Jessie & Brad’s Black and Purple Gothic-Lite DIY Wedding


Jessie & Brad met online 8 years ago playing Final Fantasy. After 6 months of playing and a number of IGD’s (In Game Dates), they met IRL (In Real Life) and hit it off. Years later they took their relationship to the next level and so today, we are witnessing their awesome ($2500!) non-traditional wedding. They didn’t want to spend on it too much so Jessie handmade most everything, from the bouquets to the hair accessories and jewelry which allowed her to infuse them with tons of personal touches and some Gothic (and geeky) sensibilities.

black dress wedding

Yes, we have another bride in a non-white bridal dress (in the same week!). Don’t they look adorable together? As you already know, I love weddings that show off the bride & groom’s personalities and I’m very grateful to the talented Cole Gorman of North Carolina-based Blest Photography for sharing this feature with us! We have him and his partner Ashley to thank for the beautiful photos on this page. Here’s what he had to say about the event:

Jessie & Brad were amazing in the prep for their day. They had their own unique style that they wanted captured. No stress, no drama, no white, no church, no overwhelming party and a whole lotta sass. That’s exactly what they had, too… a day that was all their own! A day surrounded by intimate friends, a day that they could look back and remember the importance of the commitments they made to one another. We absolutely loved it. Jessie certainly challenged us both with the preferred photographic stylings, but holy cow were we excited to give it a whirl. We both had a blast being challenged by something we hadn’t done before, and we are stoked by the outcome. As a disclaimer, Ashley and I were so in sync on their wedding day, we literally have no clue who took which picture, so let it be known that she could very well have taken credit for all of these photos, or at least half!

Jessie’s creativity was on display for all to see on her day starting with the handmade bouquets. Jessie tried her best to describe them to us in our pre-wedding meeting, but no words can describe the amount of detail and intricacy of these breathtaking bouquets. She took buttons, any buttons she could find, and wired them together. Some charms, like the motorcycle, the floral black and yellow button and finally the red flower were to represent her father, a dear friend, and her late mother. The tags draping over the handle of the bouquet were even custom details made by another dear friend; pages from the Twilight books cut out into circles, with book pages on the back representing the date of their wedding (3.9). How freakin’ cool!?

purple and black DIY wedding

black and purple wedding

twilight themed wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

Jessie is SO rocking that glam black lace dress and those purple heels! Here she is to share her & Brad’s cute — and funny, especially the first meeting part :) — love story:

My husband and I met in 2004 while playing a MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game) called Final Fantasy XI. We got to know each other in game via chatting and questing together. (Deliciously nerdy, I know.) We eventually decided to meet IRL (in real life).

Brad flew up to Pittsburgh (where I’m from originally) and I was picking him up at the airport. Only… I slept in. I told him to “just get a shuttle to a hotel or something.”  How sweet. We eventually met and hit it off.

I resisted being in a serious long distance relationship for the next 6 (SIX) years. I credit that to being young and dumb. Brad persisted in pursuing me, though we both dated other people over that time.

Finally, I relented. We were long distance exclusive for about a year. In 2010, I moved to North Carolina to be with him. He proposed on December 19, 2011. Which is a pretty interesting story too, though this answer is already longer than you probably wanted it.

We’re both still gamers, by the way. :) Brad is a Sales Professional for Magnolia brand at Best Buy and I work at UNC Chapel Hill.

purple black wedding

purple black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

So in love! Jessie shares more about the planning that went into their day:

I’ve always had a penchant for the darker things in life. But I didn’t want it to feel over the top “gothic” — so I just went for my normal blend of romance and spookiness.

Our wedding was small, personal, and inexpensive. We paid for mostly everything ourselves, minus a little help from Brad’s mom. So cost was a big factor. We did everything (and I mean everything) for $2500, which was still more than I wanted to spend. It’s funny how things get away from you when planning a wedding.

