camelot” and “Winterfell.”
During the reception, I was surprised as I started receiving a single red rose from various friends and family from “someone who loved me.” My new husband pre-arranged for a “roguing,” where 13 roses are given by surprise to someone from their lover. I collected these roses throughout the evening, spending a few minutes with those VIPs.
Of course, our night wasn't complete until we gave a final toast to my SCA household, sharing it with the rest of those gathered, as cries of “Vivat” rang out.
We also shared a video of the Arnold & Stewart knife throwing show, an annual act at the New York State Renaissance faire with our friend, Avi, who officiated. He started the ceremony off by saying, “You might ask yourself, Why is Avi holding a hammer?”(he told our guests it was a cell phone answering device). It started a quick rummage to silence all the phones.
For a reading, we used one suggested on Offbeat Bride: “To Love is not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh. However, the actual vows were a challenge. We are both pagan, but only one of us is open about it with family.
It took really careful compromise to come up with a handfasting ceremony we could both agree on. We debated for months leading up to the wedding, especially over how to introduce it during the ceremony and give a blessing. We finally settled on this:
Officiant: Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage. With full awareness, know that here you are not only declaring your intent to be wed before your friends and family, but you speak that intent to be heard by all.
The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth. Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?
Both: Yes, We Seek to Enter.
Officiant: In earlier times, it was believed human souls shared characteristics with all things divine. It is due to this belief, that virtues were associated with the cardinal directions: east, south, west, and north. It is by this tradition that this blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.
May this union be blessed with the gifts of the east. May you find ways to communicate the wishes of your hearts, minds, and souls respectfully, and know with each sunrise is a chance for new beginnings.
May this union be blessed with the gifts of the south. May you build a warm and loving home, where the flames of your love can grow.
May this union be blessed with the gifts of the west. Always remember to lean on each other to face new challenges in life together and ride the currents of change.
May this union be blessed with gifts of the north. May you build a firm foundation for life and a stable home to serve as your shelter.
Our biggest challenge: Exactly two weeks before the wedding, I arrived home on Friday night to our new apartment and realized the building was on fire. For two and a half hours, we watched firefighters from six departments battle the blaze. We had just moved into the apartment a month earlier, moving in together for the first time. We had gotten all the major furniture set up, decorated, and expected it to be our first home. Instead, we were wondering what if anything we had left.
It took us the next four to five days to slowly pull everything out of the apartment, sort through it, and decide what was worth cleaning and what to throw out. We had to rescue our marriage license, salvage the groom's custom vest for the wedding day, save our passports for the honeymoon, and buy all new luggage. We moved back into my childhood bedroom to have a place to live, not knowing what the future held. Everything that still needed to be done just didn't seem quite as important.
My favorite moment: Only three days before the wedding, we received the unfortunate news that Mike's man-at-arm, his brother Joey, could no longer attend. He's an Army Reservist who was activated and had to attend training before shipping out. I sprang into action because I knew I had to do something. Working with my soon to be mother-in-law, I arranged for Joey to send me his honorary toast via video, and was editing the parts together the night before the wedding.
Luckily, my wonderful photographer, Angela Gaul, brought her personal laptop to the reception, where she worked together with the DJs to call the groom's family over for a surprise. As the honorary best man's toast was played for his family, there were instant waterworks and tears before all started to laugh over the toast.
My funniest moment: As a surprise, I planned for all our LARPing friends joining us to make a boffer sword arch over the aisle as we recessed out of the ceremony. I asked them to bring their favorite character's weapon and surprise Mike. It was a really funny and awesome moment.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? It seems a little corny, but after the apartment fire, we realized we both escaped it unscathed. Even before we knew what we would have left, we realized we still had each other, and together we would fight to move on.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photographer: Milestone Images
- Favors: Dice Candies
- Toasting goblets: Fellowship Foundry
- Custom circlet headpiece: Medieval Bridal Fashions
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
photography: Milestone Images