There was an awakening in the force at newlyweds Krystel Ciocon and Earle Doudera’s epic Star Wars themed wedding! The bride and groom chatted with The Knot on how their incredible Star Wars wedding came to be with a limited budget, and shared some of their George Lucas-worthy lightsaber battle photos, too.
The newlyweds first met in high school when a lunch with mutual friends, and Doudera asking Ciocon the school’s wifi password, sparked a glorious geeky romance. The couple were engaged in 2015 and Ciocon told The Knot, “It involved an elaborate plan of chocolates, airplane, hiking, and a handwritten note folded just the way we used to in high school. He planned so much into it.”
But it’s the way they planned their January 10, 2016 wedding that’s got the world squealing for joy like a TIE fighter. “Exactly 6 years after we first started dating,” the two were married in an epic Star Wars-themed backyard wedding complete with a Death Star cake and fierce lightsaber battles!
“When Earle proposed, the planning was for any normal traditional wedding,” Ciocon told The Knot. “But sometime during the planning phase, after getting overwhelmed with everyone telling me how I should do the wedding, Earle pulled me aside and asked me ‘What is YOUR dream wedding?’”
Though the bride had already known she wanted a Star Wars wedding since she was a little girl, she explained, “In my mind, I thought I needed to marry a millionaire and have a big budget to make the dream come true! But nope. All I needed was the vision, the passion, and the right people.”
At first she didn’t want to come clean to her fiance with her idea, “But he said, ‘We can make it happen. We can figure it out with our budget.’” The bride added, “We made sacrifices, cut out a lot of things, saved a lot of things, researched all the deals, and we figured it out together,” marrying in the backyard of the home they’d just purchased with their wedding funds.
For the self-proclaimed huge Star Wars fans the groom told The Knot, “There was always Star Wars.” Ciocon, a 90s kid, remembered first being enraptured by the Star Wars saga when she watched Episode 2, followed by Episode 1’s battle with Darth Maul. “I had so many questions about the story and the whole Star Wars universe,” Ciocon told The Knot, “my aunt ended up buying the boxed DVD set of Episodes 4-6. That’s when I really fell in love with the series.”
When Episode 3 hit the theaters, Ciocon shared, “The fight sequences, especially the Battle of Mustafar, made me want my own saber. It actually inspired my choreography for our first dance.”
On January 10 the Star Wars backyard wedding was in full swing with bridesmaids on the light side of the force as Jedi while the groomsmen took on the dark side as Sith. During the couple’s first dance as husband and wife a lightsaber battle ensued, pitting the Jedi against the Sith bridal party!
“The lightsaber battle/first dance was amazing to do, considering we couldn’t get one dance rehearsal where everyone could make it,” Ciocon told The Knot. “The day of the wedding was the first day that everybody did it together. The dance is also Earle’s favorite!”
Other noteworthy characters made their way into the Star Wars wedding too, the bride told The Knot. The ring bearer was Darth Vader while the Bible bearer was a Stormtrooper. The flower girls were originally planned as ewoks but to fit their budget the girls were dressed as Princess Leia instead. “Mom wanted to dress up the family dog Benji as Darth Vader,” Ciocon joked, “He shook himself out of the pet costume after an hour.”
But with their traditional wedding turning into a Star Wars wedding faster than the Millenium Falcon, not everyone thought it was “very impressive.” Ciocon shared that her mother wasn’t on board with the change in the beginning, “But she was helping with all the planning and decorations, and she REALLY got into it!”
“We tried to keep it a secret thinking people might not come when they found out what we were planning, but they found out anyway and were all excited for it! Our friends loved the Star Wars. Our families loved that we bought a house,” Ciocon said. According to what the bride has been told, one sibling did not attend the ceremony because of its Star Wars theme.
Despite their overwhelming adoration for the Lucasfilm franchise, the bride and groom also incorporated some Filipino wedding traditions to pay homage to the bride’s heritage – with a Star Wars flair, of course. Ciocon shared with The Knot that the Veil Sponsors she chose were Obi-Wan and Anakin, while her Cord Sponsor selections were another iconic duo, Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The light and the dark side were chosen as reflections of the couple’s favorite characters – Obi Wan and Anakin for the bride, and Darth Vader for the groom. Ciocon told The Knot, “I’m fascinated with Anakin’s character arc. Being a slave, taken away from his mother as a young boy. Having a burden of a prophecy to fulfill. Living in ignorance, then in fear, then in acceptance…The thought processes and emotional drive behind it are fascinating,” she said of the boy who would become Darth Vader. “And I just adore Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan.”
According to the bride, “Earle’s favorite is Darth Vader. He’s a pilot (Earle wants to get his pilot’s license one day), he’s powerful and in a position of leadership but is not burdened with politics,” and with their choices, the battle between good and evil sparked an epic lightsaber duel photo shoot!
“The photo ideas were not planned ahead of time. We just showed up and started having fun with it,” Ciocon shared with The Knot. “Bryan, our photographer, was key to these photos. All I had was the vision, and I looked for a photographer that had a unique creativity, had the same dramatic flare as Star Wars, and understood the level of passion I had. He was so amazing to us that all I did was describe to Bryan my vision of the wedding and the feel I was looking for. I got the photos I never knew I needed.”
Utilizing their own lightsaber hilts the bride said, “My blade does indeed shine purple and Earle’s red,” adding that after the clash of their real-life lightsaber battle, “Bryan only photoshopped the lighting effects of the blades to make it more like the movies.”
Taking their wedding budget into account with the purchase of their new home, Ciocon told The Knot, “I think it’s important to say that one does not need a lot of money to make a wedding like this happen. We saved up as much as we could and paid for almost the entire wedding on our own.”
“The bulk of our funds went to the house. Earle took care of that. I took care of the wedding itself,” the bride said, adding, that her out-of-pocket expenses rounded out to about $4,000. But it couldn’t have happened without the couple’s loved ones, the bride explained.
“We were fortunate enough to be surrounded by family and friends who gave us so much love and dedicated their time and resources. If you count their love-gifts, the entire wedding would come out to a little over $5,000.”
“We were starting our lives together and we not only wanted to start it off with a bang, we wanted to start it off right,” Ciocon told The Knot. “That meant being able to work together to figure things out together.”
By cutting “wedding schtuff” like their save-the-dates and wedding programs, researching together and making sacrifices like working overtime, the bride (and groom) were able to make their dream Star Wars wedding (and epic lightsaber battle) come true.
Congratulations to Krystel Ciocon and Earle Doudera on your epic Star Wars wedding, and may the force be with you!