I know what you are thinking, but I can assure you that this “Red Wedding” played out much differently than that of Game of Thrones. Everyone who attended is still very much alive, at least, as far as we know.
It’s been over 3 months now since I married the love of my life. Everything has finally died down. It is all done and we can enjoy the memories of our weekend with our friends and family that we hold dear.
Before the calm, we consistently got similar comments of just how much people enjoyed the wedding. Naturally you just take that as someone being polite. Obviously, I had never been married before, so as far as I knew, it was just a wedding like any other. We even heard at one point it was the best wedding that they had ever attended. My internal and sarcastic self automatically thought… this must be the first.
As I went through our wedding pictures, it reminded me of just how incredible that day truly was. Not just that day, the whole process spanning from our first encounter through to now has been incredible, but specifically April 13, 2019. The more pictures that I saw, opened my mind as to why people might have been genuine about our wedding. In simple terms, it fully reflected who we are, both individually and together as a couple.
In the beginning, I more so allowed my wife, to make the decisions on what she wanted. I just didn’t think I would care enough and wanted her to be happy. I quickly realized that I had more opinions on what I wanted in our wedding than even I was aware of. I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted, but I sure as hell knew what I didn’t want. Overall, we were on the same page with things. I think we were very fortunate in that sense. Two highly opinionated people planning a wedding…could have easily turned into a literal Red Wedding, amirite?
While, she took care of the planning side (her specialty) of vendors and that sort of thing, I naturally took over the theme side of the wedding. I have always been a creative mind and this wedding seemingly turned into a vessel for me to output all of my ideas. I didn’t have a list or anything, it all came to me as it went along. No matter how much closer the wedding date came, I continued to come her with new ideas or changes to existing ones. I always expected her to draw the line at some point and say “No! We have too many damn tasks, already!”, but she never did. In fact, it was quite the opposite. She was supportive and even enthusiastic about it. Slowly it wasn’t a wedding, it was our wedding.
I know, at this point, this post is teetering towards a “And you will never guess what happened next” article. I assure you this isn’t one. At least, that isn’t the intent, so let’s get into what I believe made our wedding so special for us.
As I said, we didn’t just have a wedding with the standard cookie cutter design, it reflected who we are. It is entirely true that weddings aren’t for the couple, they are for the guests. The memories are for the couple, but the eating, drinking, and dancing is for the guests. You are essentially going into massive debt to say “Hey, everybody come see how good I look!” – Ron Burgundy. It’s worth every penny though. While a good chunk of our budget, went to vendors and all the hidden fees of a wedding, we also allocated an amount to “Do It Yourself” (DIY) projects, which were the bulk of reflecting who we are.
To start, since Marvel began in 2007, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been an important part of our lives. We experienced Phase 1 separately, but started dating at the beginning of Phase 2. We have gone to every movie together within the MCU since. They aren’t just movies to see, they also represent stages of our relationship. With the last chapter of the Infinity Saga coming to a close, weeks after our wedding date, I thought it would be fun to turn our wedding video into an MCU style movie. Starting with a reenactment of the Avengers Assemble scene from the first ensemble film. I would have to take this dream and assemble a team of extraordinary groomsmen.
Initially, I was embarrassed to ask my groomsmen to do this skit, but my wife encouraged me to pursue it. As I spoke with each of them, it was relieving to hear that they not only would do it, but were excited to do something so ridiculous.
So I present to you the Red Wedding 2019 Avengers reboot:
As fun as it was, the Photographer was a bit pushy about taking the pictures while we were trying to coordinate the choreography for the video. It wasn’t the best start to what was meant to be enjoyable and that’s probably where my “Groomzilla” side came out, if it ever existed. Everyone had put their full efforts into doing this for me and they even added ideas that helped expand. It went pretty smoothly and we had it done in about 2-3 takes. The only downside is that I forgot to give my friend, playing Black Widow, the red wig. He still sold the part and his hair is red enough so it worked out in the end. I think the best part of these pre wedding shenanigans is that my dad was there. He wasn’t just a witness to the madness, he also helped with the behind the scenes of it all by catching the props off screen and throwing them back to my friends as needed. He provided endless time and attention to our wedding, but this was, by far, my favorite of his contribution. I can’t wait to see the final cut of it when the videographer is done. I’ll include that at some point.
