Every once in a blue moon, you'll see a post about a Lolita-styled wedding. It comes in all shapes and forms, from intimate backyard garden affairs, to grand convention ballrooms packed with friends and fans of Lolita fashion alike.
When I got married a year ago, I was planning to have a Lolita wedding. However, my family personally disagreed with it. "You'll have a wedding-themed wedding!" my parents protested; and I can see where they were coming from. A Lolita themed wedding could potentially alienate and put off respected family members, or maybe even look tacky a few years later.
Last month however, I flew to San Antonio, Texas to attend my brother in law's wedding; which was pretty heavily Lolita themed. The bride wore a Lolita wedding dress from Atelier Pierrot, the tables were decorated with just a hint of EGA flair, the groomsmen wore swallow-tailed jackets, and Lolitas from their home comm of San Antonio were invited to join in on the festivities.
|I helped style that arch!|
|Possibly the cutest cake I've ever seen.|
|The bride and groom during their first dance.|
Attending this wedding got me thinking about all the stress I went through trying to plan my own wedding, trying to crowd please everyone while still keeping a bit of me and my husband's personality. Both my brother-in-law, as well as my husband (obviously) married Lolitas, yet our weddings were completely different!
I thought to help through the confusion for brides and husbands to be, it would be nice to write a guide for creating your own dream wedding, which you can do on any budget- whether your family is more accepting of Lolita or not.
Route A: The Ideal Scenario
For all intents and purposes, let's assume that you are lucky enough to throw a Lolita themed wedding fete. You can wear Lolita, guests can wear Lolita and J-fashion, and you have full creative reign with the decorations, festivities, etc.
Step One: Confirmation. If family members will be attending your wedding, it is important to talk to them and ask if they are comfortable with the theme- whether you are paying for your own wedding or not. Regardless of who is footing the bill, I feel weddings are more about relationships with your family and friends, old and new- and if they feel out of place or uncomfortable, it may be better to have a pre-wedding Mini Meet or Bridal Shower with your comm, instead.
However, if your most respected attendees don't have a problem with it, then that's a definite green light to get creative! Remember, it may be important to double check with your significant other as well, if he/she is not a Lolita!
Step Two: Venue, venue, venue. Before you go crazy at the craft stores and ordering three white brand dresses to try, make sure your venue is booked! Sit down with your significant other and choose your three "ideal" dates. Keep in mind, Fridays and Saturdays are usually the busiest days for most venues, and may be booked well in advance- so if you're going for one of those days, be prepared to be flexible.
Catering goes hand in hand with this one as well, as the two are often booked together, if your reception and ceremony are at the same place. So while initially booking your big day, it may be good to have a list about Catering questions as well.
Some location ideas for full-on Lolita wedding:
- A botanical garden, with an outdoor ceremony and reception
- A winery
- A local historical site, with period-appropriate backdrops for photos
- A historical church, with a reception nearby at your favourite restaurant
- A hotel which offers afternoon tea service for the reception
- ... or somewhere else important to you. My brother in law (and new sister!) got married at the hotel where they first met!
Step Three: Pinning! For everything from wedding favours to decorations, Pinterest can be a cornucopia of inspiration. I created a board for my own wedding, where I pinned colour schemes I liked, dress cuts, DIY centrepiece ideas, and even infographics about wedding processions, wedding etiquette, and ideas for vow-writing.
Some ideas for Lolita Decorating DIY:
Step Four: Cake! A Lolita's favourite thing, right?
Cakes are probably the most fun for a Lolita wedding, because whether you are ordering one or making it yourself, you can't go wrong. Either you can talk to your cake maker and come up with a design together, or you can make the cake yourself at home, and decorate it with fresh roses. There is no wrong way to do cake!
Some things to keep in mind:
- Your reception venue may have an additional cost to bring in cake from the outside (or any other outside catering company). Be sure to ask if they do.
- If using a Patisserie or Cake Maker, be sure to call ahead and schedule an appointment for cake tasting. There is normally a small fee for the cake, but it's quite insightful and valuable to speak with the person who will be designing your cake for you.
- If using a Patisserie or Cake Maker, you might also want to look into mini-cupcakes or macarons as favours for your guests!
- Remember, you don't have to go too big! This is your own special wedding, after all. Even if you are hosting a cute wedding in your backyard with a garden backdrop, handmade mug cakes in cute tea cups served with tea would be absolutely charming for your guests.
Step Five: Flowers. Some Lolitas take an interest in the "language of flowers", and what their meanings are, so to speak. The Gothic Lolita Bible even devoted an issue to this topic, including floral recipes, Flower Fairies Illustrations, and more:
So if that strikes your interest, it might be a good time to be inspired by flowers and let that lead you in your choices. (It also seems like a lifestyle-friendly hobby.)
Or, maybe you would just like to pick certain flowers because they look pretty, or the colours match the colour palette for your wedding. But aside from the obvious roses, what are some more creative choices?
