Michelle and Will’s Moonlight Wedding: Sailor Moon and Art Deco Inspired
Okay, no laughing allowed. I had a Sailor Moon themed wedding.
But perhaps not the rainbow colored, anime-poster ridden melee of sad artistic choices that you are expecting. Since my groom and I are fairly fashionable adults with an pretty serious otaku problem, we finally landed on the perfect mash up of classy and nerdy for our big day: We had an art deco Sailor Moon-inspired wedding.
The plan was to have an elegant, grown up wedding, with a highly stylized injection of Sailor Moon design into every nook and cranny! Utilizing the extensive archive of beautiful Sailor Moon imagery, such as the lockets, wands, and symbols from the manga and anime, as well as the influence of Art Deco moon and stars designs, pulling together the decor, graphics, and fashion into an elegant nerd wedding was an event planner’s dream! As a professional event producer for Bubble Punch, as well as working in a hotel for most of my college years (100+ wedding receptions and lived to tell the tale!), I had extensive wedding planning and decorating experience under my belt, and was confident I would be able to do something unique, yet totally otaku-driven, to suit our tastes. Keep in mind, despite all of this, it was STILL SUPER DUPER STRESSFUL since it was my own wedding, haha! But here I am, mind in tact, and ready to tell you all about it!
I just wanted to hop on my soapbox quickly and tell everyone that YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE ANY KIND OF WEDDING YOU WANT. I think a lot of readers have been amazed that my groom “allowed” me to do this, but the fact is that we were both equally excited about the theme, the nerdy music, and decorations, because it spoke to our common interests. So don’t be afraid to flaunt your nerdy side in public, and especially not at your wedding! It’s your day! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! WOO!
Below is a summary in photos of the wedding, then after that is a breakdown of Fashion, Graphics, and Decor notes and DIY links for everything! THIS POST IS LONG, BUT HANG IN THERE, IT’S TOTES WORTH IT. Thank you so, so much to Shannon Cottrell for all of the amazing photos!
Play the video and get teary eyed while the magical music plays in the background!
On December 6, 2014 at 5:30AM, I rolled myself out of the giant bed in the honeymoon suite we got in the Millenium Biltmore in Downtown LA. I slept for about 2 hours. My maid of honor Yume Ninja told me the suite was haunted so that’s why we couldn’t sleep. Goddamned ghosts.
I clipped in all of my hair extensions and just started braiding and pushing my hair around until I got it where I wanted it. No, I did not do a hair “trial” by myself haha. I just winged it, and it was pretty good IF I DO SAY SO MYSELF! The other bridesmaids arrived as well as the awesome Tess (@TESSXMONEY on Instagram y’all! Hire her! She’s in NY!) came to do makeup. I ate a sausage egg McMuffin and sat down for makeup like a goddamn lady.
Yume putting in Mandie‘s star circlet (she’s Sailor Mars!)
Some portraits before the groom arrived. Can you spot the Crescent moon wand? hehe.
Then we did A LOT of cute portrait photography but I’ll do a quick rundown here (You can find the rest in my flickr set!)
Bride’s Bunny Shoes! In Japanese folklore, there are rabbits pounding mochi on the moon, plus they’re my favorite animal (duh, my username is iamchubbybunny!) so there were a ton of rabbits strewn throughout the wedding!
Our rings. The diamond shaped one is my engagement ring, which belonged to Will’s great grandmother from the 1900s. We designed our rings to have the same leaf pattern, and for mine to be “moon tiara” shaped, with a moon etched into the center of it and set with diamonds.
Then we walked 1 block over to the Oviatt Penthouse, a wonderful 1920s historical landmark located on the rooftop of the Oviatt Building (There’s some history about it here!), where our ceremony and wedding were being held. The space boasts a living room, bedroom, dining room, huge outdoor space for ceremony and reception, and and a 3rd level terrace lounge near a clocktower! It’s like a million venues in one!
Tuxedo Mask’s hair was painted to match the groom. I made the topper with some posterboard, confetti stars, and a plastic moon that I spraypainted gold! The figures are Puchi Charaones here :)
Our signature drinks for the night were the Copper Moon, with bourbon, ginger ale, and angostura bitters, and the Starlight Princess, with rosé champagne, berries, and elder flower liqueur.
Lots of paper decor we saved from our Shojou Manga-themed engagement party a year earlier!