Welcome to the Red Wedding!
As our guests trickled into the wedding venue, they were welcomed by a custom, one of a kind, sign giving them the feel and tone of our wedding, along with the schedule and themes that reflect who we are. It spanned just about any pop culture franchise you can think of and was pretty much all over the place in terms of theme focus, but it was exactly what we wanted. Starting with “Welcome to the Red Wedding…with a happier ending”, it was accompanied by the iconic three hearts from the Zelda video game series.
Below that was our Game of Thrones themed house banner with the name “House Redgrave”, which was perfect because my wife and I have made it a religious custom to watch every episode together on Sunday nights and the last season premiere date just so happened to be on the same weekend. (we set our date first, call us leaders) Naturally, our animal choice was a shark because our family is full of teal bleeding San Jose Sharks hockey fans. This banner provided a list of our Groomsmen and Bridesmaids with a movie poster feel. Each list being underlined by a specific wand from the Harry Potter franchise (it’s my wife’s thing) and the “one ring” dividing the two. (also my wife’s thing) I will say I enjoy the movies, but that’s about as far as I go. Finally, the sign ends with our program schedule, giving some of the events a silly twist to reflect our humor…mainly just gaming related. At the bottom of it all, I threw on the Zelda Tri-Force because why the hell not!? It’s a franchise that has been apart of my entire life and helped shape me. We managed to mash up many of our beloved franchises into this welcome sign and now have it hanging in our front room.
What’s In The Box!?
It wasn’t until our last meeting with the wedding coordinator that we learned of a card box. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this concept, as we were, it’s a box, in which the guests, who bring cards or money as gifts instead of a physical item, can put their card into. It is basically a wedding themed lock box. Since we were oblivious to the existence of such an item, we slapped one together the week before our wedding. Sure, we could have gone out and bought one, but we wanted the added stress. We came up with a very simple concept and themed our card box after the Mystery Box from the Super Mario Brothers franchise. Again, a game that has been apart of my whole life. At first, I designed one in Illustrator, but quickly realized it would be a hassle to print out and paste on. We ended up simplifying the execution down to painting the box, which we bought at our local craft store. It was a subtle inclusion to our wedding, but I think it turned out nice. It did, however, get a bit scuffed up since the wedding.
GTFO “A Thousand Years“!
The opening ceremony music was something that we struggled with for awhile. Looking through the popular songs used, we were just not able to find anything that felt like us or stood out. One thing that we knew was that it had to fit our identity. At some point down the rabbit hole, my wife came across pop culture themes done for weddings. With in that list was The Legend of Zelda Main Theme by the Vitamin String Quartet. As mentioned, Zelda was a big part of my life growing up so when I heard this version of the legendary theme music, it won my heart over instantly. I was in love with it and had to use it for the walk in of the wedding party. I still find myself going back and constantly replaying the song on Youtube. It really added to the tone of our wedding and I am so glad we came across it. It probably helps that I am a sucker for older classical style music.
Unlike the opening music, I was fully set on what I wanted the main ceremony music to be, while my wife to be was walking down the aisle. It’s from a show on HBO that I became addicted to, called The Leftovers. This show is very emotionally heavy and probably hard for a lot of people to watch, but I stuck through it and became enthralled by the score. The composer, Max Richter, took an already impacting show and amplified everything with his score, The Departure. I was very much set on wanting to use this and fortunately, my wife was willing to use it, even though she should have realistically picked what it would be. I think she was just happy to see me enthusiastic about something music related for our wedding. (Picking the music for the DJ to play during the reception was torture) I even took the time to coordinate what section of the song to start playing and the timing for her to walk to hit the dramatic notes as she turned to the aisle. Rest assured it was beautiful AF, and appropriately, just as heavily emotional for me to see.
To close out our ceremony we walked down the aisle to Queen’s “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. It was her choice, I would have picked Bohemian Rhapsody, but it probably wouldn’t have been very appropriate for the occasion.
Can I Buy A Vow?
