Katrina & Mikhail’s low-budget costumers’ wedding on a pirate ship

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Official Wedding Picture
Photos by Audrey Burke, friend of the couple

The Offbeat Bride: Katrina, Video and Event Production Specialist

Her Offbeat Partner: Mikhail, Freelance Photographer

Location & date of wedding: St. Louis Renaissance Faire Park, St. Louis, MO — July 19, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding cost us about $500 for about 60 people, but that’s not all! We had our fairy tale dream wedding that really was like a fairy tale — complete with a couple fairies, some knights in shining… kimono, music from fantasy games and movies, a sermon about love in Klingon, costumed guests, a cake inspired by Lothlorien, food inspired by the Redwall books, and, of course, a big wooden pirate ship!

Beautiful Bride
The bride’s AMAZING dress and her DIY flowers

Did I mention it was all DIY? I made the flowers, the food (with a lot of help from family), the decorations, and most of the wedding party’s outfits (mine, Mikhail’s, the bridesmaids’, and the best man’s).

Even my very conservative grandma dressed in a Star Fleet uniform, and who wouldn’t when Arwen is playing the keyboard and a Jedi is walking his daughter down the aisle?

All of the guests had a great time, and told us it was truly unforgettable… is that always a good thing?

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was keeping it from being like the geek weddings that become the butt of Internet jokes. Also, my grandma worried that I would destroy the sacredness of the rite (yes, I’m Lutheran) by wearing costumes.

I think the first and best way to keep it down-to-earth (in a good way) is to remember that it’s YOU and not your CHARACTER getting married. I’m used to cosplaying at conventions with my glasses off, my hair under a wig, and my face covered with makeup. I decided not to do any of those things with this wedding. I spent a lot of time on the outfits to keep them from looking like the store-bought costumes so many people wear for Halloween. That kept the wedding looking more like a trip to some fairy realm rather than an early Halloween party.

We kept the wedding heartfelt and religious. We chose to have a Lutheran pastor officiate and structured the service in a familiar, traditional way, albeit with quite a few un-traditional touches, like the Japanese san san kudo ceremony instead of a unity candle.

The wedding party on a pirate ship.
The wedding party on a pirate ship.

My favorite moment: I’m sure I’ll remember the entire thing forever (obviously), but the most beautiful and wonderful moment was when we read our vows. We had written them in secret from each other and rolled them up on parchment scrolls. Both of us were crying by the end of them because they were so sweet. I liked the idea of having the scrolls handed to us by our maid of honor and best man like proclamations of some sort. It had a certain Medieval romance that made the whole thing more beautiful.

The Lord of the Rings inspired wedding cake.
The Lord of the Rings inspired wedding cake.

My advice for other offbeat brides: Think about some of the things others don’t know about you as a couple. I think some of our choices were expected (like the costumes, which were inevitable for two costume hobbyists), but others gave people a glimpse of who we are together, like the food selection that reflects the books we introduced each other to (also, our wedding date, 7/19, combines the most important numbers from our two favorite fantasy series: Harry Potter and The Dark Tower, which we introduced each other to during our first year together).

The Kiss

Also, if you’re doing a theme wedding, come up with something loose. Don’t force your guests to get involved in your theme. A lot of our guests didn’t wear costumes, and we were fine with that. Others we didn’t even expect to wear costumes, wore them. You’ll be surprised who will go along with your offbeat ideas!

Speaking of which, people LOVE to help with offbeat weddings. Honest! We just got word out about what we were doing, and suddenly everyone wanted to be a part of it. We got the ceremony and reception areas for free thanks to the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire and the Knights of Columbus. Our photographer came all the way from Kentucky to take our pictures for gas money just because she wanted to see it. Tell people about it, and you may just make some new friends.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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