This is the (Too Long, Didn't Read) entirely self-indulgent story of my Big Geeky Gallifreyan Wedding, based on the society of Time Lords from Doctor Who. It ended up encompassing animated shorts, a fake DVD release, a short novella, a 4 hour audioplay, a full scale home built Tardis, Time Lord Robes, a Pipe Organ Concert, cake made by a celebrity, press coverage and a giant science fiction convention.
To begin at the beginning...
In 2009, I went to the Frolicon in Atlanta, GA (NSFW) and met met a girl who'd been deathly ill with swine flu. The timing belt in her PT Cruiser had snapped as well and was quite stuck in Atlanta. She was drowning her sorrows by pulling a sniffly shift in the in the convention game room.
Imagine however as we all played games well into the night. The girl I met was being half miserable, and half still having a great time. I sort of tried to get to know her a bit better since she was apparently very much my type. (read: intelligent and gorgeous!) But she wasn't feeling her best. And I wrote things pretty much off to an expectation that I'd never see her again as I returned to NC.
A month or so later, I'm scanning through some contacts on the boards for Frolicon. This was on a social network I belonged to online, (NSFW) and there she was. I remembered her from the game room and struck up a conversation with her. Conversations became more conversational. They turned friendlier still. It turned out she was still sick, even weeks later, but was getting better. Her roomies were forcing green tea into her.
Then it turned out she also lived in North Carolina like I did.
Then it further turned out she lived in Raleigh like I did.
Then it even further turned out she worked across the street from where I worked.
This random awesome chick I met at a convention…
Two states away.
One might start to get ideas about predestination here.
Here's my wife cosplaying as Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius.
And there's me Cosplaying as the 7th Doctor
And a Banner of the Two of us
As these things tend to happen, visits became overnight visits. Overnight visits became visits of several days. Til' finally it made no sense to live apart. So she and her roomies had me move in with em. This was not a hard decision for me. I'd been rebuilding my life from a particularly bad downturn in 2008. At the time, I'd been living out of the walk-in closet of some very good friends of mine who'd let me take the crash space. After moving in with her, we all moved to another house for a while, and finally progressed to she and I getting our own place.
We'd pretty much come to the conclusion we were going to get married after our second year. But wanted to take it slow. That's okay though. We'd taken it slow so far. There was no problem with continuing to do so. And if I was going to propose to her, I wanted to do it right. I just had to think of a way.
Jenn's mom actually passed down to her an heirloom engagement ring from 1938 for me to propose with. And then I had my idea. I executed it last year at another convention. This time was at DragonCon 2011, also in Atlanta GA. The original plan had been to propose to her at Frolicon; the convention where we met to start with.
The Wedding Ring
However, a spate of tornadoes tore through our neighborhood leaving widespread destruction in their path. Our house and pets were missed and unhurt, but we got evacuated for a week anyway. As a result, we didn't have the money for Frolicon..
Since we'd talked about the idea of marriage, she'd always expressed the desire to get married in a big geeky wedding at DragonCon. So I figured a big geeky proposal was in order. At DragonCon, they have a TV station all their own for 4 or 5 days. And in between the televised panels, fan-films, music videos and generalized geekery, they run little bumpers like they do on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network where they answer e-mails sent to them by con attendees. I had the idea that I could ask her to marry me from one of those bumpers at DragonCon.
So naturally the people at DragonCon said no.
I made the bumper anyway. Inserting a piece of music from Doctor Who that Jenn had mentioned wanting to play at our reception or ceremony. (Murray Gold - Doctor Who - I Am The Doctor, for those of you interested in hearing it.) Then popped it on my USB key on my car keys. The theme of the bumper was a non-linear marriage proposal.
The Adult Swim Styled Timey Wimey Marriage Proposal Bumper
Specifically, the idea was that I was proposing to her in the present from the wedding in the future. That I'd actually gone back into the past and made sure her great aunt picked the ring that would eventually get passed down to us for me to propose with. I even worked up a note from 1938 and stashed it in the lining of the ring box. Essentially, I wrote a message to Jenn's mom to bring this ring to the lunch where she'd pass the ring down to us for an engagement ring.
