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Image: Abigail Kirk and Andy Weeks on their wedding day
Martin Hill Photography
Abigail Kirk and Andy Weeks used Bella Swan and Edward Cullen's wedding in "Breaking Dawn" as inspiration for their own nuptials in Somerset, England.
TODAY contributor
updated 3/28/2012 5:19:19 PM ET 2012-03-28T21:19:19

Most brides spend countless hours making the thousand tiny decisions that go into planning a wedding. Which flowers should we choose? What music should we play? What should the dress look like?

But for Abigail Kirk, there were far fewer choices to make after she and her fiancé Andy Weeks decided to plan a wedding inspired by the film “Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” based on the “Twilight” saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Slideshow: A real-life wedding inspired by Bella, Edward in ‘Breaking Dawn’ (on this page)

For anyone who hasn’t read the four books or seen the movies — (is there anyone??) — Meyer’s tale revolves around Edward Cullen, a telepathic vampire born in 1901 who never ages, and Bella Swan, a human teenager who moves to Forks, Wash., to live with her father. The pair meet in high school and, throughout the saga, battle the many forces that work to keep them apart.

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Die-hard fans were most excited about the last installment, “Breaking Dawn,” in which Bella and Edward get married. Before the movie was released last November, speculation about the onscreen wedding, and the Carolina Herrera-designed dress in particular, reached a fever pitch.

Abigail, 30, who has read the books about six times each and has watched all the films, knew at once that she wanted to incorporate elements from the movie wedding into her February wedding after she finally got to see “Breaking Dawn: Part 1.” She and Weeks wound up doing just that — in big ways, in subtle ways and in one exceptionally long-lasting way.

In the course of planning their nuptials, the couple decided to change their last names legally to Cullen.

“It started out as a joke,” said Abigail, who lives in southern England. “I never liked Andy’s last name ... and wasn’t excited about taking it on, but he felt strongly that we share the same last name.

“One evening as we were planning the big day, he said, ‘Let’s change it to Cullen,’ and it sort of stuck. We know plenty of people who have blended their surnames together, and although it’s kind of off the wall, it suits us.”

Since Abigail had to change her last name anyway, the couple went through the relatively easy process together, applying online, signing papers with witnesses and then changing the names on their bank accounts and other personal documents.

Nice day for a weird wedding: 12 wacky nuptials

Image: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart play Edward and Bella on their wedding day in "Breaking Dawn" film
Summit Entertainment
The inspiration behind it all: Here, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart play Edward and Bella on their wedding day in "Breaking Dawn: Part 1."

Abigail told her mother several weeks ago, but her new husband, who still has yet to read the “Twilight” saga, was a little reluctant to tell his family that he had changed his name.

“My mother wasn’t surprised at all but Andy’s sister wasn’t very happy when she found out last week,” Abigail said. “I made him call his parents last night to finally tell them, and although they were surprised, his dad was pretty OK about it.”

‘Breaking Dawn’ clip shows Bella as a vampire

An ‘incredibly personal’ ceremony
Other details about the couple’s “Breaking Dawn” wedding were chosen with great care. Abigail collaborated with her florist to design bouquets as similar as possible to the flowers featured in the movie. The tables at the real-life wedding reception were named after vampire covens in the series, with the head table called “The Cullens.” Even the Cullen crest was printed on the menu.

Abigail was most excited about the music for the wedding, which featured many songs from the “Breaking Dawn” soundtrack. But she initially gave up trying to wear a dress similar to Bella’s when she found out that designer Alfred Angelo’s replica wasn’t shipping until after her wedding.

Story: Vamp it up! ‘Twilight’ wedding gown copy already for sale

Then, as the wedding date neared, Abigail simply couldn’t get Bella’s dress out of her mind. She called Alfred Angelo in Florida, where she had lived for some time, and found out that although the dress wasn’t yet available to the public, a store not far from her home in Dorset had a sample that they were willing to sell.

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‘Hunger Games’ Katniss would kick Bella’s butt

On the big day, Cullen walked down the aisle wearing the first dress she had bought, and then changed into her long-sleeved “Breaking Dawn” dress for the reception. The groom had much less trouble finding a wedding suit to match Edward Cullen’s movie wedding attire.

“Although we used the movie as inspiration, our wedding was still incredibly personal to us,” Abigail said. “Looking back, there’s not one part of it that I would change.”

