{Real Weddings} Brittany & Travis's Amazing Steampunk Wedding

steampunk wedding

When I put out an APB out for a steampunk wedding, I honestly never thought I'd receive such an awesome themed wedding.  For those whom are not familiar with steampunk, here is the definition via Wikipedia: a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrializedWestern civilization during the 19th century, or a post apocalyptic environment. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

This theme would take a lot to successfully put together, which is why I thought my request would be futile.  That is until I received this fantastic submission from Essenza Studio!  The steampunk theme is so unique, and it works for those wanting an offbeat vintage vibe.  There isn't an element in here that doesn't include the theme.  

I reached out to Brittany, the blushing bride, and was I ever thrilled when she was up to sharing with us  how her brilliant wedding came to be, including here sweet love story.  

The Meeting
Travis and I first met at Northern Kentucky University in our Japanese language class. To meet the Gen Ed requirement at the college, a language course had to be taken for two semesters. We had both classes together. In the second semester he complimented an hourglass necklace I was wearing, which is when I realized, "Hey, this guy is kind of cute". For a few weeks we would talk after class on our way to our cars. This was in January and February of 2009, and it was freezing, but we stayed outside talking until we couldn't feel our fingers anymore. One night I mentioned that I was going to go to a nearby fast food restaurant for dinner and asked if he wanted to join me. He did, and it wasn't a date (we paid separately so I don't count it - he does sometimes, haha), but we talked for approximately four hours.

I mentioned that I went to Crossroads Community Church, a mega-church in the area, and explained to him the affect it's had on me. He currently went to a church with his parents, but said that he would like to go with me that next Sunday. I count that Sunday as our first date - we went to church and then ate at the Cheesecake Factory, which he had never been to before, but paid anyways (despite any protest from me). That being our first date means a lot to me. I grew up in church and God is the focus of my life. When I was in middle school and younger I would tell people that my ideal first date would be to go to church and then hang out. A lot of people told me that it was a terrible idea - church would scare a guy off, but I've always looked at dating as the process of finding a husband, and I wasn't going to marry someone who didn't look at going to church as a good time. I guess call that high standards, haha.

The Proposal
In June of 2010 we went on a vacation with a group of friends to Topsail Beach in North Carolina. We all rented a large beach house across the street from the ocean. As soon as we got settled in, it was sunset and I wanted to just go walking on the beach. I remember feeling cute in my outfit, but gross from the 6+ hour car ride. Travis started talking about things like, "I hope you understand how happy you make me," and, "I don't know what I'd do without you," the last one was followed up by, "So, I want to make sure I don't lose you". He has huge cargo pants pockets, magically pulling out this green box with a peridot ring, "Will you marry me?"

My first reaction was, "REEEEAAAALLLY?" in a high-pitched squeal. I was too excited, eventually I said, "of course, yes!". So sunset on the beach the first night of vacation. He told me later that he was originally going to wait till the end of the week, but he had been carrying around the ring since March.

Behold Brittany & Travis's amazing steampunk wedding, beautifully captured by Essenza Studio:

vintage style fascinators
steampunk bride, steampunk wedding dress, steampunk weddingsteampunk bride
steampunk bridesmaid
lantern bouquet
steampunk wedding, steampunk watch
steampunk wedding, steampunk watch
steampunk wedding, steampunk gears boutonniere
steampunk gears pin
steampunk groom
steampunk groomsmen

Vision for the day

steampunk gears wedding cakes

I was never really one of those girls who planned her entire wedding day from birth. I always knew that if it happened to me, I wanted my husband to be as happy with the result as I was. It would be our wedding, not just mine. I also at least knew that it had to be different. I enjoy being a unique and quirky person and sharing that in a way that other people can enjoy as well. I was introduced to Steampunk by some friends, and Travis had heard of it too. Way before marriage was a conversation, we decided that if we ever did get married that it should be Steampunk themed.

