“Woodland party circus!” replied newlywed Kat when I asked her to describe her wedding. “At least that was the three things we kept saying to people when they asked what our wedding was going to be like.”
Kat & Mat were married at The Hideout, a bar and music venue in Chicago. “We really didn’t want to have a traditional banquet wedding, and we both wanted something that was very relaxed”, the bride continued. “The ceremony was an important part of the day for us but we also knew the party was equally important! We saw the reception part of the evening an opportunity to really celebrate with all the friends and family who had come from both close (a few blocks away) and far (as far as Australia). We racked our brains and both of us have some great memories of The Hideout. We spend a lot of time going to shows there and we even first met at one, so it seemed like a natural fit. I think the venue was what really made our wedding special and started to really define how we were going to work in the rest of the details.”
The theme was really a naturally evolving process, which started with the animal masks that Kat found on Etsy. “I actually found the fox mask first, which Mat liked, and the owl was just perfect for me”, she explained. “Later we discovered there’s a poem called The Owl and Fox that talks about the unlikely meeting of an owl and a fox and how they form a ever-lasting partnership. It was all just too perfect.”
Many couples shy away from heavily themed weddings, but I have to say when they’re done well they can be darn right incredible. Zoe & Chris’ masquerade wedding is testament to that! The Australian couple met before the ceremony with their closest family to have some quiet time, as well as time for photographs, before the festivities began. “Chris collected me from the hotel and we went to meet our close family at a beautiful inner city garden to crack some champagne and make a toast to the rest of the night,” Zoe explained. “This was a beautiful opportunity to spend some time with those closest to us before the party began. We got some beautiful photos in the afternoon light as well.”
Both the ceremony and reception were held at Uber Nightclub, Brisbane. “We are high school sweethearts and have been engaged for over 5 years,” Zoe continued. “During the ceremony we lit two pillar candles to symbolise Chris’ mum and brother who have passed away due to illness – these stayed lit all night in the room and was a beautiful reminder that they were there with us.”
“Our guests ended up nicknaming the night as the ‘Sexy Dream’ which is exactly what I was aiming for. I was inspired by burlesque, masquerade, sexy, mysterious and flirtatious. Chris and I both work in the music industry so our wedding was always going to be a little left of centre. Most of our friends are also in the music industry and I wanted the wedding to have the Rock n Roll element but wanted it to be glamorous and romantic at the same time. I also wanted the wedding to be interactive for the guests so when they arrived they were handed a small burgundy silk pouch full of gold pieces for the bar, they were asked to choose an antique key from a dress model at the door which they could then try in locks on bird cages throughout the venue which contained little goodies such as bottles of champagne, Charbonnel et Walker truffles etc. We also had an amazing photo booth running for the whole night which was a huge success and then once the guests had their photo prints, they could customer make their own take home mini photo album.”
“I absolutely recommend a DIY wedding,” the bride concluded. “You get so much more satisfaction with the final result and it means you can share some great experiences with friends and family bringing the whole thing together. It also means you can bring your dream to life just the way you pictured it.”
The bride wore a dress which she designed herself and handmade with the help of her mother. Her ‘mask’ was a black piece of lace, which she’d bought from etsy.
New Orleans has a lot of sentimental meaning to both Emily & Courtney. Although their wedding day in Virginia, they wanted a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme for the event. Their wedding photographer Crystal George explains, “Emily had been through some pretty difficult years and took a trip to New Orleans on her 28th birthday. During that trip she said she hit a turning point in her life. The city itself has been through so many difficulties and still perseveres with it’s culture and beauty, and she said it was an inspiration to her. At a large cathedral, St Louis Cathedral, there in the city she had a spiritual moment.”
“On her 31st birthday she revisited the city, bringing Courtney along. They had a civil ceremony and then visited the cathedral together. For their church celebration at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church (the images here) and their wedding party they wanted to continue that New Orleans theme. With an unpretentious black tie celebration and masquerade.
The reception was held at The Aviary, VA, and the couple crafted as much as they could themselves to fit the theme. “Emily is super creative and she says that her wedding she wanted to do her way, and feel like it had her fingerprints all over it,” Crystal continued. “The decor for the reception was all from the bride and groom’s own collection of things from New Orleans, including the dress and lingerie the bride wore for the civil ceremony.
“Emily wanted vivid color and a comfortable feel. She handpainted and blinged out the bridesmaids shoes and masks to match each girl’s personality. She also as customizing the earrings for the girls.”
“The bouquets were made by Skull Fly and had 5 removable pieces in them for the girls to keep and use later. They were a necklace, 2 hairpieces, a brooch and a hair clip. Skull Fly also made Emily’s bouquet and the boutonnieres for the men.”
“Emily & Courtney were working on a budget. They did specialty drinks for their bar, serving beers from New Orleans including Turbo Dog and Black Voodoo, and Hurricanes etc. Anything other than the specialty drinks was paid for by the guests. Their food was made by friends of the bride and included blackened Cajun shrimp, chilis and a sweet potato bar.”