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The Offbeat Bride: Abigail, Set Designer (and now grad student)

Her offbeat partner: Kevin, Sound and Video Editor

Date and location of wedding: Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN — September 13, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: What we really wanted was a wedding that entirely of our own design. This meant not buying things from traditional vendors and instead fabricating or piecing together bits of our favorite things. We're both snazzy dressers in everyday life, so we did put a lot of effort into what we wore. Since I'm a set designer, I can be very particular about how things look and what goes together. We had in mind a sort of gothic-Victorian-rock ‘n' roll aesthetic.

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Having it outside was maybe our second choice, but there were very few venues in our town that were both secular, had the right look, were big enough, and that were in our budget. Having it at the art center was wonderful because a lot of the decoration was already provided by nature. There were also many sculptures throughout the grounds and a river right behind where we had the ceremony. We did a lot of things ourselves (making programs, invitations through Etsy, putting together our ensembles) and had a lot of time and things done for free or little cost by friends and relatives (cakes, photography, decorations, hair). We wanted every detail to be very gothic, dark, and ornamental while still having the traditional structure of a wedding.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We asked our friend Andy to be our officiant. He's an incredibly intelligent guy and a performer to boot, so he was up for the job. And he came with his own wizard robe and sword! We used the Dungeon Master's Guide from D&D 3.5 to hide the printed ceremony in sort of an in-joke between us. We really do play D&D with him and his wife, Victoria (my bridesmaid in the gold dress) and others in real life.

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I wrote the ceremony myself, piecing together things I found through Offbeat Bride and other websites. We really wanted to make sure that all of the language was equal to both genders, no “obey” or anything like that. We believe marriage is a true partnership and wanted our vows and readings to reflect that. We had three of our close friends do readings during the ceremony. Here's one of them:

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky. – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Our biggest challenge:
My biggest personal challenge was overcoming the guilt I felt about having a second wedding. I had been married five years before and my parents had paid for it. I was divorced a year later and started dating my husband four months afterward. While I wanted all of my friends and family there, I was overwhelmed with guilt about people spending their money and time on me again. Because of this I left a lot of the planning until it was almost too late and feel if I would have coped with this better things would have been more organized.

Since my first wedding was definitely in the Offbeat Lite realm, my family wasn't expecting anything traditional with this one. However, my husband's family is from the Deep South and was even shocked by the fact that we were having it outside instead of in a church. Little did they expect that our officiant would be wearing a wizard's robe! It was also the first time I had met everyone in his family. Everything went very well and they were very respectful of our wishes and how we wanted things done.

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My favorite moment:
The actual ceremony itself was pretty brief, but made both Kevin and me very emotional. We timed it so the sun would set during the ceremony, and by the end everything was bathed in candlelight. The speech given by one of our groomsmen (who had known both of us since before we were dating and had been close to us during our flowering relationship) was very moving. All told, just being made to feel special for a day (more like a week!) was incredible.

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My funniest moment:
My dad tried to twerk at the reception, but he kept calling it “turking.” Hilarity ensued.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
My wedding really taught me that Kevin and I can tackle anything. There were lots of discussions about the guest list, budget, and specifics, and maybe only once did we get into an argument about any of it. We know how to communicate with each other. I also learned that my family is pretty much down for anything as long as there's cake.

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Comments on Abigail & Kevin’s candlelit gothic wedding in the woods

  1. Gorgeous, decadent wedding. Love how it is so detailed.
    I could have written the part about second wedding guilt… I felt exactly the same. All that good will, how could they still have any left for another round? It definitely brought out the procrastination in me. So glad it went so beautifully though (it did for me too!)

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one! It was only made more complicated by the fact that I have a huge family and none of them have ever been divorced, let alone had a second wedding. The thing I had to keep remembering was that there is obviously another person involved-my husband-and that this is his first wedding and he deserves all the bells and whistles. All of our decisions were jointly decided upon. It’s his special day too!

  2. Everyone and everything about this wedding is GORGEOUS. The wedding dress & ensemble, holy WOW. So much beauty! Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. 🙂 Congrats to the bride & groom!!!

  3. I love all of this. Especially all the pictures in candle-light. And your husband’s snazzy coat…

  4. WOW! That is beautiful!!! I love everything about this. Bridesmaids/Groomsmen are all stunning. Cutting the cake with a sword. So many candles! Dungeons and Dragons. I REALLY like the unity candles. Your dress is amazing (and your husband is hot too). Good job!

  5. I’m so feeling you about that guilt thing too >.<

    Your day looks totally amazing! I want your dress haha

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