The Offbeat Bride: Karen, Human Resources Assistant
Her offbeat partner: Frank, IT Support Technician
Date and location of wedding: Woman's Club of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI — May 26, 2012
Using traditional as a guideline and geeky interests for inspiration, we put a twist on everything we could put our hands on. The ushers, groomsmen, and groom wore boots, vests, and cravats, and were fully equipped with swords. The best man had leather bracers with the White Tree of Gondor and the Horn of Gondor which was blown before each of the toasts during our reception.
The boutonnieres all resembled different shades of Mallorn leaves with metal and floral accents to tie in with the lanterns the bridesmaids carried instead of flowers. The bridesmaids hung their lanterns on shepherd's hooks to flank us during the reception with their pink lights. I carried a brooch bouquet as we continued the theme of metal accessories. Each mother was given a metal rose to honor them.
The seating chart was a Dungeons & Dragons “battlemap” with tree pictures for tables. The place cards were rocks with the guest's names on both sides of it, one side written in English and the other in Elvish. Each table was named for a couple that we cherish, from movie characters to dancers to video and role-playing characters. Our guest book involved signing a leaf and hanging it on the White Tree of Gondor.
Instead of clinking glasses, we opted to have everyone roll a pair of blow-up dice and on an even roll we kissed, and on an odd roll the dice roller had to kiss someone else!
Instead of a photo booth, we had a video booth for our guests where they held signs and props and sang or danced to “All You Need is Love” to be later compiled into a merryoke! We also played the “shoe game” which is typically played by answering questions by holding up each other's shoes and standing back-to-back, but instead I held a lantern and Frank held the big dice.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our book bearer opened our fairytale book at the front of the room while a recording of Frank's voice narrating it along with me singing “True Love's Kiss” played. Frank and the priest entered through a sword arch made by the groomsman. Then the bridesmaids, my parents, and I entered to Suzanne Ciani's “Dream of the Pink Zebra.” The priest began with a quote from Lord of the Rings:
Here then all my guests, fair folk of many realms, such as have never before been gathered in this hall! Faramir, Steward of Gondor, and Prince of Ithilien asks that Eowyn Lady of Rohan should be his wife, and she grants it full willing. Therefore they shall be troth plighted before you all.
We had two love poems and another Lord of the Rings excerpt read, then started the elemental unity ceremony, which included lighting a candle (fire), pouring sand into an hourglass (earth), ringing a wind chime (air), and drinking water from a goblet (water). Our priest performed a handfasting along with the exchange of rings and secret personal vows. We ended the ceremony with the “Finale” from the Little Mermaid on Broadway. I curtseyed to my bridesmaids and Frank shook his groomsmen's hands. Then we lip-synced and kissing along to the music as we walked out. The book bearer then closed the book, signifying the end of the story… for now!
Our biggest challenge: Finding a pink dress was a challenge for me. I designed my own dress and then relayed them to my friend to sketch them out. I was lucky to have an artistic and talented friend who actually designed and created Frank's coat, and she helped me through the process. Finding the right fabrics in the right shade of pink became an impossible task, and I needed the fabric ASAP to allow my vendors time to make the finished product. I ended up using my aunt's old wedding dress as the bottom layer of my skirt with two different shades of pink chiffon fabric and some pink silk dupioni that I had dyed to match. I was blessed to find a phenomenal corset maker and a local seamstress created my skirt. And my artistic friend put all the finishing touches together including creating the bustle add-on, floral and feather accents, side straps with detachable sleeves, and a matching clutch!
My favorite moment: We chose to have a first look so we could do pictures beforehand and because Frank didn't want to see me for the first time in front of everyone while I was hanging onto my parents. We picked a stone bridge where Frank stood waiting. He faced his groomsmen, who were waiting at the other end of the bridge, and the bridesmaids waited at the other side. It felt like the longest walk of my life and tears were welling up in my eyes as I got closer. As he turned around, I could see him smile with so much happiness. We had a special moment where we could hug, cry, laugh, compare our rings, spin, and just enjoy ourselves without the formality of the ceremony. It was one of the best choices we made!
Our first dance was choreographed by our favorite dance teacher and myself and we practiced it for weeks. It felt very intimate with Frank, especially when we did the classic Dirty Dancing move, and I love how my dress and his coat tails swooshed around as we spun around the floor. See the full dance here.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Beyond the Veil Photography
- Brooch Bouquet: Lionsgate Designs
- Videographer: Best Man Media
- Corset: Electra Designs
- Bridesmaids' dresses: Holy Clothing
- Boutonnieres: Masquerarium
- Hair circlet: Garden of Whimsy
- Rock favors and tree guest book sign: The Papery Nook
- Leaf guest book tags: Lonely Tree Design
- Boots: Son of Sandlar
- Skirt: Becky's Custom Sewing & Design
- Jewelry: Michael Michaud Jewelry
- Floral arrangements: Kelly Davis Designs
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!