Guestbook and Bride & Groom grass bunnies I decorated! The veil on the bride bunny is actually a remnant from my own veil! I also added a little moon to the front of the bunny’s veil to emulate my own tiara :)
We were very proud of our music choices, nerdy as they were!
Processional: Fragments of Memories, “Potions” orchestral version, from Final Fantasy 8 (theme from the town Winhill)
Bridal March: Otome no Policy (乙女のポリシー ; “A Maiden’s Policy“) , Piano Fantasia version, the Sailor Moon R ending theme song.
Recessional: Sakura Kiss, Strings version, opening theme song to Ouran High School Host Club, anime version. (I always get chills when I listen to this song! So pretty!)
The only “cosplay” at our wedding were our sweet “star” girls, dressed in Serenity dresses my mother made for my nieces. They threw paper stars and moons instead of flower petals.
And our ring bearer, the groom’s nephew, wore Tuxedo Mask’s medallion and snuck the mask into his front pocket, hehe.
Our photobooth was expertly done by Snap Yourself! with the moon being hand made by my talented friend Kate Walsh! I cannot stress enough how important it is to have professional, reliable photographers run your photobooth! These photos were definitely a huge hit and such a fun way for guests to play during the cocktail hour!
Each dinner table was named after a planet, with the corresponding planet/senshi symbol. The centerpieces were a large Silver Imperium Crystal made of glass, and lit from underneath.
Lit up at night.
We really loved the music of Guardians of the Galaxy (who doesn’t?) so our Grand Entrance was to the tune of “Hooked on a Feeling“, and Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back“, so of course our first dance was to… Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” Our father/bride and mother/groom dance was Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon.
Lovely speeches by our friends! The venue had a large projector screen that we kept a running slideshow on throughout the night.
Our cake was a simple white cake with butter cream frosting, which our too-kind guests raved about for days after.
Instead of a regular bouquet and garter toss, we opted to throw plush bunnies I had made! It was a hoot, and I’m really glad we found an alternative for the awkward garter toss, too! And of course, I couldn’t throw my Moon Rod at someone either, haha.
Damn, these boys WANNA GET MARRIED.
For myself, I undertook the craziest plan of all: making my own wedding dress. It is supposedly bad luck to make your own wedding dress, but I did TRY to go out and look at ready made ones… and the only things I really liked were about $30,000 (HAHA WHAT). So, instead of throwing away my entire wedding budget on that, I decided, foolishly, to make my own of my own design. Keep in mind, I am NOT a NOVICE seamstress.. I’ve made quite a few complicated costumes and gowns for the various balls and conventions I attend regularly, so I thought this would be easy. But I ALSO thought…. well… it should be SO SO SPECIAL and MORE COMPLICATED THAN ANYTHING I HAVE DONE BEFORE and use MATERIALS that I have also never used before, and oh, use techniques I have NEVER USED on anything I’ve made before either. ALL of these things I overlooked were what really bit me in the butt later, haha! I WAS A FOOL! If you are making your own wedding dress STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW but use nicer fabrics or something! You see, I had never EMBROIDERED anything (by hand nor digitally) nor hand sequined anything before. Ever. So of course I made it INTEGRAL to the entire design of the dress. Through many mess ups, and tears, the unending support and manual labor of one of my bridesmaids Aimee, and the MANY HANDS of my friends who came over to sequin over a 3 month long period, I was able to complete the most impossible feat: MY WEDDING DRESS. The entire thing took about 4 weekends or so of planning and patterning and altering, endless trips to the fashion district to search for the right fabric and sequins, 3 SOLID months of hand sewing sequins and beads, and endless hours sewing the entire thing together. So, about off and on for a year. A YEAR!
Based off some inspiration photos I gave Aimee, she hand drew some design ideas for my bodice overlay embroidery. I then scanned the drawings, and made vectors of them in illustrator, adding a few edits here and there. After, I sent it off to our talented friend A.J., who made it into a program that a digital embroidery machine could create. THEN once that was done, Aimee had the annoying task of setting giant hoops into her machine and attempting to get the machine to embroider the design without it getting crooked with each reset, or when a thread would break. That part was the most grueling and THANK YOU SO MUCH AIMEE for doing that ;.; It took a few weeks and a few tears to get the embroidery the correct size and all straightened out. Once it was sewn together onto the bodice, it was time for the fun part of adding beads, sequins, and rhinestones to add a little sparkle and also to hide some of the embroidery mistakes and, uh, BLOOD FROM OUR HANDS from pricking them over and over again when dealing with all the beading and sewing haha.
