It be Talk Like a Pirate Day again, me hearties, and Offbeat Bride readers can always be counted on to give us amazing pirate-themed weddings. Here’s one of our favorites.
The Offbeat Bride: Dawn, Middle School English Teacher
Her offbeat partner: John, Student
Date and location of wedding:Godric Grove, Elings Park, Santa Barbara, CA — July 1, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I love having fun and keeping things a little silly. On a whim, in the midst of planning for another wedding, I declared that, rather than try to please everyone and make a traditional wedding work for me, I would have apirate wedding. I do medieval reenactment, so this was not too much of a stretch. When John proposed, I knew there were pirate flags in our future.
We definitely charted our own course: the entire wedding party and almost all the guests dressed up in fantastic pirate attire and performed a historical dance, we had coed crews instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen, necklaces instead of rings, a pirate ship cake and fondue for dessert, and kids’ games.
The Adventures Of, our stunning cinematographer, captured the feeling of it in our gorgeous video:
If you are getting married and you haven’t thought seriously about a good cinematographer (and can afford it), DO. Between The Adventures Of and our photographer Candice, our day was captured perfectly. I almost skipped this part, and am so unbelievably glad I didn’t.
This wedding was seriously a group effort. In proud pirate tradition, I press-ganged the crews into showing up in Santa Barbara the day before the rehearsal to do all kinds of crafty things, and I had others not on the crews at the park on the day of the wedding to help get it all going.
To say that we had fun with our outfits is not to say enough. We designed our own outfits, and, except for the groom’s coat and jacket, my first mate Vivian, a professional historical sewer, patterned them for us. We shopped in LA’s fabric district for two days to find all the fabrics. I love the brocades we found.
I think my favorite part of wedding prep was making the gifts for the bridal party (aka “the crews”). John and I bought them each a glass for their favorite kind of adult beverage and then I etched a symbol to represent them on the glass.
Our friend Rachael made fantastic signs for everything. She was a crafty queen, and caught our style perfectly. My favorite example was the bathroom signs. We’d asked for labels with pirates on them, and figured she’d print us something with clip art and a funky font. Instead, she tea aged paper and used these amazing ink pirate silhouettes. We loved them enough that they are now mounted and hanging in our guest bathroom.
Our friend Jean made us a beautiful rum cake. Initially, we’d asked for a small cake or two cupcakes, maybe with plastic ships on them, since the main dessert was to be fondue. Jean had other ideas thought, and made a layered diorama cake with rolling ocean waves and a ship, complete with actual mast, sails, rigging, and flags. To top the cake, my brother-in-law James hand-painted pirate miniatures to match our outfits, even putting in details like the brocade on our coats.
At the start of our reception we did historical dances, led by my friend Robin. Our first dance was Amoroso, a 15th century Italian dance, livened up by the groom who suggested that we do each chorus with a different style. Our crews learned two English country dances, one of which they danced as a performance piece, and one of which they danced with audience participants. This was so much more fun for us than waltzing.
The craziest thing about wedding prep was acquiring all the little details. Where does one get nine pounds of shells? Many things were acquired here and there, like the ship’s wheel that we draped with a net and pinned the place cards to. The groom and best man found that in a garage they were cleaning for a friend.
I am a teacher and I couldn’t ignore the kids at my wedding, so I set up some games for them. We had a bocce ball set, a rubber band gun target range, and a scavenger hunt with treasure chests of prizes for each winner. I especially enjoyed escaping after the receiving line to run off and play bocce ball with two high school friends and my younger cousin.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We looked at many options for venues, but with our guest list, we decided to go for a large venue. After touring parks across Orange, San Diego, and Santa Barbara counties, my first mate (maid of honor) Vivian brought me to Elings Park, and I knew I was in exactly the right place. The ceremony took place in a natural stone amphitheater, overlooking the harbor, with the foothills of Santa Barbara heading down into the ocean, where the sailboats of Santa Barbara were docked.
Writing the ceremony and vows was fun and took a lot of thought. We were really careful about what we included. We wanted to use pirate lingo, but we also wanted to convey our seriousness in this undertaking. It was hard, but I think we walked that line. John isn’t religious, and my family is, so we allowed moments for prayer, but emphasized that they were also for reflection. We like symbols and stories, but neither of us is really the type to moon over romantic speeches, so we had to research appropriate selections and found some gems. We used “Love Is Friendship Caught Fire”by Laura Hendricks and a selection from “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle.
