We’re dying over this eclectic, art nouveau, old-timey nautical wedding

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Top Deck
Photos by Love Me Do Photography

The offbeat bride: Heather, Scenic Artist)

Her offbeat partner: Chris, Benefits Coordinator

Location & date of wedding: Moshulu, Philadelphia, PA — October 15, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Creating environments is what I do for a living, so when it came to wedding planning, we knew we wanted to get married in our own little world. Chris and I both love anything “old-timey” so it became about creating an overall atmosphere — not necessarily a specific historical period, but rather, we wanted it to feel like guests had stepped into a fantasy era of antiquity.

The Moshulu

We had the wedding aboard the Moshulu — a tall ship first launched in 1904 that has been docked and converted into a restaurant. We hired an early jazz band, The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, composed of acoustic guitar, upright bass, trumpet, and washboard percussion to play for the entire evening.

The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn

I also worked hard to include a slew of personal touches — I created art nouveau wedding portraits for our invitations and other paper goods, made the centerpieces, table numbers, bridesmaid lanterns and hair ribbons, card box, mustache escort cards, and our Victorian duck cake toppers.

The famous duck bust cake toppers.


Our biggest challenge: We planned everything in Philadelphia from where we live in Boston, so sometimes it was challenging being several hours away. We made a lot of trips back and forth — meeting with vendors, dropping off finished pieces off at Chris’s parents and then loading up the car up with new things I would have to work on. Weekends were hectic with all of the traveling and it became exhausting.


We really had to put our faith in family members and friends that were willing to help us, we really had to trust our vendors, and we had to trust our own decision making. I was a little worried things wouldn’t mesh the way I was planning since I couldn’t physically see everything together until the day of, but it all turned out better than I could have imagined.



My favorite moment: Hearing the music as I stepped out to walk down the aisle. We had the band learn “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel as my bridal processional and it was absolutely magical to hear it in the background as I looked around, saw the twinkling lights, all of our friends and family, and Chris waiting for me at the end.

A little love from the flower girl.

My funniest moment: Our flower girl was Chris’s four-year-old niece, and we’re very close with her. She was beyond excited for the entire evening. After I said my vows, she hopped out of her seat, ran up to us at the altar, gave me thumbs up and shouted, “Good job, Heather!!”

Escort Mustaches

My advice for offbeat brides: Practice good time management skills. Find a detailed checklist that you can customize with date deadlines and adhere to it the best that you can.


Giving yourself realistic goals and enough wiggle room in your planning schedule will make things much easier on you, especially if you are planning a big wedding or if you have a lot of DIY details. Mistakes, accidents, snafus will happen, but if you work in that wiggle room, you’re less likely to freak out about it and you’ll be able to go forth with backup plans.


Your vendors will appreciate it too, as I’ve been told that many of them had been used to dealing with stressful brides cutting it close to their dates. If you’re time conscious, you’re likely to get a better, often friendlier, product from your vendors, especially if you’re doing something outside the “normal” wedding scape.


And speaking of vendors…research them! We had the most amazing people working our wedding because we took the time to read reviews, meet, and collaborate with our vendors.


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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