Mark and Leslie: A Renaissance & Fantasy Wedding!

Planning a wedding should be an olympic sport. But I did it, I did it on a budget, and I did it in a uniquely themed and memorable way. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the decor and props from our wedding, meant as inspiration to anyone who is interested in throwing a Renaissance or fantasy style wedding! Some other elements we styled into our wedding include medieval, gaming, fairy tale, Harry Potter, and LARP. It was a dream come true for the both of us! Happy wedding planning, and I hope this post inspires you!

Photos courtesy of Knot Just Any Day Photography (and worth every penny)!

Our programs were rolled up into scrolls, tied with red ribbon, and lined up in wooden chests. I also put a tissue box on a decorative gold stand and made a themed sign, for anyone who might be crying. Behind this table was a very gothic candelabra with 3 large candles on it. The ring bearer’s tray (seen on the bottom shelf) was a silver tray that I hot glued a piece of red velvet to. Here is a what our program looked like!

The church was old and gorgeous. The wooden pew/seats were so appropriate for the theme. Stained glass makes everything look so classic. My mother framed our family crests for us and we hung them on either side of the altar. We were handfasted, a Celtic tradition, which of course I insisted upon. Our cord was created and braided by the both of us, with gold for wealth, white for new beginnings, and red for love. We also added unique charms to represent our family members.

I created a tribute to our family in photos, and adorned the fire place with all of their pictures! I designed small standing medieval banners containing our hashtag, to label desserts, and to showcase our photos. My dad took our family crests and combined them in this one-of-a-kind and very Renaissance-y family crest shield. I love the swords!

I designed custom signs for around the whole hall, including signs for the bathrooms. Go big or go home, right?

My beautiful bouquet was designed by my aunt, a florist. I went for a very colorful Renaissance and fairy tale styled bouquet. I feel like maybe fairies were living in it!

My cousin designed an elvish circlet for me :3 I felt like an elf princess!

The reception area was glorious, like a lodge mixed with a cabin. It was perfect for the Renaissance themed festivities! Custom tablecloths in gemstone hues really made this room look like a great banquet hall! I loved the way the ceiling looked, and the giant windows made all the colors burst!



The food was delicious, and set out on a long table like a banquet. You can also see the felt pennants I designed for above the bar. Medieval pennants and banners really added a lot to the theme!

In lieu of a cake, we went for a variety of colorful desserts, which absolutely worked for the theme. The dessert table was decorated to look luxurious and period by using fresh fruits and berries, as well as intricate gold mirrors and the tops of fresh roses. My sister decorated a cupcake tower by spray painting it gold and adding lace. Our cake toppers were just toys; who can afford to pay more than $5 for cake toppers?! We had a framed photo of our engagement picture, taken at the Renaissance Faire, with some swords behind it.

We made D20 ice breakers for every table! Of course, D20’s are a tribute to Dungeons and Dragons. We did meet at LARP, after all. And every table also had a bottle of honey mead and red wine, from the Renaissance Faire where we got engaged. See the full size D20 ice breakers sign here.

I created fun fact signs for our tables, so people could get to know us a little better. My aunt designed magical white rose and moss wreaths for the center pieces, and I also added a couple medieval standing pennants to tell people about our hashtag.

Our favors were soap, with custom renaissance themed labels made by me! We also added in gemstones and coins for the kids. All the favors were in a giant treasure chest!

Paper crowns, inflatable swords, treasure chests, and custom coloring books using coloring pages from old D&D books made the kids table perfect. We added gemstones and pirate doubloons to our favors treasure chest, which contained soap for the adults, so that the kids could go get some treasure too! No kid wants soap!

Our table was my favorite. We felt like the King and the Queen in fur draped chairs sitting at a fruit adorned table. It was decorated with evergeen boughs and of course, wine. What luxury!

Real fruit in a dish, medieval felt pennants, a dungeon behind the bar, and some period tavern rules helped to create the bar’s mood. I also set up some barrels and gargoyles around the room, to give the room a very tavern feel. I added even more atmosphere to the bar with a “Wanted poster” of my husband’s LARP character. We found cardboard knight cut outs for cheap, but that really added to the vibe! The real pewter mugs were the perfect finishing touch! The barkeep’s tip jar is a wooden chest and next to it is a sign that says “Poor tippers will be locked in the dungeon.” Here is a what our bar menu looked like!

Our “Well Wishes” table was designed to look like an alchemist’s lab or a Potions class at Hogwarts. People would brew us a love potion by writing down their love advice on notes and putting them in our cauldron. See the full size Love Potions sign here.

The most important part of any renaissance wedding, besides the bride and groom, is COSTUMES. Make sure your guests and bridal party dress up! By the way, my mom MADE my dress, and it cost about $90 worth of material. Talk about getting married on a budget! Isn’t she so talented?

Action shots are a must have! Now I demand you go and find yourself a cold mug of ale, or mead, and celebrate with me! I’ve been married 6 months already, but Mark and I still shout “Huzzah!” every day like it’s our wedding all over again. Alright, maybe we don’t. But we should.

To view the entire album, click here!

Photos courtesy of Knot Just Any Day Photography (and worth every penny)!