In the front especially, I made sure to add some pink beads so that the top and skirt wouldn’t look totally mismatched together. In the end it didn’t really end up mattering but it made me MENTALLY happy and satisfied, haha. I’d also like to briefly state for the record that I had to install the goddamn zipper in this dress no less than THREE TIMES because it kept breaking. There is a lot of drops of blood in the zipper seam IS ALL THAT I’M SAYING, haha!
I loosely based the design of my skirt off of the Dior Venus dress, but gathered the petals at the top rather than have them be tapered as tear drops. I used leaf sequins and a combination of opaque and translucent french cup sequins. I also added silver moon and star sequins to the petals as part of the Sailor Moon theme. Let me tell you, it was a BITCH to sew these on using invisible thread by hand. Each petal took ages, and sometimes the thread would just catch on random things and you wouldn’t notice until you were well on the other side of the petal so you’d have to go back and tie off everything OR just UNSEW an entire section. IT WAS A PAIN! It looked gorgeous but… my god, at what price, my sanity?? haha. But, I kid. I love how it came out, although I definitely had a few nervous moments of “Oh lord, what if I hate it? I HATE IT I HATE IT! Wait… I LOVE IT AGAIN!” And that is because, dear readers, no matter what, a bride will be stressed out about her wedding dress whether she buys it from a store, makes it herself, or finds it in a garbage can. Deep thoughts.
This whole shebang tucked up under the skirt for the reception. The moon measures about 15 inches across and has over 200 star sequins sewn into it. This one petal took me 3 straight days of sewing for about 9 hours each because it was so large and intense. I watched A LOT OF 30 ROCK during these trying times.
Why carry flowers that will wilt and die, when you can carry a MOON ROD down the aisle like a true Princess of the Moon??? I had a lot of different ideas for what to take down the aisle, but eventually, this oversized version of the Cutie Moon Rod won out. I can’t stress enough how grateful and happy I am that my wonderful friend Grant Imahara volunteered to make this crazy beast for me as a wedding present. I don’t know how I can ever repay him and also Jenny of Uniqorne, who helped with the finishing an creating the base. Perhaps by giving them my first born. Or taking care of their cat, I dunno. I LOVE YOU DUDES!
I spent a lot of time trying to find jewelry that I really liked, and nothing really seemed right. I ended up searching around in notions stores around the fabric district in downtown LA, and scouring Etsy for vintage items that I could reassemble into something that fit my vision.
I ended up finding these wonderful moons in different sizes that I combined and added pearls and rhinestones to to make a bracelet. I’ll have you know the name of the Swarovski crystals that I chose was ” Moonlight Crystal.” I felt it was fate. A dumb, otaku, nerdy, gleeful fate.
For my bridal tiara, I found 2 great bronze art nouveau looking stampings, bent them, added crystals and pearls, and glued them all to a gold metal headband using E6000 glue and clamps. Then I attached a metal comb to the back using jewelry wire, and voila! Made for under $8!
My earrings were the one thing I bought outright, from a seller on eBay! I had a lot going on with my other jewelry, so I thought it best that my earrings be small and understated… but still in theme!
I bought a ready-made one layered veil from a discount store, but found it was too long for what I wanted. I removed it from the comb, chopped the length off from the top (so the tapering off of sequins would still be visible at the bottom) so it would be waist-length and wouldn’t catch on all the sequins on my wedding dress skirt! I wanted to incorporate the color of the skirt a little in the veil, so I dip dyed the bottom of the veil in Petal Pink RIT dye….. and then it was too dark so I had to soak it in bleach to dilute the pink more…. BUT!!! Teen I had to re-hem the whole thing by hand (FIVE. GODDAMN. HOURS.) since the thread there was too bright pink for my liking. A bunch of pearls and rhinestones had fallen off during the dye bath process so I also had to use fabric glue to put more of those, and then add some stars as well. IT TOOK KIND OF A LONG TIME for something that was supposed to be a quick purchase, but that’s what I do: make everything way more complicated than it has to be, haha! MY CURSE!!!
Yes, I even had Sailor Moon inspired deco nails done! The wonderful Marie at Nails by Marie in Torrance, CA did these awesome Moon Bling Princess nails and I couldn’t be happier! If you’re in town, I really recommend her!
