The Offbeat Bride: Michelle, Attorney
Her offbeat partner: Justin, Attorney
Date and location of wedding: Turnip Rose Promenade & Gardens, Costa Mesa, CA — August 5, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our wedding was inspired by Game of Thrones. In addition to simply loving the world of A Song of Ice And Fire, Game of Thrones played a major part in our relationship. My husband and I were close friends for years before becoming romantically involved. However, our relationship started veering into “dating” territory when we started to play A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (shout-out to the lords and ladies we met through the game who attended our wedding). And, oh, did we play. We devoted entire weekends to our newfound pastime.
However, the most visible sign to our friends and family that something more was developing between us was when I convinced Justin to attend WonderCon in 2014 dressed as Jaime Lannister. As a bit of backstory, I have been a cosplayer since 2001, so this was my wheelhouse. I, of course dressed as Cersei Lannister. The secret was out — our photos on Facebook elicited comments such as “ALL MY DREAMS CAME TRUE” (my Matron of Honor / Bloodrider / Lady Commander of the Queensguard) and “Justin Smith…what the?!” (Justin’s cousin).
By August 2014, we were “Facebook official.” When we decided to go with a Game of Thrones-inspired wedding, we knew we had to embrace the “A Song of Ice And Fire” title of the books. My husband’s family represented the Starks of Winterfell, and my family represented the Targaryen dragonlords (it helps that I regularly cosplay as Daenerys).
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony music featured songs from various seasons of Game of Thrones. Notably, “The Light of the Seven” (also known as “the song that played while Cersei Lannister prepared to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor with all her enemies inside”) as our guests waited for the ceremony to begin. Our officiant (dressed as Littlefinger) walked out to the Game of Thrones Main Title. Then, the Kingsguard (groomsmen), my husband, and his parents walked out to “The King’s Arrival” with the Kingsguard securing the aisle for the royal family with their wolf-blazened swords. My Queensguard walked down to the sweet and uplifting “Mhysa,” while I entered with the not-so-subtle subtle “Reign” (also known as “the song that played when Daenerys used her 747-sized dragons to torch her enemies into submission”).
Our officiant (you know, Petyr Baelish) included a passage from the books, and our vows included the line, “I am yours, and you are mine. From this day until the end of my days.” After a wine ceremony and our officiant cursing anyone who would seek “to tear us asunder,” my new husband and I exited to “The Children.”
Tell us about your reception:
Earlier I mentioned that the Kingsguard were armed with swords. After the ceremony, my Queensguard (aka Dothraki Khalasar) was equally armed, and both groups assembled a sword-lined entrance way for my husband and I to be introduced as King and Queen. After doing a Joffrey-esque wave to our guests, we took our thrones at the Stargaryen table.
Our guests were seated at tables representing the great houses of Westeros, complete with signs explaining the house’s history and a representative Funko character. The walls of the great hall were adorned with banners of the Great Houses as well as faux dragon and wolf heads. We kept said guests merry with a bar featuring cocktails including “The Kingslayer” (essentially a long island), “Captain Of The Iron Fleet” (cola and rum), “The Red Viper” (tequila sunrise), “Take The Black” (cola and whiskey), and “Winter Is Coming” (gin martini). Our festivities included the cutting (with a sword) of a dragon/wolf wedding cake, the toss of three plush dragon eggs and a direwolf and a themed photo booth. The speeches all managed to slip in some references with my dad calling himself the Mad King Aerys and the Best Man concluding by leading a thunderous ”the King in the North” chant.
Our guests also thoroughly entertained us with their costumes, including a frighteningly realistic Night King (White Walker), Greywind the ill-fated direwolf, and a Jon Snow who became the Mountain after removing his outer garb.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Our biggest challenge was pulling of a Game of Thrones-inspired wedding that wasn’t silly or corny. We knew execution would be everything. (This does not make for easy wedding planning!) However, with the help of Etsy (where most of the decorations were found as well as the attire of the Kingsguard and Queensguard), creative vendors, and enthusiastic guests, we made it happen.
Personally, I was terrified of tripping walking down the aisle (my dress did include a long cape), accidentally dropping the rings, mispronouncing the words in my vows, or other physical/mental failures. Then, as I began my walk down the aisle, I saw a guest dressed as the Night King — wait the Night King is at my wedding(!) — and that was the moment. I stopped the inner monologue. I stopped worrying. And I just drank in the joy of being united with my love.