When creating that ideal steampunk wedding aesthetic, you’ve got to begin with the invitations, as these are the first part of the finished event your guests will see … their first clue that this is not your average wedding. Aerin and the team at Royal Steamline offer over 100 steampunk, retro and victorian designs that can transform your wedding into the realm of the wonderful. Their stunning collection of different wedding invitations and other ephemera will definitely excite steam-geeks and paper freaks the world over. I know you’ll love Royal Steamline’s collection of vintage-inspired vintage, macabre and steampunk wedding invitations.
“Royal Steamline is a husband-and-wife design team based in Portland, Oregon. We create wedding invitations that have a dark, clockwork or otherwise retro/vintage flavor. Through a subtle (and sometimes anachronistic) combination of shadows, textures and vintage illustrations, we aim to convey a sense of eras strange and forgotten. Sea monsters mingle next to robotic ravens, and gentlemen scientists have tea with rockabilly rebels.”
I caught up with Royal Steamline to talk paper, inspiration and why cogs are awesome.
What does Steampunk mean to you?
We thought you might ask something like that! Well, it can be many things, but it often involves a reordered history, usually with a novel mixing of noteworthy technological concepts or historical figures. And, yes, it often evokes the people, manners, and building materials of the Victorian period. So you might have Sherlock Holmes working with William Fox Talbot to develop infrared photography as part of an effort to identify and apprehend the Ripper. But it goes way beyond this and the common penchant for corsets and goggles: it can involve elements of the Old West or totally fictitious times and places. It’s kind of like Justice Stewart’s famous quote, we’re not sure how to define steampunk, but we know it when we see it!
What drew you to the style / aesthetic originally?
Hmm … a particular sense of adventure? Always asking “What if …?” The dusty, muted colors. The elegance of brass, glass, and the era of the gentleman scientist? Poe and the birth of the modern detective story? Sprawling fin de siècle country manors where strange dinner parties occur? Jim and Artemus foiling the mad diminutive doctor? The contradiction of it all. Plus, we adore Victorian wallpaper design!
How did you incorporate these kind of details in your own wedding
We often tend to prefer the subtle. So when it came to our wedding, we tried to incorporate a lot of small details and touches that suggested instead of overpowered. For instance, we created table “installations” that featured objects from our collection of curios: glass eyes, Victorian travelogues, antique stereoviews of seances, examples of 19th century quackery. Our guest book was a stack of antique postcards that people used to “send us” their best wishes. J. wore an antique silver brooch (reputedly haunted) as a tie bar, and I wore a unique shrug and veil that I had handmade for the wedding; I also wore long gloves and a ’30s-inspired gray dress. In our readings, we quoted everyone from Poe to Shelley to the Gothic Archies (again, it’s all about new combinations!).
Tell us a little about your design process, and how you find inspiration and create new designs?
Our designs start and end with a story, usually sparked from a book or artifact on our shelves. J’s been deep into Victorian pulps and I’ve been collecting mourning buttons and early 20th century advertising and science imagery. We’re inspired by the stories of retro technology, textures of old paper…the look of outdated fonts…some crazy ornate border flourish. The combo of the different worlds usually leads to some interesting aesthetics.
Royal Steamline has become more and more popular over the years. What do you think people enjoy so much about your company?
It seems that more and more people are realizing that weddings can and should reflect themselves, their styles and tastes. And, for what seems like a growing number of people, this means choosing wedding invitations that evoke a dark, gothic or Victorian or misplaced-science-type feel. It’s created a whole new definition of what a wedding should be. We just want people to enjoy their wedding day — and if they’re into the idea of people landing on the Moon in 1901, then please come see us!
On an unrelated topic, name a couple of bands or songs on your stereo at the moment.
Music plays a huge role with regard to who we are and what we do (or, maybe, just how we do it). We actually met when we were both living in San Francisco and our first date was basically one big argument about music (but it was great!). We genuinely enjoy a huge range of music: I grew up loving bands like Bauhaus, Ministry, Joy Division, Clan of Xymox, and The Smiths while J listened to stuff like the Misfits, Neurosis, Hawkwind and Einstürzende Neubauten. These days, we’re still all over the place! Recently, shows we’ve seen include Earth, Stereolab, Vagabond Opera, the Horrors, Thrones, the Handsome Furs, the Ghastly Ones…We haven’t even mentioned J.’s love of early Americana (Harry Smith is a big influence) and my collection of hard bop and sad bastard vinyl.
What’s coming next for Royal Steamline?
More invitation designs, of course! Oh, and we recently released a line of what we’re calling “dress badges.” By combining vintage seam binding, buttons, military pins and insignia, we’ve created accessories appropriate for weddings, balls, cotillions, museum dedications or just everyday wear.
And lastly, any advice you could offer to steampunk brides and grooms?
We just hope brides and grooms go with their hearts. If you don’t want to wear a white dress then don’t! If you want to walk down the aisle to Ernest Tubb or At the Gates, then do it! Your wedding is about you and your partner — make it a day you both will love to plan and remember.
So if you fancy a little steampunk-inspired wonder to adorn your wedding invitations, I suggest you head over to Royal Steamline and check out all their designs. While you’re there, you should take some time to read the Royal Steamline blog, which is packed with great steampunk articles.
And, of course, for more steampunk and gothic wedding inspiration, check out the Gothic Wedding Planner.