Chris & Courtenay’s Pirate Ship Wedding

Chris & Courtenay had a “Book Nerd/Steampunk /Pirate/Sci-Fi” themed wedding which was held on The Hawaiian Chieftain, a historical replica of a 1880’s trading ship. “We really wanted the wedding to reflect who we were, and a celebration of what we loved about each other,” the couple told me. “We wanted to be able to have a killer party with our closest friends and family and not compromise our tastes and values. Our venue came complete with cannons (which they fired off for us in celebration!) The double edge of this was a headcount of under 40, which was great to us, but some people just assumed they would be invited who were acquaintances and we had to explain this wasn’t an everyone in the world kind-of affair.”

Courtenay wore a custom dress from Dark Garden Corsetry and shoes from Fluevog. “The Dress is a combination of Victorian and Indian influences, made out of silk dupioni in lavender/gold and a wedding sari from an Indian bridal store in Berkeley,” the bride continued. “I knew that a dress from a traditional bridal store was never going to feel right. Mostly because of all the beautiful dresses available at those places they were never going to fit my curvy 5’2” short waist-ed frame. Autumn at Dark Garden was able to perfectly capture and create my personality and vision into an awe inspiring corset and bustle skirted wedding dress.”

In keeping with their theme, the whole wedding party and a lot of the guests dressed the part too. The groom wore a suit inspired by the movies Firefly and Stardust made by Laurie Tavan at Daze of Laur. He even added a firearm and sword! The bridesmaid’s outfits were also from Dark Garden and the groomsmen wore outfits hired from Costumes on Haight, San Francisco. “Almost everyone who attended got dressed up to the nines and looked fantastic,”  Courtenay explained. “My father went out of his way to get a 1890s cowboy style outfit with beaver felt hat and classic oil cloth duster, he was so handsome. My sister got a beautiful Dark Garden corset, and my niece and nephews got into the act with pirate/Victorian style costumes. For the first hour and a half people kept coming up to me just in awe of how beautiful it was that day, mid 70s and sunny, it was truly magical.”

“I think the most Rock n Roll thing was us, how we approached the whole day with humor and a little literary wit,” the bride concluded. “If the wedding had to be a musical genre I would call it folk-punk, or Steam-folk. We set out to have an amazing day and it turned out better that you could ever imagine. We wanted to live the quote “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Because it was about us, not a huge affair with doves and dollar dances and stuff being thrown about, we were determined to avoid bad DJs, crazy relatives we’d never met before, flower girls, ring bearers, punch fountains, ballrooms, chicken or steak entrees, towering confections or bored guests who couldn’t wait to leave. There were casualties of this of course, hurt feelings, traditionalists, and others, but at the end of the day it was about Chris and Courtenay celebrating their lives together, be happy for them or not that’s all there is.”

Huge love and thanks to Chris & Courtenay for sharing their wonderful wedding with us today and to photographer Rizza for sending over his images.

Photography Credit: Rizza Riz Photography
Venue: The Hawaiian Chieftain
Bride’s Dress: Dark Garden Corsetry
Bride’s Shoes: Fluevog
Bride’s Headpiece: Topsy Turvy Design
Groom’s Outfit: Daze of Laur
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dark Garden Corsetry
Groomsmen Outfits: Costumes on Haight, San Francisco
Invitations: Artful Beginnings on Etsy
Cake: I Dream of Cake
Flowers: Petals: A Flower Studio
Catering: Fork & Spoon
Band: Sour Mash Hug!


  1. Ok, this might be my favourite wedding you’ve featured yet – Pirates, Firefly and Stardust? A ship? A gold and lavander dress? This is about 8 different shades of awesome.

  2. That dress is infinitely awesome. I love the colours and the ruffles and the fact that it sparkles just a little bit. So pretty!

  3. Kate

    This is my favorite wedding to boot. You have had some cute ones that I’ve taken snippets and jotted down ideas from. But this one is just magical! THIS is my dream wedding ever since I was 5 and fell in love with Peter Pan!

  4. Lou Liddy

    WOW I think this may well be my fave wedding you have featured so far too. AMAZING. That dress is incredible. What a beautiful and fun wedding 🙂

  5. MrsEtoB

    How is it possible to get a waist as small as the one in the purple corset!?! Looks a lot of fun (not the waist cinching bit but the rest of it!).

  6. wiz

    The wedding was so amazing. Everything was so perfect. It was also incredibly beautiful coming back to SF with all the city lights. Many of us had corsets from the dark garden as well and I can say it was a one of a kind wedding!

  7. Anna

    Awesome. Bit scared by the waist of the girl in the purpley corset!! Anything inspired by Stardust gets my thumbs up!! x

  8. Becs

    Stunning, stunning Wedding, so true about the comment about doing things their own way and knowing that people will get upset but to be happy for them. It’s how I feel about organising ours, if I can organise something as beautiful as this I’d be over the moon happy. Congratulations to you both.

  9. wow, so original- massive props to everyone who got ‘on board’ with the theme (sorry i couldn’t resist)- what a fantastically dressed wedding party! x

  10. I saw the title of this post and knew i would love it already! I am sooo jealous of a wedding venue with cannons!! I’m still getting over the lady with the teeny tiny waist but LOVING how her dress matched her hair. This is my ‘if i had the balls’ wedding, i love it!!

  11. Pickle

    How amazing is this wedding!! I will have to hide th epage from my OH cause if he sees this he will want our wedding to be like this one! Getting married on a pirate ship is simply the coolest thing ever 🙂


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