Any wedding takes a great deal of preparation. We tried to squeeze most of that into the two weeks before the day.
One of the only things we did get done ahead of time was the rings. The wedding bands and engagement ring were custom designed by Broestl & Wallis Fine Jewelry a jeweler in Lakewood. He worked with drawings and photos we brought in and came up with something unique. They’re beautiful.
Lisa, the woman who preformed our ceremony, is also a henna artist.
For Matt and I there is no particular cultural significance to henna, I just wanted the henna stains because they’re pretty.
Henna stains are made by applying a thick paste on the skin, which is left on as long as possible. I got henna on my left hand all the way up to the upper arm, my left hand, and both feet and ankles.
It took about two hours just to get the left arm finished. She left my ring finger blank, designed around where the ring would go.
There was something fascinating about watching the pattern unfold under Lisa’s henna packet.
We did the henna three days before the wedding because that’s about the time it should take to get the maximum stain.
In order to get a really dark stain, you need to leave the henna paste on as long as possible. Lisa recommended keeping it on overnight. That meant we needed to protect it somehow which we did by spraying it with, I think just hairspray, and then taping it up.
I sort of looked like a burn victim, which was interesting at dinner that night.
All my bridesmaid’s also got henna.
The henna got a little darker each day. By the day of the rehearsal, it was a nice rich brown.
It was even a little bit darker the day of the wedding.
At some point on the wedding day, Matt and I realized we still needed a candle for the ceremony. I was busy being painted and such, so Matt hit a craft store and managed to come up with a candle holder that not only protected the zoo carpet from any melted wax, but also fit in nicely with our steampunk theme.
With Matt’s sister Jen I went down to Lisa’s at about noon to start getting gilded. For my face Lisa put a vine pattern up my cheek, with jewels glued up the length.
She used a black ink, but for some reason it looked more like green, which ended up looking really cool.
There was also glitter. I love glitter, it’s one of my secret girly pleasures.
She used golds, silvers, and bits of green to gild my hands arms and ankles, and also added jewels in the flower centers.
Jen got a pattern in black (and glitter!) along her back. She couldn’t get henna with the rest of the girls because she lives several hours away, so I’m glad she could go and get something.
The ink is called harquus and was traditionally used for temporary face tattoos. Lisa has books and books full of henna patterns, indigo patterns and harquus. She also has a photo page with her work which I would highly recommend looking through.
Everyone kind of teamed up to help me figure out what to do with myself.
We wrapped pearl and bronze colored ribbon around my dress which was otherwise a pretty but shapeless blue dress from Folk Ways in Eugene.
After wrapping the ribbon around me, we realized that even though it looked cool, it wouldn’t stay put if I, you know, moved.
Fortunately Jen had a sewing kit with her (she knits beautiful scarves and bags that she sells in a Jewelry shop) and she fixed me up.
Kim worked for a while on my hair, which is good since I’m pretty useless when it comes to anything hair related.
After a few trials, she ended up doing this cool wrappy thing using wire and little silver stars.
Everyone spent so much time making me wedding worthy that we ended up scrambling a bit to get to the zoo on time. We ended up being late, not becuase of our preparations, but because of traffic, but we got there soon enough to do the important thing.