Wedding Planning 101: 7 Things I wish I could have told myself before the big day

1. Keep your husband-to-be involved, even in tiny details. He’ll tell you if he thinks you are getting annoying.
Correct me if I am wrong, but typically, women tend to do most of the thinking, planning, choosing and organizing for the big day, versus their husbands. I mean, we’re pretty good at it. We have a vision! But there were times when I was on the psychotic Bride roller coaster, and I’d accidentally leave my husband behind. Surprise, surprise – he wanted to be involved in it all! And why shouldn’t he be, it is his big day too. I hated thinking I was annoying him with tiny little miniscule questions or details that he didn’t care about, but truthfully, it’s better to over-annoy him and ask him to tell you when to back off, versus leaving him out of the rush and thrill of the planning. Mark socked it to me a few times when I didn’t run something by him, and it not only showed me that he did care about the details, but wanted the day to be an “us” project and not just a “me” project. Totally “Aww” worthy.

2. Things will not go the way you plan. Things will not go the way you plan!
bartending
Bartending on my big day with my pal Kristina, because the party was still raging, but my bartender was off the clock! Turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the day.

The wedding I had in mind is not the wedding I got. It was truthfully, much better. But you have to be flexible, and adjust your attitude at the drop of a hat. If you get hung up on expectations, then when you get something different, you will be disappointed, even if it isn’t necessarily “worse.” Your expectations should be: “To marry the person of my dreams in front of friends, family and God (if you’re into that).” And that’s freaking it.

3. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit of a Bridezilla.
When you get engaged, of course you feel like the happiest person ever, lounging about on Cloud 9, in a state of perfect bliss. But actually, you’ve just been hired on for a job that is painful, stressful, and requires a lot of work. Sorry guys and gals, but it’s true! Friends and family will have expectations of you to delegate, have a plan, and make use of their abilities. So try to focus on making decisions and doling out work. Your friends and family want to help you, so you’ll have to give them stuff to do.

4. Take moments during your wedding day to do nothing, but just soak it in, and observe.

Mark battling his way to me, during Capture the Bride. Many of our guests had boffer and latex LARP weapons and were ready to kick his ass!

You might be in such a rush to run around and enjoy the day, flitting about like a happy little freaking butterfly. You’ll be constantly talking, dancing, and scuttling about, like a crazed lunatic, that you’ll forget to focus on the moment. Take a moment (or several) to stop, sit down by yourself, people watch, take a mental picture of the guests, decorations, sounds, and smells… and then return to the action. These little breathers really became great mental photos for me.

5. Keep track of what you spend, and stick to your budget.
Well.. we WERE keeping track when we first started planning… right up until about 2 months before the big day. Then it all started going to hell. Things will get hectic, but create a spreadsheet and track every dime you spend! This way you can see what your budget was and where you measured up. It’s also good practice for post wedding financial planning and budgeting with your hubster.

6. Ask a bridesmaid or close friend to force feed you during the day.


Mark and I with our friend, Ibi, who is an ambassador for the United Nations.

You, or someone, paid a lot of money for that delicious food, and you probably won’t find time to eat. Ask someone to get you food on the day, before the big day. Then tell them to make you sit down for a minute, and scarf it down. Even if you aren’t hungry, the food is going to be delicious, and you will want to remember how it tasted!

7. Nothing will go wrong on the day.

My niece Maddie, as my flower girl, walking up the aisle with me. Primadonna.

Things are going to take on a life of their own on the day. One of your bridesmaids might get wasted-face, and sing a rousing rendition of “Don’t rain on my parade” by Barbara Streisand on the head table. Your crazy Uncle might take his shirt off, and spend all night hitting on the bartender. Or the 2 year old flower girl might refuse to walk up the aisle on her own, and instead walk up with the bride and father of the bride. But whatever it is, the mistakes and mishaps will make the day. It will be perfect. Remember: It’s your wedding day. Enjoy the shit out of it.

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What advice would you give yourself pre-wedding? Leave it in a comment and let me know!

The Renaissance Wedding: Activities for the Kids

In case you guys didn’t know it, I’m engaged to a particularly fantastic guy named Mark! He proposed to me at the Renaissance Faire in August. So we’re in the midst of wedding planning. Because we’re geeks, we’re using an appropriate theme: Renaissance! And because wedding planning is particularly mentally consuming, I am starting a segment on the wedding to showcase everything, titled “The Renaissance Wedding.”

So what do you do for the kids who will be showing up at your wedding? Kids tend to get bored easily, and you want them to have a good time, right?

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I’m compiling what I like to call “Kid’s Kits” for their seats. My first project: Themed coloring books! I’ll be printing out these babies, along with several other fun pages. The nice thing about coloring books is, they will just cost you next to nothing. Simply print out 10 pages, hole punch 3 holes in them, and tie them together with twine or ribbon.

I designed the front and back cover, as seen on top, and I found a lot of really awesome fantasy art online simply by Google image searching “Keyword + coloring.” And it’s so completely easy to match this to any wedding theme. If you’re having a comic book wedding, there are far too many superhero coloring pages. How about a wedding on a farm? Abundant farm animal pages. You can even try to find images of you and your future hubby’s personal favorite things: like animals, food, or hobbies. Make sure to include a note telling the kids what the images are all about!

Most of the coloring pages I found for my theme were from Tabitha Ladin and the Official Dungeons and Dragons coloring book. The book will contain scenes of dragons, fairies, unicorns, gnomes, trolls, jousting gentlemen, fair maidens, and castles.

I’ll be making sure these coloring books are at their tables along with some crayons, chocolate gold pirate coins, fairy dust, medieval bingo, and maybe some disposable cameras. Kids are pretty artistic you know! My additional plans include to set up a pop-up castle/tent, and have a designated kids area. If they have their own fun space, they’re sure to keep each other entertained.

The inspiration for this post came from this article from The Knot Blog: 11 ways to keep kids busy at the wedding.


What sorts of things do you think best entertain kids at weddings? Let me know in a comment!