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A 501st Wedding

If you’re planning a wedding in a galaxy far, far away then you might want to consider an appearance by international Star Wars fan-based organization the 501st. A professional costuming organization of dedicated fans that construct and wear screen accurate replicas of Imperial Stormtrooper armor, Imperial officer uniforms, Clone Troopers and other “bad guys” from the Star Wars universe. As the world’s largest Imperial costuming organization, the 501st Legion has grown to more than 6,000 active members worldwide so there’s a good chance of finding a local Garrison nearby and available for your wedding day.

Photo Credit: Photographer David Harbutt

What separates an unforgettable Star Wars wedding from any other Star Wars wedding? Like everything else that comes with planning a wedding it’s all about what you are willing to spend money on and what you can forgo or get crafty on. Of course your groomsmen can wear Stormtrooper helmets from a costume shop, but spend a little more to have movie replica fully armored and professional talent standing by to protect your wedding from rebel scum.

Photo Credit: Bill Hicks

Once you’ve decided on the 501st at your wedding how are you going to incorporate them into your big day? How many troops will you’ll need? I’ve put together a list of opportunities where the 501st could be utilized into your wedding:

1. Ring Bearer Guard: Have the 501st escort your ring bearer down the aisle as bodyguards protecting your ring.

2. Dance Party: Have your videographer/photographer ready and ask if the troopers would be willing to show off a few moves on the dance floor to entertain your guests.

3. Reception Entrance: Many military weddings feature a saber arch this is where the bride and groom walk under an honorary arch of sabers, typically when exiting the building in which the wedding ceremony took place or entering the reception. Have the 501st line up equally on each side with blasters drawn to form an arch.

Photo Credit: Ben Minelli

4. Background Elements: What Star Wars wedding would have photos of your venue’s beautiful decor, flower arrangements or outdoor scenery without a few Stormtroopers posed in the background. Station troops behind your officiant at the ceremony, around your cake or behind your sweetheart or wedding party table at the reception. Ensuring great photo opportunities for both your photographer and guests.

Photo Credit: Photographer David Harbutt

While at your wedding the 501st Legion works together as a group maintaining a high level of professionalism in both actions and appearance, creating an authentic Star Wars experience with professional-grade costumes and props. There is no charge for an appearance for any event that the 501st attend. Instead, a donation is requested to be made to charity in their name in exchange for their volunteer’s time and talent.

Working at Lucasfilm I’ve had the opportunity to experience the 501st up close and personal at many studio events, and I’ll always remember the first time seeing two fully dressed Stormtroopers playing air hockey. Their attention to detail on their armor and props is amazing, coming from someone who made the clone armor on the Clone Wars.

To inquire about having the 501st at their wedding you can fill out their event request form and be sure to look over their event rider for additional information on appearances.

Photo Credit: Ben Minelli

Photo Credits:

Photos #1/#2/#5: Groom: Craig Ridoux (TC-3447) // Bride: Stef Ridoux (DZ-14712) // Photographer – David Harbutt // Redback Garrison (Queensland, Australia)

Wedding ceremony was on the 14/7/12 at The Capricorn Caves, Etna Ck Rockhampton QLD Australia, and the other two photos were taken at Studio 2 in Rockhampton.

TK’s: Ken Seymour (8995), Steven Bean (4159) Wayne Krug (3868), Michael Schroeter (6729)

Photo #3: Groom: Gordon Gravelese RC-5306 // Bride: Heather Gravelese TB-4191 // New England Garrison (Massachusetts, USA) // Photographer Bill Hicks

Since my wife and I are big Star Wars fans, and 501st members, we asked some of our garrison friends to help us celebrate our big day by escorting the various members of the wedding party into the reception.

Front Row (L-R): Tie Pilot: Erich Shafer TI-6124 /Jedi: Ann Marie Dyer Shafer BH-6125 /Jedi: Mark Fowler/Groom: Gordon Gravelese RC-5306 /Bride: Heather/Gravelese TB-4191 /Jedi: Randy Smith SL-7814 /Jedi: Megan Downs /Tie Pilot: Mike Brunco TI-7796
Back Row (L-R): Commander Gree: Sean Carmichael CC-3720 /Commander Fil: Phil Maiewski CC-4043 /Sev: Jason Sample /Stormtrooper: Andrew Liptak TK-3220 /OfficerL Jodi Anderson ID-7529 /Darth Vader: Chris Sample /Stormtrooper: Brian Finn /Pre-Viszla: Brian Anderson BH-7602 /Jango Fett: Alex Smith

Photos #4/6: Groom: Lou Platania (TB-6908) // Bride: Candace Gelfman (IC-2891) // Empire City Garrison (New York, USA) // Photographer: Ben Minelli

Lou and I got married October 16, 2011 at Larkfield Manor, E Northport New York. We are both members of the Empire City Garrison and had several Garrison mates at the wedding including 4 Stormtroopers.

Troopers are — Ian Regan (ECG – 7732) , Dan King (ECG -6795), Tray Nichols (Garrison Carida – 4251) and Russ Augello (ECG- 4038)

Special thanks to 501st members Nicky Blum, Gordon Gravelese, Craig Ridoux and Candace Gelfman for the photos.