As we searched the inter-web for wedding vows to use, it was quickly that we established the standard vows are so cliche and cheesy. If I’m going to be cheesy, it will be my own damn words! We were on the same page that we wanted something more personal than we were able to find. It was probably should have been the most stressful part of the ceremony for me, but I was relatively calm at the idea of writing my vows. I was probably more concerned that I would write it properly more than I was concerned of what to say. I won’t give away what we said because you should have been at the wedding if you wanted to know. Lesson learned…but I will tell you this, both were full of thought, love and creativity. We basically spoke about our “story” leading to that day. Obviously, I included stuff about my cats. A couple inside jokes were thrown in their that guests were probably thinking “WTF?”, but that’s okay because she understood the references. Overall, I was very proud of what I wrote and smitten by what she had. They were perfect for us.
I’m Her Precious…Right!?
As was established earlier, my wife enjoys the fantasy theme. She is largely knowledgeable with The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings. It makes gift searching a lot easier for me. At one point, I bought her a replica of the “one ring”, her precious, if you will. We decided to play off of her fandom and had the officiant ask her to remove the “one ring to rule them all” and put on the “one ring to rule Steven”. It was a well executed gag that had the guests laughing. Mission accomplished!
1 Part PB, 1 Part Nutella, 2 Parts Love
Apparently a newer wedding trend is to mix something as a symbolic representation of becoming one family. I think…honestly, I didn’t really go too deep into researching it because I just think it’s silly. There are other variations like melting candles together and combining dyed waters. None of them sounded like something we wanted to do. Naturally, we didn’t plan to do it at all, but then I had to go and make a joke at the meeting. I said we should make a sandwich from something we both like and eat it. As I laughed, the gears started turning in my head.
Anyone who knows me, is fully aware of my love for peanut butter. You make a peanut butter version of something, I’m probably going to want to try it. To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t developed an allergy yet. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t share my enthusiasm. Nutella is her kryptonite. It was the perfect combination to make light of this section, but still incorporate it as its apparently standard now. Obviously, making the sandwich would have been quite awkward and time consuming during the wedding, so we prepared the ingredients early by cutting a bread slice into two small pieces, putting peanut butter on one side and Nutella on the other. As simple as that sounded, we simplified it down even more to the point that all we had to do in the ceremony was take our halves and place them together. It was a fun and lighthearted take on this popular trend.
For me, the most complicated part of planning our wedding was the seating chart. Organizing groups of people to each table while trying to keep them happy was stressful for me. No matter what combinations we came up, I feared someone would be upset. We tried to combine groups that would have things in common or just feel comfortable in socializing. As far as I know, it worked out well enough. We ended up with 12 tables with 8 people at each. Instead of providing a traditional list of names tied to a table number, we decided to turn it into a small tamed puzzle. Our enjoyment of escape rooms sparked our interest in making a more engaging process to something as simple as sitting down. We found a self standing french door in the venue craft room and used that as our legend for seating. Each window of the door was used to list our guest’s names under a logo based on themes for each table. I suppose it is just another unnecessary step to the seating chart, but it was enjoyable to incorporate the themes of our interests. Mainly, they were pop culture franchises, but we also had others.
The Center of Attention
Along with the seating chart, the tables included centerpieces that matched those themes. Each one included a science flask (my wife is a scientist) with flowers and a logo card for that table theme. The flasks were labelled with something clever within the universe of the theme with dyed water to add color to the display. An example is our “superhero” table, which had the flask labelled “Super Soldier Serum” with a bright blue coloring to represent the serum that created Captain America. The tables also had small knick knacks associated with the given theme.
Who Wants A Favor?
Going along with the science flasks, we put together wedding favors that looked like test tubes. The tubes were filled with custom wedding themed M&Ms, which matched the colors picked for our wedding. We didn’t come up with this idea until it was too late to order them on the M&M website, but luckily with enough amazon browsing, we found some third party sellers that had what we were looking for in bulk. Each guest’s favor had their name printed on to a label. My wife went a step further and put bar codes on the labels, giving them a simple message of “Thank You” when they scanned them on their phones. We thought it would be nice to have more personalized wedding favors for guests to enjoy.