The Picture of the 73 Year Old Note
Isn't time travel fun?? ^_^
Since I was now doing this guerrilla style, I kept the ring and USB key with the bumper on it with me at all times at the convention, and waited for my chance.
At DragonCon, we'd decided to see The Buffy Horror Picture Show, which is an event where they run the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog on a big screen. This happens at the Westin hotel in downtown Atlanta in a ballroom big enough for 2000 people. We lined up an hour or so in advance, and I read to Jenn from Stephen King's 'The Stand' and was thinking to myself, "This could be my chance!"
The Buffy Horror Picture Show
So excusing myself for a supposed bathroom break, I asked one of the con security people where the people for the Joss Whedon Track were and and told em my sneaky plan. They took me to the people in charge of the show. I showed em the bumper, and they were pretty much... "Awesome! Do you mind if we get you up on stage so you can put the ring on her?"
I did not have a problem with that.
So I returned to the line, Jenn entirely unsuspecting. We filed in and got good seats. She had to excuse herself too, during which time I arranged with people near us to use my camera to get pictures when they called us up.
Now imagine the trailer going off on three big screens in a packed ballroom at once And when pics of the ring and Jenn start going off on the full screen, the crowd realizes what's going on. Jenn suddenly realizes what's going on and starts tugging off the gloves she's got on with her somewhat steampunky attire. The trailer finishes, and then they have us up on stage, in front of 2000 screaming science fiction con-goers. I get to put the ring on her and the crowd very literally goes wild!
Pictures of the Proposal
So now we needed to get permission from the people at DragonCon to do a marriage there. We hoped to be able to get a room there to do the big geeky wedding. We could invite all the different fandoms there. The Browncoats. The Colonials. The Trekkies. The Warsies. The Whedonites. The Superheroes, The 501st Legion, the Jedi and Sith. And of course, the Whovians. The only people not invited were the Twi-hards (twilight fans). Cos I'm an Edward. But I'm not an Edward like that. I don't sparkle, and Stephanie Meyer sucks.
We could share the happy moment with all of DragonCon and have all kinds of people in costume show up. Maybe have an honor guard of alternating Jedi, Klingons, Doctors, Stormtroopers and Browncoats as we walked up the aisle. If we had one of the actors that played the Doctor that year, maybe he could perform the ceremony. It was going to be one for the books. Or at least, the blogs.
So naturally the people at DragonCon said no.
Jenn's dad always had this idea he'd love for his daughter to get married at the Fox Theater in Atlanta Georgia to the accompaniment of the huge pipe organ they had installed in the place. He builds, restores and installs organs like those in places when he's not engineering light rail systems. (If you've ridden the SLUT in Seattle, Washington, or the light rail in Charlotte, NC, you've seen his work.) Well, that was too big and expensive. But he was able to get the Earl Smith Strand Theater in Marietta, GA. instead. This place is a restored theater with a stage and its own organ from the national pipe organ association in it. So we had a venue. All is cool.
So… we'd had a bumper / teaser for the wedding as a proposal.
When a movie or tv show comes out, they used to have these postcard sized cards in with the press kits. They'd tell you when the movie or show was airing or being released along with a kind of miniaturized movie poster on one side. We decided to do our press card in that format.
In essence, Jenn had been drawing us in a kind of Whovian manner. Joined up by a Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf wrapped around us. That turned into us in front of the Tardis. That turned into me photoshopping that into a finished pic with a background for a teaser card to use for our Save the Date Cards. So. We had the save the date cards.
Gallifreyan Save The Date Card (Front)
Gallifreyan Save The Date Card (Back)
So teaser? Check.
Press card? Check.
