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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rachel and Sean's Southern Gothic Wedding

Sean and Rachel

WHO BE YOU? Sean and Rachel of Augusta, Georgia. Sean works as an architectural software sales and support specialist and I have a degree in communications (journalism) and work as a newspaper columnist.

Rachel with her bridesmaids

WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY A 'SKULLY' WEDDING? Sean and I wanted to have a wedding that combined tradition (read: happy families) with a hefty dose of our own personalities. Sean, however, let me take the reigns for the most part and with that I conceived something of a Southern Gothic wedding with heavy nods to some of my favorite historical eras (at least in terms of aesthetics).

The venue was an old medical college built in 1806 in the Greek Revival style, which was pretty awesome by itself but even more so because it looked a lot like the place Sean proposed to me -- the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

We chose to hold the wedding at night because it's easy to get away with something a bit dark and extravagant, and the building is especially beautiful lit up after sunset. Best of all, though, it was elegant and elegance was the mood we wanted. A lot of "goth" themed weddings can sometimes come off as cheesy or faddish, but we wanted something that everyone, young or old, could come away from having been impressed.

The bagpiper heralds our entrance

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE WEDDING DETAILS: The invites were great previews for our wedding. I don't know how we managed to find them, but we found these layered invitations made of black, satin paper embossed with vining patterns and tied through with a pale pink ribbon. It was finding those that really cemented the color scheme for us -- they were at once dark and romantic.

The gown, however, was the centerpiece of everything. It was my own design made real by Starkers Corsetry, I wanted something that was very feminine and Silver Screen inspired yet obviously quite Gothic. Pink is my favorite color, so I chose pale pink Peau de Soie for the main material and heavy black eyelash lace for the insets and train. Fortunately, since pale pink and white are so close, my mother wasn't TOO horrified. Incidentally, I spent 36 hours hand sewing more than 5,000 glass beads to the lace and to the front of the corset. It's kind of amazing that none of them broke off and scattered during the wedding.

To top it off, I made my own fascinator cap of black satin, withered silk roses, and vintage French netting as a substitute for the traditional veil and as a period-appropriate accent to my 1940's hairstyle.

Finally, the cake was where our creepy little colors really showed. I also designed the cake (and the maker did an amazing job of making it just like the drawing), and for it we decided to have a traditional 3-tier with filigree-esque bats encircling each tier. It's no accident that the body of each bat was a heart shape. And, true to to form, we chose a devil's food interior with blood-red raspberry layers.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: There are almost too many to name. The frantic crush of my bridesmaids trying to lace me into my corset in time to walk down the aisle (with one, Tracy, threatening to flash me so I'd lighten up), the way Sean looked at me as he said the vows we'd written, the way we winged it through our first dance (no practice but it somehow looked quite choreographed on film), those all stand out, but they pale next to the moment right after we finished the recessional.

We had just been presented and had run up the stairs into the ballroom and away from everyone else, when I hugged Sean and rather unexpectedly broke down in tears. I think it was probably because I had wanted that moment so long -- we'd been together for 8.5 years at that point -- combined with the fact that it was a huge rite of passage in my life, and, something of a bittersweet one because my grandparents, who I was very close to, died before they could ever see it.

ANY ADVICE FOR WEDDING SKULLS: It's worth it to consider your families. I never looked at weddings as something that's just between two people, you are also being wed to each other's families, and that should be respected. I would never suggest sacrificing your beliefs or personalities, but when there's room to give, let it be.

For us, since my family is largely conservative Christian, we had readings about love and enduring through hardship (not religious, but something appreciated by all faiths), and instead of God or "God and Goddess" (Sean's pagan), we used words like Almighty -- as our nod to a universal higher power. In the end, everyone was happy and no one was left feeling uncomfortable or excluded, which was important to us.

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Anonymous Belle said...

So gorgeous! I love the dress - especially the beaded bodice.

January 8, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey congrats!! All the best, and great name.

Sean Southern,
Toronto, Ontario

January 26, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the wedding. It was gorgeous. You looked great. Everything looked AMAZING.

January 26, 2009 at 10:15 AM  

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