The offbeat partners: Christa, Energy Engineer and Auros, Financial Analyst

Date and location of wedding: Orson Restaurant, San Francisco, CA — October 29, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We got married on Halloween weekend and asked our guests to wear costumes. I have a 1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille ArtCar which we used as our wedding limo. I had my dress custom-designed by a friend, made my own hat, and did my own hair and makeup.

The bride with her artcar limousine

We had non-matching, mixed-gender wedding parties, and we asked them to incorporate some element of the wedding colors in their outfits. We had no flowers, but instead Auros, the attendants on both sides, and I all carried candle lanterns (with LEDs).

Entire wedding party and parents

We had the ceremony and reception in one amazing restaurant with a video projection wall on which we showed a silent selection of spooky-but-not-gory movies. I designed table numbers and place cards (to match the invitations which I also designed), but I really wanted to skip centerpieces as I have been to so many weddings where I felt like I could barely talk to the other guests across the giant display in the center of the table. Other than that, the restaurant needed no other decorations.

Elizabeth takes Cakethedral away to be cut up

We hadn't known this when we booked the venue initially, but our restaurateur and chef, the amazing Elizabeth Falkner, ended up being a contestant on The Next Iron Chef, which began airing the weekend after our wedding! She ended up coming in second, but we wrote to her in our thank you note that she's already an Iron Chef to us.

Cake cutting

The food was amazing. One thing Elizabeth is known for is her wild and abstract cakes. We told her we wanted the cake to look like a Gothic cathedral. She was initially hesitant because she doesn't really do realism, but we assured her that what we just wanted her to take that idea as inspiration and go wild with it. She did not disappoint! It had curving chocolate arches with splashes of metallic sugar, a candy rose window, and a purple ankh to round out the display. The royal Blenheim apricot jam (made with apricots we had them preserve for us four months prior, while they were in season) made it unmatched in taste as well.

Bride and Groom drink to their ceremonial toast

Tell us about the ceremony: Neither of us is religious but we both consider ourselves spiritual, so the officiant we selected was a long-term friend of Auros's who is actually an excommunicated Catholic priest. He's definitely a religious man, but as Auros met him through a student atheist and agnostics group, we knew he would be fine with leaving God out of our ceremony.

Wedding party at ceremony end

We included a handfasting, a secular Ketubah for Auros's Jewish heritage, and a reading from Auros's father (William Shakespeare's Sonnet #116).

Father Daughter dance

My favorite moment: My dad has been telling me two things about my future wedding since I was about five-years-old: he will not photograph it (he has been photographing weddings since before I was born) and he wants to dance with me at it.

I managed to make both of his wishes come true. I found a friend to do the photography. I asked him what song he wanted to dance to. He chose “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which is so not my type of music, but it made him happy and I was really glad I could do that for him. He cried and at the end of the dance the whole family hug-mobbed us.

Couple's First Dance

My funniest moment: Sometime early in the wedding planning process, I read a post on a wedding horror stories site where a girl was mortified to attend a goth wedding with her then-boyfriend. One of the things she mentioned was that the bride and groom had used a certain quote from The Addams Family in the ceremony. I resolved that that quote would be part of our ceremony.

When discussing the format of the ceremony with Auros and our officiant, I suggested the idea that each of us should have a toast to the other that was written separately, that was not something we had previously rehearsed. I did not like the idea that we would just be reciting things we'd said to each other before. So of course I wrote part of the quote into my toast: “… until eventually we're buried side-by-side in matching coffins, our lifeless bodies rotting together for all eternity.”

Ceremonial toasting glasses

I had not been thinking of this as a laugh line. To me, it is the epitome of darkly romantic devotion. But as soon as I got to “buried side-by-side” all the guests started laughing! I just went with it. Laughing is a lot better than grumbling about how morbid it was.

Bride and Groom with Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We were pretty worried when we found out our restaurateur's event coordinator had quit three weeks before the wedding. So we spent the last couple of weeks meeting directly with Elizabeth and catching her up on all the details we'd discussed with the previous event coordinator. This also meant we got to know her pretty well by the end, which is awesome. She pulled out all the stops and made the day fabulous despite being short-staffed.

Head table / bar
Clutch purses

It's one awesome day of your life where you should be true to whatever aspect of self wants to come out that day, and it doesn't have to define who you are for the rest of your relationship or your life.

My advice: As someone who has never really adhered to the concept of “gender” and felt like I fall somewhere on the scale between tomboy and androgynous, I was surprised to find planning for my wedding made me feel unexpectedly girly. I fought it for a little while, but eventually decided to just go with it. Wearing makeup and doing my hair for one day didn't make me a new person, it was just the side of me that decided to pop out for the occasion.

So if you're similar to me and find yourself reacting to gender expression in a new and different way for your wedding, just go with it. If getting married makes you feel “girly” when you usually aren't, that's okay. If it doesn't, that's okay too. It's one awesome day of your life where you should be true to whatever aspect of self wants to come out that day, and it doesn't have to define who you are for the rest of your relationship or your life.

