Jen & Mike’s Harry Potter-esque crafty potluck wedding

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Raise your hand: who else out there is the stokest in all of stokerdom about the Harry Potter movie that comes out today!?! Who already saw it at midnight?!? Le sigh. I am waiting for my beloved family to come into town in a few days. So, I needed a little a Harry to tide me over and found it in Jen and Mike’s Harry Potter wedding! Yay! – Becca

Hey chica
Photos by Amber Zagorski

The offbeat bride: Jen, post-college job hunter (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Mike, PA state store clerk

Location & date of wedding: The Saturday Club, Wayne, PA — June 5, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Much of it doesn’t seem offbeat to us, it just made sense. That being said …

paper flowers
Paper flowers made from pages from Harry Potter books.

All wedding services (minus the venue) were provided by friends or family or family friends, including a delicious potluck feast!

Jen and her bridechick’s all wore Chuck Taylors

We both wore engagement bands.

The whole wedding party wore chuck taylors. [Intern’s note: Even Mike’s mom!!]

We designed and printed all of our paper goods.

Mike folded hundreds of origami stars.

I made all of the jewelry for the chicas involved.

We had cupcakes, candy, a laptop dj, and non-traditional outfits.


We had a self-uniting wedding with a friend performing a handfasting and doing some readings.

I had three brideschicks and my younger brothers who are twins: bridestwins!

Oh … and we had a Harry Potter vibe going on, because we luuuuurve HP!

Lantern Girl - AbbyTell us about the ceremony: My parents and Mike’s mom read To Love is Not to Possess by James Kavanaugh.

My cousin Rachel read his passage from Harry Potter:

“There is a room in the Department of Mysteries,” interrupted Dumbledore, “that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you.”

Our first dance
The idea of dancing alone through a five minute song was scary. After a minute or so we asked people to join in and they formed a big circle around us and danced along!

Our biggest challenge: I graduated college three weeks before our wedding. I only had two classes the last term, but it was stressful none the less. Writing a very long final paper on post-modern literature and theory while DIYing umpteen million things might have been crazy.

In the end I graduated, we got married, but being a recession bride I still have yet to find work, so we’re living with my mom and brothers.

I guess there are some things that take a long time to overcome, but we’ll do it together.

SmoochesMy favorite moment: Taking photos in the alley was super cool. We’re amateur photographers and I’ve loved taking photos there in the past so, it meant a lot to have ours done there. It was just alot of fun to hang out for a bit with our photographers, Amber and Brian, and get away from the crowd for a bit.

Another little super fun moment that I won’t ever forget is when Mike gave me a wedding present. Brian, our photographer’s boyfriend and assistant, is in my favorite band … so, I was super giggly when Mike handed me a Person L CD signed by every member. Squee! Oh, sorry. Fan girl moment.

Using the handfasting cord that Mike’s parents used at their handfasting/vow renewal was not only a great symbol, but it was special for Mike because his dad passed away the year before, so the cord gave [his dad] a presence.

It might seem small, but instead of a guestbook I designed a poster for guests to sign so we can frame and hang it up. Walking over to the poster after it was all signed felt so good because we could see all of those names of people we love and I know when we get our own place we’ll get to see it everyday.

Honeydukes Sweetshop
Honeyduke’s Burt’s every flavor beans!

My funniest moment: When my nine year old cousin and my brothers’ twenty one year old friend had a dance off. It was close, and I’m not saying that because she’s only nine and he held back. I mean they have both taken dance for a long time and it was mind blowingly awesome.

Oh, and when my new younger brother-in-law who likes pro-wrestling and dark poetry started dancing to Jump On It, enthusiastically.

Basically, seeing family members let loose in ways I’d never seen before.

the three broomsticks bar
The Three Broomsticks bar!

My advice for offbeat brides:

  • Make a schedule for yourself if you’re doing anything crafty. It’s much easier to start early than to scramble at the end.
  • Have a drink.
  • If you never cared about what would be served at your wedding, what shoes you’d wear, what your husband’s suit would be, etc before you got engaged then stop and think when you find yourself caring about it now. Are you caught up in the wedding crazies or do you REALLY care? For a hot minute I wanted my brothers’ vests to match then I remembered: Oh, yeah! I don’t give a damn, my dear!
  • Remember to thank anyone who helps you. Not just a “thank you,” but a big FAT “THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!” And mean it.
  • Other people you know have been married before so, even if it was traditional they probably have a familiarity with logistics, like how to direct people to your guest book, hiccups that can occur on the day of, rentals, etc. Use their expertise!


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned that my family is awesome. We put the pieces of our wedding in their hands and from them blossomed an amazing Harry Potter-esque room and a great party. They brought great food. They were great dancers. They had fun at our freaky little Hogsmeade wedding and we love them.

Also, planning a big party is hard work. Ask for help. Always ask for help.

Girls girls girls

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