It’s funny how a simple exchange can change your whole world. Back in June 2017, a message popped up on a local Facebook group for singles I’d joined. It was a post like a hundred other posts. A guy named Jeremy, saying he’d recently moved to the area and was looking to meet people and make friends. Nothing very unusual about that.
I thought he was cute though, so like any good detective, I went and stalked his Facebook page. And there it was, the Hogwarts Crest. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. How much will become obvious pretty soon. So that was an exciting find. I sent him a quick message. Harry Potter fan? And when he replied Yes! my heart skipped a beat.
Fast forward to July 2018, when we decided, mutually, to get married like rational, not-our-first-rodeo 40 year olds. We revisited that very first interaction with each other and concluded that our wedding had to be Harry Potter themed.
There are three fundamental things you need to know about me:
- I love to plan. I love lists, and spreadsheets, and thinking about plans, and planning to make plans, and planning to plan to make plans. Some brides might want to weep and crawl under a rock at the mere thought of having to plan a wedding, but it’s truly the greatest joy of my life. If it wasn’t so darned expensive, I’d get married every year because the sheer amount of things to plan in a wedding is the culmination of my greatest planning fantasies. I relished the thought of getting started.
- There is nothing I like more than sinking my teeth into a good theme and just going with it. In a former life, I was a middle school teacher, with a dog-themed classroom. I kid you not, my classroom rules began Sit! Stay! Speak! Come! and were printed on bone-shaped posters. Themes require extra planning, so, as you might imagine, my mind was cartwheeling with ideas for the Harry Potter-est of weddings.
- I am the DIY queen. I love to work with my hands, love to work in a lot of mediums, and my personal motto is Why buy it, I can make it! I planned to have a lot of Harry Potter details, and I planned to do them myself.
I just wasn’t sure what details I wanted to incorporate, or what my budget would allow.
So let me just start my saying, if money was no object, I would have flown my guests to England, gotten married in a Gothic castle, spent a small fortune on sumptuous food and costumes, hired character actors for color, an award-winning photographer, a Dumbledore impersonator to marry us, and would have had live owls for the ceremony and reception afterward.
However, I would also like to buy a bigger house at some point in my life, travel the world before I’m old, and live a comfortable retirement, so some of those ideas, ok, all of those ideas, were going to be well out of my budget.
So back to the drawing board.
There were a few things that I felt very strongly about.
- I wanted a winter wedding.
- I wanted it to be small and intimate.
- I wanted it to be fun. For me, Jeremy, my boys, and our guests.
When we started talking about locations, Niagara Falls kept coming to mind. We live almost 5 hours away. Jeremy’s family lives almost 5 hours away but in a different direction. It wasn’t the closest or most convenient location we could’ve picked, but it’s one of my favorite places to visit. There’s so much to do. And it’s visually breathtaking. Plus, people have been getting married and honeymooning there forever, so they have it down to a science. It’s like getting married in Vegas, without the glitter and the Elvis impersonators. Plus, it was someplace where everyone, no matter their age, could find something fun to do. And fun ticked one of my boxes. So Niagara Falls it was.
I searched online for a venue I liked, and picked the Bridal Chapel of Niagara Falls because it was indoors, beautifully decorated, and had a more traditional non-Vegasy feel about it. They provided the chapel, the officiant, and we purchased the photo and video package. They would have provided flowers and a cake if we’d wanted, but those were things I wanted a hand in.
Then we surprised everyone by sending out wedding invitations before anyone even knew we were engaged, because why not? This wedding was going to be fun, non-traditional, and full of unexpected surprises, so it was the perfect taste of what was to come!
Over the next few posts, I’ll take you through all the different aspects of the wedding. Hopefully it will help all you Harry Potter loving brides find inspiration for your own magical days!