Cincinnati actually has a very large and active Steampunk community, so we became a part of it. To describe Steampunk easily, I typically say it is, "Victorian with Attitude". It's a re-imagined antiqued history that visualizes modern technology as if it were run on steam instead of electricity. Easy movie references are "Wild Wild West" with Will Smith and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" with Sean Connery.

As soon as we decided that Steampunk would be the theme for our potential wedding, I started sketching ideas. One of the first things I drew was the cake table, a Victorian coffee table with a glass, see-through top, underneath being a series of gears that turned to rotate several platforms that the cake would sit on. I was ecstatic for this to become a reality in the end!

The color palette

We wanted to stay with a lot of dark neutrals, which go easily with the Steampunk aesthetic. Browns, beiges, yellows, and pops of orange and red.

The details

I made all of the designs for the invitations, RSVP cards, and the website myself. The website I made is still live at http://designbywho.com/portfolio/wedding.html  The website in particular - I knew I wasn't going to find any free service that looked the way I wanted, so I extended it off my personal portfolio site and made it from scratch. It's what I do for a living, anyways. There were a lot of bits-and-pieces that my mother and I added into everything. I also mixed together the track that the bridesmaids and I walked down to. It sampled from two Lord of the Rings tracks - the bit that the girls walked down to was "Concerning Hobbits" and then I entered in during a crescendo in the song "The Ring Goes South". Very epic, if I do say so myself!

My mother had the idea that she wanted Travis and I to face the audience instead of Nathan, the close family friend who married us (he is a pastor at a church in North Carolina). It's such a simple idea, but it dramatically changed the quality of the pictures and video that was taken. We had a sand ceremony as a part of the service, which is a similar concept to a unity candle, but it tied in a lot of things for us. I mentioned that one of the first things Travis ever said to me was a compliment on an hourglass necklace I was wearing. I collect hour glasses and find fond enjoyment at such a physical representation of the passing of time. Then the sand, relating to him proposing on the beach. Also, one of the lines I was glad Nathan included described how once our vials of sand combined (my sand was white while his was a light brown) it would be as difficult to separate them out again as it would be for us to separate our lives from each other. I think that's a beautiful picture of the commitment, love, and dedication we have to each other and to God.

steampunk wedding

We had a cocktail hour that involved appetizers and drinks. There was an ice sculpture carved into a water mill. It was meant to be a luge, but the venue forgot to put the signature beverage in it so it just sort of looked pretty. We also had a photobooth. We set someone in charge of making sure everyone had their photos taken in the booth (of course some enjoyed it more than others - my maid of honor seems to be in half the pictures, haha). Each session produced two strips of photos - one for the guests to keep (they were provided a picture frame as a gift) and one for them to place on a small piece of black scrapbook paper. They were then given a white/silver marker to write a message for Travis and I next to their pictures. After the wedding I collected all of them, glued them to large Steampunk-themed scrapbook paper, and placed them in an album.

The Cincinnati Club Wedding

The reception was fantastic. The gear lighting was created by the vendor specifically for us. The flowers made the room smell like a garden. It was simply amazing. Travis and I doing a waltz to "It Is You (I Have Loved)" by Dana Glover really stood out to me. It's amazing how two people can feel alone together even when over a hundred people are staring at them, haha. The cake table turned out wonderfully. Each cake was decorated with different sugar and chocolate pieces made from molds that I purchased on Etsy. Owls, Crowns, Hearts, Keys, and Gears - which were also a motif throughout all the cakes.

At the end of the night, we exited to everyone holding sparklers and wishing us well as we rode off on a carriage (the horse's name was King). It took us to a Bed and Breakfast (about an hour's ride away) and our photographers followed us the entire way, including a stop at downtown Cincinnati's fountain square.

The Venue

Cinncinati Club

Nothing specifically, besides that we knew we wanted a place that had an old-feel and character to it so that it would match the theme and decor. We were very concerned about parking as well, since it was a downtown location, but it turned out to be the perfect place. Some people have looked at pictures of the reception and said it reminds them of Hogwarts from Harry Potter - which to me represents a huge success!

