I grew up watching Star Trek in reruns with fanatic devotion, and always dreamed about my very own themed wedding — complete with someone in a bumpy skullcap delivering a romantic Shakespearean sonnet in the original Klingoni. Afterwards, everyone would beam to a Starfleet bar, while a shuttle craft delivers the crotchety uncles and aunts that object to having their molecules scattered across the galaxy.
OK, that is a lie. Not the part about watching every Star Trek episode, usually in Saturday marathons hosted by some guy that was an extra in "The Trouble with Tribbles." No, the lie is the wedding dreams. As a sci-fi watcher and reader, the idea of marriage was as dim and distant as the light from attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion when viewed from the Tannhäuser Gate.
Since the opportunity to plan a Star Trek-themed wedding only happens once in a lifetime (I hope), and there was scant help for me in making any arrangements, I thought that relating my experiences could help in planning your own Star Trek-themed weddings (or viewing parties, and convention room food fests, for that matter).
Pour yourself a tea, Earl Grey, hot, and follow along, if you like.
First of all, unless you have the advantages of an arranged marriage or the desperation of pon farr, you’re going to need to find a suitable mate. Here is my only advice offered in that regard: SoHvaD ylyuDQo’, or, “To Thine Own Self be True” if you read Shakespeare’s translation. I have known several geeky friends who only revealed their sci-fi obsession after their vows were exchanged, and their wives found that to be disingenuous, at best. Be bold and honest with your loves, both human and televised, and thank me later. On the flip side, being honest did undermine a lot of relationship chances through the years, which left me waiting for someone to propose to me until I was 37, but I think that it was worth the wait. Plus, my wife is reading this over my shoulder as I type it, and she knows my sleeping schedule, so I have to say that everything happened for a good reason.
Next, you’re probably going to want to make a grand romantic gesture that ties your love of Star Trek into your proposal to your significant other. In my case, my girlfriend proposed to me after showing up in an Original Series science officer dress, and had made modifications to her baby’s onesie so that it looked like a 2270’s all-white uniform with insignia. I donned my Next Generation shirt, we dined at our favorite burger joint — and we had near-private dining on a busy weekend night because no one wanted to sit near the Trek fans. In the 23rd century, I hope that girls proposing to boys while all are wearing Star Trek uniforms is not as alarming to people as it turned out to be when I had to explain what transpired to her parents.
Needless to say, quotes from the series of your choice should be mixed into the proposal, and although the standard thought is that you should buy a ring with a dilithium crystal worth three months' credits if possible, a good person would proudly wear a self-sealing stem bolt on her finger if it was from his or her true love.
Everything after the proposal is a whirlwind of reservations, and I’m not just talking about cold feet. After a lot of disappointing meetings, I found that the only way to get anything offbeat arranged was to go with extremely small producers of wedding supplies and to check out a lot of venues that were not traditionally used for weddings. Maybe these people were less judgmental, or maybe they just couldn’t afford to turn away any business even if their clients — us — made odd requests. But the net effect was that these people came through for me in every single instance.
For the cake, after trying dozens of stale slices from all of the specialty bakeries in town, we happened upon a newer husband-and-wife team that didn’t just hand you a checklist to fill out. Instead of showing us a catalog of cakes that all look the same (and then being told that every change from the ordinary fare would be an upcharge of a dollar per change desired per serving), these kind people fed us fresh cake, showed us their past creations, and then waited to hear what we really wanted our wedding cake to look like. When I started to explain the tri-dimensional chess board cake that I was dreaming of, the baker already had called up pictures on her phone. Three main boards of chocolate raspberry, coffee hazelnut, and lemon, and then four attack boards of more chocolate hazelnut (I supplied the chess pieces).
When it came to the decorations, I already had enough phasers and tricorders (plus I borrowed a few from my friends) that all we needed to purchase to spruce up the reception were some Star Trek photos and a large print of Kirk and Spock to make into a frame-able guestbook. I’m sure that we could have procured a lot more science-fiction themed party favors and table decorations on the cheap if we had checked the costume shops during their after-Halloween closeout period, but I was working two jobs and negotiating to buy my first house at the time, so I forgive myself for dropping the ball on that one.
As for the venue, I knew that a standard church service or bland reception hall wouldn’t do. I’ve always been a baseball fanatic, so I was able to persuade my now-wife into letting me go with an homage to my third favorite Deep Space Nine episode, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite." After laughing/crying at the amount of money that the Cincinnati Reds would charge for doing anything at their shiny, new park, I found a much more reasonable price and a much more accommodating group sales team with the local minor league team, the Florence Freedom.
The easiest part of the planning was finding an officiant to marry us. When we found someone willing to perform in "alternative" ceremonies, we did have to survive an interview with her that Elim Garak would have approved of in his Obsidian Order days, but she approved of us in the end. I’m sure that it helped that we wanted very few changes to the usual wording, because I worried that going too far into character would result in a couple of Klingoni mispronunciations that would render us unrecognized as married according to the state of Kentucky. In the end, we added "Live long and prosper" to the end of our vows in place of "You may now kiss the bride," and that was good enough for us.
By buying out two of the air-conditioned suites for a Saturday afternoon game to use as our reception, a wonderful baseball game replaced the horrible DJ or lame cover band that would normally be employed as the post-wedding entertainment, a major upgrade. The team was so happy to get to deal with a wedding, even a weird wedding, that we also were given free access to the seating area before the game to have our ceremony. Afterwards, the included buffet of ballpark hot dogs and BBQ sandwiches that all of the private suites had access to would prove to be the second best tasting food of any wedding I’ve ever been to, which either says a lot about my taste buds or very little about the quality of catered food (probably both).
Of course, there were a multitude of minor problems on the actual wedding day, starting with the rain out of the previous night’s game that necessitated a doubleheader that would start an hour earlier than our original planned time. The ballpark workers shuffled all of the non-wedding guests to the far side of the park before the game, the players on the field suspended their warmups during the short ceremony, and the Star Trek theme song played over the grandstand’s loudspeakers. It was so quiet and organized during the exchange of vows that you could hear the tinny sound of my fiancee dropping my wedding ring, and still follow the noise as it bounced off of the third base dugout, down the steps, and then rolled to within an inch of the nearest storm drain.
The rest of the day was close enough to perfect, including getting cheered after we each threw out a ceremonial pitch before the second game of the double header. My wife threw a fastball right down the middle of the plate despite her high heels and wedding dress, whereas my noticeably weaker arm produced a high enough throw that the catcher had to leap to get it, although it was over the plate. (In my defense, my tricorder spun around, altering my windup, and I was subconsciously picturing a much taller batter — something on the order of a Mugato.)
Certainly things could have been smoother, and I would not recommend a mid-June outdoor wedding after seeing my older relations melting in the sun, but the photographer dropping the uneaten portion of the various cakes while ducking from a poorly timed foul ball was the worst of the day, and that’s not so bad. Of course, my wife falling off of a cliff the next day during a honeymoon hike was less than desirable, but I did catch her, and we’ve lived long and prospered ever since.