Put on your goggles and your neo-Victorian gear, because this is STEAMPUNK WEEK! Today we've got a burner-meets-upcycled-meets-kid-friendly celebration.


The Offbeat Bride: Bronwen, architect, artist, and creative director of a theatrical fire performance company

Her offbeat partner: Lou, childcare provider, dancer, and director of a theatrical fire performance company

Date and location of wedding: The groom's family farm in Rocky Mount, VA — September 22, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding was a true volunteer community effort from the decoration, ceremony, and dinner to the bartending, hookah lounge, music, fire performances, and clean up. The weekend long event was held at an organic free-range farm owned by Lou's family. Our ceremony was short and sweet, the drinks were flowing, and the dinner was laid-back and potluck-style. We had music and dancing the entire day and fire performances after dark. We honored our loved ones who had passed on with a “Remember” table full of photos and memories. We could not have made the event happen without the hard work of our entire amazing community!



The vision was a steampunk burner festival party on the family farm. We focused on creating a fun, relaxed, and kid-friendly environment rich with different kinds of creative expression. We included our three-year-old daughter in all aspects of the event. We invited our friends to bring art, music, dance, and whatever else they wanted to share. Two wonderful surprises were the hand-crafted paper mache dirigibles that decorated the trees and later had a flaming battle to the death at the fire dancing parade!

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Pigs from the farm were roasted for the dinner, and a stew was made from the vegetables from the garden. The cut flowers were sunflowers from the garden and we used hay bales for seating. My brother homemade and hand-decorated the wedding cake, crowning it with my grandparent's wedding topper from the 1940s.


We tried to minimize waste and cost and to repurpose and recycle whenever possible. We collected old china, glassware, and flatware for the dinner and bar. Everyone was invited to take home a plate, bowl, wine glass, or whatever caught their fancy from this collection. After the wedding, we picked out a mismatched set of dishes to keep as our “wedding china.” We decorated the tables with old lace, dried flowers, and vintage keys. We decorated the tents with old trunks, cool antiques, rugs, pillows, and hung vintage saris to add color.


My dress and Lou's tail coat were both handmade from vintage sari material. We both wore comfortable boots and funky striped socks. My necklace and ceremony shawl were brought back from India by my mother in the 1960s. My mother made my bouquet from dried flowers from her garden and found feathers. Lou's necklace was a very special piece fashioned after one of my father's etchings called the Green Man. My father passed away five years ago and I put some of his ashes in the temple at Burning Man. I made the pendants to give out as gifts that year.


Tell us about the ceremony:
We held our secular, spiritual ceremony under the “Blessing Tree.” We invited our guests to bring a special thought or blessing and put it in or on the tree to decorate it. We had two friends officiate and live acoustic music by my brothers and sister. We invited our daughter and all of the kids present to walk down the aisle with us and sit at the Blessing Tree during our vows playing with colorful hand-crafted pinwheels. We wanted a bit of fun, silly chaos and the kids definitely brought that with them. We wrote our own short vows and let the music tell our story (“Swept Away” by the Avett Brothers).



My favorite moment:
I really loved when my mother put a small box of my father's ashes into the Blessing Tree before our ceremony. During our vows, our daughter Nixy found the box (not knowing what it was) and scattered the ashes at the perfect moment.

After the ceremony, while everyone was busy eating, we had a really special alone moment and kiss together in the golden setting sun. I will remember that quiet moment forever.


My funniest moment:
In the middle of our vows, our daughter got up and ran to us. Someone must have asked her to be quiet, but all we heard was her saying very loudly, “I don't want to be quiet… I want to be loud!” She then jumped into Lou's arms and we finished our vows with her between us, just where she belongs.


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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
We have both been married before and learned many lessons from our first weddings. We tried to be really laid-back about everything and minimize stress and costs and not focus too much on details. We put our focus on the lasting memories since neither of us were happy with our wedding photos from our first marriages. We decided to go all out with our photographer and fly in our friend Pixie from LA. It was really important to us to have someone we love and trust there to capture all the amazing moments. We also had a local friend shoot the wedding too, and she focused on different aspects of the day.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

photography: Pixie Vision
accessories: Sock Dreams

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Comments on Bronwen & Lou’s homemade steampunk kid-friendly fire dancing wedding

  1. The little story about your daughter is just precious and I love your idea for the dishes and “wedding china.” Beautiful and fun wedding.

    • Thank you! 🙂 The wedding china was really fun to pick out! I tried to not have anything that matched.

  2. The warm, happy, love-y vibes from this post made my heart skip a beat. This looks like such a FUN wedding too. Congratulations!

  3. This looks like such a fun wedding, with so much meaning for you and your family and community layered on in every step. Absolutely gorgeous!

    • Thank you! It really took our entire community of family and friends to pull it off.

  4. Loved everything about this from the vintage items, the remember table, and your daughter involved in it all. I look forward to renewing my vows some day and getting to do it all over again. Beautiful!!!

    • Thank you so much- our daughter is truly the center of our world… no matter what we are doing. It was just perfect that she made herself part of our vows as well.

  5. I am in love with this wedding!! <3 The colors and the gorgeous vintage and the fun community coming together are all so beautiful! I want to recreate your tents, they seem so perfectly cozy. And the rugs and the clothes and the HATS! You were so right to splurge on the photography, you wound up with some amazing photos 🙂 Congrats!

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you noticed the hats too… we are sorta very into hats!!! It was a hard decision to not actually wear one myself… but I was so in love with my feathered head piece. 🙂 My husband is fond of saying… hats change everything.

  6. Thank you so much everyone for your kind words! We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family who helped us put it all together… AND we are now expecting our 2nd daughter. 🙂

  7. I don’t usually comment on OBB posts (I’m more of a OBB stalker, I suppose), but this wedding looks so amazing, I just had to say so! Congratulations!!!

  8. I love everything about this! Fire? Awesome. Steampunk? Awesome. Flaming fight to the death paper mache dirigibles? OMG.

    • Yay! Thank you! The dirigibles were a total surprise… made by an amazing friend… and then the battle? We were blown away!

  9. This was one of the coolest, most beautiful, love filled and inspiring weddings I have ever been to. It was beautiful and fun from start to finish. And I have been to quite a few very very cool weddings. Congrats again to Lou & Bronwen on an awesome wedding that was a joy to attend. <3

  10. I just came across this wedding, and I am blown away by the love and happiness that is visible in every photograph!
    This post has restored my faith in the possibility that my fiance and I can have a wedding that is true to who we are as a couple, and one that includes and honors our daughter. Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! <3

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I haven’t looked at our article in some time- but I just sent a friend a link and came across this. Including kids is the best! We now have a 2nd daughter. 🙂 Sending all the best to you.

  11. I love the simplicity of it all. It is beautiful. I love how you implemented your Dad. My Dad is not with us any longer and it breaks my heart he is not there to give me away, Daddy/Daughter dances, etc. My best friends are photographing our wedding also, it does make it more meaningful when they know you and what is important and intimate to you. The cake is gorgeous, I love how you used your Grandparents topper. This was very creative. Congrats on getting hitched.

    Oh and your daughter is adorable.

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