Pop’s Top 10: Literary Weddings

It’s June, and that, my friends, is wedding season! Today, we are celebrating the tying of the knot with our top 10 picks for literary-themed weddings. Now. There are zillions and zillions of bookish wedding ideas out there, and add another gabillion Pinterest boards. Type “literary themed wedding” in Google and you’ll get 989,000 results. “Literary wedding cakes?” 924,000. We did, however, turn up only 1 literary bachelorette party (you go girls)!

So we went with couples who dedicated their entire special day to books. We also ruled out the plethora of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones weddings in favor of the more obscure. Here they are, in no particular order. Definitely click on the links, because the details are AMAZING.


#1 THE NIGHT CIRCUS
From Offbeat Bride

First, they pick a cool book. Then, they have their wedding in Los Angeles’ famous Last Bookstore. Her nail art rocked, there were silhouette cake toppers, AND they had a stage magician. I can’t handle the awesome.


#2 PETER PAN
From Ruffled

White with pops of hunter green, floating fabrics, and simple elegance. Add some golden crocodiles and the cutest Tinkerbell you’ve ever seen and you’re off to Neverland!


#3 SHREK
From The Daily Mail

Technincally, Shrek was a picture book before it became a movie. And while this couple definitely went with the Dreamworks version, they are so darn adorable, we couldn’t resist including them here.


#4 THE LITTLE PRINCE
From Ruffled

I do believe the cake says it all. And that gorgeous color palette! But click on the link to see what has to be the most adorable ring-bearer of all time, rocking a pair of purple boots.


#5 ALICE IN WONDERLAND
From Rock n Roll Bride

The original blogger titled this “Margaret & Edi’s Incredible ‘Blows-Everything-Else-Out-of-the-Water’ Gothic Alice in Wonderland Wedding.” And it delivers. What’s cool is that the couple actually had a very simple ceremony at the groom’s parents’ house. But then they totally blew the top off the reception.


#6 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
From Publisher’s Weekly

A beautiful, thoughtful, and touching wedding. I especially love the childhood trinket boxes at the tables. Also, oversized ham costumes are mentioned. My heart is won.


#7 THE PRINCESS BRIDE
From Offbeat Bride

Another wedding that draws more on the movie than the book, and this one is full of joy. And that kiss? Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most the pure. This one leaves them all behind.


#8 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
From Green Wedding Shoes

Prepare to be transported. The ceremony was in a redwood grove. The reception was in an exposed-rafter barn blooming with lush ferns and gorgeous flowers. The bride handmade animal masks for each and every guest. Oh rapture!


#9 THE WORKS OF DR. SEUSS
From Green Wedding Shoes

This couple didn’t choose one book. They chose many Seuss books and perfectly nailed the color palette to boot. Especially nice touches were whimsical directional signs, opportunities for the guest to doodle, and Bar 1 and Bar 2.


#10 SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
From Rock n Roll Bride

Two film-makers, joined through their mutual love of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel,  transport their Los Angeles friends to a jovial Gothic carnival in the bride’s childhood hills of Montana. Laughter, love, costumes, music, and fire breathers. I don’t even know these guys, but I’m totally bummed I missed their wedding!

Thrift Store Costume Challenge

thrift-store-costume-challengeThe challenge? To costume as many literary characters as you can in 180 minutes. The catch? You can only use what you find on the racks of Nearly New consignment and thrift shop in Princeton.

nearly-new-clothing-rackFor those of you unfamiliar with Nearly New, it’s an independently-owned consignment and thrift store with tons of fantastic stuff. Toni Maher, the owner, is always helpful when I drop by looking for costume items for work (or, heh heh, just shopping).

nearly-newToni’s also extremely accommodating when it comes to more unusual requests, such as  borrowing a mannequin for this Cinderella dress design event, or hunting for teacups and saucers for this Victorian Tea program. She didn’t even bat an eye when I asked her if she’d be up for hosting the costume challenge.

The other major player was Princeton University sophomore James Jared. Last year, James designed and sewed the Mathamagician’s costume for our Day in Digitopolis program (you can see it in this post). He also works in the costume shop at the Lewis Center for the Arts. James is incredibly talented, and was totally game for the challenge. There’s an interview with him at the end of the post!

The big day dawned and Marissa and I headed to Nearly New with photo equipment and a long list of possible characters (we went with female characters because, as James so astutely pointed out, the women’s sections of thrift stores are much bigger than the men’s sections). James and 4 Princeton University students who agreed to model met us at Nearly New. Then it was full steam ahead. In 180 minutes, James costumed 9 characters. Are you ready to see his results?


