Most married couples will tell you that the key to creating a special day is by making it uniquely yours.
The venue, the colour palette, the music, the dress – everything should be suited to you and your partner’s personality and style. Why not, then, incorporate touches of your favourite film, book, video game or TV show?
Be wed as Cinderella, in a Gryffindor cloak or surrounded by stormtroopers – the choices are endless! Here, Bridget Armitage of Melbourne Wedding & Bride delves into pop culture weddings by chatting with Jay Allen, managing director, marriage celebrant and wedding DJ/MC for Pop Culture Weddings (a branch of Wedding Sounds).
With more than twenty years of experience in the wedding industry and seven years as an authorised civil marriage celebrant, Allen holds a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to creating the perfect day. He founded Wedding Sounds and is still the managing director, offering celebrant services as well as DJs and MCs. The company is made up of a myriad of talented and dedicated staff, and it is no wonder that it has become Australia’s most awarded combined marriage celebrant and wedding DJ/MC. The Pop Culture Weddings branch of the company came about as Allen and his team noticed that they were receiving more and more enquiries from couples looking to incorporate touches of their favourite elements from pop culture into their ceremonies. The team, being proudly made up of many passionate enthusiasts across a range of pursuits, were eager to take on a service that specialised in providing this magic touch to a couple’s big day.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Before we dive into the details, Allen gives us a rundown of a pop culture wedding: “A pop culture wedding is a celebration where a couple incorporates aspects of their favourite ‘fandom’ into their special day.” The word ‘fandom’ refers to a passionate group of fans of a particular franchise, film, book, TV show, video game or other pop culture phenomena. “From beloved sagas like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to iconic franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, from Disney to the realms of Pokémon and Zelda, and spanning across genres from sci-fi to fantasy, comedy to horror, even professional wrestling — a pop culture wedding embraces these interests, deviating from conventional norms to create a wedding day that truly reflects the couple’s personalities and loves,” says Allen.
It was a no-brainer for the Wedding Sounds team to start its Pop Culture Weddings branch, as many of the staff are just as passionate about pop culture as the couples. “A majority of our team members proudly identify as passionate enthusiasts in various nerdy pursuits. Personally, I am deeply entrenched in the worlds of sci-fi and sci-fi fantasy, while another celebrant on our team is an avid gaming aficionado. We’re also fortunate to have a celebrant who wholeheartedly embraces their inner Disney princess,” notes Allen.
ONE FOR THE AGES
When asked to enlighten us of a particularly memorable ceremony, Allen was quick to provide the story of a special ceremony. “Around a year ago,” he begins, “I received an inquiry from a bride with an intriguing question: ‘Would you be open to conducting a ceremony while dressed in a Star Trek costume?’ Fuelled by excitement, I promptly gave her a call. She had me at ‘Star Trek’, and I asked her which specific era of the show she had in mind. When she mentioned ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, I immediately described the uniform, even pinpointing the movie in which this special uniform made its debut. And, to my delight, I happened to already possess that very uniform. This revelation sealed the deal, and she was fully onboard with having me as her celebrant,” he says.
Allen continues to reveal that the wedding became a unique combination of passions: Star Trek on the bride’s side, and The Blues Brothers on the groom’s. “These were two fandoms that one might not naturally associate, but as we conversed, it became clear that the combination would be nothing short of incredible. On the day itself, as the bridal party made their way down the aisle to the enchanting musical scores from various iterations of Star Trek, the bride’s father proudly donned an admiral’s uniform, while I stood in a captain’s uniform. It seemed fitting for me to not outrank the father of the bride,” he says.
Allen notes that the ceremony script was adorned with love and marriage quotes from both fandoms, masterfully blended to provoke laughter and heartwarming moments. “While this wasn’t my first wedding involving cosplay or dress-up, it certainly ranks among my favourites. Captured in a full Star Trek uniform, standing in front of a replica of the iconic car from The Blues Brothers, I found myself experiencing an unforgettable and uniquely peculiar moment,” he reminisces.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Though there’s no doubt that the team loves to go all out, Pop Culture Weddings takes pride in offering flexibility when it comes to the extent of pop culture references in your ceremony. “We offer a spectrum of options, ranging from subtle nods to beloved fandoms to full-fledged cosplaying, where everyone dresses up as characters from their chosen universe. Our approach extends beyond just pop culture weddings; even in more traditional ceremonies, we have woven in quotes and readings from various stories, music and fandoms. The level of incorporation is tailored to each unique couple’s preferences and vision for their special day,” says Allen.
Allen and his team leave us with this: “Breaking away from conventions is entirely within your grasp – after all, it’s your wedding day. Embrace the passions you both hold dear and infuse them into this momentous occasion. There’s no requirement for a full-blown, theme-driven cosplay wedding; the integration of your fandoms can be as subtle as you desire. It might be as simple as a welcoming line such as ‘ladies, gentlemen, muggles’ in the script or as elaborate as a full dress-up affair with groomsmen as stormtroopers. Your wedding day’s essence is truly yours to shape.”
Image courtesy of Pop Culture Weddings (Wedding Sounds)