You may want to to try:
- Snow Drop / Lily of the Valley
- Gebera Daisy
- Snap Dragon
- Calla Lily
And of course, each of these has its own prime season, and sometimes of the year it is "cheaper" than others. I had a smaller budget, and saved myself a bit of money by choosing cheaper flowers, such as vibrant Daisies, berries, roses and greens. I also bought and provided the florist with my own ribbons to cut further cost.
Since I made my own table runners, chair sashes, as well as centrepieces out of picture frames and glittered wine bottles, I decided not to get flowers for every table. I focused on my own bouquet, bouquets for my bridesmaids, and corsages for the family and groomsmen. I'll be honest and say not a single person asked why there were no flowers on the table; and it saved so much money!
Step Six: Shop! But it's not like I need to twist your arm to do that, right?
Now is a time to:
- Shop for craft supplies. Schedule a night with your wedding party to get together and work on decorations and such. Make it fun- make it a pot-luck, or a movie night!
- Shop around for your wedding dress. Since shopping for Lolita is, dare I say, easier than shopping for a wedding dress, you can start scouring the Internet for your dream piece. Be sure to allow enough time for shipping, and possibly alteration, if you plan to have that done. But the great thing about Lolita is, it's plenty extravagant for a wedding, and the measurements are usually straight-forward enough you'll know if it fits or not.
- Your bridesmaids can start shopping for outfits as well. If they are already Lolitas, then they may have a fancy dress they can wear already, or maybe they'd like to shop with you for your approval. Or if they've never worn Lolita before, it may be your chance to help them discover the style. Make sure you get started early so you can bargain hunt, since not all newbies will want to fully invest in the fashion.
- For grooms and groomsmen, Ouji, Aristocrat, and Dandy is usually acceptable. But if your groomsmen aren't ready to don "Pumpkin Pants", most tuxedo rental companies offer something EGA-able, such as swallow tailed tuxedo jackets.
- Check out ideas for party favours, whether you can buy them in bulk, or make them yourself.
The rest of the wedding planning process can include whatever steps or formalities you like; you can have a Wedding Shower or Bachelorette Party, a rehearsal dinner, or even a laid-back Afternoon tea with your local comm to celebrate.
Some extra thoughts for a Lolita-themed wedding:
- If you expect the guests to wear Lolita, provide a brief primer, or even a couple of places to shop. For my brother's wedding, they included a blurb about Lolita Fashion and where to shop for it on their Facebook Event Page.
- If you are on a tight budget, this is the perfect community to pull off a great event at a lower cost. There's many makeup artists, photographers, and videographers in the fashion. Maybe ask that instead of a gift, friends with such talents would like to donate their help instead. For my wedding, I didn't have to pay for a photographer, DJ, or videographer- my friends came forward and volunteered to help. Of course, you can always provide a hashtag for your wedding, and ask friends to share photos, too!
- Just like your favourite brand dresses, the beauty is in the details. Try to add a bit of you and your partner's style and personality into everything. For my brother's wedding, they included rabbits on the programs, menus, and even on their cake- in honour of their pet white Dwarf rabbit, who was also in attendance.
Of course, everyone plans events in their own logic and fashion, but that was the logical order I took when preparing from my own wedding. It helps me to categorize things and take it step-by-step, so I hope it helps create a map for you as well!
Now that we've covered the basics, I would like to add a few pointers for those who do not have the blessing for a Lolita wedding, but would like to incorporate their own flair anyway:
- Add little hints of your fashion sense everywhere, from details on the cake, in the decorations, and even your shoes. if you are wearing a more traditional long dress, no one will see your shoes anyway- so maybe wear a beautiful pair from your favourite brand, or go DIY and OTT them out! Paint something Loli on the sole or bling it out; or decorate the tops of your shoes with Hime-gyaru roses.
- If you were asked to wear a traditional wedding dress or suit, ask if you could change into Lolita for the reception. If not, then pick something traditional, with the same romantic elements you love- lace, an a-line skirt with a fit and flare waist, maybe even a 50s style tea-length dress would be mutually agreeable.
- Making decorations yourself allows more flexibility to add in your own taste.
- Even if you cannot wear Lolita to your wedding, there are plenty of ways to have that atmosphere. Pick a romantic or aesthetically pleasing location. Include something Loli-esque as favours, such as macarons, a handmade item, etc. I gave away tumblers with a custom monogram, topped with a bow tied to the straw; my brother gave away little soaps with roses set inside.
- Try not to stress. This is your day, and basically, a party! If it is not Lolita, it will not affect the rest of your life together with your new partner. What matters is celebrating with those closest to you. And trust me, considering all of the planning that I put into my wedding, it sure went by in the blink of an eye!
I feel like this is a very short guide, and could be made much more comprehensive and precise, but for now, those are the basic pointers that I have. There's so many ways you can make your wedding your own; there is no set cookie-cutter way to do it!
I hope that you enjoyed this little blurb, and as always, feel free to ask questions- about my own Kate Spade inspired wedding, my brother's Lolita wedding, or advice in general.
Good luck to you, and happy planning!