Our friend officiated, and many of our friends got to be there on stage with us. We also used the ceremony to explain our unusual unity symbol. I dislike rings, so John and I asked our friend Amy make us necklaces. We sent her a basic design and she sent back amazing, beautifully wire-wrapped stones. In our ceremony, we explained what the stones and metals symbolized and put them on each other. John gave me a necklace with a teardrop-shaped silver and serpentine pendant, symbolizing health, clarity, and insight. I gave him a round copper and carnelian pendant on a copper chain, symbolizing protection, courage, love, and good cheer.
Our biggest challenge:
Things would have been a lot less stressful in those last few days if I’d planned a little better ahead of time. I was focused on my new job teaching at a charter school in San Bernardino, so it took until school was out for me to make a final list of everything that needed to be done. This meant I’d done a lot of less important work early, and left key things for later. Luckily for us, it turned out well because I had the last-minute help I needed, but O.M.G. I wish I had done more planning sooner; It would’ve saved everyone some stress.
Some of the last-minute things turned out to be awesome. For example, I hadn’t decided to include the banners that were the central decoration for our ceremony until weeks before the wedding and they only got made days before. Another one of those last-minute decisions was the location for the couples portraits. We ended up using the backyard of the house we were staying in, which was lush with beautiful vegetation and vines, perfect for a pirate’s cove hideaway.
My favorite moment:
We were surprised by how many people put so much into our bash. My best friend let us take over her house for two weeks, so many people spent so much time crafting, and when we had open mike time for the toasts, it was truly touching to hear what everyone had to say. Embarrassing, but touching.
My funniest moment:
One of the crew brought their baby with them, dressed in the most adorable octopus outfit. We had small ship cut-outs set up as a shooting range with rubber band guns, upon which, when the shooting was done, we “released the Kraken.” She was the cutest Kraken ever!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The one big mistake we made was not hiring a DJ. I was concerned about the expense and worried that a DJ might not understand our particular group or be sympathetic to our offbeat ways. I had arranged for friends to come up with playlists, and had rented DIY DJ equipment, but everything went downhill from there. The DJ equipment was not in complete working order and was definitely running a user interface from the early ’90s. Then the crew member I’d tasked with making the final playlists had a personal emergency, leaving me and some of my dedicated crew making playlists the night before and the morning of the wedding. Even then, things would have been a disaster without my crew member Amanda’s husband Steve. Even though he was on his vacation and not on anyone’s crew, he spent the entire reception DJing and making it all work. We couldn’t have gotten through it without him.
Props are also due the AV guy who dropped off and picked up the speakers and amp. He helped make sure that those things were working wonderfully, and when he came back to pick things up, he’d even changed into a pirate t-shirt. How awesome is that?
From a young age I dreamed of the perfect white wedding, and I don’t think I was alone. So today’s inspirational shoot is for all the little girls inside us who dream of a whimsical fairytale with a little bit of sparkle and of course a Prince Charming. Led by the talented Nadia Meli, who was over come with inspiration while watching Disney’s latest instalment, Frozen (which I have to admit I haven’t seen, but after seeing today’s pics, I defo will be checking it out). This gorgeous shoot takes inspiration from classic old-fashioned romance, and if you’re thinking of an on-trend all-white wedding, you’ll adore this…
Nadia saw how the Princess Elsa from Frozen transformed into that beautiful Snow Queen and immediately I thought, that would be a fantastic look for a bride and her vision created the most beautiful photo shoot.
There are two stand out elements that embody the enchanted fairy tale vision of this beautiful shoot and they are the dress and the flowers. The incredible leaf embellished and swoon worthy dress, is from the Pronovias collection at Flamenco Munich and the talent team behind the styling and flowers were Ivy & Olive.
There is a wonderfully intimate atmosphere throughout the shoot that reminds me of the hidden world of Narnia, except these two didn’t just climb out of a wardrobe! The incredible location is Das Tegernsee in Germany and the mountainous region is simply stunning.
