According to Cherie Priest, award-winning author, steampunk can be described as “a retro-futuristic neo-Victorian sensibility that is being embraced by fiction, music, games, and fashion. It is ornate and vibrant, and intricate.”
And because I’m a wedding vendor, I really like: Steampunk is “essentially the intersection of technology and romance.” – Jake von Slatt (a steampunk affficionado).
For the purposes of this blog, I concentrated purely on some of the elements associated with steampunk art, design & fashion to make unique wedding reception escort cards, place cards, table number signs, etc. I did not delve into the philosophy behind the steampunk movement.
I do not profess, by any stretch of the imagination, to be an expert in steampunk. If you are of the steampunk ilk, do not be offended by my ignorance. I am not a steampunk devotee; I don’t wear aviator goggles, a velvet frock or corset (heavens no).
So, please indulge me as I step out of my Southern comfort zone to explore this fascinating genre…
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The first thing I did was Google “steampunk wedding portraits,” and I was amazed at the gorgeous images. I asked my daughter Hannah, an illustration major at ECU, to create an original drawing of a steampunk couple on their wedding day. Here it is!
The couple looks kind of edgy-Victorian, wouldn’t you say? According to Jess Nevins, author & pop culture scholar, “Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown.”
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Clocks, gears, wings, bronze, keys and Victorian notions….these are all elements associated with the steampunk aesthetic. I incorporated them in creating these place cards:
I found tiny brass trinkets at various craft stores and hot-glued them in creative configurations onto sturdy (but elegant) linen paper stock, cut to size. I found the itty-bitty keys in the clearance bin ($1 for 10). I wrote the names in traditional black calligraphy on another linen paper stock, cut to size, and affixed them onto thick amber paper, which serves as a distinctive border.
Here are some whimsical steampunk escort card tags:
I found the “rusty” keys at a funky downtown craft store, where I also found the old-school paper tags and beautiful organza ribbon. In traditional black ink, I wrote the names (on the front of the tags) and the table assignments (on the back of the tags) using a Victorian-era writing style, which I modified to make my own, as they say. I affixed some gears & gadgets, and used the ribbon to attach the keys to the tags. I love how these escort card tags turned out.
I made the escort cards (photo below) using various decorative scrapbook papers, cut to size. I found the cool birdcage stamper at a craft store. I stamped the images onto linen paper using chocolate brown & bronze inks, and then I cut them out. I mounted the names, which were written in traditional calligraphy on creamy linen paper, onto super-heavy brown paper stock. I assembled the components with double-sided tape, which is so great to use when layering papers. These escort cards are more Victorian than steampunk, but I didn’t want to embellish them with gears or gadgets. I like them just the way they are.
I modified a traditional Victorian-era font called “Zinco” for the hand-addressed envelope shown below. I really love how it turned out! I created the postage stamp montage using Googled images of actual Victorian stamps, along with some modern graphics. I cut out & affixed each “stamp” with a regular ol’ glue stick.
Here’s a cool steampunk table number sign:
The time set on the clock indicates the table number! Very clever of me, don’t you think? My daughter Hannah created the steampunk clock face using magic (or what she likes to refer to as “Photoshop”). I printed out the clock face on cardstock and mounted it on glittery amber scrapbook paper. I used a brad to affix real clock hands, which I purchased for $1.99 at the local craft store. I cut the banner (freehand) out of linen paper and wrote “Table” in Victorian-style writing. I attached it to the top of the paper clock using double-sided tape.
Here’s another table number “tag” sign:
I created the large tag from decorative scrapbook paper. The table number was written & matted in the same manner as the escort cards & place cards (above). I affixed copper gears and other elements with a hot-glue gun. I purchased the over-sized keys & ring from an estate sale (I swear they must weigh 82 pounds) and attached them to the tag using organza ribbon.
I love the mirror Table Seating Chart shown above! (Seating charts may be used in lieu of escort cards.) The table number “3” fits perfectly in the smaller mirror. I wrote the names using a white paint pen; the writing can be removed with goo-gone. I can imagine a whole row of vintage mirrors hanging on a fence or propped on a tabletop –one for each reception table. Hannah and I didn’t realize how difficult it is to photograph a mirror (we were bumbling around like keystone cops, trying not to photograph our reflections). We are obviously not professionals…
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I’m sure most brides-to-be aren’t asking their fiancés, “Honey, do you want a nautical, shabby-chic-vintage, or steampunk-themed wedding?” But I think expanding our perceptions of what is beautiful and interesting is always a good idea. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog entry as much as I did creating it. And thanks again to Hannah for the photography! – Calligraphy by Carrie