My Entomological Wedding

Sunglow Ranch

Sunglow Ranch, our wedding venue.

Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I am a die-hard insect fan.  Insects pervade every part of my life including my clothing, my home decor, and my creative style.  I am SO much of a bug fan that I even had an insect-themed wedding!  Terribly geeky, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.  I thought it was a lot of fun, so indulge me as I share some of the details.

Me and Monkey

Me and my dog Monkey (his nickname is Bug). I carried a handmade bouquet of feather butterflies with me down the aisle!

The hardest part of being an entomologist for me is knowing that the vast majority of people I meet think that I am completely insane for liking insects as much as I do.  This unfortunately extends to many of my family members, regardless of how much they love me and how often I try to change their minds.  They’re quite happy that I am following my dream and all, but when they come face to face with an insect, many of them fall into the “insect stomping” category of humanity rather than the “insect loving” category like me.  I wanted to have an insect-themed wedding, but how does one do that without scaring off all of your guests, and more importantly, your insect phobic fiancée?  Simple!  Just call your theme something other than “entomology” or “insect:”

“My wedding theme isn’t entomology!  Who would be that silly?  Ho ho ho!  No, the theme is woodland glade.

Officially, my theme was woodland glade, which was a fancy name for “insects with a few other things tossed in for looks.”  :)


Our wedding "cake." Notice the butterfly vase that we used as a cake topper!

So here I was, dead set on having a wedding with an entomological theme and a bunch of guests and a fiancée who don’t like insects.  I had to figure out a way to keep it from being blatantly apparent that there were insects everywhere so that people wouldn’t be too scared to come.  Live insects were out, though if you read my Friday 5 on Arizona’s beetles you know that this wasn’t for lack of interest on my part.  I don’t particularly relish being the center of attention, not even on my wedding day, and I was more than happy to give up my jars of live aquatic beetles to make sure my relatives were at the wedding.   I was throwing a big party and I wanted to make everyone happy, so live insects were out.*


My bridesmaids were decked out in butterfly stuff! They all wore butterfly headbands and glass lockets with real butterfly wings inside. These and the shawls were their gifts for being the best bridesmaids ever!

I also focused on insects that most people like.  Butterflies were an obvious choice.  I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of butterflies.  I like big scary insects!  I like the bad a** insects.  Butterflies simply aren’t bad a**.  But, butterflies are well-loved by nearly everyone while the bad a** insects are not.  That makes butterflies a little more acceptable to people who generally don’t like insects.  In fact, people use them in their weddings all the time – even on edible things like cakes!  When someone like Martha Stewart promotes butterflies for wedding cakes, you know they’re okay.


Our table decor. The vases held a dozen handmade parchment paper flowers along with a feather butterfly. Two of my friends stamped the wine bottle labels with butterflies and plants. The table runners were stamped with butterflies, bees, plants, and birds. The potted plants and felt birds were given to guests as favors.

If you’re me and ecstatic about the crafting and do-it-yourself opportunities that a wedding affords, the wider availability of things like butterfly rubber stamps and paper punches compared to dragonflies or any other insects also needs to be taken into account.  Have you ever tried to find a decent dragonfly paper punch that’s bigger than an inch across?  They don’t exist!  So, I incorporated a lot of butterflies into my decor.  This should be abundantly obvious from looking at the photos.  I spent months making paper flowers and potting plants and stamping table runners and making invitations entirely by hand.  I used dragonflies, bumblebees, and plants too.  To keep it from becoming completely obvious that I was having a bug wedding, I tossed in some birds to throw people off the scent.   The little stuffed felt birds served as our wedding favors and made “woodland glade” a believable theme.  :)

guest book

Our guest "book" consisted of a bunch of paper butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. Guests chose a shape, wrote a note on them, and hung them from the tree.

My husband and I were married just over a year ago.  I found the most amazing venue in the foothills of the western slope of the Chiricahua Mountains 2 1/2 hours east of Tucson.  It was the perfect combination of stunningly beautiful, out-of-town, and cheap.  We took a chance having an outdoor wedding at a higher elevation in March and it ended up being a sunny, cool, perfect day.  Nearly everyone we invited came.  I was able to get married by water, under a huge tree by a beautiful lake.  Our officiant was an entomologist, as was our photographer.  Our food was amazing.  Our cake was amazing.  Lots and lots of things went wrong at the last second (e.g. did you see my dog in the photo?  He wasn’t supposed to be there!), but I didn’t care.  I didn’t have any live insects at my wedding, but I didn’t care.  I thought it was perfect.  I would change a thing!

But the best part: even my husband enjoyed it.  That’s right – my husband, who screamed like a little girl one night when a roach crawled on him, liked our bug themed wedding.  I drove home that night with my new husband and our two dogs, the happiest person on the planet.