The Planning Process

etched champagne flutes

We started planning almost immediately after Travis proposed - so we had a year and a few months. We were going to hire a coordinator at first, but decided against it. It was hard to find someone that really complimented and understood what we were going for, since the Steampunk theme is unusual in many respects. One lady we met with did get us in contact with the man who made the cake table and also inspired us to decide on the specific venue.

My mother took charge of it all - I couldn't have done it without her. She had a bag of folders that organized every piece of paper we received for each service (i.e. cake, venue, photography) She took time to understand any ideas I had or things I wanted to see then did her best to either make them a possibility or find a compromise. My mother has great taste in things, so I trusted her. I offered my opinion when necessary, but this wedding was also a gift to her. She didn't have a large wedding and she was paying for mine, so she kept with my theme and ideas, but also made it a wedding that she would be proud to have herself. I owe a lot to her and I'm glad that she could enjoy Travis and my wedding day as much as we did.

The search for the dress

The process for the dress was interesting. Being a person who dresses in Steampunk a lot, I know a few seamstresses - my mother is one as well, but none of them would be up for making a wedding dress. Ever since Travis and I first spoke about the Steampunk theme I had also been designing dress ideas for myself and my bridesmaids.

The bridesmaids and I did go to a few dress shops for me to try on different dresses and see what I was most comfortable in, but I always knew that I would be having the dress made. It wanted it to be as unique as I was. Also, many Steampunk conventions have formal balls, dances, and events. I knew that I wanted the dress to be something that I could see myself wearing again in a formal setting.

At one point my mother mentioned to her dog groomer that she was looking for a seamstress. It turns out she knew a lady nearby who does a lot of costume work and a lot of corsets. We met with the lady, Stephanie, later on. She had never done a wedding dress before and was hesitant to work with a bride, but due to the nature of the theme (she was actually a big fan of Victorian aesthetic and the Steampunk genre already) and the fact that she had well over a year to work on it, we decided on a design. I had shown her some of the things I had drawn, which she said were good, but weren't as Victorian as she thinks the dress should be. She pulled up a picture from a museum archive of a grand Victorian gown and said it was something that she'd been wanting an excuse to make for awhile, did I like it? I loved it. It was unique, it had these petals along the bottom, a lovely train, a long sleeve jacket - everything I wanted.

Stephanie made the dress out of 100% silk - the same fabric (from the same mill) Princess Diana's dress was made from. She embroidered and hand-beaded the corset, skirt, jacket, and also made me a tiny hat. Each petal around the bottom had a different Steampunk-related embroidery design (gears, raygun, goggles) and the central back petal had a "K". It was nice that my maiden name is Klopfstein and my married name is now King - very easy on monogramming.

The lovely bridesmaids and their dresses

vintage style wedding dresses

I had four bridesmaids. My maid of honor was my close friend, Myra. She and I met at orientation for college - we were paired in the same room (with two other girls) to spend the night and immediately hit it off. Alys I've known since I was a sophomore in high school and we've remained close friends since then. Samantha is a friend I met through my church and then through my fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. I met Mallory through Myra, but was also friends with her through various on-campus organizations and the fraternity as well.

We were originally going to have the girls purchase blank-slate black dresses from a bridal shop so they could each pick on they were comfortable in and then we would build on top of them to make them more Steampunk. However, Stephanie offered to make the dresses herself so that they would fit the theme more and be more authentic. It think they turned out amazingly and a few of them have found opportunities to wear them again as well!

Favorite moments

One has to be Travis's vows. He decided to memorize them and spent a few extra seconds trying to remember how they started while we were in the ceremony, haha. The thing that made them special, besides generally being amazing and heartfelt, is that he mimicked a popular speech from one of our mutual favorite television shows, Doctor Who. Even people who didn't know what he was doing at least knew that it was an inside joke (considering I was giggling and a few of my bridesmaids and his groomsmen had seen the speech and were also giggling).

