Diana & Shannon's steampunk zoo sci-fi wedding #Real Weddings: Western US#atheist#bride in pants#brides over 40#california#lesbian weddings#LGBTQ#san diego#sci-fi#secular#short hair#steampunk#zoo Updated Mar 15 2021 (Posted Jul 10 2014) Offbeat Editors Photos by our friends, Mark Pennington and Dennis Wood The Offbeat Bride: Diana, writer and artist Her offbeat partner: Shannon, software engineer Date and location of wedding: San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA — May 17, 2014 Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Time machine keys, bling table, pouring molten gold… who would have thought that something we had wanted to be so simple could have turned into an obsessive DIY art marathon? We'd been together 19 years before we could legally wed. So we didn't think of this as the typical wedding. We are definitely not traditional. Shannon really doesn't like to dress up, and I love dress-up all the way to cosplay. So we had to blend our two styles together. For our venue, we wanted something fun and casual with minimal fuss. We had just bought and sold a house and moved just weeks before the wedding. It was going to be small, and started out as 10 people in a friend's backyard. But then we decided we really wanted our dear friend's Beatles cover band, The Baja Bugs, to play, since Shannon is a Beatles aficionado, and I love them, too. So we expanded our search to larger venues. After some fussing we ended up with the perfect venue: one of our favorite spots, the San Diego Zoo. They had a beautiful round room beside a koi pond and waterfall. But here was the best part: the zoo would take care of everything, flowers, food, bar, etc.! Just the thought of not packing up tables and chairs made it a no-brainer. Not only that, but proceeds go to support zoo projects, and we are real lovers of the animals we share this planet with. To seal the deal for us, the zoo wedding package included a day at the zoo for all our guests. We knew we wanted a themed wedding, but WHICH theme. Beatles? Yes. Love of animals? Check! But we simply had to incorporate a steampunk sensibility, AND our favorite activities through the years: bird watching, video gaming, time-travel anything, reading to each other, watching sci-fi, and more. Thus our "Steampunk Zoo Sci-Fi Fusion Wedding with Beatles" was born. Here was the rub: most of our guests did not know what steampunk was, so we created a steampunk bling table so folks could join in. The table was a huge hit. People we never imagined would costume in any way were wearing goggles, eye patches, pocket watches, monocles, and steampunk medals. More than a few individuals researched steampunk ahead of time and came in marvelous attire. Each centerpiece was a balloon airship that sat atop a cargo net full of our favorite books, movies, games, comics, and TV shows. Each balloon was completely different from the others, ranging from Victorian Romantic to Corporate Industrial. They included an Avatar/Princess Bride steampunk collage balloon, a vintage African stamp giraffe print balloon, a Tesla-fied evil sci-fi corporation logo balloon, a vintage bird and animal print balloon, a steampunk Beatles clock balloon, and a simply pretty lace balloon bedecked in antique beads. Our guests voted on their favorites and four tied for first place, so there was something for everyone. The cake table centerpiece was a mad scientist apothecary with test tubes of colored liquids connected by coiled tubing and surrounded by handmade paper flowers and hand-painted LED votive candles. Speaking of DIY, we made our own custom-patterned rings at a day-long workshop at Jay Whaley Studios. He helped us create a template of steampunk gears from watch parts, which we pressed into the gold bands, poured from molten gold. Since we'd been together for 19 years, our ring vows included moving our "Rings of Past Times" from our left hands to our right hands before exchanging our new "Rings of Future Present." Tell us about the ceremony: Related Post Funny wedding readings to make you laugh AND cry We already gave you awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples, but what if you're less bad-ass and more wonderfully weird? Here are some lighthearted, funny,... Read more We are not much for ritual, so we researched (we spent a lot of time on Offbeat Bride) and made our very own personalized and comedic ceremony that incorporated our favorite quotes. We thought only a few folks would get our gags and references, but the laughter was spontaneous and uplifting in all the right places. The "So say we all" (from Battlestar Galactica) at the end of the ceremony was resounding. Here is the full video of the ceremony: Our biggest challenge: Being non-traditional, we eschewed many expected elements of the wedding. In fact, for quite some time, Shannon was dreading the scope creep that had infected our planning, fearing an overblown affair that did not match us. It took some time, but we finally wrapped our brains around the fact that this was for us and we could put whatever we wanted into it. We also stopped fighting tradition for its own sake. For instance, we didn't want cake when we started planning. Wait! What were we thinking?! We LOVE cake. So I found vegan edible steampunk gears for cupcake toppers. A local bakery created a wonderful cupcake display with the gears and made a cutting cake with "The Cake is a Lie" written in script over and over around the side. Some tradition crept in unexpectedly. We didn't mean to have a "first dance" with only us, but we couldn't get anyone else up there on the dance floor with us! So, we danced to "I've just Seen a Face," and put on a show despite our reticence at being the only ones on the dance floor. Clothing was another sticking spot. I'm fancy schmancy, and Shannon is down-to-earth and simple. Our selections did not come together until just a couple of weeks before the wedding. I was starting to panic. because we kept running into sizing issues. We had to get creative, and it all fell together with a little customization and creative shopping in the last days. My funniest moment: Our first gag in the ceremony when a group of people called my cell phone after they were told to turn theirs off. Anyone who knows me knows how often my Majel Barrett Star Trek voice alerts me during conversation. The laughter set the perfect tone. What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? If you bite off more than you chew, bite it of, spit it out, and keep going, letting plans fall by the wayside when there's no time, rather than make yourselves crazy trying to get it all done. If we'd had a time machine, we might have gone back to sandwich in more projects, like our poster-sized timeline that would have started with the Big Bang and the birth of the solar system and had a blow-up of our own history that included important points in our 19 years together and release dates for our favorite sci-fi movies, games, and books. In lieu of a guest book, we wanted guests to add comments to the poster about when they met us or a joke or anecdote. We had to drop it and instead, after we set up the decorations the day of the wedding, I ran home and cut up scrapbook paper and then asked guests to write down an anecdote and to vote for their favorite hot air balloon centerpiece. We received some of the best memories from that last minute addition. We also learned not to pre-judge people. Some individuals who we thought would be most confused or even uncomfortable because of our steampunk sci-fi theme were the most enthusiastic at the end. We got exactly what we wanted: a fun celebration with our nearest and dearest and so many smiles and hugs that I'll be charged up for a long, long time. Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? Photography: our friends, Mark Pennington and Dennis Wood Diana's corset and skirt: eBay Shannon's vest: Six Star Uniforms Venue, flowers, bar, and catering: The San Diego Zoo. I can't recommend them enough. Laura Jackson, the event coordinator was marvelous — patient with our uncertainties and flexible as she shoehorned our growing guest list into a wonderful layout. She took care of all the internal and external coordination, including cake delivery and band set-up. Rings: Jay Whaley Studios helped us to create our rings in a day-long workshop that was a wonderful experience. Cupcakes and cutting cake: Baby Cakes Edible gear cake adornments: Compassionate Cake Band: The Baja Bugs, San Diego's premier Beatles cover band Enough talk — show me the wedding porn! PREVIOUS The lost art of millinery: 6 things you should know about wedding headpieces NEXT Male wedding privilege as seen from a transgender groom's perspective Show/Hide comments [ 21 ] Love love love!!!!!! Reply This looked like such ridiculous fun! I adore "the cake is a lie" and all the elements you brought in. Congrats! Reply Awesome wedding! And I LOVE the idea of putting out bits and bobs for people to wear so that they were included in the wedding theme! The time machine keys are fun as well – and what a fun little charm to have as a reminder of the wedding! Reply I love the 3rd photo from the bottom. The 2nd lady from the right has a steampunk, 80's, Cyndi Lauper vibe to her! Love it! Reply I meant left (I guess I don't know my left from right today!) Reply I forgot a vendor: Natural Nail Boutique, responsible for my glorious blue gel polish to match my dress. She is also the person Mitzi mentioned in the photos above…I think! http://www.naturalnailboutique.com Reply Your wedding looks fantastic! Reply What an amazing wedding! No one could have hired a wedding planner to pull this off. It was a feast for the camera lens and a joy to be part of! This is a lovely synopsis of your wonderful evening. Much love! Reply You are too kind! And we got all those beautiful photos because of you. Reply Congratulations on being featured on this site! Reading thisand remembering that night is just as fun as the wedding was! Even getting prepared was fun! So much love and life an awesome celebration! Thanks Diana and Shannon for the invite! Reply I so loved watching your wedding video. I was moved to tears by your vows to each other. My fiancee and I plan to write our own vows as well, and I often think about what mine might say. I hope we can be as eloquent, heartfelt, and funny as yours were! Congratulations, and thank you so much for sharing your special day! Reply Thank you so much for your kind words, Mariah. We are so happy to share our day with you. I know you will come up with the perfect vows for the two of you. Reply We just decided today to have our wedding in Steampunk. We are both in our 50's and I was hesitant for traditional wear. This is perfect. Thanks for sharing your special day. Reply So glad we could provide some inspiration. The nice thing about Steampunk is that you can take it in so many directions: formal neo-Victorian, punky/goth, Steampunk Light, Dieselpunk (more turn of the century through WWII), sepia tones or bright colors. We wish you the most wonderful of nuptials! Reply Loved the Doctor Who quote in the vows! Made me tear up! Reply We did, too! Thank you for watching our video. We love to share the joy. Reply Diana, love love love your wedding. My daughter is artistic, LGBT, non-traditional and was keeping her mouth shut about what she wanted until my sister asked. I admit I was frightened because she can be gothic and wants a black wedding dress. She said Victorian or Renaissance or may Steampunk, but didn't think anyone would go for that. Your advice was right because we all love in, including her grandmother who has pages of Pinterest steampunkery. lol I will be stealing many of your ideas 🙂 and would especially like to steal and recreate our own hot air balloons, but I've seen some ugly ones on the web and am afraid mine would look like that. Hahaha. Did you make your own? Or did someone make them for you? I also love the idea of having some steampunk bling for those who don't know what it is (or thought they could get away without at least a pair of goggles). 🙂 Please let me know what you know about the balloons. Thanks so much, Liz p.s. Sorry I took up so much space. :/ Reply Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I don't remember if the link to our Flickr albums are in the article: https://www.flickr.com/photos/57080885@N02/albums/72157644885400571 https://www.flickr.com/photos/57080885@N02/albums/72157644878753695 https://www.flickr.com/photos/57080885@N02/sets/72157644856449992 I made the balloons with papier mache and lots of recycled items, trinkets, keys, flowers. One of the links is to the balloons at various stages. It was a great project, if a little intense! I found inexpensive Steampunk decorations and goggles on Ebay. You aren't in San Diego, are you? I still have those balloons! Only a few people dressed up, but they added the right flavor of whimsy, and all the Steampunk bling was taken by the rest of the guests, so everyone else got into the theme. Our ceremony is on Youtube. Reply Hi Diana, Thanks so much for the links to the balloons. I love the idea of having a theme for each one representing the bride and groom. How clever. Thanks again! Liz Reply Oh, and most of our guests had no idea what Steampunk/Victoriana/dieselpunk was and still got into the lighthearted, celebratory whimsy of it. I still get comments that it was the best fun they'd had at a wedding. Reply "This cake is a lie". Aaaaand I die. Just the sweetest. Reply Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.