If your thinking of a minimalist white wedding, start with the stationery, you can get creative white shapes and motifs and add muted tones and ribbon to accessories.
I’m smitten with this table setting, mercury glass vases, white and green flowers and silver place settings, stunning and impactful using very little colour.
The dress is incredible and such a show stopper, by adding a simple one flower anemone bouquet it balances out perfectly. One flower bouquets are a beautiful idea and work very well just take a look at our One Flower Bridal Bouquets post.
Well I’m sure you’ll agree that was one epic swoon worthy feast to look at this morning! A big thank you to Nadia Meli for sharing her beautiful work with us today.
For all you brides in Germany, these talented people might be very helpful…
Good Morning Romancers! This morning we have a whole bunch of behind the scenes shots and additional picturesfrom our Harry Potter Wedding Inspiration shoot [originally featured on Green Wedding Shoes]. Here you will get to seesome amazing shots from Abby Grace Photography that didn’t make it into the Green Wedding Shoes post AND a ton more “inside” scoop from what went into the shoot. The DIY projects, the vendors, the details – the entire story of how one simple email exchange between Abby and I turned into a full-scale wedding shoot based on Harry Potter.
So as I mentioned, it all started with a simple email thread between Abby and myself. I had just gotten back from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter … and I was depressed. So Abby mentioned ~ why don’t we do a styled wedding shoot, based on Harry Potter. And I was sold. For one, we are both HUGE Harry Potter fans, and for two, there was really nothing else out there. A million months ago, when I first started my blog, I had done a “Harry Potter Wedding Inspiration” post, using images I had collected from Google. The post surprisingly gets a decent amount of traffic to my blog … so I knew that there was a desire out there for this sort of shoot. People love Harry Potter, and like me, it is a part of their lives; it was only natural that people would want to include Harry in their wedding. The hard part is the how – how do you incorporate a magical, fictional story into a wedding, without it coming across cheesey or like a child’s themed birthday party? Abby and I decided that we would have the Harry Potter themed shoot hint heavily at elements from the books – but never point directly at them. If you weren’t a Harry Potter fan, then the wedding style would just appear organic, aged, slightly rustic, with a wink at the magic within. And so it began ….
One of the first vendors we pulled on board was Tyler Fitzhugh of Voila Events Studio. Tyler was not familiar with Harry Potter – but we were OK with that, because we wanted to make sure our ideas were staying wedding-appropriate, and that a non-Potterhead would still like what we were designing.
Tyler in action putting the finishing touches on the pie dessert table
After Tyler, I knew we would want an invitation suite for the shoot, and I immediately knew the right woman to call on. Wendy of Weswen Design. Wendy and I had been email buddies for a while [and you might remember that she has done some guest posting here on Capitol Romance]so I already knew she was a Harry Potter fan.One email was all it took – and Wendy was instantly on board to create the most amazing Harry Potter inspired wedding invitations, menus & a wedding program based on the “Daily Prophet”.
The rest of the vendors came together rather quickly. Tyler hooked us up with an amazing hair & makeup team, and Abby found the amazingness that is Concepts Created for the farmhouse table [never underestimate the power of Craiglist]. Bryan was insanely generous – offering to deliver and pick-up the beautiful hand-crafted farmhouse table, made from repossessed wood. I think he said the table in our shoot was from some REALLY old bank. Love it.
Now onto the pie table …
The pie table was actually a blessing in disguise. We had originally wanted to do a Harry Potter themed dessert spread, but fairly last minute, the baker we had lined up, backed out ~ so I immediately thought of PIES. What is more British [and thus – Harry Potter appropriate] than pie? A quick Google search brought me to Mom’s Apple Pie Co., in Leesburg, VA, right near our shoot location.
One quick email later ~ and bam, we had a very generous donation of 3 fruit pies and 4 mini pies. They looked incredible, and they tasted even better.
For the display we used one of the many, incredible vintage pieces from Maggie & Jason [more on Maggpie Vintage Rentals in a bit], my mom’s lace runner [thanks mom!] and we actually used Harry Potter books to make the stands different heights. Did anyone catch that?? We took the dust jackets off so that only REAL Harry Potter fans would notice….
