Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sci-fi/fantasy Pi Day rainbow celebration with tanks!

Want to know about our amazing, stupendous, super-awesome wedding? So do I!

Was there a theme to your wedding? What was the general gist?
We love sci-fi, so it was a no-brainer for us to make that the theme of our wedding. And because we love Pi, too, the date of official Pi Day (3.14.15) was serendipitous!

We asked our guests to dress in sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk/comic gear, and prepare themselves for something not quite run-of-the-mill. It worked out just as we envisaged - about half our guests came in costume, including Kratos, God of War, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Alice and the Mad Hatter.

Stargate, Firefly and Robotech played a huge role in all our designs and planning and informed the type of venues we chose. We’re also weapon lovers, so right from the start we knew we wanted to have the ceremony and photographs at the SA Museum of Military History, surrounded by tanks and big guns.

We used rainbow colours to signify our belief in marriage equality, and my sister and parents, who flew up from Cape Town, made rainbow ribbon wands and table runners.

Michael's favourite sci-fi is Babylon 5, so we had Sin Bin make him an Army of Light uniform. I wanted a corset to show off my tattoos, and had always wanted one from Arwen Garmentry. She made me an orange halter-neck with a Serenity spaceship hand-painted in gold, while Sin Bin also made my (brown) skirts (out of curtain material), along with my utility belt - I wanted to be a Browncoat somehow!
We also designed our own rings - mine is Stargate and his is Robotech - so we started the sci-fi way before the wedding!Unfortunately we couldn’t get married in front of the mighty G6, but we still had tanks and guns surrounding us. We’d decided that we wanted someone we knew and loved to be our officiant, so to overcome the legalities we had a civil ceremony in the morning (which worked out perfectly as we were officially married at 9:26:53 like Pi Day bosses!). My ex-husband was our henchman and his wife had herself ordained as a Jedi Knight to perform our “real” ceremony. She brought a light-saber in lieu of a wand to perform an Unbreakable Vow!We made sure to do our our photos before the ceremony, which allowed us to greet guests as they arrived, calming our nerves and giving the sensation of a wave of joy as we entered, instead of the nerves a sea of faces would have created.

We had our henchparty walk in to the theme music from Angel, and then we walked in together to the Stargate SG-1 theme and walked out to Robotech.

As we are atheists and were adamant that we wanted no religion, we wrote our entire ceremony and vows, incorporating Klingon vows, the tale of how we met, and as many sci-fi and fantasy references as we could manage! Because Michael was afraid he'd break down if he read his own vows, we had Lauren read them out so that we responded individually or together. A big part of the vows was about how we were making our own family, like the characters on our favourite sci-fi fandoms. 

We got a laugh from the crowd when Michael started off by promising to stick around so he could see how my tattoos looked as I aged, and I promised to help him in his plans of world domination. 

Initially we were going to do a volcano unity ceremony, but in the end we settled for kitchen science and mixed clear vinegar water with purple red cabbage water, which mixed to form a bright red.

Instead of a first kiss, we fist-bumped, which is much more our style!

If you had a reception, what was it like?
We held our reception at a sports bar, because the Military Museum wouldn’t allow us to play music after hours (since they’re right next to the zoo). Our wedding planner, my sister and my best friend went all out setting up and making sure everything was perfect - to be honest we had only the vaguest idea of how everything would look so it was a pleasant surprise to walk in to a beautiful set-up that evening.  

My mom and aunt sewed the table runners - my sister bought the fabric in Cape Town based on my requirements of rainbow colours and “something spacey”; I didn’t even see it before it arrived. We originally planned on having 3D-printed spaceships at each table - as the tables were named after our favourite fandoms - but the printer broke down exactly four weeks to the day and we had to scramble for something else. In the end, Michael suggested that we set up photo frames, so the last week was spent printing A4 images and having frames cut from wood, adding glass, and spray-painting them black. We decided to let people take those home and added a photo booth so they could also take home pics of themselves and have a second strip to put into the guest book.As it was Pi Day, it made sense to have pies as part of the meal. Since I'm allergic to wheat, we had wheat-free pies made from coconut flour with our favourite fruit and chocolate fillings, and Pi cutouts. We had a spitbraai (BBQ) for the main meal, and the caterer even provided for our vegan guests and made sure everything was Halaal so our Muslim friends could enjoy it too. 

Oh, and you know how food is often the most talked-about aspect of a wedding, and people complain about how they had to wait too long? Because we did our photos early, no one had to wait, we ate at a reasonable hour, and we provided takeaway boxes for everyone to help us finish off the food, since we abhor waste.

We walked in to the metal version of the Pacific Rim theme, and had nerdy music playing during dinner, while we provided sci-fi movies for the TV screens at the venue.

My sister read Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt as her speech, and I did the only other speech, as we wanted to keep these to a minimum. Our first dance was to the theme song from Firefly, and then everyone came together on the dance floor, where our mothers danced their hearts out!

We had a photo booth with lots of sci-fi and fantasy props, and our guests got to stick the photo strips in our guest book (which Lauren had made by hand) and take home a set for fridge magnets.

What was the most important lesson you learned?
Things happen when least expected, and it's easier to just accept it and move along. At the same time, when you make plans, try to envisage all possibilities and eventualities. We made lists of the type of photos we liked, and passed these on to our photographers. But in the excitement of doing our photos, we completely forgot to have our henchparty with us, so we don’t have any decent pics of them in our professional shots. It also took months to get our venue(s) - we'd wanted to do everything at the Military Museum, but they wouldn't let us play music at the reception, so we had to find an alternative.

Our wedding planner was worth her weight in gold on the day of the wedding. There is no way we would have been able to set up while having a civil ceremony and getting ready before rushing through for photos.

The main thing I found was to trust the people who'd offered to help - they were outstanding. We couldn't have achieved what we did without them.

It was also important to have Michael help me in the planning. I mistakenly said in my speech that it was his idea to do the sci-fi, but it was actually mine, and his support and encouragement made it possible and helped us craft a wedding that was true to us and what we love.

Photographer: Perfect Photographic
Corset: Arwen Garmentry
Skirts, utility belt and Army of Light uniform: Sin Bin
Rings: Chris Winspear Jewellery
Wedding planner: Stacy of A Bowtique Touch
Pies: Thirteen13 Events
Caterer: Spitbraai Masters
Venue (ceremony): South African Museum of Military History
Venue (reception): Pirates Sports Club
Photo Booth: Funky Photo Booth
Music: Cream Cheese Professional Discos

Check out the pics and ceremony wording at our wedsite,!

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