Ashley & Jake’s steampunk adventure trolley wedding

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 | Photography by Meagan Abell

This couple commissioned an amazing song from The Doubleclicks! Click here to listen while reading the rest of their wedding story.

The Offbeat Bride: Ashley

Her offbeat partner: Jake

Date and location of wedding: Trolley and The Old City Bar, Richmond, Virginia — March 16, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our overall goal was to create the best party that we ourselves would want to attend. We also wanted to avoid any infinitely long photo shoots. We didn't want guests to have to wait forever for the party to start while the picture stuff goes on. So instead of the traditional shoot, we rented a trolley — an open air brass-railed trolley of super awesome.

Nephew #1

All aboard!

My dear friend put together a mystery adventure for those aboard to solve. We had the trolley for three hours and gallivanted about town in costume to retrieve the keys to his second best airship. We then got back to the hotel in time for napping/costume changes before the main event.

Skip to the end!

I changed my dress between the trolley ride and the ceremony. I wanted an “adventure outfit” and “evening attire.” I was getting frustrated trying to find something that fit my vision for the evening dress, so I decided to make my own! I made it green to honor my mother's handmade green dress from her own wedding.

We also commissioned a song from The Doubleclicks. We truly have “our song” with lines and layers of meaning unique to us and our wedding. I printed the lyrics and had them on cards by the favors, and then we played it during the ceremony for everyone.

Act 1: Scene 1

Act 1: Scene 2

But the highlight for us by far was the musical that our friends and family put together for us. There are truly not enough words in the world to attempt to explain it. Jake and I first met on Everquest and the musical captured our online gaming migration into the real world. The dialogue was all hilarious, and they used the music from, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by the Animals, “18 and Life” by Skid Row, and “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. “Teenage Dirtbag” was changed to “Online Player” and I think we all had it stuck in our heads the next day.

It's getting late!

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our officiant and Master of Ceremonies was one of our dearest friends — I've known him for nineteen years. He did a fantastic job. There were three readings: “Falling In Love is like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali, “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton, “A Journey” by Nikki Giovanni.

My funniest moment:
I made it clear that there was no dress code and anyone could wear anything. Well, one of our dear friends, a 6'2″ male, took this rule literally and decided to wear a big, white wedding dress. He looked amazing. Several people around town made a game out of tracking him on Twitter, that's how awesome it was.


The Game Table


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
No matter how many spreadsheets you make, no matter how many questions you ask, I guarantee that in the last seventy-two hours, someone will say/do/ask for something not on the list. And you have to be ready to say why you're not doing it, make it happen, or just delegate it to them and not think about it again.

Guest "Book"

Also, if you put effort into your wedsite, don't be crushed when not everyone visits it. I did bury some wedding information on the site post-wedding and used it as a place to send people to see some of the highlights. That made me feel a little bit better about the work we put into it.

Build in extra time! And no matter how much extra time you build in, build in more! Most everything that set me behind in the weekend was due to my own procrastination combined with my difficulty saying “no” to others. But what I didn't gamble on was the trolley not starting on time and being 45 minutes late. That threw the entire afternoon out of whack.


Also, if I had to do it all over again, I would hire a day-of coordinator. I wish I'd had someone else who knew all the pieces in my head.

The musical is AMAZING

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photography: Meagan Abell was everything a couple could want.
  • Flowers: Michelle Mills of Three Pearls Paperie was PERFECT. She was so wonderful and everything matched the overall theme perfectly.
  • Venue: Old City Bar let us do whatever we wanted, and we could use the place the day before and didn't have to clean up until the next day.
  • Trolley company: Richmond Trolley. Even with the hiccup, they worked with me every step of the way and the trolley experience was great.
  • Hotel: The Berkeley put up with all of our craziness with wonderful aplomb, especially since thirty of us took up their tiny lobby in full costume for an hour.

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

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Comments on Ashley & Jake’s steampunk adventure trolley wedding

    • Thank you!!

      I feel so lucky that Richmond has open air trolleys, turns out that’s actually pretty rare to find. And the weather just managed to cooperate making it even better. (around six pm it started POURING rain.)

      history lesson: (not that you asked for one) Richmond had the first city wide electric streetcar system. None of which exist today and I only found this out in the London Transportation Museum. That explained why there are all these abandoned rails throughout the city, often in strange locations. As I am a history geek getting to tie in my love of steampunk, costume AND history made it just that much more fun.

