Carlee & Daniel’s crafty Firefly chic wedding

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 | Photography by Korto Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Carlee, Assistant Manager for a specialty foods department (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Daniel, Assistant Manager of a produce department

Date and location of wedding: Stan Mansion, Chicago, IL — May 16, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided on a Firefly rustic chic theme, and incorporated Joss Whedon's Firefly into our wedding as well as firefly mason jars. Daniel grew up on a farm and I grew up in the suburbs. We both live in Chicago now, so we miss being closer to nature.




I spent the year beforehand crafting all the paper garlands and paper rosettes as well as the firefly jars. I found some Serenity ship stickers and put them on rocks glasses and gave those to everyone in our wedding party, as well as a tiny bottle of booze.


My friends helped decorate the actual venue, and I got to see a year's worth of work come together. We featured a friend's homebrew company, Rude Hippo, (which just got funding) during our cocktail hour and then had our favorite local craft beer, Revolution's Anti-Hero, for the reception. We were even surprised with a glorious cake from a friend for the reception after I had said we'd just cut a cupcake in half. I was able to keep to our budget and spent a significant amount less than the average wedding in Chicago.



I was originally going to make my own dress, and did, but when I put it on, it looked terrible on me, so I had to find one online. I ended up finding a prom dress that was perfect for me, so I was super relieved. We all walked down the aisle to Gustav Holst's “Planets-Jupiter” which tied into the Firefly/space western theme.


Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a secular ceremony, and used the Apache wedding blessing. Daniel and I wrote our own vows, and decided to do a unity ceremony using dirt and a Japanese Maple tree. We later planted the tree on the family farm where Daniel grew up. We didn't really want a lengthy ceremony because we both agreed that we could have gotten married in a court-house at any time, but wanted to celebrate with our friends, so we kept the ceremony short.



Our biggest challenge:
We actually had quite a few things go wrong, but no one would have known otherwise. The one that really stood out was my friend Mark getting seriously ill and not making it to the wedding. He was not only going to be my bridesman, but he was going to do everyone's hair. I told him his health was more important to me than him being at the wedding, and he should stay home and get well. With him not there, I ended up asking my brother to by my bridesman, but I still didn't know what to do about everyone's hair with less than 24 hours until the wedding. My friend and officiant, Ray, came up to me and asked me if I remembered how we met. I was a little frazzled, and it took a little time before he pretty much sat me down and told me, “I used to braid hair at the Renaissance Festival, and I will do your hair for you.” He saved me because I was beyond making anymore decisions.


My favorite moment:
So many people helped make this wedding possible, and we are so grateful. My best lady gave such a beautiful speech, and it was so nice to see everyone having such a good time. Ray, our officiant, sang to us, and his voice was just stunning. We had a lot of people to gift us things for the wedding, such as custom-made invitations, the beer, and cookies, so it really helped us in the end. But more so, it felt like a community-crafted wedding. Our wedding was the result of people sharing their crafts and coming together.


My funniest moment:
My friends sneaked out to our table and replaced our table setting with Batman paper plates and cups. As soon as we sat down, we were giggling about it. I ended up drinking some fancy beer (and bourbon) out of the paper cup, which I thought was only fitting.



What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Planning for disaster and not getting upset at plans gone awry saves for a lot of emotional heartache. I likened my wedding to a Rube Goldberg machine, because once we set things in motion, they were going to happen and I couldn't get upset if something didn't go exactly as I had planned. Our photographer hit bad traffic and was a little late, people got sick, and I went through three dresses but everything worked out, and now only the people reading this know what went wrong.



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Comments on Carlee & Daniel’s crafty Firefly chic wedding

  1. I would have never guessed that was a ‘prom’ dress. It’s exactly what I want!

    love the Firefly/firefly theme.

  2. OMG, loving all of this! As a Browncoat, I can’t help but be a tiny bit jealous of your fabulous wedding!

  3. Oh my God. I’m re-thinking the idea of not having a bouquet. Because OHMYGOD that is just luscious!!

  4. Holy Squee! Great theme. But really writing to say… isn’t Ray the best friend a girl could ask for? He did hair and sang at my wedding last October. He knows everyone.

  5. I LOVE your theme and your tattoos! I have a Firefly sleeve in progress on my right arm, and when I saw the title of this post, I’ll admit I squee’d a little. Okay, a lot. I just wanted to say that you looked absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t believe that your hair was a last minute thing. Also, I was wondering if you had more information on the Japanese maple unity ceremony? I love that idea – being able to plant the tree on our property after the wedding would be so great!

    • Thank you so much! Yeah, I got super lucky with my hair! As far as the tree ceremony went, I really just went with my father-in-law’s tree suggestion, and instead of sand, we threw dirt from two buckets on top of the tree, which was sitting inside a planter. My in-laws drove back to their farm and planted it on their property. What we had said about it, was that, like a good relationship, we needed to nurture it into growing big and strong, and it took both of us caring for it to grow. Hope that helps! message me if you want more info!

  6. I especially love the paper starbursts and bunting! Did you sew the paper circles together or is there anothet way to attach them?

    • I sewed them together, actually. It was super easy! I was watching movies while sewing and was finished a lot sooner than I had thought. I made 15 garlands, all 10 feet long, and it hardly took that much time. I put each one in a sandwich bag so they wouldn’t get tangled up and they were so much easier to keep track of until we had to put them up at the venue.

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