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: A real-life wedding inspired by Bella, Edward in ‘Breaking Dawn’

loading photos...
  1. 'Til eternity

    Abigail Kirk, 30, a big fan of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, turned to the movie version of "Breaking Dawn" for inspiration when she planned her February wedding to Andy Weeks. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A permanent passion

    The bride and groom named the tables at their wedding reception after vampire covens, or groups of vampires, named in the "Twilight" books. The head table where they sat bore the name "The Cullens" — and they meant it. Both Abigail and Andy had their last names legally changed to Edward's surname from the books. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Beautiful bride

    Abigail searched high and low for a dress that matched Bella's dress in "Breaking Dawn: Part 1." Designer Alfred Angelo created a replica but didn't release it to the public in time for her wedding. Undaunted, Abigail eventually managed to find a sample of Bella's dress replica that she could buy at a store near her house in England. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. All dressed up

    Groom Andy Weeks wore a tuxedo similar to the one Edward wore in the film. While Andy has seen the "Twilight" movies, he has yet to read the books. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Blooming anticipation

    Abigail Kirk and Andy Weeks held their wedding in February, so the exact flowers used in the movie weren't in season. Instead, their florist used similar blooms to create a look reminiscent of Bella and Edward's onscreen wedding. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Sweet romance

    Though not an exact replica of Bella and Edward's wedding cake, Abigail and Andy's four-tiered creation had a similar shape. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. First dance

    Abigail and Andy share a dance at their wedding, which took place in Somerset, England. Much of the wedding music came from the "Breaking Dawn" soundtrack. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The same look

    The cut-out back panel with lace embellishments on Abigail's gown mirrored the style of Bella's Carolina Herrera-designed dress in the movie. The Alfred Angelo replica sells for $799. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Painstaking detail

    The bride's hair was styled similarly to Bella's. She even found a hair comb like the one worn by Bella in the movie. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A two-dress affair

    Abigail wore two dresses on the big day: the "Breaking Dawn" dress at the reception, and the dress she had first bought at the wedding ceremony. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A flash of lightning

    The couple's photographer created images to accompany the "Breaking Dawn" theme. (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Happily ever after — as the Cullens

    "Looking back, there’s not one part of it that I would change,” Abigail Cullen said about her wedding. She's now getting ready to see "Breaking Dawn: Part 2." (Martin Hill Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
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Explainer: 12 of the world’s wackiest weddings

  • Image: Newlyweds Batman and Wonder Woman, also known as Neil Vaughan and Sharon Wetherell
    Adam Gerrard  /  SWNS

    Your wedding day is supposed to be your day — one of the most pivotal days in your lives.


    If that’s really true, then why not join the throngs of couples who are choosing to live out wild, fanciful or downright silly dreams in conjunction with their nuptials? Doing so could have a practical benefit: It could save you big bucks. In these recessionary times, many have been shunning lavish weddings and opting for unique ones instead.

    Here are 12 recent examples of utterly wacky — and utterly memorable — weddings. Click “next” at the left to start your (strange) trip down the aisle.

  • Holy matrimony, Batman!

    Image: Newlyweds Batman and Wonder Woman, also known as Neil Vaughan and Sharon Wetherell
    Adam Gerrard  /  SWNS

    For those of you out there who always sensed that Batman and Wonder Woman would make a great couple: It’s happened!

    On July 31, Sharon Wetherell and Neil Vaughan of Devon, England, tied the knot while all dressed up as their favorite superheroes. As “Wonder Woman” theme music blared, Wetherell, 40, made a grand entrance at the ceremony wearing blue hot pants, a red corset, flashy boots and a tiara and veil that cost her about $160. The groom’s face-obscuring Batman costume set him back about $290.

    The couple’s friends and family also got gussied up as superheroes. Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Robin, Poison Ivy, Lara Croft, the Joker, Bananaman and the Incredibles were all in attendance.

    “Our wedding was absolutely amazing and it cost us less than some couples would spend on just the dress,” Mrs. Vaughan said in the British newspaper The Daily Mail. “We were not allowed to see each other’s costumes before the big day, but when I did see Neil he looked fantastic as Batman. ... It was such a great day.”

  • No cold feet at T.J. Maxx wedding

    Image: Lisa Satayut and Drew Ellis at their T.J. Maxx wedding
    Bill Pugliano  /  AP for TJ Maxx

    Who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of bagging a bargain? Bride Lisa Satayut decided to combine that feeling with her excitement over bagging her beau.