  1. LOVE this – every once in a while I see a wedding post that makes me wish I had been invited and this is definitely one of those. the addition of the link for the song really brought the post to life and listening to it made me feel a little like I know this creative, fun couple. the mystery-adventure before the wedding is a great idea!
    thanks for sharing – happiness and prosperity to you Ashley & Jake!

    • Thank you so much! That’s the best compliment!

      In the week leading up to the wedding I got so excited as things looked like they really were coming together and it might just be awesome after all I got super excited and was inviting EVERYONE. Strangely, people have plans for St. Patrick’s weekend if you invite them last minute. If I ever do it again I’ll invite you too! 🙂

      • and I would BE THERE! so nice that you are as sweet as you seem. <3
        if you two have a chance, there is a steampunk festival in Waltham MA in May – maybe I'll see you there!

  2. I do need to add:

    I didn’t talk about the invitations! Nor did I show the entire suite – but they were done by Farewell Paperie. They were so great to work with:
    Invitations were something that I knew I wanted to splurge on from the beginning and I love them mightily. Even if it turns out I didn’t order enough, but that’s another story.

    Gosh, it’d be impossible to credit everyone that deserves recognition, whether they know it or not. So many vendors and friends and of course family made this possible. I’m sure I’m going to keep thinking of things. And of course Offbeat Bride posts were an endless source of inspiration.

  3. This is one amazing wedding. Even if I had the budget, I simply lack even an inkling of the creativity required for this. All the details are perfect (and omg pretty clothes). Plus an adventure game and a musical?? I need better friends.

    I hope some day I get invited to a wedding like this (my inner steampunk wants to play… Catan, particularly).

    • Thank you. 🙂 Friends are the best! Mostly I just gave them the freedom to do what they wanted too. It helps that Jake and I didn’t really care. It was everyone’s party!

      Depending on how you interpret expenses, the wedding could be considered pretty cheap. Not as cheap as potluck (which I would have done in a heartbeat if 90% of the guests weren’t from out of town) but I feel like we got incredibly lucky in that the venue was owned by the caterer so there were no venue costs. It was a perfect location AND built into the food costs? That is a dream come true.

      And I <3 <3 <3 Catan (if you can't tell by the three boxes on that table!). So much so I don't realize people have had enough and just want to watch television. INCONCEIVABLE!

  4. Gorgeous! And you’ve completely won me over with the table full of games.

    • The wedding gave me the perfect excuse to buy ALL THE GAMES. So okay, maybe I couldn’t actually buy all the games. That way would lie madness, also, they’d crowd out my books on the shelves. But I wanted to! Several of the quicker games were purchased just for that, such as Tsuro and Zombie Dice. I considered it part of my “decoration” and “entertainment” budget.

  5. A trolley? A special musical? Costume changes? An adventure hunt ( for the keys to the second-best airship, no less )?!?
    This wedding is fucking awesome.

    • I thought so!

      My friend running the adventure created character cards for everyone, and as the story developed factions arose and it turned out Jake’s brother was the villain. NO SURPRISE (especially as he’d already dressed the part.)

      If you’re interested in seeing the musical I have the dialogue and links here:

      it’s a bit, rough, but in a way that makes it more special to us.

  6. Oh my goodness. This wedding looks like the final episode of an amazing steampunk tv show (which needs to exist, no?). I love every bit of this. Congratulations, Ashley and Jake!

    • Why doesn’t that exist yet? At the very least Fox could run half a season before canceling it with episodes unseen …

  7. This is the coolest, Steampunkiest thing I have ever seen, and may I have the name of the distinguished-looking gentleman in the derby and mustache? I’d like to marry him. He’s adorable.

    • *grin*

      That’s Jake’s father …. and I think it bodes well for how Jake will age no?

      I really appreciated how many family members, both his and mine, got into the spirit of the costuming.

  8. I’m in love with this entire wedding, Steampunk love abounding! Also, the male friend in the wedding dress is my favorite person of today.

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