I had seen Maggie’s suitcases on her website, and I just KNEW we had to have them. I wasn’t sure where we would use them, but once things started rolling at Lost Creek Winery, the idea popped into my head to use them to display the mini-pie wedding favors [that Ms. Abby Grace painstakingly slaved over to make]. The way they stacked up, a bit haphazardly, evoked a somewhat eclectic feel ~ which for some reason made me instantly think of the Weasleys. I could imagine suitcases being all stacked and mismatched in their house.
This next shot was an absolute accident. I literally almost stepped on poor Trevor here, and Ashley [our beautiful model] graciously agreed to take a pic with him. I joked that this was a great alternative to that “couple holds inanimate object in hands” shot, that seriously every wedding/engagement shoot seems to have recently. This one was cool, because Ashley was holding an ANIMATE object. Take that!
Ok, this next part ~ the Harry Potter inspired assignment cards was one of my favorite parts. Possibly because I was so proud of the idea, but also because I thought it was a perfect example of how our shoot was perfect for both Harry Potter fanatics, AND non-fans. We wanted to do something different for the seating assignments display – ie. not folded cards on a table.
The idea of hanging keys sort of floated into my mind ~ it reminded me of at the end of Book 1, where Harry is down the trap door and he is in Professor Flitwick’s protection. All the flying keys, and Harry needs to fly on his broomstick to find the one that fits. Not everyone might have realized that was what I was going for [I am seriously obsessed with Harry Potter] but, it was still a cool effect. Don’t you think?
Plus, Tyler’s sister, Leta is a calligrapher [Decorative Lettering by Leta Layne] and she HAND WROTE the names on these cards. Abby & I used lesser known characters from the books for the names.
We bought the keys on Ebay [the best place to find affordable skeleton keys] and then used twine to hang them from the trees. A pretty easy DIY seating assignments display.
Ingorgio! For more on the behind the scenes details from our Harry Potter Themed Wedding shoot … be sure to click inside.
In addition to the pies, we wanted to have a “tea” table. Tea, obviously, is very British, but we also wanted to include some of the Harry Potter treats from the books. Abby & I are both proud owners of the Unofficial Harry Potter Cook Book[of course we are]. Pumpkin Pasties, treacle tart, scones & lemon bars accompanied the Harry Potter themed dessert spread.
The drink display – OH the drink display. This one came SO easy to us. All four drinks are pretty heavily based on the Potter books, and we found eclectic, mismatched glasses to display them. True fans will instantly realize the Polyjuice Potion and the Liquid Luck [Felix Felicis] and even only casual fans know that Butterbeer is a staple among the Harry Potter universe. We topped off the display with some pumpkin juice too!
The display came together quite nicely on Maggiepie’s vintage trunk, and we added a few details with leftover flowers, a set of keys, an owl feather, and the lantern by the bottom.
PS- The butterbeer was delicious. Yes, I drank it …
Ashley & Zach enjoy some Butterbeer too!
Ok, so now I get to gush about the seriously incredible duo that makeup Maggpie Vintage Rentals, Maggie & Jason. I met Maggie through my blog and we quickly got to emailing and found we had a lot in common.I was in awe of her and her fiance’s company – which they quit their jobs to start – and Iwas scheming ways to try and meetup. A few weeks before the shoot, and Abby & I were still without some pretty major details; so I emailed Maggie on a complete whim and much to my shock [and utter joy] she accepted.
Maggie & Jason are based in PA – they drove 3 hours (maybe more) each way, to help us out with the shoot. And obviously, you can see how much their stuff just MADE our styled shoot. The chairs, the suitcases, some glasses for the bar, the display tables, and table settings were ALL courtesy of Maggpie Vintage Rentals.
I was insanely stoked that Maggie & Jason agreed to be a part of our shoot … we could not have done it without them AND I was so excited to get to meet them in person. People, if you need a vintage rental company in the Northeast (PA, VA, NJ, DE) … hire Maggpie Vintage Rentals. They have more amazingness in their arsenal of vintage rentals, than I know what to do with. Check it all out here.
Maggie & Jason at work on the table setup!
We were super proud of the wine bottles with candle centerpiece. We saw the idea on Pinterest – but made it our own with just putting them in the center of the table, and using different sized wine bottles. What did you think?
