Casey & Chad's family-friendly magical Harry Potter wedding

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Photos by Laurie Marie Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Casey, (Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Chad, Tech Support

Date and location of wedding: DeKoven Center, Racine, WI — July 7, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We saw the DeKoven Center and its gothic revival architecture paired well with my love of medieval history. Chad looked at me and said, "It looks like something out of Harry Potter." His comment led me to ask one question: "How do you feel about that as a theme?" We ran with it!

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I did most of the design work for the wedding and, thankfully, I had some help from family and friends for some of the realization. We didn't want to go all out with witch hats and brooms, but we did opt to include a great many details and inspired items. These included an owl save the date card, Hogwarts on our invitations, a Marauders' Map-inspired directions card, a Daily Prophet program, Chocolate Frog favors, and homemade ribbon wands.

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Our ring bearer carried our rings on a replica elder wand. We also had a Harry Potter-themed dessert buffet table, our own version of Butterbeer with labels, a magical ceiling flying candle backdrop for the head table, giant handmade banners, a Hogwarts Express ticket guestbook, and a Monster Book of Monsters card box.

I also knit my husband his wedding present, a special pair of socks "to keep him from getting cold feet."

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was held in an 1800s chapel. It was so full of love and wonderful geeky references. Our musical prelude included the Game of Thrones theme and several pieces of music I have always adored from several films. We used "Bella's Lullaby," my favorite cello piece feature in Master and Commander, and one from The Four Feathers featuring Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We also used a musical interlude to Tracy Chapman's "Wedding Song."

Because Chad is not particularly religious, we opted to focus our wedding on what we wanted in our marriage rather than as a sacrament. I admit I cried when it sank in that we weren't going to have a traditional Catholic wedding I had always assumed I would have. We did have a Bible reading, 1 John 4:7. But in the end our wedding was perfect for us. We also had a poem I discovered here on Offbeat Bride, "To Love is Not to Possess" by James Kavanaugh.

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We took an interpretation on the traditional handfasting and our loved ones asked us to affirm our love as they wrapped a different colored ribbon around our hands. Tying us together, each time my stepson would tap our hands "sealing" the vow. Towards the end he was starting to really get into it whacking our hands rather hard. After that part we made a family vow. My husband and I promised my stepson to love him unconditionally and do our best to make him always feel involved in our family. He promised that he would do his best to listen to us and talk to us and help build our family.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge involved my grandfather passing away three days before our wedding. I was devastated. Everything was so emotionally-charged with the wedding already. I admit I have trouble with change and the whole legally marrying someone threw me a little. I was happy to do it, ready to do it, and it really felt right. When it happened, I was very thankful for the Offbeat Bride Tribe, because their kind words and encouragement were really helpful. Thankfully his funeral arrangements had been made prior to his passing and that did make it easier on our whole family. I had a memorial with my grandparents' wedding photos in our program, and I had already had them printed when he died so he wasn't included. I hated that. But our minister did take the time to have a moment of silence in the ceremony for him.

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My favorite moment:
The walk down the aisle was so emotional for me. I really felt like I was moving on to my new life. That being said, I felt like we were already married in spirit and the ceremony was a formality. However, by the time I finally got to the altar, everyone was afraid I was about to faint since I was so emotional. It was rather funny to have our minister ask me if I needed to sit down before we continued.

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Having my stepson involved was really important to us, and boy he was involved. He helped us make the banners and unicorn horn desserts. To help include him even more, we made our cake cutting a family affair. Enjoying my new family was really one of the best things. One of my favorite pictures is my stepson getting a piggy-back ride on the dance floor and us dancing as a family.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Beautiful!
    How did you manage to make the Daily Prophet programs!? I saw them in another post recently and they're GORGEOUS!

    • I wish I could explain it easily. I used nothing particularly fancy computer wise save a Corel Paint Shop Pro to create images of text, pictures, the ads. Then I put them together on a word document. Which I just kept fiddling with the images and text till I liked how it looked. I had to make sure it was still readable in terms of font size and fonts. I did a lot of hand drawing for the Merry Maker's Map and parts of the invitation. But I picked the parts of Harry Potter I loved and tried to incorporate those elements. One of the most important things was that I needed to explain what exactly was going on with everything as not everyone was a fan or had read Harry Potter. So it was meant to also be a guide to the Harry Potter world but also how we had incorporated into our wedding. I then sent to a FedEx Store and had them print it on over sized paper double side and then d "Saddle Staple" them together.

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      • Wonderful! They turned out so perfect! My FH & I are having a geeky chic wedding on Halloween next year & are incorporating some Harry Potter references. Hardly anyone will get them, but they can still appreciate something so different, like our Marauder's Map invitations. I'll show these programs to him & see if he's feeling up to tackling another DIY project! Thanks!

  2. THAT DRESS! ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!
    So sorry to hear about your grandfather. I'm sure he would have been right there with you guys all in spirit the entire time.

  3. Forbidden forest bears! Unicorn horns! Licorice Wands! I love themed food, even if you are just getting creative with a label. I wish I could read all the other food names you put on that dessert table. FH doesn't want me to get too "punny" with our dessert labels (but you know I will).

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    • We did have a lot of themed food. Since you cannot read all the labels almost all of it was themed. Here is a list of the names and foods we had on our dessert bar: Cadbury's Creamed Basilisk Eggs, Gryffindor Red Velvet Cake, Forbidden Black Forest Cake, Lemon Drops, Licorice Wands, Unicorn horns, Forbidden Forest Bears, Honeydukes Saltwater Taffy, Peanut Butter Dragon Eggs, Skittle's Rainbow Drops, After Dark Andes Mints, Bertie Botts Ever Flavor Beans, Four Royals Fruitcake, Ginger Hufflepuff Hearts, Hagrid's Best Chocolate Cake, Malt Chocoballs, Mrs Flume's Magic Middles (chocolate covered Oreos), orange slices, Patronus White Cake, Petunia's Banana Pudding, Sugared Mango Fairy Wings, White Chocolate Golden Snitches, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie

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  4. Oh my gosh! Would you mind if I used a version of the 'underaged wizards' sign for my wedding reception in two year? I think that's wonderful! 🙂

    • Absolutely! I made that one on my own and would happily let you use it. So you won't be having any copyright issues on my end 🙂 Congrats!!!!

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