My mother later told me that a gentleman whom we don't know personally, but my parents do, told her that even though he'd never really had a conversation with us, he felt like he knew us as a couple and that it was one of the most enjoyable ceremonies he'd been too. It made me really feel like we accomplished something we set out to do - people were having fun, even at the boring parts, and they didn't feel like we were distant despite being so busy the entire day.

steampunk bride and groom cake topper

Advice for brides when it comes to wedding planning
Make sure that whatever you do, it is something that reflects you as a couple. You want to look back on your wedding and see that it was a good time for a lot of people. Don't be impossible to please. If you build up the drama and let all of the minor details control your every thought, it's going to make the whole experience terrible for everyone. Yes, it is your wedding day and we as women are typically built up to believe that this is the day where we get to be a princess, but it's good to remember that you have a prince with you, and this is an important day for him as well. Everyone handles stress differently, so it's difficult to give blanket advice that no one has already heard. Basically it comes down to the important things. Take a deep breath. Let it out. At the end of the day, if you are married to your best friend - it was a good day.

Honeymoon travels
We went to Saint Simon's Island in Georgia for a week. It's a small island connected by bridges and we stayed in a penthouse room that overlooked the ocean and a lighthouse. It was a cozy location, we didn't feel like we had to run around everywhere. We drove up north and spent a day in Savannah as well, which was beautiful. It was near Halloween so we took the opportunity to go on a historical trolley tour and a haunted trolley tour. It was the perfect way to see the city, which is a place we've considered moving to before, but neither one of us had actually visited it.

steampunk wedding, steampunk bride and groom
steampunk bride and groom
horse wedding carriage

Such a fantastic wedding, and what a beautiful couple! Brittany and Travis really did their wedding the way they wanted it, in their own style.  I love the whole concept of do it yourself if you can't find others to do it they way you want.  This time DIY is done on a whole new playing field, not just handmade.  

What stands out amongst many of the gorgeous elements is the lighting! How creative, and wow does that help with this theme.  Amazing! I am also loving the intricate cake display that Brittany mentioned she had a hand in designing. So unique and imaginative!

Many thanks to Brittany for sharing with us what went into your fabulous wedding! Great advice she gave, that not only is it a day for brides to be princesses, there are princes right there and his happiness is just as important as yours.

Happy belated 1 Year Anniversary to you both, by the way!   

Thanks to Essenza Studio for submitting this fabulous wedding our way!

Photographer: Essenza Studio 513.831.5351
Cake - Incredible Endings - Barb Harvey 859.746.0777 incredibleendings@hotmail.com
Flowers - Ford Ellington - 859.781.0700 kevin@ford-ellington.com
Venue & Catering - The Cincinnati Club
Jewelry - Joseph Faigle & Sons Jewelry - 513.921.8674
Photobooth - Say Cheese - 513.256.3460
DJ - Platinum Productions - 859-384-3700 glenn@platinumdjandvideo.com
Lighting - Goodwin Lighting -859.578.0949 goodwinltg@mac.com
Carriage - Elegant Carriages - 859.491.7655 elegantcarriage@fuse.net
Ice Sculpture - Artic Diamond - 513.742.4921 articdiamond@fuse.net
Pianist - Dr. Bryan Wade - 917.446.6712 DrBryanWade@aol.com
Dresses - Stephanie at Vintage Modiste - 513.367.5432


  1. Quite a feat to pull off a steampunk theme! Kudos to this cute couple!

  2. Wow, this is incredible! I love it - especially the cake and toppers!

  3. It's a great wedding. It's soooo fabluous!! everyting is so wonderful and perfekt!
    and if you are looking for a plus size wedding dress, then we can help.

  4. I love the venue and the table setting the most, it was absolutely fabolous. The theme fit the newlyweds so well, love this wedding:)


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