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Monday, April 20, 2009

WoW Article: Going to the Chapel

Last week, we talked about some tips for setting up a roleplay event. These included a small series of steps that would help you formalize and execute an actual plan for such a gathering. Today, we're going to focus in on a specific kind of roleplay event -- the "roleplay wedding."

Roleplay weddings come and go in popularity. Just now, it's been a long while since I've heard of one happening on my server. But around this time last year, it seemed that I couldn't take a quiet stroll in Darnassus without tripping across a pair of Night Elves getting handfasted.

So, let's talk about that most sacred and beloved of roleplay subjects -- the wedding.

The first thing to consider when you're planning your roleplay wedding isn't the proposal. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that if you're considering how to put on a wedding, you've already found the boy or girl of your character's dreams.

Still, it's fair for the very first caveat to be "Know what you're up to." While this is not you, the player, getting married, you should still be aware that your characters are about to get joined at the hip. You probably want to make sure you're okay playing that level of emotion or intimacy with the other player.

Many roleplay weddings come at the end of a long, complicated storyline. It's a sort of "end" for the characters, an event that happens after the many trials and tribulations they've encountered. Other roleplay weddings can be the very beginning of a new story for characters, starting a whole new chapter in the characters' lives.

For whatever reason you may choose to have your characters tie the knot, many people enjoy the celebration of a roleplay wedding. It's a chance to get together with the community, and share some portions of your personal story.

Let's get to the nitty gritty, though, and talk about something you should consider when planning this sucker.

1. Invitations

This may sound a little implausible, but you should consider doing something a little special to invite your guests to your roleplay event. You can include not only a short, well-crafted paragraph in your in-game mail, but maybe a small present to make the mail a little more unique.

Maybe you want to a farm a particular gray drop item, like a roleplay hat. If you're feeling whimsical, you could even fish up a few fish. They mail just fine. Mailing gifts out to your guests will definitely imprint the event in their minds.

Some folks use real life email to communicate when not logged into the game. If you go that route, any number of graphic possibilities exist. Take some screen shots of important locations - they're great for conveying a sense of in-game history. You could even send some favorite music samples, to help communicate the general theme of your wedding.

2. Guest List

I mostly bring up "guest list" for a single important reason. You have to decide whether you're going to invite members of the opposite faction. Not to bring up the eternal "Are we at war?" argument, it's undeniable that the Horde and Alliance don't often get along.

If you plan on inviting members of the opposite faction, the location for your wedding might best be served being one of the "Sanctuary" cities. We'll talk about location in a moment, but it's important to know that whom you invite will definitely inform that location decision. Having your guests break out in PvP combat in the middle of your vows would not only be horrible and tragic for your characters, but you will also play hell trying to get the players back under control.

A large roleplay wedding can quickly become unmanageable. Any raid leader will tell you that getting 25 WoW players to move in synch is an exercise in herding cats. Be careful to make sure that you don't invite so many people that you sacrifice the fun of your personal roleplay in favor of putting on a show for the masses.

Ideally, you want to strike a balance so that there's enough people to truly feel like this is a big "event," but not so many that you lose any fun in the heat of keeping everything moving along.

3. Location

The old real estate adage for this situation is "location! location! location!" Hosting a roleplay wedding is no different.

Certainly, the personality and histories of your characters will play a very large part in deciding where you might hold a roleplay wedding. However, a few practical matters should come into play as well. Do you want to hold your wedding in a building? There are nice amphitheaters throughout the Nagrand zone. The striking forests of Teldrassil can be a gorgeous place to celebrate both your characters' love, and the beauty of nature.

You should be careful to find someplace relatively private. While I know a lot of people have had wedding success in even a busy city like Dalaran, many still prefer to avoid the random tells and interruptions you might get in public. It's not that you're trying to hide the event, exactly, as much as you're trying to make sure that it keeps moving smoothly.

And definitely choose your location purposefully. You want to be sure you have an answer if someone asks "Why are you holding your wedding in Booty Bay?"

4. Ceremony

Contrary to what some new roleplayers may think, you don't necessarily have to roleplay the entire ceremony. You could pre-write your entire ceremony, and simply copy and paste the summary into chat.

During your ceremony, you'll have dozens of people standing there, staring at your characters. If you don't summarize the vows, you want to make sure you have a good show for your guests. This is more a matter of showmanship than immersion. I'm a huge fan of escapist experiences, but I have to admit it can be a little easy to go stir-crazy if you're just watching the action.

One of my favorite roleplay weddings from another game (DAoC) created a web site for their event. When the time came to exchange vows, the "groom" simply posted the URL to the site. The guests could simply Alt+Tab to check out the entire outline.

Of course, there's something to be said for the emotional impact of the wedding procession. Everyone should be decked out in their finest clothing, and move through the crowd at a good, roleplay-walk pace. I think matching mounts for the entire bridal party looks especially snazzy, and that's fairly easy to do now in Wrath.

5. The Party

The party after your wedding can be as varied and unique as the wedding itself. If you're a gnome, you might put on a loud, raucous party. Dwarves and Trolls will both be certain to have vibrant, exciting spirits available for their guests to consume. It might be the humanist in me, but I can't help but think that both Nelfs and Belfs will probably put on an austere, reserved banquet to celebrate the nuptials.


This is, admittedly, simply the tip of the iceberg. The wedding industry is a vast business in the real world, and that's just for humans. Imagine adding a half-dozen other races into the mix!

Feel free to drop us some notes about your wedding experiences in game. I'd love to hear more about them, if you have can share those anecdotes.


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