We ended up having two weddings, really. The first was at the convention we met at, where we were handfasted. And we made these very Gallifreyan handfasting cords. These would be important later now that we knew the short version of how Gallifreyans get married from 'The Wedding of River Song'.
Our Handfasting Cords
It was on trips to Atlanta to scout the Strand theater, wedding cake, and caterers that we thought that we'd have The Tardis on stage with us for the Ceremony. With ourselves and all our close friends in Gallifreyan robes. Just like I suggested in the bumper. Her father could dress as The Master (Anthony Ainley version), lead her to the stage and I'd come out of the Tardis to join her there.
And since her father was friends with all manner of pipe organ players, our good friend, Rick McGee (A professional concert organist) would play a medley of Murray Gold's Doctor Who music for the ceremony on the pipe organ in the Strand. And then follow with a concert of science fiction tunes in a concert after the ceremony. Okay. Game plan established. We needed robes, a Tardis. Wedding Invitations.
As for the invites, well, clearly we were building up to the 'release' of an episode. So... for our Gallifreyan wedding invite I Photoshopped up a DVD cover and put a CD rom inside, along with a DVD liner notes booklet with everything people would need to know. The case itself was intended to look like a Region 1 DVD of a fictional Doctor Who related series about two time lords who fall in love and leave Gallifrey at the contrivance of a Tardis that wanted to go out and see the universe like another infamous Type 40 did.
Stolen Hearts - The Invitation: A Gallifreyan Love Story (DVD Cover)
DVD Booklet - Cover
DVD Booklet - DragonCon
DVD Booklet - Locations
I also decided to do a little story, wherein the two characters that Jenn drew for the Save The Date card met. Mr. WinterRose and The Artist. These were of course, analogues of my wife and I. Not Prydonians, but Patrexes; from another chapter of Time Lord society. And after I'd written a little way, I showed the short story to her to see what she thought.
"This is great!" she said. "So where are they going?"
I blinked. "They're going somewhere?"
"Well of course! They have to go on an adventure!" she proclaimed. It was sometime between March and May. Still plenty of time to get the invites out. So I thought on it between calls at work. And thought. And wondered what kind of villain they might face. What villain is the match of two Time Lords? How could I tie it more deeply into the Dr. Who universe? Or at least, into the canon and non-canon histories thereof?
The Artist & Mr. WinterRose
After a while, it hit me. And I started writing like a fiend. When the idea had finally struck, it was fully formed. It would work. The fiddly time-travelly bits would make sense. It would add to the Who Universe instead of merely referencing it. I eliminated plot holes mercilessly and was finally satisfied. All I had to do was write it. Which I did til mid-June, and started editing relentlessly til the first of July. I finally read it to my bride to be, to see what she thought. We'd get this out on time. And it would be all good before the wedding on August 31st.
Stolen Hearts - The Invitation: A Gallifreyan Love Story (Text Version)
She LOVED it. In fact, she said, "Oh Edward, we need to record this!"
By way of explanation, I'm trying to get into the voice acting business. I've been part of a show called Star Trek Outpost, which is now going into its 5th Season and has been nominated for DragonCon's prestigious Parsec Award 4 times. I read to Jenn all the time from novels, doing the voices and accents and all that fun stuff. We had our own little recording corner where I did stuff like that. But that was going to be a lot of work on short notice.
Our Old Sound Booth
"You DO realize we were supposed to mail these invites out a month ago, right?"
"Don't care! THIS will be awesome!!"
I trusted her judgement on this.
So... I spent a bunch of time gathering up music and sound effects from all manner of sources. I recorded my head off. I recorded her and dropped her lines in afterward. Edited mercilessly again, and what I came up with was an audiobook that runs between 3.5 and 4 hours. PHEW! Then we burned disks like mad, used up what was left of our meager resources and sent these DVD's out to all our people.
Stolen Hearts - The Invitation: A Gallifreyan Love Story (Audio Play)
Mission Accomplished again.
