The offbeat bride: Diane, Online Games Consultant (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Nicolas, Head of Marketing Effectiveness
Location & date of wedding: Old Palace, Hatfield House, UK — October 30, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We are theater and games geeks and we lived for a while in the UK and loved it. We tried incorporating all of that in the wedding. Our invitations were in the form of a theater play program. We are both French as are most of our guests, so the venue and theme were offbeat for them.
We had a civil ceremony with a dinosaur reading, 16-bit video game music, and friends and family singing Queen songs. I walked up the aisle wrapped in a red cloak, and we had cloaked the flower girl and page boy as well.
We surprised our guests with a “detective” game where they had to find someone they didn't know based on clues, and give them a sealed envelope with clues as to where they would be seated for dinner and with whom. We had old book print paper flowers and Shakespeare quotes everywhere.
We served tea, scones, and mini-sandwiches for the cocktail and lamb roast, and apple pie for the dinner. Then our guests surprised us with performances during dinner, including a theater play they had written for the occasion. Then we happily finished the night dancing to eclectic music, including Rammstein's classic “Du Hast.”
Tell us about the ceremony: It mixed a lot of influences. I walked up the aisle to the “Secret of Mana” opening song, an old video game I liked playing as a child. It felt just epic enough for the task at hand! We had a reading from “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton, that we arranged.
Instead of vows, we wrote a little speech that we read together to ask the community to take care of us and our new family. We finished with my friends rocking the place with “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen.
Our biggest challenge: My family is very religious but neither my husband nor I are, so doing a civil ceremony had been difficult to carry out. But we didn't regret our choice. The other diffcult part of the planning was organizing a trip for so many French people to the UK. We got much more hands-on with logistics than we would have if we had gotten married in France.
My favorite moment: Although we had planned everything for the ceremony, it was still extremely moving to walk up the aisle to meet my fiancé. I realized on the spot that it was really us getting married, and instantly felt super happy. Nothing else could matter after that.
My funniest moment: Our families and friends did an awesome job with dinner performances, with my brother and sister-in-law doing a comedy parodying us. Our friends put together a full 20-minute theater play with costumes as well! I was really amazed at their talent and was crying with laughter.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We planned a lot for the rain due to getting married in October in the UK, but the weather was great! Otherwise, we were pleasantly surprised by the way the “find a guest” game worked. We finished it frantically the day before as there had been last minute changes in the guest list. It was all thanks to our siblings and witnesses who came to the rescue at the last minute and set up shop in the hotel room to put it all together.
My advice for offbeat brides: Put yourself in your guest's shoes. We initially wanted a costumed Tudor wedding and thought it would be too much to ask our friends and families to dress up in addition to travelling to another country, so we went with a “pseudo-renaissance” theme where they could wear whatever they wanted.
We also built a website and gave lots of instructions for our friends and family as to how to travel to the UK and where to stay, we pre-booked taxis for them, translated the whole ceremony in booklets, etc.
Don't restrict yourself based on what you think people will think. I had kept the cloak a secret from my mother as I thought she would think it would look tacky (the cloak is cheap, the dress was expensive, and she paid for it). Turned out she loved it, along with everyone else.
We didn't DIY much except the paper parts, thanks to my awesome friend Bea, and we bought lots of raw material on the web for the favours, which were bulk tins with tea and homemade stickers. We carried the wine and champagne from France in a van which saved us a lot of money while having better quality.
Remember to enjoy the day when it happens and take some time with your partner. And leave the time for your guests to be able to suprise you!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress : Manuel Mota for Pronovias
- Earrings: Etsy seller Tudorshoppe
- Hair: Nandini's in Hatfield, with extensions bought on Etsy seller Puppycatmeow
- Cloak: Little Adventures
- Flowers: FlowerCraft Herts
- Paper frames for the table numbers : Etsy seller Niklindesigns1225
- Candelabras and flambeaux: Candlehire
- Cake: Marks & Spencer
- Stationary design: Bea Toa
- Make-up: my lovely friend Agathe
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!