Just married

Moments after we were married. I made the butterfly clips for my dress by gluing feather monarchs onto clip-on earring posts and clipped them to the corset strings of my dress.


Photos by Alex Yellich.  You can view photos of the invitations and our altar by clicking on the links.

* You might wonder why I didn’t consider having a butterfly release at my insect-themed wedding.  Partly it was because it usually costs over $5 a piece to have butterflies shipped to you, which is a lot of money to spend on something that is going to freeze to death the night after your wedding, especially when you only have $5000 to spend altogether.  Also, I read a fabulous Dave Barry column about weddings when I was in high school that made them seem less than appealing.  I decided right then and there that I was never going to do it.  Well worth a read!


Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © 2011


17 thoughts on “My Entomological Wedding

    • Congrats to you too! I’m very happy to hear that other entomologists have bug wedding too. Did you do a lot of butterflies like me? I loved my bug wedding – and everyone else did too, so it all worked out in the end.

  1. How wonderful, thank you for sharing your experience! I haven’t given too much thought to what I’d want to do for a wedding… but insect-themed kind of goes without saying, anyway. And luckily my family is all quite supportive, I could get away with a lot more and not be as sneaky as you had to be, hehe.

    Ohhh man I can envision all the crafts and decorations now… getting married is still an indeterminant distance in the future for me, though!

    • Ha ha! I can imagine you going all out with the crafts for your wedding like I did! Honestly, my husband and I had already been together 4 years and lived together for 3 before our wedding, so neither of us felt it was completely necessary to have a full blown wedding. I mostly wanted to have a real wedding because a) I wanted everyone I love to be in one place for a few days (we got married at the end of spring break, so I had a whole week to socialize with everyone who came) and b) so I had an excuse to spend months working on crafts. :) Of course, actually getting married was great too!

      My family is strange. They all like that I am an entomologist and they’re very supportive of my following my dreams. All of them will look at bugs I have in cages and photos I send and they listen to my stories with interest. They’re largely outdoorsy, nature-loving people too! Few of them would ever pick up a bug though and they don’t like to be too close. I don’t get it…

    • Yeah, I wish Alex would actually put some of his work online so people could see how fabulous he is! He was a little nervous about doing a wedding, but I really wanted to minimize the number of people I didn’t know at my wedding and I bullied him into it. :)

  2. I love this. All of it. What a great venue, what an absolutely gorgeous wedding, and I love how you “threw them off the scent.” (I was a little more butterfly-leaning when I got married, but if I did it nowadays I’d try to throw in a mantis or black widow and then I’d be in big trouble.) I’ve always thought the live butterfly release sounded like a bad idea.

    Seriously, great theme (or “theme”) and gorgeous, gorgeous wedding. A belated congratulations!

    • Thanks! It was a very simple wedding – 3 hours total – and I loved every minute of it. I am glad to hear that other people think the live butterfly releases are a bad plan though. We use butterflies meant for live releases at weddings in the outreach program I’m working for this semester and they’re often in terrible shape! Most of them can barely fly and half of them are all deformed when they emerge from their cocoons. Now if that doesn’t scream romance, I’m not sure what does! :)

  3. Congratulations, Chris! I think your dog was supposed to be there, too. And I would have loved the sunbursts! Such a great idea! Too bad we are already married. Seriously, it must have been beautiful.

    on another topic, I’m putting together a webpage for the UAIC with lots of outreach. One page will be links to AZ insect blogs. There will be Eric Eatons’, mine, yours if I have your permission – do you have any other suggestions? We want content, bugs, Arizona or southwest, Sonoran desert…

    • Thanks! I was happy to have my dogs there, even though they hadn’t been invited. The friends who watched them the night before the wedding were supposed to drop them by our house before they came out to the venue, but in my hurry to get the dogs dropped off before we went to the venue for the night, I gave them my car key instead of the house key. So, my friends had to bring the dogs with them to the wedding. The pups were both so good though! I’d been so worried they were going to be a horrible pain to have there, but they were both little angels. Granted, my dog Monkey was sick with one of his many illnesses at the time, so he was a bit less energetic than usual…

      The only other person I can think of that does bug posts on their blog in AZ doesn’t only do bug posts. Are you looking for blogs that are 100% entomology? Then there’s also Buzzy Bee Girl’s blog. She started it here in Tucson and doesn’t update it often anymore (she’s in southern California now), but she’s got a ton of info about Tucson’s native bees since that’s what she studied for her master’s. The link’s on my blogroll if you want to include hers.

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  5. My fiancé and I are both entomologists. Our families think we are weird but we don’t care. I am definitely planning on integrating insects into our wedding this September in upstate NY. I’ve been shopping for my dress to wear for my showe and there is a great ento one on modcloth but it’s sold out. I’m on the hunt. Any suggestions would be welcomed! I’m not crafty enough to sew my own.

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