#1 NANCY DREW

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#2 VERUCA SALT

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#3 THE GRAND HIGH WITCH

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#4 MS. FRIZZLE

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#5 PROFESSOR TRELAWNEY

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#6 MRS. COULTER

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#7 DOLORES UMBRIDGE

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#8 MISS TRUNCHBULL

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#9 THE WHITE WITCH

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James’ costumes look fantastic, but they’re even more fun when you learn some of the behind-the-scenes facts. Nancy Drew, for example, is wearing a belt in her hair because we couldn’t find a headband. Miss Trunchbull is wearing men’s shoes, men’s socks, and little kid’s jacket to make her look bigger and bulkier. Dolores Umbridge’s sweater was overwhelming her dress, but James expertly pinned it to a better length. Professor Trelwaney is holding a fishbowl. And the White Witch’s crystal daggers? Those are salad forks that she’s holding handle-side-out.

The other thing I didn’t really appreciate until we got there was the volume of items and how fast James had to sift through them. To find the perfect belt, James had to dig through dozens and dozens of belts while simultaneously looking for earrings, dresses, and boots. He did this while expertly delegating the models to bring him possible shirts, skirts, sweaters, and hats. Also, James could find an awesome dress, but if it didn’t fit the model, or match the personality of the character, it was out. Finally, I learned that it’s not easy to make pieces from different decades work together without just the right vision.


JAMES JARED

james-jaredWhat’s your costuming background?

I’ve always loved making Halloween costumes, but I officially taught myself how to sew in high school when I started to cosplay (make costumes based on characters from movies, tv shows, books, etc).

What was the costume challenge like for you?

I was very nervous going into the challenge because I’ve never done anything of the like before, and I was worried that the time constraint would prove difficult to work under. In the end, though, I had a fantastic time and I’m very proud of the costumes that we were all able to make together.

Did you have an overwhelming favorite?
I think my favorite costume had to be Trelawney from Harry Potter. There were so many scarves and shirts that fit the character in the thrift store that her outfit almost seemed to show up without having to look for it. It almost became less of a question of which scarf would be best and more how many scarves we could get away with throwing on her.

Which was the toughest character to costume?
The hardest character to costume was the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia. Her character description includes a crown, which the shop didn’t have, so it took a while for us to come up with a way to mimic the crown. Eventually we found a circlet that suggested royalty, as well as some spiky earrings that were reminiscent of icicles to use as a necklace.

If you had more time, which character were you hoping to do?
I would have loved to costume someone as Kate Wetherall, as the Mysterious Benedict Society was one of my favorite books growing up. Unfortunately, her costume is fairly specific and there isn’t much room for leeway.

What’s your major at Princeton University?
I’m just starting out in the Electrical Engineering department.

Do you see any connections between your major and costuming?
Interestingly, I once told an employee in a fabric store I frequent at home about my major, and she said that she often thought of sewing as a type of engineering. Though I’d never have put the two together on my own, as soon as she said that I knew she was right, and I think it applies to costuming as well.

In both costuming and engineering you have to pull materials together using techniques you’ve learned to create a final product that’s more than the sum of its parts. I think I enjoy sewing and costuming so much for the same reason I like engineering, which is that it’s a great feeling to have created something new out of basic materials. And that’s something I think anyone can do.


A big, enthusiastic “Huzzah!” to James Jared, costumer extraordinaire, who aced the costume challenge with style and flair. Warm waves of gratitude to the Nearly New for letting us overrun your store and create chaos in your racks.

And finally, many thanks to models Amanda Blanco, Ailyn Brizo, Joani Etskovitz, Grace Turner, and Marissa Warren. It wasn’t easy to keep a straight face through it all, much less glower, growl, look haughty, or stare intensely into the camera wearing shoes that were at least one size too small for you.

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Pop’s Top 20: Literary Halloween Costumes

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From Tikkido

The big spooky weekend is almost here, and Katie has been haunting the web to find her top 20 book-inspired DIY Halloween costumes. Our only rule was that we had to be able to trace the costume back to its original source, in the hopes that you could learn a little more about the creator, or get a chance to make it yourself! Can you guess what the above one is? Scroll to the very bottom of the post to find out!


#1 MADELINE, MISS CLAVEL & AND FRIENDS
From The Holland Family

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#2 WILD THINGS
From The Kimball Herd

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#3 CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS
From The Quilted Turtle

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#4 HANSEL AND GRETEL
From The Wright Family

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#5 LUNA LOVEGOOD
From BalthierFlare

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#6 GREG HEFFLEY
From Costume Works

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#7 STREGA NONA
From Seeker of Happiness

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#8 THING 1 & THING 2
From Loving Life

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#9 SUPERMAN
From Costume Works

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#10 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD & THE BIG BAD WOLF
From Valley & Co. Lifestyle

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#11 HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
From Generation T

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#12 HOBBITS
From Sweet Little Ones

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#13 WHERE’S WALDO
From Make It & Love It

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#14 WILLY WONKA
From Beautiful Things

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#15 EFFIE TRINKET
From Coolest Homemade Costumes

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#16 PIPPI LONGSTOCKING
From Design Mom

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#17 THE PIGEON
From Simply Radiant

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#18 ALICE IN WONDERLAND
From Misha Lulu Blog

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#19 HICCUP AND TOOTHLESS
From Magic Wheelchair

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#20 PETER PAN’S SHADOW
From Tikkido

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