Our wedding featured a life-sized unicorn that sneezed glitter, peed lemonade, and shot pink fire. If that sounds more like the twisted fantasy of a six-year-old girl than a standard wedding item… well, that's just how we roll.
My husband and I met through our local Burning Man community and are friends with some seriously talented fire geeks. We knew we wanted a piece of original fire art for our wedding, so one of our first moves after getting engaged was to ask our friends if they'd create something. We didn't give any specifications (besides “awesome”), but since I'm obsessed with unicorns and things that shoot fire, it was a bit of a no-brainer.
Katy Perry the Wedding Unicorn began her life as a black carousel horse with feathers in her hair. Upon her arrival in Brooklyn, Master Unicorn Builders Kat and Jesse Green repainted her from black to white, cut holes in her forehead, nostrils, and crotchal region and custom-built a base that would both give her height (aka “majesty”) and house the fuel tanks and keg.
She was named during a routine visit to Jesse's doctor. They were describing the unicorn to her and she laughingly asked, “what're you naming it — Katy Perry?” The only answer to that is, of course, “we are now.”
Since I tend to go to parties encrusted in glitter and always have extra on hand for the under-sparkled, it made sense for our unicorn to have a glitter effect. Kat and Jesse built in a small air compressor to activate the “glitter sneeze.” It runs through a gravity-fed glitter containment unit, and is controlled from an arduino switch that is activated by a button on the base of the sculpture.
Beverages are run by a CO2 pressurized corny keg, also in the base, with a beverage tap at the crotch. She was originally supposed to pee champagne, but Vermont liquor laws prohibit anyone who is not a licensed bartender from serving alcohol on public land, and we weren't able to get the unicorn licensed in time. Plus, we figured that with lemonade, the kids could also partake — and have something to talk about with their therapists later.
Katy Perry's horn is hammered copper with a flame-cut finial. The fire effect is an aerosolized methanol spray (which creates the pink color and liquid-looking flare), with a propane pilot.
Under supervision, wedding guests could activate the flare via a button on the back of the base. When timed correctly, she shot fire and sneezed glitter at the same time.
Katy Perry was built in Brooklyn and transported to Vermont in high style by rental minivan. Overall, she took about four months to build and cost approximately $3,000 in materials. The labor was Kat and Jesse's wedding gift to us. They were tinkering with her up until the wedding began, even in their bridesmaid and groomsmen get-up (PS: how badass is Kat in her welding gloves and gingham?).
And frankly, it's the best gift a unicorn-loving bride and her pyromaniac groom could ever ask for.