There are many options on where to hold your ceremony. Many couples choose a PA hall for the large common areas that can be easily decorated. If you're not in a PA you may be able to find a group that will rent out their hall or house for a ceremony. An example is the Museo de Ostium Vepres, a fledgling museum on Tatooine (Bria server) that houses all manner of odd artifacts from a Dark Jedi light saber to full suits of armor. Ask around on your galaxy's forum and you will most likely find a venue for rent.
You can find some of those locations here:
If you want something a bit grander in scale, or if you don't want to spend the credits on a hall, there are many places in and around the various cities that may suit your needs. From the overlook at the palace in Theed to Vreni Island's outdoor stage on Corellia or the waterfalls of Naboo, there are a myriad of choices for you. Of course, "public" means public and you may want to consider a private chat channel for all your attendees in order to keep out the noise of merchants and party crashers.
With player-run cities, weddings can be held in a player-controlled theater or cantina. Some very nice wedding spots will be created with public gardens and other decorations placed by the Mayor. There is also the advantage of being able to ban party crashers from the city or to use the city militia to prevent unwanted attacks. A smart Mayor will charge for this service.
If you are looking for a great place out of the hustle and bustle of a city, there is nothing like finding one of the great vistas offered throughout the galaxy. There's the oasis on Tatooine, or the hills north of Kor Vella on Corellia. Or perhaps the happy couple will want to tie the knot at their favorite hunting ground.
Since many of the wild spaces are full of wild creatures, this can be a drawback. Wedding planners should scout the wedding location, as well the most likely path guests will take to get there. Some credits should be spent on a security force to clear dangerous creatures out of the area before and during the wedding. Armed escorts for guests may also be in order. Just make sure that the guests know where to meet.
Recommended Public Wedding Locations:
- Theed Grand Palace (Naboo -5500 4425)
- Lake Retreat (Naboo -5540 -125)
- Vreni Theatre (Corellia -5420 -6260)
- Ancient Temple (Rori -6975 -5650)
- Elegant Retreat (Rori 5220 1010)
The more lead time you can give your guests, the more likely they will be able to attend the party. Sending out your invitations one or two weeks ahead of time is normal, but be sure to keep everyone updated on plans and locations as the date draws near. This reminds them where they need to be, and helps keep enthusiasm up. If you are asking for anything special from your wedding guests (i.e. all guests must wear only white clothing) they will need time to get things together.
When making invitations, you can send an in-game email. Or you can get creative and have a crafter make an item such as an armor plate or even a mouse droid with the details incorporated into the title! If you do send an email, be sure to attach a waypoint to make sure that your invitees can find you.
Name the waypoint with the time of the ceremony. This will also act as a reminder.
Once you announce a date, it is important to stick with it. For example, one player had to change the date of a wedding due to some minor ISP problems (aka Hurricane Isabel). It messed up the plans of many attendees and became a major headache reorganizing all of the guests and entertainment.
Consider the time zones of some of your attendees. Having a weekday event at 6pm EST makes it hard for your West Coast friends in the United States to attend since many of them will still be at work. Similar time restrictions may apply to European players. All you can do is try to find a good middle ground, perhaps on a weekend, where a majority of players can attend. You will most likely not be able to find a time when everyone can make it, so just do your best. Giving enough advanced warning will help.
This is where the real work comes in. Some online weddings are as elaborate as the real thing; others are nice and simple. If you're going for the big bash, a lot of work can go into everything from matching bridesmaid dresses to personalized wedding rings to decorations.
First and foremost are the outfits for the betrothed. Arriving at your own wedding in the same armor in which you fought a rancor monster is not the height of fashion. Instead, find a reputable Domestics Trader who can customize the colors for you, or can provide matching outfits for the bride and groom.
By asking around, you should be able to find a Trader who will work with the couple to create customized colors and find the best pattern to wear. Matching outfits for the Bridesmaids and the Groomsmen also helps give a finished look to the ceremony. If you have too many outfits to make, you should consider hiring a couple of Domestics Traders for the job.
You'll also need to get rings made; Domestics Traders can create signet and band style rings. If you have them crafted, you can include an attached inscription. Using rings allows for a radial option that says "Propose Unity". By both players accepting, it will mark off the "married" box on your character sheet.
For decorations, there is much you can do if you are holding the ceremony in a PA hall or private residence. Chairs, plants, torches, decorative armor, the band and more can all be arranged specifically for your wedding. Droids, vendors, items or pets can be named with descriptive names such as "Reception Next Door", and they can be dropped in entryways and halls to provide directions.
If you want to have some good screenshots of your event, it's good to ask one attendee to be the photographer. You'll be too busy reciting vows and answering tells to want to line up a good shot. By having a dedicated photographer, you will get a number of good shots to post on your websites, or to submit for the player screenshot of the day. Just remember to tell your digital shutterbug to use the various options such as SHIFT + CTRL + H to turn off the HUD and to turn off some shots with chat bubbles or names. Also ask them to turn up their detail settings to get better resolution shots!
You'll also need someone to officiate the wedding. Anakin and Padme were married in a private ceremony with a holy man of Naboo officiating. For most people, though, this is often a PA leader, a mentor or simply a trusted friend. It helps to have the vows written out ahead of time, and have them committed to macros to limit the need to type quickly and accurately during the height of the ceremony.
Traditionally weddings have a reception, and that is doubly true online. While you can do this where the ceremony took place, it is fun to have a separate location for the after-party. In this area you can have tables and chairs and a place for the band as well as food and party favors (such as fireworks or Bantha statues). One recent wedding put a vendor outside the reception with 1-credit wedding cake slices with the date of the wedding as a name attached to each slice . They also had 1 credit drinks for the guests and a basic weapon with the names of the couple along with the date as a memento for attendees to take home with them.
For the reception you will definitely want to hire a band. You might even hire a performing group to entertain. Some of the dancing troupes online have choreographed routines with organized lighting effects and costume changes! Well worth the credits.
For the more adventurous, receptions can be the staging area for big game hunts or PVP action. More than one wedding has ended with the bride and groom shooting it out with the opposing faction!
That's all there is to it! A lot of work, but it will be a lot of fun if done properly. Weddings are more and more common online these days, and they are getting to be more and more intricate and exciting. With some planning and help from your friends, you can create a player-run event that will encourage roleplaying. It will be a fun event that will be special to you and your friends.
Star Wars: Union art courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
Illustration by Bill Hughes from Star Wars: the Essential Chronology
Episode II image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.