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They Did It Their Way

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GREASE WAS THE WORD

TANYA & KEVIN OUELLETTE, AUG. 12, 2006, LEWISTON, MAINE

For this nostalgia-loving couple, “it was about being lost for one night in the ’50s,” says Tanya, 28.

• The bridesmaids sported poodle skirts and bobby socks.

• Kevin, 35, and his groomsmen topped off their casual looks with slicked-backed hair and Converse sneakers.

• A deejay, spinning ’50s records, sat behind a decorative soda shop bar, posing as a waiter. Guests were treated to a burger buffet and sat at tables anchored by Coke bottle centerpieces.

• Homemade streamers adorned with old 45 records decorated the reception hall.

SHE WORE A DRESS MADE OF CREAM PUFFS

VALENTIN & VIKTORIYA SHTEFANO AUG. 27, 2006 UZHHOROD, UKRAINE

Pastry chef Valentin, 29, whipped up a cream puff and caramel wedding dress for his bride. “The idea seemed a little cockamamie at first,” admits Viktoriya, 25. “But people at the ceremony applauded it.”

• Number of buns he baked to find the 1,500 perfectly rounded pastries needed for the gown: 5,000

• Number of pounds the dress weighed: 44

• Number of hours the bride had to go without sitting to avoid squashing the floor-length confection: 4

• Number of guests who tasted the dress: 0

• Says the proud chef of the still-intact dress: “I hung it up on a dummy in my pizzeria.”

SUGAR SKULLS TOPPED THE CAKE!

TILL DEATH US DO PART

KERI & MIKE SULLIVAN OCT. 31, 2006, DISNEY WORLD

Keri, 32, wanted to marry on her favorite day—Halloween—with a theme to match. “When we got engaged, I said, ‘I know what you’re gonna ask and I’m all for it,'” says Mike, 33.

• Among the 160 costumed guests: a Marie Antoinette, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and Toy Story 2’s Woody and Jessie.

• “I wanted a black funeral-type dress, but Mike and my mom said, ‘Please, no!'” says Keri, who wore a traditional gown to the altar and a ghoulish version (which she had splattered with fake blood) for the reception.

• Tables were adorned with spiderweb runners, pumpkin centerpieces and stuffed crows.

LORD OF THE WEDDING RINGS

NICOLE THOMAS & JEROMY SMITH JUNE 24, 2006, NAPA, CALIF.

The Lord of the Rings fanatics wanted to wed in Middle Earth.

• They bought wedding bands from the official LOTR Web site.

• Smith’s mother got certified to perform the ceremony and used Tolkien lingo like “Will you pledge to join the union of rings?” says Thomas. “And our place cards said, ‘Joining the two rings of power.’ It was really neat.”

• Gandalf the Grey greeted guests, and costumed caterers served hors d’oeuvres.

• Thomas, 23, and Smith, 26, cut their wedding cake with giant swords.

THEY MARRIED DURING A MARATHON

PATTIANN MCADAMS & AARON RUSSELL APRIL 16, 2007 DURING THE BOSTON MARATHON

The avid runners met at a 10K race in 2005, and Russell, 34, proposed at the finish line of the New York City Marathon in 2006, so naturally they wanted to race to the altar.

• The couple stopped at mile 21 to exchange vows at the infamous Heartbreak Hill. “It’s the idea of getting over the hill,” says Russell, “and, after the struggle is done, then celebrating.”

• Russell’s mom, an English teacher who was ordained for the day, presided over the short ceremony. Then the couple hit the road again and finished the race. “As we were running, people said, ‘Thank you for inviting us to your wedding!'” says McAdams, 34. “It was an incredible high.”

THE FORCE WAS WITH THEM

JOHN & SHELLEY LIMPERT OCT. 8, 2006 SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

When they started dating, Shelley, 32, had never even seen Star Wars but now loves the films as much as John, 37. “I actually suggested the theme,” she says. Adds John: “We both kind of bring out the best in each other. To me, that’s kind of the idea of the movie.”