While I was doing all this, Jenn, who is rather an accomplished seamstress and costume designer was designing our wedding clothes and making up the robes. We'd decided on a High Gallifreyan wedding, with everyone in Time Lord Robes. SO MUCH TO SEW!
Compromises were made. In the interest of money and time, some corners were cut. But in the end, with much help and effort, we had all the choir robes done up right. In colors that represented other great time lord colleges and academies. We added all the braiding. I designed a Time Lord sigil of our own to be on our robes. (Since Rassilon is kind of a jerk now.) A friend of ours cut the sigils out of balsa using a plasma router.
The Gallifreyan WinterRose Sigil
The WinterRose Sigil on our Robes.
Time Lord Headpiece Prototype
The Finished Wedding Clothes 1
The Finished Wedding Clothes 2
The Finished Wedding Clothes 3
The Finished Wedding Clothes 4
Meanwhile, we were frantic trying to get the Tardis done. Every weekend we could get away, we got all the materials and went to her parents house to get the Tardis for the stage built. It really was a moment where I got to know her family, and they got to know me. We built the panels from insulating foam and plywood. Again, Jenn's engineer dad was a champ in designing the blueprint with us and executing it's build with us. I cannot say how grateful we are.
Building the Tardis 1
Building the Tardis 2
Building the Tardis 3
Building the Tardis 4
Building the Tardis 5
The Finished Article on Stage in the Strand
Okay. The Invites were sent. We had the Tardis. We had the clothes. We almost had the robes for the wedding party (Which we ended up sewing and hotglue-ing braiding to right up til the morning of the wedding day). We had the catering. BBQ Ribs for everyone from Dave Poe's BBQ. Gabriel's desserts was making our cake, based on the Save the Date card, and our names in Circular Gallifreyan characters on the side.
The Wedding Cake
Since DragonCon had refused to let us have the wedding at the con, we flounced them by gathering the wedding party during the convention at the Sheraton Atlanta. We all showed up for a photo op, then boarded a trolley tour bus for the Strand. (AKA: Here is a cool wedding! Which ya COULD have had at DragonCon. Sucks to be you doesn't it?)
Happily enough, the wedding happened while the 2012 performance of the Buffy Horror Picture Show was happening at DragonCon. So the idea that the first trailer was being beamed to a year ago from the wedding lined up. We made a thank you video for the whedonites, who made the original proposal possible.
The Thank You Whedonites DragonCon Bumper
It didn't get run, but we'll take it with us this year to thank them at the Buffy Horror Picture Show 2013 if they'll run it. ^_^
This has already been too long, so I'll let you see the wedding for yourself. We taped it, music, performance and all. We photographed it. It ended up as a piece in the Marietta, Ga Newspaper. And the magazine for the national pipe organ association.
Our Big Geeky Gallifreyan Wedding
The Photo Album of our Big Geeky Gallifreyan Wedding
The Marietta Daily Journal Article about the Wedding
And now... the Tardis is in our living room. It's what I do my recording in now. And it is an awesome thing to have visitors come in and go, "TARDIS!!!"
The Tardis Sound Booth
In the end... our thank you cards went out to everyone in December as a kind of combination christmas card. I photoshopped it up again, continuing the theme of The Artist and Mr. WinterRose in their very own Christmas Special.
Stolen Hearts - So Long & Thanks For All The Gifts
And for those of you that liked Stolen Hearts, and would like to hear more of their adventures... well, my director and producer at Giant Gnome Productions asked if we'd be interested in taking this to a continuing series. Stolen Hearts: The Invitation has been nominated as a Parsec Awards finalist for the Speculative Fiction: Novella (Small Cast) category.
I've already written the sequel, "Stolen Hearts - The Honeymoon". Which is an adventure at DragonCon itself. Where they find an ancient enemy of the time lords. And she turns out NOT to be the threat emperiling the whole world. I've even written the next episode after that...
Oh my prophetic soul. What have I let myself in for. ^_^
-Edward WinterRose 07-2013