    Explaining that T.J. Maxx is her “happy place,” Satayut married Drew Ellis in July in the size 8 shoe aisle of a T.J. Maxx store in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

    The bride — a self-proclaimed “'Maxxinista” — wore a strapless white chiffon gown, with long black gloves and bright green gladiator-style sandals. A widened aisle, vine-covered arch and white chairs with red bows highlighted the traditional ceremony that included string music, display-dodging cameramen — and curious shoppers who stopped bargain hunting long enough to watch.

    Related video: With this bargain, I thee wed at T.J. Maxx

  • Happy ogre after

    Image: Vivian and Tracey Williams with dressed up wedding guests
    Wales News Service

    Tracey and Vivian Williams, a happy couple from Wales, tied the knot in May by dressing up as two of their favorite movie characters: the green ogres Shrek and Princess Fiona. Tracey Williams, 33, told the British newspaper The Daily Mail that the themed wedding idea suited her and her new husband perfectly.

    “Our friends always used to say we looked like the characters when we went on nights out,” she said. “Even though Shrek and Fiona are both green ogres, we didn’t take it offensively because we like them so much.”

    The couple actually saw a “Shrek” movie on their first date and have been loyal fans ever since. To get ready for the big day, the pair covered themselves in green body paint and affixed fake green ears to the tops of their heads. Tracey donned a bright red wig to complete the Princess Fiona look, and Vivian sported checked trousers.

    The Williams’ wedding guests got in on the fun, with the best man dressing up as Monsieur Hood, the bride’s father going as Lord Farquaad, the bride’s mother playing the Fairy Godmother and the maid of honor playing Snow White.

    Related story: Pair dress as Shrek, Fiona for wedding

  • Kiss the bride – if you can find her

    Image: Marvin Hunter and Kim Silver in a tree stand
    Mike Moynihan
    An Iowa couple whose passion for bowhunting encouraged Cupid's arrow to strike wore camouflage to blend in with the wooded backdrop at their treetop wedding.

    Kim Silver, 42, dressed in a silk gown made by camouflage specialists Mossy Oak, and her 61-year-old groom, Marvin Hunter, was dressed in camo shirt and pants at the June nuptials.

    They said their vows atop a tree stand hunting platform. The bride and groom occasionally punctuated the ceremony by firing arrows at targets. Hunter said the couple had always joked about getting married on a tree stand. Silver said the pair hunt together so much that the camo wedding "just seemed like the right thing to do."

  • A viral dance sensation

    Image: Wedding party dancing down the aisle

    Most couples wait until the reception before breaking out into the Funky Chicken on their wedding day, but Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson figured, why wait to unleash their unbridled joy?

    The 28-year-olds floored their wedding guests by having their whole bridal party — including seven bridesmaids, five groomsmen and four ushers — boogie down the aisle in a choreographed dance more at home in a Broadway musical than in a somber church.

    Groomsmen split into sides as Heinz did a somersault in front of the wowed crowd — and the gown-clad Peterson quickly followed, shaking her hips to Chris Brown’s “Forever” while pumping her bridal bouquet into the air during the June 20, 2009, ceremony in St. Paul, Minn.

    The wedding party rehearsed the dance for just 90 minutes.

    Of course, some things are too good to keep to yourself. And when Kevin posted the wedding dance routine on YouTube, it quickly became a viral hit, with hundreds of thousands of people sharing in the couple’s novel way of showing their matrimonial joy.

    Related video: Wedding party boogies down the aisle

  • 110 bridesmaids set world record

    Image: Jill Stapleton with 110 bridesmaids

    Some people think five or six bridesmaids are a lot. But how about 110? Jill Stapleton, an Ohio gymnastics teacher, set a world record in June when she invited all of her young students to be her bridesmaids at her wedding.

    “We were actually going to go away for our wedding but this wedding day is more important to a lot of these little girls and boys back here that have made my dreams come true,” Stapleton said. “This is our dream wedding.”

    Stapleton married Chad Greenhill, a Marshall University cheerleader. The previous record was 90 bridesmaids.

  • An aisle of light bulbs, grills

    Image: Carolyn Weatherly and Audwin Mosby
    Courtesy Audwin Joaquin Mosby
    The bride wore white. The guests wore orange smocks.

    A Southern California couple wed in June in front of more than 100 guests at a Home Depot store where they work.

    The wedding party for 56-year-old Carolyn Weatherly and Audwin Mosby, who’s 55, marched down an aisle of light bulbs, grills and paint to the outdoor garden section.

    A wedding arbor and stage had been built from the store’s lumber and supplies.

