Offbeat partner: Rachel, costumer
Offbeat partner: Anton, artist
Date and location of wedding: Carnegie Free Library Of Braddock, Pittsburgh, PA — April 30, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
My husband and I live in and run a House Of Oddities Museum in Pittsburgh called Trundle Manor. We’re used to being surrounded by vintage taxidermy, dead things floating in jars, coffins, and our own art, so the wedding had to be grand enough and weird enough to suit us.
We got married at the first Carnegie Library in America, built in 1888, under a ceiling mural that my husband’s parents painted (both of whom are artists, too!) We wanted a big fun party that included all of our aesthetic influences and friends and would rival our infamous annual Halloween party.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a 13-hour long music festival featuring 12 bands, five belly dancers, a gourmet waffle buffet, open bar all day, a couple of magicians and strippers, and the very best part was our beloved 25-lb black cat, Little Devil, being pulled down the aisle in his custom carrier to deliver us our rings (Don't worry, he was escorted home right after).
The ceremony itself lasted about a half hour, and we were married by our close friend Rocky who is well over 6’ tall and dressed like a witch doctor! Both of us being only children and close with our parents, we were escorted to either side of the stage by our parents.
I made my own dress, altered from a black prom gown with pink rhinestones. I added copious floof and a turquoise tulle overlay inspired by '50s haute couture. I also had a pink ostrich feather stole, taxidermy chick in my giant hairdo, and Anton wore a taxidermied black starling on his shoulder. He dressed in an exaggerated version of his rimgmaster outfit.
Our large wedding party was given our color palette, and dressed as the most elegant, over-the-top version of themselves. The groomsmen all had tailcoats, top hats, and wore Trundle Manor patches. The bridesmaids wore a combo of vintage, pin-up, goth, and circus couture. We walked up to the stage to Groucho Marx singing “Everyone Says I Love You,” making tons of people cry! Our rings were custom made by a friend of the family.
We made our escape in Trixy, our heavily modified '52 Dodge pickup.
Tell us about your reception:
The bands and dancers started at 2pm and ended at 2am, only stopping for our ceremony. The stage also featured our circus tent with custom oddities and art by us, and the Candyland forest backdrop was painted by me!
Our first dance, “Ride the Rotor With Me” was sung by our friends Phat Man Dee and her husband Tommy Amoeba, as we were showered with faux rose petals in our colors, shot out of confetti guns. Our caterer parked his gourmet breakfast food truck outside and provided us with a waffle buffet with pulled pork and even the medieval-style pig’s head with an apple in its mouth.
Our wedding cake was a zombified Marie Antoinette head festooned with feathers and candy! It sat alongside our faux wedding cake topped with the taxidermied squirrels we made on our first date in the basement. I made the bride and groom costumes then, so I must have known what would come many years later.
We even found the perfect anatomical heart-shaped tiki mug with two straw holes for us to share our drinks. Later in the night, one of our belly dancers, Olivia Kissel, invited everyone to join hands and dance with her all around the library’s music hall. Somehow a plastic skeleton and inflatable pizza raft made their way around the crowd too.
What was your most important lesson learned?
We definitely couldn’t have pulled this off if not for the help of our friends and their many artistic talents, most of which were generously donated in lieu of wedding presents. Always ask friends first, as they know you best and make the day special in a way that can never be reproduced. But compensate them well and make them feel included as much as possible.
- Photographer: JimmyZ Photography, Michael P Sweeny Photography, and Erin McCandless Photography
- Dress: custom by the bride, sourced from Unique Prom
- Venue: Braddock Carnegie Library
- Cake: Frosted Envy
- Rings: Wax Jewelry Design
- Food: Second Breakfast Food Truck