Robert & Karly’s

Victorian Gothic Inspired Wedding



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I first met Bob at the Inferno Nightclub that was located in Madison, WI until it was sold years later. It was New Year’s Eve 2011/2012, I was working the coat check, and he was one of the DJs. We briefly interacted, and slowly but surely our friendship grew over the next 2 years, and eventually evolved into a full blown romantic relationship. In May of 2016 shortly after Bob and I went on a hike, I admitted to him that I wanted to do that “big scary day” with him. He then kissed my hand and proposed.



We both wanted our wedding to take place outdoors and in the Fall season, so I started researching venues that would work. I happened to stumble upon the website for Paradise Park located in Cottage Grove, WI. I showed it to Bob and we agreed to check it out, it only took us being there and talking to the owners for a short time before we both agreed that this was where we wanted to get married. The park was breathtakingly beautiful, and we knew it would be perfect for what we wanted. The reception hall was a little more challenging to decide on but we ended up going with the Crowne Plaza in Madison, WI.

Over the next year and half Bob and I went to work on planning and arranging our wedding, we bought a lot of stuff off of Etsy (including my wedding dress and our rings) and also from Michaels. I put together all the decorations and Bob put together a website dedicated to the wedding. We worked as a team to get everything done together and in a timely fashion so we weren’t running around like crazy people weeks before the wedding. We went through friends for most of the major aspects of our wedding, which included the officiant, the DJ, the photographers, the videographer, the invites, the cake and cupcakes, even our engagement pictures were done by a good friend, who also happened to be standing in the wedding.



Very little about the wedding was traditional; we had men and women standing on both sides, there was no best man or maid of honor simply because we didn’t want to have to choose between our friends, Bob’s 8 year old daughter was the ring bearer, and we had no flower girl. The decorations consisted of wax dripped wine bottles, tiny chrome colored skulls, black lace wrapped candle votives, red and black everything, we even had a skeleton candelabra that served as lighting for the guest book table. There was no registry, instead Bob and I suggested that guests donate to one of our favorite charities that Bob had listed on our website, for the more artsy inclined friends we suggested a gift they created if they so desired to make something, otherwise guests could donate to our honeymoon fund. In place a of traditional ceremony Bob and I had a handfasting and used cording,  that I braided myself and was also adorned with charms that held meaning to both of us.


The day of the wedding the weather forecast called for rain the entire day so we needed to rent a tent for the ceremony. This wasn’t the only potential issue, when we arrived at the hotel to set up the reception hall we discovered the staff accidentally swapped our colors with the Navy Ball that was happening in a different banquet hall that same night. The staff at the hotel thankfully took care of switching everything over relatively quickly and no time was loss in the day. The rain continued in the morning but stopped just as I arrived at Paradise Park, a kind of mist held in the air making the weather absolutely perfect for a gothic wedding.

I walked down the aisle to the song #1 Crush by Garbage, and was barely able to hold off my tears of joy. That ceremony was filled with love and emotion, we both wrote our own vows and accidentally jumped the gun on the kiss. The pictures that followed the ceremony were practically pure goofiness and laughter as everyone in the wedding party had a good time. Right as the pictures were finishing up the rain started back up, it was perfect timing to say the least.

At the reception our uniquely dressed guests filled the hall, and began to grab the attention of the hotel’s guests and staff. We encouraged people to dress up anyway they wanted as long as it was kid appropriate so there some people dressed in full blown cosplay like Doctor Horrible, victorian wear, gothic, and others were dressed in simple dress clothes. Our wedding coordinator for the hotel told me repeatedly how much fun our wedding was and how much she loved seeing all the unique people, decorations, and not to mention our cake and cupcakes that were inspired by Sally’s dress from the Nightmare Before Christmas.


We did our grand march to Love Never Dies by Apoptygma Berzerk, and the song Bob and I danced to was, This Twilight Garden by The Cure. We didn’t have designated speeches, but instead left it open to anyone and ended up with quite a few, it was a good mixture of funny and heartfelt. The music was primarily gothic and industrial and had the dance floor filled most of the night, even my grandma got on the dance floor and danced to a Wumpscut song. It warmed my heart to see so many of our loved ones having a such good time and just being there to help Bob and I celebrate our union. At the end of the night I told a bunch of our guests to take home the centerpieces I made. I didn’t really want to haul and store 18 centerpieces at my house and would rather see them go to homes where they can be appreciated by more than just my little family.

Everything turned out so wonderful and honestly better than I expected. It was, without question, the best day of my life.



Love Karly xxx


WEDDING DATE: 10/14/2017

WEDDING LOCATION: Paradise Park in Cottage Grove, WI

WEDDING THEME: Victorian Gothic

DRESS DESIGNER:  rohmy_couture ( Insta)

PHOTOGRAPHER:  mayhemstudio ( Insta)

HAIR / MAKE UP:  I did my own makeup and I was going to do my own hair until I burned my neck with a curling iron. One of my bridesmaids, Kymm, stepped in then and did my hair for me.

TIPS FOR FUTURE BADASS BRIDES:  Remember the day is about what you and your partner want, not anyone else, do what will make you both happy. Be willing to compromise with your partner and get the planning started right away. When things go wrong, and believe me some stuff will, take a deep breath and step away for a few minutes to compose yourself so you don’t become a bridezilla. Remember this is a happy day so have fun with it and make memories worth remembering.





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