No one had any idea how to fold a napkin, so Maggie & I set to work on how to best display the menu, to include the owl feathers! I tried the “roll-up” [yes, I made that up]and it seemed to work. Wendy’s Harry Potter inspired wedding menu is perfect, and so was her verbiage, “We will FEAST on….”
More from the insanely talented Wendy of Weswen Design. The Harry Potter Wedding Invitation Suite, in all it’s glory. Whimsical font, royal purple, an “aged” brown tint to the paper, an over-abundance of stamps on the envelope, and our RSVP response …
“____ Accepts: I wouldn’t miss this for the Quidditch World Cup”
“____ Declines: I’m not letting some crack pot old fool teach him magic tricks”
Ok this one was just too hilarious not to include. Yes, that is me, with my owl necklace. And yes, I am wearing 3d Harry Potter glasses. I am just too cool for words.
Melanie of MelleFleur made the bouquet, boutonniere, and other flower accents. Abby & I gave her an insanely generic “natural, lots of “wild” greens, eggplant purple, and make it magical” and THIS is what she came up with:
Can we say floral design genius? The twine around the handle was PERFECT.
Wendy nailed it again with our Harry Potter inspired wedding program. We wanted it to mirror the kookiness of the wizarding newspaper, The Daily Prophet, with it’s whimsical fonts, in different directions. Of course, Wendy hit this one out of Gringotts …
Ok now it’s time to gush about the hair, floral hairpiece, makeup, and the dress. We needed a dress and I knew exactly where to go – Stephanie from Punk Rock Bride. I 100% love her, her designs, and the fact that she is an alternative wedding dress boutique based in DC. She invited us into her studio to try on dresses, and we fell in love with the one Ashley wore below, from Punk Rock Bride’s 2009 collection, Elizabeth. Stephanie just released her 2012 collection – be sure to check it out!!!
The hair and makeup vendors came through Tyler ~ JLindsay Hair Design and Donna KZ Make-up. The hairpiece was by the insanely talented Zazzaretti Bridal. She had-made this gorgeous floral hairpiece and it PERFECTLY matched the dress, theme, and color palette. If you need a hair piece for your wedding … check out Zazzaretti’s Bridal shop on Etsy. You will not be sorry. Christina rules.
Zach’s brown grooms outfit was a bit more eclectic. We used my husband Andy’s brown chords [thanks babe!], his purple tie, and then Abby’s brother’s jacket & vest. I don’t think you would even know that we literally put Zach’s outfit together like a puzzle.
Ok, how could I NOT include this shot. hahahah!
Now, some of Abby Grace‘s amazing talent on display with the portrait shots. Just absolutely gorgeous.
At one of our first pow-wows, Wendy mentioned she had an old, vintage desk. We knew right away we had to find a way to include it. Not only does it remind you of Hogwarts, but we wanted to have a guest book station. Abby bought some quills, and we used a Fujifilm Instax Camera for the “guestbook”. We wanted to make the “book” look like a scroll … how’d we do?
Me & Wendy setting up the Harry Potter Guestbook Station
WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH! This might have been my longest blog post ever. But I just couldn’t refrain from showing everyone what went into our shoot and all the amazing vendors that collaborated to make it possible. We hope everyone enjoyed the Harry Potter Wedding Inspiration Styled Shoot as much as Abby & I did, putting it together!
It’s New York City’s Bridal Fashion Week, and Disney Weddings staged a beautiful fashion show for the 2015 Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings by Alfred Angelo collection. The highlight of the show was the revealing of the brand new Elsa-inspired wedding dress. We got a sneak peek at the beautiful gown earlier with a hand drawn sketch, but now, we finally get to see the real thing. Take a look at the amazing dress below:
The dress features subtle layering of satin, tulle, glitter net and organza to give the gown a soft and airy feel. And in true Elsa fashion, the room was filled with frozen fractals all around as snow fell on the runway.
Want to get a behind-the-scenes look on how the fashion show came together? Watch and see some of the other dresses from the 2015 Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings by Alfred Angelo Collection, as well as the Frozen touches the team brought to the show. Seriously, where can we get can Olaf ice sculpture?
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