Abbottsford Convent
Photos by Dani Van Groeningen

The Offbeat Couple: Juliet, Careers Adviser & Tom, Robotic Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia — June 9, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We really wanted to emphasise how much fun we have together, so we included a lot of references that are important to us. We had Harry Potter Marauder's Map invitations and reception decorations. We also had a chemistry experiment as our unity ceremony, and a Terry Pratchett's Discworld cake!

Bridal Party!
Marauding Map invitations
Terry Pratchett's Discworld Cake
Terry Pratchett's Discworld Cake

Our wedding was at lunchtime on a long weekend as lots of family were coming from interstate and they all had small children. It was much easier to actively include kids than to try and exclude them. We invited all the kids at the wedding to be in a “kid parade” at the start, and they came running in to “Cadence to Arms” by Dropkick Murphys, waving “Yay” flags and ribbon wands.

I made my bouquet from the leftover fabric from my dress and some coordinating colours. It seemed easier and cheaper than buying florist bouquets. Our cars were retro coupes that belong to Tom's father. They looked amazing, although squeezing us all into two-door cars was a bit tight!

We avoided the “clinkling glasses to get a kiss” routine at the reception by using the 20-sided dice at our table. Guests had to get our attention and roll the dice. If they rolled higher than 10, we kissed. If they got 10 or lower, they had to kiss someone.

We had a live band and traditional ceilidh dancing, which I grew up listening, playing, and dancing to. The band taught everyone how to do all the dances and our guests mixed really well with each other. It was also our best opportunity to speak to people at the wedding since we were so busy at other times!

The Shoe Game

We played the “Shoe Game” near the end of the reception which was hilarious! I didn't tell Tom what was going to happen so his responses were very genuine and very, very funny. To end the reception, we did a gender-neutral bouquet and garter toss. We asked anyone who wanted to be involved to step into the centre of the circle and we tossed the garter and the bouquet at the same time.

Collingwood Childrens Farm

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our vows had a lot of references from literature, popular culture, and our personal beliefs. We used quotes from Shakespeare, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, The Lord of the Rings, and our favourite singing comedian, Tim Minchin.

We also had a reading from Douglas Adams' “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.”

Our vows ended with a Princess Bride reference:

Will you promise, should Juliet be kidnapped by three outlaws for the purposes of starting a war between Guilder and Florin, will you vow to scale the Cliffs of Insanity, fight a master swordsman by sword, a giant by hand-to-hand combat, and an insane Sicilian by mental dexterity, only to then risk death in the Fire Swamp with its Rodents of Unusual Size to rescue her?
Tom: As you wish
Rolling for skill

My husband is a role-player so we “rolled for skill” to see who would do their ring vows first. I rolled a one (in roleplaying not only would this be a “losing roll,” but something bad would happen!) and Tom was worried about rolling something ridiculously high and showing me up, but he rolled a two!

The Chemistry Experiment

Our unity ceremony was a surprise chemistry experiment. We had a flask each of clear fluid that we poured into a measuring cylinder. We asked our celebrant to pretend that it was water and he made a lovely speech about mixing molecules and love being fluid. When we mixed the fluid together it turned pink, our guests went, “oooooh!” and our celebrant then talked about things not being what they seem and being open to surprises.

Collingwood Childrens Farm

Our biggest challenge:
I spent a lot of time researching DIY projects and planning all the things we wanted at the wedding and it got pretty overwhelming. Tom made a Discworld luggage card box which took up far more time than we expected, which meant that we had to organise our DIY team a bit better. Our bridal party was amazing, coming and helping us make decorations as well as taking things home!

Our favours were test tubes of honey (which is also our name) and we labelled them as “Felix Felicis” (Liquid Luck). This turned out to be much more complicated than we expected with honey going everywhere, labels not sticking, etc. But as long as we got married in the end, it was all worth it.

The Luggage from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels
Harry Potter Sweet Decorations

My funniest moment:
I got snuffled by a pig during our photos! We went to the Collingwood Children's Farm (which was next door to our venue), and were shooting some romantic farmyard shots and a huge black pig came out from his sty and gave me a great snuffle of my dress before I had a chance to jump off his fence. Luckily, no one noticed the stain when we came back in and did our first dance!

The Gay Gordon (Ceilidh Dancing)
At the end of the wedding

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Bride's dress: Vanyanis
  • Bride's shoes: Fluevog
  • Photography: Dani Van Groeningen, a friend of ours who had studied photography before becoming a teacher and was amazing!
  • Groom's (and groomswoman's) suit: Anton's
  • Discworld Cake: Creative Cake Art
  • Catering: Bursaria
  • Venue: Abbotsford Convent

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Comments on Our pop-cultured bookish wedding with a Discworld wedding cake!

  1. Beautiful wedding, beautiful bride and groom! I would love to hear your vows, especially how you fit Tim Minchin into them! Tim Minchin ftw!

  2. You had me at Discworld Cake.

    Allow me to write that again: Discworld. Cake.

    And then there are the red shoes, and red boots, and red flats, and that gorgeous dress, and your adorable smile!

    What an incredibly fun wedding this seems to have been!

  3. Oh my Goodness, Discworld cake and Luggage card box, I love it! What a fun looking wedding, I bet everyone had a blast. Congratulations! x

  4. DISCWORLD! AAAAHHHHH. Terry Pratchett has been my favorite author for years, and none of my friends understand why–*happy sighs* I love this community.

  5. Happiness from all corners of this wedding. I especially love the Princess Bride vow – wonderfully written.

  6. So many lovely, geeky details! I especially love the D20 kissing game, adorable & creative!

  7. Oh my god! Oh my god oh my god, a Discworld cake, you had the luggage, Felix Felicis, I could die right now. This is amazing.

  8. THE LUGGAGE! And that caaaaake. I’m in love. Also, your wedding looks like it was a blast – such smiles!

  9. Ok, I’m dying! Discworld Cake?! And was that a “The Luggage” card box? I’m so jealous! Everything looks amazing, and you must have had so much fun, plus your dress and veil are gorgeous! Congrats!

  10. Bravo and Brava! As I scrolled down I was yelling, “OMG, no WAY!” at the computer – especially at the Discworld cake (I want a Discworld as a coffee table) and the chemistry flask (I have them in my home bar). Best.Wedding.Ever!

  11. Dear Juliet,
    these pictures are awesome. Could you tell me a few words about the unity ceremony components?
    thanks for your answer 🙂

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