Tara and Mike met in Los Angeles through mutual friends and spent lots of time gaming together prior to dating. When they finally got together, Mike proposed on his birthday after dinner and a photo shoot to take a awesome tintype. It was also the same day Tara had confessed her feelings years prior.
They picked the fall season for their ceremony because it is also the fall equinox which is the opposite of the year from when they first started their relationship. It was also really important to have a small wedding with immediate family and local friends only. They decided to do something more industrial-themed. They also brewed large batches of mead (Tara makes the most incredible mead) for their wedding and anniversaries to come.
The day itself was incredible. Think smoke bombs, dinosaurs, haunted hay paintball fields, drinking horns, an epic groom’s cake of Cthulhu rising from the abyss with miniatures, and so much more.
Here's a bit more from the bride herself…
I developed an unshakable crush on Michael many years after meeting. We were playing Star Wars the Old Republic at the time — this had been our MMO of choice for a few years. I tried to get out of the crush for months, but finally gave in and planned a sneaky visit to Indiana. Both mead and Guinness chocolate cake were involved.
Things that influenced our wedding choices: drinking heartily from life. We express this in the form of video games, Pennsic (Medieval reenactment), making (and drinking) mead, and cuddles.
My husband and I brew mead together and have drinking horns. This has always been part of the group of friends we run with as well. I wanted to do something special for us so I reached out to a very talented horn carver (Shrewwood) to have custom horns carved as wedding gifts to ourselves. I worked with Shrew to do two thematic horns with a lion and a dragon and lioness and a tree. One representing each of us. Shrew carved them from a matched pair of horns. I somehow managed to keep the whole thing a secret from Michael.
We christened our horns with the mead we had made for the wedding and drank solely from them for the remainder of the evening. Which was very fun when the bartender was making us cocktails and pouring them into the horns. “Are those real?!” Did I mention we brewed mead for the wedding? We brewed six gallons of mead. From this batch we also put back 15 bottles, one to be opened on each of our anniversaries going forward. Yes, sweet mead does keep that long.
Deciding what to wear was a tough choice. For me, I had my wedding dress from my previous marriage. Though I knew it was taboo, I really liked the dress. It was a mix of modern and vintage looks: strapless, blackless, but with a layer of asymmetrical lace. My family kept offering to help buy me a new one, but between the headache of dress shopping and going with the dress that I had loved I opted to take ownership over my first dress. The dress did not belong to my prior wedding or my prior marriage, it belonged to me. For me, wearing the dress again was empowering. Though the past made me who I was today, none of it had power over me. (And it really wasn't the dress’s fault.) For jewelry, I wore my mother’s pearl earrings, and her mother’s emerald pendant. My mother and her mother have always represented strength and grace to me. I wanted to bring part of them into the wedding.
Smoke bombs in the Field of Horrors was so fun. Of course, smoke bombs are no joke. I had to be okay with getting the colored smoke on and burn holes in my dress. I also had to pick them up from Fed-Ex as delivery of smoke bombs is also tricky. I ALSO had to have one of my friends bring a change of clothes and be our ‘smoke runner’ for the photos. I’m pretty sure he ruined the t-shirt he was wearing.
The second session was wild. I cannot thank our hosts at the Field of Horrors enough. I reached out, with some persistence, to talk to the owner of a local paintball field that turned into the ‘Field of Horrors’ in October. Lucky for us, they were doing practice for the actors in the field that night, so after the wedding they let us come over and take photos. The owners kids even took us through some of the haunted houses before we did the shoot. I love Halloween and the experience was magical.
For food at the reception, I wanted there to be something easy for my nieces and nephews to grab and go while they were playing. So we opted to have a grilled cheese bar. It was a total hit with everyone. I’m pretty sure no one ate the chicken cacciatore because the grilled cheeses were the big winner for the kids and the adults.
The cake toppers were a personal touch. With both my husband and I being gamers had our cake toppers 3D printed in bronze from HeroForge. We designed ourselves giving a nod to the various roles we played in gaming. With them being cast bronze, they are more than just cake decor. They are a gift to ourselves that we will treasure. Underneath each one we had our wedding date and phrase printed “Until the end of days.”
Since we had a very small wedding. Less than 30 guests (including kids) finding invitations was difficult. I only needed 10. Most places don't take an order that small. So the invitations were a total DIY. In the end, I’m really happy we did these ourselves. It made me feel very connected to each invite that went out. I knew as I was making each one, this one is for my brother, this one's for Michael’s parents. Not that making and assembling them was a easy, but for me it was much less stressful than ordering 100 invitations and tossing the other 90 in the recycling bin.
Dress: Something Bleu Bridal • Equipment Rentals: C.W. Whalen and Sons Rental • Invitation Designer: Cards and Pockets • Beauty: Complexions Spa • Rings: Minter and Richter Des • Tuxedo and Men's Attire: Choppa & Son Formalwear • Venue, reception hall, catering: Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar • Photographer: Serena Star Photography • Flowers: Flowers by Pesha