I always wanted a small wedding. I feel like weddings have become too big a production (what an understatement). I didn’t want all my Pennsylvania people to feel like they had to fly and rent cars to celebrate a day that was supposed to be special for the two of us. Their stress and financial burden would stress me out TOO much. I tried to talk my two best friends from PA out of coming! (They won that battle).

Brad always said “I just want to be married to you.” So he was fine with whichever direction I went.

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

I love how refreshingly unique and personal this wedding is! Jessie’s shares all the things she did to make their wedding 100% customized-to-them:

* My good friend Jamie Jones performed the wedding, we got her ordained online – like Conan O’Brien! She did great! I wrote the ceremony, using some resources I found online. It was very short, no readings, no songs. Just the ceremony with 7 guests present + 2 photographers, the officiant and ourselves.

* I wore a black dress. It was the first one I found online at kiyonna.com – it had a purple lining that matched everything else and was black lace. It was $168, and I had a coupon. I think I got it for $120. Many people were horrified by this choice. I never questioned it. I would hate how I felt in a big puffy white dress. Black is me, it’s classic. I’m gothy. Brad loved it. Whatever. My favorite horrified comment “You’re wearing black?? *shocked face* Why….??” As though I had some major reason. I think my answer was “I like it?”

* I made my hairpiece. Incidentally, this feather was my inspiration for my wedding color – purple. I also made my veil. It was shockingly easy to make, I ordered the veiling from Etsy and found instructions online. I made my jewelry too, necklace, bracelet, and earrings.

* I didn’t do invitations to the ceremony, only asked people to attend. I did evites for the dinner and drinks afterwards.

purple black wedding

* I made a lot of things for the wedding. My bouquet, 4 mini-bouquets for the women who were present. I used a button, bead, and paper flower wiring technique I found online. It was time consuming, but turned out really well. The bouquet sits on my desk at work now. It makes me smile and it will never wither!

* I also made boutonnieres for the men present, and corsages for Brad’s mom and my work mama, Charlotte. In the same style, I made a hair-comb for Jamie the officiant too.

button bridal bouquet

* In my bouquet were objects to represent my dad and my late mom. A motorcycle for my dad and a red flower for my mom – I found the button I used at the bottom of her purse (one of the items I received when she died.

* Another of my best friends in Pennsylvania did all of our rings, my engagement ring, and both of our wedding bands. She also made hang tags for my bouquet since she couldn’t be there. They are made from pages from the Twilight Saga books (which she and I both loved) have our wedding dates on the back. She’s quite craftsy.

* Our favors were etched by this super skilled craftsman I found on Etsy named Brad Goodell. They were monogrammed pilsner glasses. We filled them with Hershey’s kisses that we put little round labels on.

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

purple and black wedding

Since they clearly did everything their way, I asked Jessie about stuff she learned along the way while planning their unconventional wedding:

Hmm. What I learned from the wedding experience… Elope.

Haha. Just kidding (kinda). I think that too many brides get really hung up on the tiniest details. People are not going to remember if the lettering on your cocktail napkins didn’t exactly match your bridesmaid dresses. Also, don’t be afraid to try making things. But beware, once you make one thing…you’ll try to make EVERYTHING. Some things are best done by professionals.

My advice? This day is about you and your partner. Period. Your friends and family will be honored to be a part of one of the most special days of your life. Even if you wear a black dress.

purple and black wedding

Thank you so much Cole for sending your lovely images my way, and congratulations Jessie & Brad! Wishing you a lifetime of married bliss. :)

Photography: Cole Gorman and Ashley Marivittori of Blest Photography
Ceremony Venue: (from the bride — is kind of a secret in that people are not allowed to get married there, I only was because it’s the building in which I work)
Dinner: 411 West Italian Cafe
Dress: kiyonna.com
Rings: The Pawn and Jewelry Exchange in Greensburg, PA
Cake:  Sugarland 
Hair:  Studio 180, Anna Smith
Makeup: MAC

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