The Offbeat Bride: Karen, Human Resources Assistant
Her offbeat partner: Frank, IT Support Technician
Date and location of wedding: Woman's Club of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI — May 26, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We chose an “Elven Fairytale” theme, which was a combination of our love for Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, fantasy in general, and Disney.
Using traditional as a guideline and geeky interests for inspiration, we put a twist on everything we could put our hands on. The ushers, groomsmen, and groom wore boots, vests, and cravats, and were fully equipped with swords. The best man had leather bracers with the White Tree of Gondor and the Horn of Gondor which was blown before each of the toasts during our reception.
The groom's jacket was inspired by the coat in Disney's Enchanted only with silver dragon embroidery and rose buttons, akin to Tuxedo Mask from the Sailor Moon anime.
The boutonnieres all resembled different shades of Mallorn leaves with metal and floral accents to tie in with the lanterns the bridesmaids carried instead of flowers. The bridesmaids hung their lanterns on shepherd's hooks to flank us during the reception with their pink lights. I carried a brooch bouquet as we continued the theme of metal accessories. Each mother was given a metal rose to honor them.
The seating chart was a Dungeons & Dragons “battlemap” with tree pictures for tables. The place cards were rocks with the guest's names on both sides of it, one side written in English and the other in Elvish. Each table was named for a couple that we cherish, from movie characters to dancers to video and role-playing characters. Our guest book involved signing a leaf and hanging it on the White Tree of Gondor.
Instead of clinking glasses, we opted to have everyone roll a pair of blow-up dice and on an even roll we kissed, and on an odd roll the dice roller had to kiss someone else!
Instead of a photo booth, we had a video booth for our guests where they held signs and props and sang or danced to “All You Need is Love” to be later compiled into a merryoke! We also played the “shoe game” which is typically played by answering questions by holding up each other's shoes and standing back-to-back, but instead I held a lantern and Frank held the big dice.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our book bearer opened our fairytale book at the front of the room while a recording of Frank's voice narrating it along with me singing “True Love's Kiss” played. Frank and the priest entered through a sword arch made by the groomsman. Then the bridesmaids, my parents, and I entered to Suzanne Ciani's “Dream of the Pink Zebra.” The priest began with a quote from Lord of the Rings:
Here then all my guests, fair folk of many realms, such as have never before been gathered in this hall! Faramir, Steward of Gondor, and Prince of Ithilien asks that Eowyn Lady of Rohan should be his wife, and she grants it full willing. Therefore they shall be troth plighted before you all.
We had two love poems and another Lord of the Rings excerpt read, then started the elemental unity ceremony, which included lighting a candle (fire), pouring sand into an hourglass (earth), ringing a wind chime (air), and drinking water from a goblet (water). Our priest performed a handfasting along with the exchange of rings and secret personal vows. We ended the ceremony with the “Finale” from the Little Mermaid on Broadway. I curtseyed to my bridesmaids and Frank shook his groomsmen's hands. Then we lip-synced and kissing along to the music as we walked out. The book bearer then closed the book, signifying the end of the story… for now!
Our biggest challenge: Finding a pink dress was a challenge for me. I designed my own dress and then relayed them to my friend to sketch them out. I was lucky to have an artistic and talented friend who actually designed and created Frank's coat, and she helped me through the process. Finding the right fabrics in the right shade of pink became an impossible task, and I needed the fabric ASAP to allow my vendors time to make the finished product. I ended up using my aunt's old wedding dress as the bottom layer of my skirt with two different shades of pink chiffon fabric and some pink silk dupioni that I had dyed to match. I was blessed to find a phenomenal corset maker and a local seamstress created my skirt. And my artistic friend put all the finishing touches together including creating the bustle add-on, floral and feather accents, side straps with detachable sleeves, and a matching clutch!
My favorite moment: We chose to have a first look so we could do pictures beforehand and because Frank didn't want to see me for the first time in front of everyone while I was hanging onto my parents. We picked a stone bridge where Frank stood waiting. He faced his groomsmen, who were waiting at the other end of the bridge, and the bridesmaids waited at the other side. It felt like the longest walk of my life and tears were welling up in my eyes as I got closer. As he turned around, I could see him smile with so much happiness. We had a special moment where we could hug, cry, laugh, compare our rings, spin, and just enjoy ourselves without the formality of the ceremony. It was one of the best choices we made!
