Let’s start with the obvious—have you ever heard of a “steampunk” wedding? Though gaining in popularity, it’s not in the mainstream just yet, and you’d have to be a unique couple to even contemplate choosing this wedding theme. What’s more, your family and friends would have to be a bit on the wild and crazy side to join in. But first things first: what exactly is a “steampunk wedding”?

Steampunk Wedding Guests

This provocative wedding theme arose from the steampunk literary genre, which is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history and speculative fiction that emerged during the 1980s and early 1990s. The name is derived from the era when steam power was still widely used, specifically the 19th century and, most often, Victorian England. Steampunk incorporates the anachronistic technology or progressive innovations as Victorians like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne imagined.

A steampunk wedding incorporates Victorian attire (including high-top shoes), lots of brass, nickel and mahogany, parts of steam engines, antique watch works, monocles, antique airplane parts and goggles, Victorian door keys, leather and corsetry, old typewriter keys—simply keep in mind how H.G. Wells described his time machine:

            Parts were of nickel, parts of ivory, parts had certainly been filed or sawn out of rock crystal. The thing was generally complete, but the twisted crystalline bars lay unfinished upon the bench beside some sheets of drawings, and I took one up for a better look at it. Quartz it seemed to be.

Time Machine

The secrets to a spectacular steampunk wedding are best shared in photographs, so you can see how all these different elements become part of the occasion.

  • Save-the-Date Cards and Invitations Use a Victorian font and, if you like, include trinkets like the tiny gears inside an antique watch or a Victorian-style key.
Steampunk Invitation
  • Venue and Transportation Find a Victorian-style home or event venue for hire in your area. If there’s an antique automobile club in your area, you might be able to rent vintage automobiles to take the wedding party to your ceremony and reception venues.
Victorian Home
  • Attire  The dramatic dress for a steampunk wedding is Victorian with ruffles, bows and lace, of course, with touches of trinkets like machine gears, antique goggles, and other 19th century baubles. An online costume company that rents is probably your best bet, though you’ll probably have to embellish your costumes with your own “trinketry”.
Steampunk couple
  • Décor  If you’re able to find a Victorian-style venue, you won’t require much in the way of décor except for your reception tabletops. Here are a couple of examples for inspiration:
Steampunk Table2 Steampunk Table1
  • Menu and Wedding Cake  If you want to go the high-end Victorian route, you’ll be treating your guests to oysters, caviar, beef consommé, filet mignon, truffles, roast duck, foie gras, éclairs, brandy and fine wines. Fortunately, not too many people know what Victorian-era guests were served, so feel free to create your own menu, but stay away from burgers, fried chicken and food that became popular later in the 20th century. The wedding cake? Just give your baker one of these photos for an idea of what you’d like:
Steampunk Cake1Steampunk Cake2
  • Wedding Favours, Bridesmaid Gifts and Groomsmen Gifts  Yes, you can actually purchase steampunk wedding favours, but if you can’t find any you like (and there aren’t that many steampunk favour designs around), elegant candle wedding favours will do. For bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, think jewelry—earrings or a necklace for your bridesmaids, and cufflinks for the groomsmen.
Steampunk NecklaceSteampunk Cufflinks Steampunk Favour

Now that you’ve seen how bizarrely cool a steampunk wedding can be, perhaps you’ll consider designing your wedding around a truly unusual and original theme!