Last Monday, I showed you a couple who had an owl as a ring bearer. That was just a mini preview of Joanne & Brian's amazing gothic wedding. They blew the budget and totally did it up, with a fantastic gothic reception including disco in the dungeon! -Coco

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The offbeat bride: Joanne (Prison Education Manager)

Her offbeat partner: Brian Lawrence (Electrician)

Location & date of wedding: Lumley Castle, Durham, England — July 16, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: I had been a way out goth throughout the late eighties to mid nineties. I haven't quite grown out of it, even at the age of thirty-seven! I had been with my previous partner for seventeen years, and hell would have frozen over at the mention of the word marriage! Following our seperation, I became closer to Brian, whom I'd known for four years. Not long into the relationship he asked me to marry him. Without a second of hesitation I said yes. Brian&JoanneWedding (80)

Now most of my friends and family knew to expect the unexpected. I have never been one for following the norm. After a horrendous seventeen years with my ex, this was to be my gothic fairy-tale ending. I was going to blow the budget, and do it in gothic style!

Firstly, the dress HAD to be red. It could have been black, but as I generally wear black every day of my life, I thought I'd change it up. I then chose black for my maids.

We had personalized readings, alternative readings, a fantastic gothic reception, a disco in the dungeon, and to top it all, our wedding rings delivered to the best man by an owl flying down the aisle!
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Tell us about the ceremony: Our registar made the service incredibly personal; she was very funny! My husband is Catholic, and I am pagan, so we opted for a personalized civil ceremony. Brian&JoanneWedding (19)-2

We made our vows and personal promises individual. We had three readings, one traditional, which was “Friendship,” one was a Navajo wedding reading, which tied in with my pagan roots, and the final one, “Two Twinkling Stars,” was read by my nine year old daughter.

Two Twinkling Stars:

Two stars in the heavens,
Twinkling so bright, bewildered by each others light.

Their feelings grow, their love comes strong.
They shine together, forever long.

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When one fades, the other cries,
When that one sobs, the other dies.

It was made to last, it will, it must.
They'll stay together, with faith and trust.

Two bright stars in a lonely sky,
Together forever.

Our biggest challenge: I hate to say it, but there weren't any. And that is mainly due to having a super cool, anally retentive, and mega organized Maid of Honor.

So maybe the biggest challenge shoud have been, my dizzy headed, laid back attitude which was in danger of leaving everything 'til the last minute. However, it was overcome by appointing the perfect chief!
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My favorite moment: Marrying my husband, becoming Mrs. Lawrence was by far the most special part of the day. Our registrar was fantastic, funny and quite offbeat herself. She made the service humorous and personal to us, without taking away the seriousness of marriage. Seeing my husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle was very emotional. My Dad gave me away, and was in tears from the moment he saw me!

My nine year old daughter did a reading which was very touching. My six year old son caught the owl that delivered the wedding rings. I sadly lost my mum the year before, so we tried hard to include her in the day. We attached silver prayer charms filled with her ashes to our bouquets and button holes. We also had a memorial table with a picture of her on her wedding day. We gave Ovarian cancer charity badges (red hearts) as favors.
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The speeches were fantastic: funny, emotional and very moving. The whole day was set to an amazing soundtrack. Music means so much to me, and I had chosen it very carefully for each part of the day. Now, when I listen to it and it instantly takes me back to our special day.

My funniest moment: Seeing the puzzled looks on our guests faces when they heard some very weird noises coming from outside. Then seeing their utter astonisment as a barn owl flew down the aisle to the Harry Potter Theme Song, and delivered the wedding rings to my son. The owl sat on his arm and let him unhook the rings from his foot! I found out later that people had thought it was the groom's grandma snoring, and not a sqawking owl! Brian&JoanneWedding (206)-1

Ollie stole the show, and everyone had their pictures taken with him afterward!

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't listen to everyone else's opinions. When you want to do something your way, there will always be someone who say's “You can't do that.” Well, you can. It's your wedding, not theirs. So what if Granny Smith nearly falls of her seat because her grandson's new bride is wearing scarlet red, she'll get over it.

I bought extra material with my dress, in order to have a sleeved shrug to cover my half sleeve tattoo during the ceremony. I admit, I thought I should be discreet for that part of the day. But, I soon came to my senses and thought, I love my Phoenix and I am going to bloody well show it off! I did get a shrug made, but a fabulous burlesque style opera shrug – sleeveless!

The moral is, if you really want to do something and don't, you'll regret it later on. This is YOUR big day, personalize it! Brian&JoanneWedding (215)

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? To not deviate from who I am. I could have quite easily been ushered into doing the traditional thing to suit what other people wanted, but I stood fast to what I believe in!

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