The most satisfying portion of our decorations, for me, is the shark head frame we created for the entrance that the wedding party used to walk into the reception hall. We based this on the San Jose Sharks hockey team pregame introduction. I large Shark head is lowered onto the ice and the players skate out through the mouth. It’s a fun atmosphere at the games and I wanted to incorporate that into the wedding. My original plan was to cut it out with colored paper, but that idea seemed harder as I searched for the right materials. My wife then came up with the idea of using fabric instead. At first I thought it would be too heavy, but we went to the local fabric store and found some useful rolls in the colors needed. We laid out the dimensions needed for the doorway and designed the border. The actual execution took a few days to create, but we were able to get it done and look better than I had initially envisioned. Most of that is thanks to my wife who seemed to take on the task with her experience with fabrics. Once we got to the venue and were able to pin it up on the door frame, I was able to fully see how impressive and satisfying the project really was. Oh and did I mention that the wedding party was introduced to “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin? Because that definitely happened and now Thor has the second best intro to that song. Sorry, Thor! …I’m not sorry.
The Cake Is A Lie…Or Is It?
After all the speeches and dinner, we were ready to cut the cake. We might have gone overboard with the flavors, but the idea was to cover all types so the guests would have flavor the really enjoy. Instead of having a huge cake to cut for all the guests, we went with a smaller cake to cover the main wedding party and then had a variety of cupcake for everyone to eat. The cake itself, was pretty traditional looking. It was a 3 tier cake with a faint white marble design and teal ribbons wrapped around. It was intended to have a “shark bite” taken out of the side to go with our theme, but I personally found the execution of that portion to be very lackluster and disappointing. The pitch we got was that it would be very similar to the popular geode cake design, but instead of the whole crystalizing look, it would look like a shark bite. I think that aspect of the cake fell flat for me because I had such an amazing image in my head.
Over all the cake was nice and we added custom wedding toppers of our cats and dogs to the tiers leading up to ours on the top. It was a nice representation of our family. It was especially important for me to add them because I was not able to include my pets in the wedding, which originally was an important thing.
Unfortunately, the more I thought about it, the concept just wasn’t realistic to bring them and stress them out or even have to worry about their safety the whole weekend, which I would definitely have done. The cake toppers were a nice addition to still feel like they were represented, while being able to be comfortable and relaxed at home. The cupcakes were exactly as you would imagine. They had green dye for the cake portion and metallic grey wrappers. The frosting had different colors, depending on the flavor of cupcake. We put decorative shark fins on top to continue with the theme of the cake.
On the side, we had plates full of the Game of Throne themed Oreos that released as a season promotion. As soon as I learned of these cookies, I rushed to the store to buy them.
Finally, we included “cat napkins”. This isn’t necessarily a desert item, but if you will need a napkin to clean up after eating, it might as well be a cat napkin. Besides, as a cat dad, I am legally obligated to have such nonsense items in my wedding.
Here is the link to find these napkins on Amazon:
Trust Only Those Who Drink
One thing that was a must for our reception, is that the guests had plenty to eat and drink, and that they didn’t have to limit their fun to drive back. Especially the wedding party, which all contributed so much time and effort to help decorate, prepare, and execute such a lovely wedding. We chose a venue that would allow them to stay overnight and just enjoy the evening. We included an open bar because as the Red Wedding had established, trust only those who drink! Not only did we make sure our guests never had an empty glass, but we also added our own flavor to it by brewing our own beers. My wife chose to make a German Hefeweizen and I picked a Kolsch. Given that we got engaged at Oktoberfest in Munich, it felt appropriate to include such beers. I think the Hefeweizen had an issue in the fermentation process, which gave it a lingering banana after taste, but it was still decent. My friend just labelled it a “Banana” on the sign, which I don’t think it helped much. My wife also picked out specific wines for the bartenders to serve and place on tables. There was a red and a white wine available. I am not exactly sure why because I don’t like wine, but I can tell you it was apparently important.
As I said, Our Red Wedding…
Our wedding ended up being very much unorthodox, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way. All of these little creative additions came together and molded our wedding, giving us these priceless memories with our friends and family. We refer to it as our Red Wedding, not just because of the Redgrave name, but also because the reminder of who we are and where our journey together has brought us.
I am thankful for everyone who has been apart of my our lives and made the trip to support and celebrate the biggest part of my life, other than the creation of the MCU. As someone who stresses easily over practically everything, at the end of the evening, I was able to sit back and admire just how lucky we were to have so many loved people join us and send us off to the next chapter of our lives. I use to be shy about showing my “nerdy” side, but on this day, I not only showed who I am, but was proud to represent it with my wife to everyone in attendance…and now you.
Me (Playing myself)
Wife (Playing herself)
Everybody Else (You get the idea)
After Credit Scene
The Red Wedding Avengers won’t return…she won