Her Offbeat Partner: James, Geo-technician, Armourer and heavy metal drummer
Location & date of wedding: Spookers, Kingseat Hospital Grounds, Kingseat, New Zealand — 1 November 2008
What made our wedding offbeat: James and I met on an archaeological excavation five years ago, when I happened to look over my shoulder and notice a really cute grey amorphous blob (I’m legally blind) wearing an identical Iron Maiden shirt to mine. It took two years swapping our favourite metal albums and me running away from him before we eventually started dating. When we decided to get married, everyone knew it wouldn’t be the usual sort of white roses affair.
James and I would never have had a wedding if we couldn’t do something crazy and fun. Our biggest concern was that all our friends and family would have an awesome day hanging out with us. We also wanted to include elements of all our favourite things — heavy metal, Medieval and Viking history, horror films, lego and chocolate.
First, the venue… We came up with the awesome idea of having the wedding at Spookers — part of the old Kingseat Insane Asylum in Kingseat, south of Auckland — which has been transformed into a haunted house, forest and corn maze. They had an old circus tent we used for the ceremony, a blood-red banquet hall for the reception, and they would let all our guests through the attractions. Perfect!
Next, the outfits… I always wanted a red dress (the eye condition I have means that I detest white), and after months of searching I found the perfect one. Strangely enough, I’d seen it online hundreds of times and hated it. But I found it in a shop in Sydney and tried it on for a giggle, and it was perfect! That particular dress was $2000 — yikes! But I found it at Dress of your Dreams for only $500.
James chose his own outfit. I said he could show up in his Cannibal Corpse t-shirt and favourite ripped jeans if he wanted — all I wanted was for him to show up. He decided on a Saxon-style cloak, which he designed himself. We sewed them ourselves from four different colours of velvet, which James also chose, and clasped them with viking pins. We also made the shirts and the sword belts.
I made our invitations (scrolls sealed with skull and crossbones seals) and James designed our rings — based on a Saxon ring with the words ‘Twegan Gastus in Annes’ engraved around the outside. This is old English for ‘Two Ghosts as One.’
I don’t have much want of flowers, so we didn’t have them. Instead we carried lanterns. We didn’t have favors, or Save the Date cards, and we didn’t do a garter or bouquet toss. We did shout ‘Hail and Kill’ a lot, though.
Our entrance song was “Bittersweet,” by Apocalyptica. Our exit song? “The Gods Made Heavy Metal,” by the epic Manowar. We threw the goat as we exited the ceremony tent. Our reception music was mostly heavy metal, complete with an obligatory Manowar singalong.
Our biggest challenge: Our ring man — urgh. James drew up a ring design, and his mom gave him a cache of HER grandmother’s jewellery for him to melt down for the gold and garnets for the rings. He took this to a jeweller, who loved the idea, took the gold, took our measurements, and took our money and said he’d call in two weeks with preliminary rings.
Six weeks go by. We ring the shop. The phone is disconnected. We ring the cellphone, also disconnected. We go round to the shop, which has dissapeared. With no notice, and our heirloom gold.
Finally, finally, five weeks later, we get a tip from another shopowner of a phone number. We ring. He says “sorry,” brings over our rings which are nearly done, sans engraving. James gives him a rark up. He tells us they’ll be ready in a week. Three weeks later, we ring again. Finally, finally we have our rings. They were beautiful, perfect, but yee gods was that a nightmare.
My favorite moment: I could choose from so many — from the wonderful amazing help we recieved from our family and friends, to the epic stag and hens nights (no one parties like metalheads in love, trust me!), to the fact that James managed to forget the marriage licence and had to send his mum back for it.
But one moment really sticks out…
When I was walking down the aisle with my dad I couldn’t see anything because… well, I’m a bit blind. Suddenly, this tall, proud warrior steps into view, and he’s holding out his hand, and he’s smiling, and tears are pouring down his cheeks, and I know I’m never going to want for anything for the rest of my life.
My advice for other offbeat brides: A wedding is two things and two things only — a ceremony to mark your choice to commit to each other, and a wicked awesome party. Concentrate on those two aspects and forget everything else.