    The bride said the store in Lake Forest is like a second home and her colleagues are like family.

    "I feel awesome," Mosby told the Orange County Register. "This is the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time."

  • Sweet, sugary love

    Image: Jared and Jerri Guinther eating doughnuts at wedding
    Sara Terese Heise

    Voodoo Doughnut, a wildly popular indulgence with two locations in Portland, Ore., has an entire menu dedicated to wedding services. That menu includes a variety of matrimonial options, such as this “Legal Voodoo Wedding” package for $200: “Legal wedding ceremony, coffee & doughnuts for 24 people, 700-square-foot chapel, free parking & doughnut centerpiece.”

    The doughnut shops have married off more than 300 couples, sending hearts racing with both romance and sugar intake. Pictured here are Jared and Jerri Guinther enjoying their sweet nuptials.

  • Jaws of love

    Image: April Pignataro and Michael Curry in shark tank
    Talk about taking the plunge. April Pignataro and Michael Curry opted to be lowered in a steel cage into a shark tank to exchange their wedding vows in June.

    The bride wore a white wetsuit; the groom wore a black one. The experienced divers spoke their vows into radio headgear transmitted to a minister outside the tank while about 75 guests watched from behind glass. The 120,000-gallon tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, N.Y., includes sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels and a massive Queensland grouper.

    Both Pignataro and Curry said the concept of a shark tank wedding thrilled them. “We both love the ocean, we love the water ... and yes, the idea of an underwater wedding, not to mention one surrounded by sharks at an aquarium, is different and unique, but that is also exactly who we are,” Pignataro told NBCNewYork.

  • 'I do' in Aisle 2

    Image: Jack Frankel and Fina Nikolos at wedding
    Mike Stocker  /  SunSentinel.com
    One couple decided to tie the knot where they first met: Whole Foods Market.

    Jack Frankel, 75, and 67-year-old Fina Nikolos met in May 2009 at the supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla. It had been raining when Frankel noticed a beautiful woman pass him. Nikolos offered to walk him to his car with an umbrella. He later thanked her by taking her out to lunch.

    In January 2010, the two returned to the place where their love began for a small wedding ceremony in the store's cafe. About 40 people attended the ceremony as store employees and customers watched and smiled. The couple held each other close during the ceremony, shedding a few tears. They also exchanged emotional vows. Nikolos was too overcome to finish hers aloud.

    According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, this was the first time customers wed in a Whole Foods Market in Florida, though employees have gotten married there.

    Frankel told reporters that the most irresistible thing about his bride is her eyes. “She looks at me with those Spanish eyes and I melt,” he said.

  • I now pronounce you bride and ghoul

    Image: Jack Holsinger and Connie Spitznagel
    Alicia Castelli  /  The Chronicle-Telegram

    Why don’t more bridal magazines suggest this as the perfect theme for an October wedding?

    In October 2009, Jack Holsinger, 61, and Connie Spitznagel, 44, dressed as pale-faced vampires for their Halloween-themed ceremony at a haunted house near Cleveland, Ohio. Holsinger arrived in a coffin inside a hearse, and the coffin was carried to the altar by six pallbearers. Minister Greg Kopp was dressed as Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movies. After the vows were exchanged, he ordered Holsinger not to kiss his new bride but instead to bite her on the neck.

    The couple vowed to love each other and haunt and howl at the moon together. Like typical mortal couples, the groom said he just wanted his bride to be happy.

    “This is her first wedding,” Holsinger said. “She had a common-law marriage the first time around, so she never really got a wedding. It’s what she wanted and it’s about her. It’s her time. Whatever she wanted.”

  • Will you Mario me?


    Proving that love is a game that two can play — a video game, that is — Bobbi VanZante and Elijah Slagter of Pella, Iowa, decided on a unique theme for their wedding: Super Mario Brothers. Slaget, the groom, will dress as Mario, of course, and VanZante will be costumed as the lovely Princess Peach.

    The father of the bride will be dressed up as Bowser, even though he’s the villain of the Mario universe. “It’s kind of part of the game,” VanZante explained to NBC’s Megan Reuther. “Bowser and all his buddies steal Princess Peach.” So who better to give the bride away to her groom?

    VanZante’s mother, Lori Mullen, was good-natured about the Mario madness, which included such details as making turtle shells out of bicycle helmets. “It fits both of them,” she said. “It’ll be a fun day and good remembrance.”

    Reached for comment inside a Nintendo gaming system, the real Mario commented: “It’s a-me, Mario!”


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