• The wedding’s sandy setting was reminiscent of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s desert home planet.

• A remote-controlled 2-ft.-tall R2D2 acted as ring bearer.

• The couple entered the reception to the Star Wars theme music.

R2D2 CARRIED THEIR RINGS!

A WILD WEST EXTRAVAGANZA

MATT & DEB RITCHIE MARCH 30, 2006 BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

“Find me a man who didn’t play cowboy as a child,” says Deb, 39, who was equally excited about dressing up in the Victorian-era women’s garb.

• All 250 guests came in full Old West costume, some even packing replica vintage guns.

• The reception featured chili and a saddle on the bar, but the groom drew the line at country music. “I wasn’t up for line dancing at the reception,” says Matt, 35.

THEIR WEDDING WENT DOWNHILL

ASHLEY HEGSETH & MATT DODD, MARCH 25, 2007 BIG SKY RESORT, MONT.

The bride, a snowboard instructor, and groom, a ski instructor, wanted a wedding their slopes-centric pals would enjoy.

• All the guests rode skis and snowboards down the mountain. “We had aisles and rows like at a typical wedding; they just were moving,” says Dodd, 28.

• After the ceremony, the couple glided under an arch of ski poles. Says Hegseth, 30: “Instead of throwing rice, everybody kicked up snow at us.”

SHE MARRIED A RENAISSANCE MAN

EDWARD & DAWNETTA RAMSAUER, MAY 20, 2006 THE RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE IN IRWINDALE, CALIF.

Longtime fans of the medieval era, the couple “wanted something different and fun,” says Edward, 40. “We didn’t ask for gifts; we asked everyone to dress up.”

• At the reception, “instead of a receiving line, we had a village crier who announced each person,” says Dawnetta, 48. “He said, ‘This is Lord and Lady So-and-So from the village of Pasadena.'”

• Even the entertainment was era-appropriate. “While people were eating, we had a sword duel and some Renaissance singers,” says Dawnetta.

BRIDE IN AISLE 5

RUTHANN SMITH & JOHN HORNER, APRIL 21, 2007 WAL-MART IN NEW CASTLE, PA.

Both employees of the megachain, they met on the job in 2004 and opted for an in-store wedding because “all of our friends work there,” says Smith. “Wal-Mart is our true family.”

• Smith, 55, walked down the aisle from electronics while Horner, 43, came from the tire-and-lube department.

• Wal-Mart provided wedding cake and coffee, and coworkers baked cookies and decorated the aisles with ivory skirting, flowers and vines. “People from every department worked on this,” says Horner.

THEIR GUESTS DRESSED UP TOO!

THEY HAD A COSTUME PARTY

TONY AND MARISSA GOLDMARK JAN. 6, 2007, BERKELEY, CALIF.

The two, who met at a science fiction convention, “are a bit alternative in their thinking,” says the groom’s mother, Kathi Goldmark. “They went crazy at the party store.”

• The wedding invites read, “Costumes optional, but appreciated,” and all 130 guests dressed up. The range of disguises covered the gamut from Batman and Robin to a bunny.

• Tony, 23, and Marissa, 20, were dressed as two of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts classmates, and the ceremony was performed by an Elvis impersonator.

• The wedding party walked down the aisle to “The Imperial March” (a.k.a. Darth Vader’s theme) and left to the accordion strains of the “Beer Barrel Polka.”

THEIR WEDDING WAS AN HOMAGE TO OLD HOLLYWOOD

WINDY & CHRIS BOWLSBY NOV. 30, 2003 COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, MINN.

The film and theater buffs, who met working on a local production of Funny Girl, were “going for a classic-movie feel,” says Windy, 37.

• The wedding was held at a historic movie theater, and guests wore vintage hats, dresses and suits with spats.

• The ushers donned theater-attendant uniforms with box hats and white gloves.

• “Instead of throwing rice, we had popcorn,” says Chris, 29. “But the guests started eating it, so we had to put out signs that said, ‘Popcorn for Throwing.'”

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