When my mate and I decided that we were ready to tie the knot, I already knew that I was never going to get my dream wedding of blue jeans and a T-shirt in the courthouse. Alternatively, I thought I would like to have a geek wedding. The next year and a half of planning taught me a lot of lessons about the trials of weddings in general, and geek weddings in particular. In order to help you on your journey while planning your own perfect wedding, here are the ten biggest lessons I learned.
1. Compromise. My husband wanted something more traditional, and I wanted a geek wedding that would have allowed me to cosplay. It is vital that both of you be willing to compromise when you run into a difference like this. We ended up with a blend of traditional elements and fandom. He got to see me in the white dress, and I got to walk down the aisle to the Imperial March. We both got part of what we wanted, but it was a challenge to get there.
2. Think about your guests. There’s a really good chance that most of your friends are from some aspect of fandom. There’s an equally good chance that at least one of you comes from a family full of people who aren’t. If we had decided on a theme wedding, the groom’s parents would have been horribly uncomfortable. This may not matter to you and your mate, but you have to decide if it does and adjust your plans be accordingly.
3. Don’t spend an extravagant amount of money. The wedding really is just one day, and spending too much can put financial pressure on you that can impact how successful your marriage is. Mutually decide up front how much how much you’re willing to spend, and stick to it. Save money where you can on small things so that you have more money to spend on the things that really matter to you.
4. Make your bridesmaids happy. Ladies, you probably asked your bridesmaids to stand with you because you’re friends. If you ask them to dress up like Wonder Woman, they’ll probably do it. They will also probably not be happy about it. If you’re asking them to spend money to participate in your wedding, don’t ask them to do something that will make them uncomfortable. Guys, this goes for the groomsmen too.
5. Decide what fandoms you’re going to reference together. There’s a good chance that your fandoms form a Venn diagram. In our case, I am more into comics than he is, but he’s more into console games than I am. He introduced me to Portal, we both love Star Wars, and we met over D&D. We wanted to stick to shared fandoms. Agreeing up front made deciding how we were going to integrate them easier.
6. Treat the help well. We got married in an Irish pub. It just so happened that Pi Day and the local St. Patrick’s Day parade fell on the same day. We knew in advance that it was going to be busy. We assured the manager that everything would be fine, made sure that all the guests knew it would be busy, and made sure that we had everyone out in time for the pub to still have their annual Irish wake. As a result, every single staff member we saw offered us congratulations and free whiskey. They also ran a tab for any guest who wanted one at the main bar, though they didn’t have to. We paid for the photographer to eat with everyone else, because no one wants to have their picture taken while eating fried chicken anyway. He stayed a little longer than he had to make sure we got group pictures. The moral of the story is that if you treat everyone you’re hiring with respect and consideration, they will go above and beyond to help you make your day perfect.
7. Be ready to explain your fan references, a lot. We had a Portal cake, and we probably explained the concept of a Companion Cube 100 times in the course of planning the wedding and the wedding day itself. Keep in mind that it is highly improbable that every single person you invite will get every geeky reference. The more obscure your references are, or the further from pop culture as whole, the more you will have to explain them. The guests are probably there because they care about you, and they want to feel like they are in on the joke. Look at it as an opportunity to share the things you love with the people you love, because otherwise being asked the same question about a hundred times will drive you insane.
8. Check out Etsy and Thinkgeek. Etsy is amazing. You can find dresses, jewelry, invitations, and anything else you might need for every fandom (or traditional wedding taste) and at almost any budget. Etsy also offers the benefit of supporting small craftsmen of all types. Thinkgeek has a bit of everything, but I found table decorations for my cake table, cufflinks for the groom and groomsmen, and some other neat stuff that helped integrate the fandoms we wanted to reference.
9. Set up an open Drop Box or Google Drive file for pictures and videos. Tt’s pretty much a given that someone will record the whole the thing on their phone, and that people will take a ton of pictures. An open file on Drop Box or Google Drive will let everyone come and see what shots everyone else took and put all their pictures in the same place. Now you have a ready-made digital album and can go have prints made of some of your favorites. I didn’t do this up front, and I wish I had.
10. Have fun. Something will go wrong. I guarantee it. Have a glass of champagne, brush it off, and roll with the punches. Dance with your new spouse. Laugh with your guests. It’s a day worth remembering, so make the most of it.