For the bridesmaids, who were my Sailor Scouts, instead of using cheesy cartoon rainbow colors, I really wanted them to be dressed elegantly in the art deco theme with small Sailor-themed items. I picked a flattering floor length grey chiffon dress that suited all of the different body types of my bridesmaids. We then all handmade 20’s inspired capes made of shimmery sheer silver fabric, which evoked a sort of “Princesses of the Moon” feeling <3 LOOK T THESE BEAUTIFUL, HELPFUL, LOVING FRIENDS I HAVE!
I then hand made them art deco inspired star circlets, with their senshi colors in the center with swarovski crystals. I also made them a set of earrings with their planetary symbol and a crystal heart.
My Maid of Honor once again stepped up, and upon my request, made all of the bridesmaids over sized Sailor wands (the Sailor Stars versions were the best, right???) to carry down the aisle instead of bouquets! They turned out WONDERFUL! She used an existing plastic rod for the handle, a star ornament for the top, clay for the “crown” connecting the two, and foam for the symbols.
My awesome friends Selina of Lunar Descent also handmade all of us matching Senshi symbol brooches for the girls to wear on their capes! THEY EVEN LIT UP, GUYS.
A major part of our design plan was having strong art deco influenced graphics, that integrated Sailor Moon imagery. My amazing friend, business partner, and Maid of Honor Yume Ninja created everything with some minor coaching from me involving inspiration boards and crappy hand drawings. Every single sign you saw in the above photos was designed by her! SHE’S AMAZING and well, you can hire her (email@example.com) to do your graphics package, too!
We were very confident we could use an electric cutter to QUICKLY and EASILY do the die cut we wanted on each invite. Well.. WE ARE FOOLS, because nothing in this world is easy. It took about 3 separate days or experimenting and cutting to get the damn thing to cut on the lines, and then to actually CUT all the way through the paper. I think we had something like 50 duds? I do not recommend DIYing this part of your wedding. I thought I was going to lose my mind. BUT we did successfully create very cute invites, with nice graphics, and SOME die cutting that was not 100% precise regardless! TAKE THAT, SILHOUETTE DIGITAL CUTTER FROM HELL!
We even had a Japanese translated version of the invites made up for the guests that I invited from Japan :) Thank you Risa for your help with formal Japanese.. ughhh it kills me every time haha.
Yume created this amazing logo image, utilizng aspect of art deco design from the invites, as well as the Sailor Moon brooches / compacts and tons of stars and hearts. We used this everywhere we could, such as the gobo for our dance floor and on our wedding favor tote bags.
Pro Tip: If you want a gobo with a very complicated design cut in, you will NEED to have it made of GLASS and NOT metal. It’s significantly more expensive then just a tin cut out gobo, but with much more glorious results!
The glass gobo itself:
Our toasting glasses were Vera Wang Wedgewood. It was sort of a little splash out we allowed ourselves for once, since we own zero nice glassware in our home. But we still bought them from Amazon.com like the lazy folk we are haha.
For our welcome toast, we had these awesome edible glitter stars put into every champagne glass. When the waiters went around to pour, the stars rose to the top and stuck around the edges of the glass!
For cheap cocktail stirrers, I bought a box of coffee stirrer sticks for under $2 and hot glued puffy stars to the top!
For all of the cute frames I used for my wedding, I purchased cheap plastic frames from the dollar store, and glued charms and pearls to them before spray painting them all gold! It took about one day to do them all, but it was so worth it!
For the ribbon wands, I was really lucky that I found plastic hollow handles that we filled with stars and glitter, then sanded down the top to glue a plastic moon to. We then hot glued the ribbons to the top.
PHEW! Well, if you stuck through that entire blog entry, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU for kicking ass! It was worth it right? If you have any questions about vendors or tutorials that I missed in this post, please comment and let me know! Also, you can see a ton more photos if you check out my Flickr set, and also the Instagram hashtag #michelleandwill
Just real quick, I’d like to stress to anyone else planning their geek wedding soon: PICK YOUR BATTLES! Despite how it looks, I let go of a lot of DIY projects that I just didn’t have time or mind energy for (custom dip dye ombre tablecloths…. LOL WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??), and once the day started, I was just happy to be there, surrounded by all of my amazing friends (and thanking god I made excellent day-of decor checklists and schedules for my friends to go through instead of me!). Thanks to everyone who helped, shed a tear for me, bled for me, and was a great human being throughout the process. Without my friends and family’s support and presence, this would have been just nerdy party ;) I LOVE YOU, GUYS!
You may also be interested in my previous wedding related posts:
This is IAMCHUBBYBUNNY, signing out… IN THE NAME OF THE MOOOOON!