Funny toast moment

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Unfortunately, our venue is now closed, our photographer has quit the business, and our officiant retired, so I can no longer recommend any of them. I would have loved to!

Meet our fave wedding vendors

Comments on An elegant gothic Iron Chef wedding

  1. OMG, you had my dream wedding, the outfits are to die for and so are the bride and groom! Love your dress, soooo beautiful and the venue and the cake are amazing!

    Hope you enjoy eternity in matching coffins, buried side by side and enjoy many years of married life prior to this 🙂

  2. Fantastic wedding! Everything looks amazing. 🙂 What quote from the Addams Family did you use? I curious as to what mortified the other girl.

  3. Wow, you and your husband look so happy! And I adore the drama of the pictures of your train. Amazing!

  4. Ah, I love this! I’m a tomboy too, but i agree that something girly here and there is simply part of our personal taste. If it rocks, it rocks. That said, I love the skirt portion of your dress especially!

  5. Thanks so much, I’m honored to have my wedding included here! And I must say the editors did a great job of trimming down the bits where I was perhaps a bit too wordy in my submission and leaving all the important highlights 🙂

  6. “Who did your ceremony?”

    “…an excommunicated Catholic priest”.

    That’s so goddamn bad-ass.

  7. I was looking at your shopping links list and saw that Fan Plus Friend is one of them. I have always wanted to order a few lolita things from them, but I’ve also read some mixed reviews about them. Tell me, how was you and your groom’s experience with them?

    • I was overall pleased. The quality of their stuff is not stellar (the fabrics they use look nice but are on the cheap side, probably not very long term durable) but for the price you pay I thought it was very good. I was too nervous about using their custom measurement table to request a personally sized garment because they asked for so many measurements I didn’t really understand so I ended up ordering a standard size that seemed like it would be close. So it ended up being maybe a little tighter in the shoulders than if I had been able to get them to completely customize it but it worked. I also ordered WELL ahead of time since I figured if it came out totally wrong I would be able to order another or get something somewhere else. And coming from internationally it did take a few weeks to get to me, but I think it was still slightly faster than their estimate on the website.

      Overall I was pleased enough to later order a jacket for myself from them after the wedding and had a similar experience the second time (my standard size garment came out a little larger in the waist than I expected, but it was still wearable – I may do a little alteration myself to take in the sides). One of the smaller accessories I tried to order (I think it was a small hat) turned out to be out of stock and they refunded my money on it right away but didn’t really offer any other options – there was no “you could get this similar item instead” or “this item will be back in stock on xxx date” – it was just “sorry, here’s your money back”. Good thing I wasn’t counting on that item for the wedding! I think that’s only an issue with accessories though, as opposed to the clothes which are mostly made-to-order.

  8. “If getting married makes you feel “girly” when you usually aren’t, that’s okay. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. It’s one awesome day of your life where you should be true to whatever aspect of self wants to come out that day, and it doesn’t have to define who you are for the rest of your relationship or your life.”

    I love this quote!!! And your wedding looked like it was fantastic, unique, and so much fun!

    Also, can you share where you got the clutches? I love them and I’ve been thinking of getting my bridesmaids clutches like those as their gift!

    • Oh, uh, that’s one of the details I didn’t get around to mentioning – I actually made them. I looked up a few sets of instructions on the web, made a practice purse, and then made a second practice and when the second came out really nicely and happened to be in one of wedding colors (I hadn’t really planned that – it was just the fabric I happened to pick out of my stash) I decided to make them for I all the female attendants (and then made wallets for the male attendants).

      I mostly followed these instructions:
      But I also picked up a few tips from here:

      • Wow, they’re fantastic! You may have inspired me to do something like that. 🙂

  9. Where did you get those dragon drink glasses set?? My daughter wants to get one of them for her wedding. We been looking everywhere for them. Great wedding pictures and love your dress!!

    • I was going to be utterly useless and say “we bought them at a ren fair about 6 years ago, so I have no idea” but I asked Auros if he had any idea who the vendor was and he cleverly looked on the little slip of paper we got with them (which we kept because it is instructions as to how to get replacements if they ever break – apparently they are so confidant in their glass-making capabilities that they will replace the glass portion FOR FREE!!) and it says they are by Fellowship Foundry. Which is in Hayward, CA and has a website:

      This is the set we have, I believe in the Sapphire/Blue:

      • Thank you SO much! My daughter is in love with these and we hope to get them soon 😀 She loves your dress, the Steam Punk aspects, and how unique your wedding was as well 🙂

  10. Wow, gorgeous! I love the coloring and all the decorations for this wedding. I also like your advice at the end- sometimes I feel weird having “girly” moments even though usually I’m not, and I can definitely see my wedding day as one of those days.
    Also, those purple glasses with dragons- swoon. And I adore the host of blue-haired ladies with you!
    Beautiful wedding, and happy health and luck to you two!

    • We picked them up at a Renaissance Faire in Northern California — I think the long-running one near Hollister (, though we’ve also sometimes gone to the smaller Heart of the Forest ( There are links to the artisan higher up this thread…

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