Our first dance was choreographed by our favorite dance teacher and myself and we practiced it for weeks. It felt very intimate with Frank, especially when we did the classic Dirty Dancing move, and I love how my dress and his coat tails swooshed around as we spun around the floor. See the full dance here.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Beyond the Veil Photography
- Brooch Bouquet: Lionsgate Designs
- Videographer: Best Man Media
- Corset: Electra Designs
- Bridesmaids' dresses: Holy Clothing
- Boutonnieres: Masquerarium
- Hair circlet: Garden of Whimsy
- Rock favors and tree guest book sign: The Papery Nook
- Leaf guest book tags: Lonely Tree Design
- Boots: Son of Sandlar
- Skirt: Becky's Custom Sewing & Design
- Jewelry: Michael Michaud Jewelry
- Floral arrangements: Kelly Davis Designs
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
Comments on Karen & Frank’s elven fairytale wedding
Holy crap I am so jealous! This is absolutely stunning and the commitment to the theme is making me swoon. I’m going to get married all over again just so I can do this!
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! You are such a beautiful couple!
And yay for another hourglass unity ceremony!
I’m playing a wedding this year where the couple is using “Thousand Years” as the processional. It worked fabulously as a first dance too.
Shout out for Wisconsin! Your venue was gorgeous.
You have officially the most beautiful wedding dress I’ve ever seen on OBB! I love love love that 1) it’s light pink and my favorite shade of pink to boot and 2) it includes a corset. The flowery straps are pretty as well.
Agreed with KK. Your dress is the kind of dreaminess I draw every single day, because I NEVER get tired of such gorgeousness. If I could wear a dress like that to the grocery store, I would.
I LOVE the idea of an elemental unity ceremony! I may or may not be stealing that idea…. 😀
I also adore the shade of pink you chose for your dress – it makes your skin positively glow!
All I can say is “swoon”. Seriously.
Oh wow, this is gorgeous, and I love love love the elemental unity ceremony. And the pink dress!
Do you have links to the unity ceremony (or ceremonies, if you took a bunch and put them together)? I’d love to know more about it.
This was the reading we used for our elements unity ceremony:
In many cultures it is believed that the human soul
shares characteristics with all things divine.
It is this belief which assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions;
East, South, West and North.
It is according to this belief that we align ourselves with these elements.
Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes
those things which will help you build a happy and successful union.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air,
for openness and breath, communication of the heart,
and purity of the mind and body. (Couple hits small chime) By lavender and meadowsweet, by lily and lilac, may the four winds blow sweet upon this day.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South and the element of Fire,
for energy, passion, and creativity. (Light unity candle) From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West and the element of water,
for your capacity to feel emotion. (Couple drinks from a goblet of water) This water represents your commitment to always be honest with each other and your vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North and the element of earth, that provides sustenance, fertility, and security. (Couple pours two different colored sand into an hourglass) The earth will feed and enrich you, and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return.
Karen! I have really been wanting to outfit my attendants with weapons too. Where did you get yours?
Some of the attendants had their own weapons that they used. You can always ask around your friends to see who has some and might lend them out. But we also purchased for our 3 groomsman swords from amazon and gave it to them as their gift/thank-you for standing up for us. Good Luck!
That was such a beautiful first dance, I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out. So beautiful, and I love the theme. You guys are so in love, it’s great. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, this is lovely. I love the grooms Jacket and the colours of the bridesmaids dresses and the swords and the way it all fitted today.
Very well done.
Beautiful! Love It! Definitely a real life fairytale!!!!!!!
Where did your husband have the Jacket made? We are looking for something similar and have been unable to find anything remotely close.
Your wedding is very inspirational. I’m so glad it was featured on OBB. 🙂
The Jacket was actually hand-made by a friend of ours as well as she designed the embroidery pattern but an embroidery shop did the actual embroidery. I agree- it’s a difficult style to find so good luck! You could always try to find a pirate jacket, frock coat or something and then embellish it, or try a renaissance Faire, or find a seamstress possibly to make your idea for you! 🙂
What Lord of the Rings excerpt was read at the ceremony?
Your dress is amazing!!
Oh, this is lovely. Beautiful! Love It!
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