Space Themed Wedding




Introduction: Space Themed Wedding

About: By day I am a mechanical engineer; I innovate solutions and design everything from disposable mechanisms for medical devices to payload attachment and deployment mechanisms for space vehicles. The mechanica...

Hello and welcome to an instructable about my space themed wedding. I have aimed this as more inspiration rather than detailing steps, but ask in the comments if you want more detail. This is a little different to my other instructables as it is a collection of small things that may not deserve an instructable on their own but hopefully are interesting as a collection.

We decided on a space theme for our wedding for a number of reasons, we both like the ambition and excitement of space exploration, the technological challenge it presents and it is quite fitting to symbolise the union of a Brit and a Russian with the one area East and West really cooperated on (after a bit of 'friendly' competition!).

As a bit of extra fun we hid a few genuine parts for space craft around the decorations we brought and set a challenge for people to find them all.

In a similar way I'd like to offer the first person in the comments to pick out all 5 pieces of genuine 'space junk' pictured in the photos a 3 month pro membership. (The LK lander and Lunakhod from the science museum are not included as they weren't at the wedding)

Also if you like the instructable please vote for me in the Space, Wedding and 3D printing contests :)

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Step 1: Invitations

The first time run out for our theme was the invitations. If you want to move to the 'makes' skip this step...

For the front of the invitation I used the Apollo-Soyuz mission as a theme. In the depths of the cold war, Russia and America managed to agree a mutual rescue program that stranded crews in space, whether cosmonaut or astronaut, would be rescued as quickly as possible by either nation. This mission proved the adaptor that allowed US docking ports to engage with Russian docking ports with an airlock to account for the different operating pressures. I based the design on a technical drawing for the mission that was available on the web. Note the bilingual design with Russian Cyrillic Soyuz side and English Latin on the Apollo side. I designed this in PowerPoint and GIMP. The powerpoint came in handy for guests further away, where animated docking was added!

The second image is one side of the info insert we included. The orbit rings background were included throughout printed items to give some visual continuity to the wedding. We also included a few light hearted space-themed items such as the directions by rocket, and on the back in the accommodation suggestions list we had:

"ISS: Inclination: 51.6460°, Perigee: 396 km, Apogee: 405 km, 001 (703) 524-7172"

The phone number is the company that lets space tourists visit the ISS.

If you are wondering about the yellow duck, it is featured to honour Usborne children's books' yellow duck hidden on every page. See here

Step 2: Apollo Soyuz Cufflinks

I wanted some suitably spacey cufflinks, but couldn't find any I liked so naturally thought I'd make them myself.

I settled on Apollo and Soyuz, like for the invitation. I found that cufflink backs are easily bought, so to reduce the cost I decided to use sterling silver folding backs pressed into .925 silver investment cast fronts 3D printed from my own designs. Investment casting from 3D prints is available from i.materialise and shapeways, and I believe there are even instructables to do it yourself!

I set about sketching the spacecraft over a drawing I imported as a decal in Solidworks. This allowed me to get a pretty faithful look quite easily, allowing me to interpret features while taking into account the detail limitations of the production process. Note it is very easy to get carried away with fine detail that will not come out. Also note how thick I had to make Soyuz's solar panels, even then one got damaged in an overenthusiastic bit of air guitar to Ace of Spades :(

The slots visible in the last image are to receive the tabs from the backs. I made these slightly undersize as I needed it to be right first time and the tabs can always be sanded or filed. Silver is soft so was quick to get to fit. Once pressed in the fit was secure. Soldering could be used to make them stronger (jewellers would do this) but I decided the press fit was fine.

Step 3: Table Settings: Vases (part 1)

We wanted something elegant but spacey to hold the flowers for each table. I found some small vases and had an idea. I took one and drew rings (that I later removed with IPA) at measured heights of 5mm and measured the diameter of each ring with calipers. I then designed a base with rocket engine and fins to rocketify the vases. Because the fins curve back in they clip onto the vase, with the thin section at the bottom being important to allow them to flex as they clip on/off.

I 3D printed these bases, and even tried vertically stacking the prints (first time for me). The UP! printer handled it fine and in no time I'd printed enough for all the tables.

Step 4: Table Settings: Vases (part 2)

Our top table had a larger vase to hold the bouquet. The size was dictated by the bouquet handle, but this vase also needed rocketifying which presented a problem. The build size of the Up! printer is only really about 120mm cube, about the diameter of the vase.

I decided to split the design into 4 parts: 3 identical fins and the base (with the rocket motor) to hold the fins together. The design process was similar to the small vase, measuring the diameter at different heights. I designed a bullseye of walls as the interface between the fins and the base, the reason being as well as giving more surface for gluing, it helps transmit the load better. As the weight of the filled vase presses down on the flats of the fin parts, it tries to rotate them inwards. But the tops of the fins press against the vase and can't move, so the bottom of the fins try to slide outwards. By hooking in the concentric walls the weight of the vase causes the parts to engage, keeping the vase from falling. Without glue it holds together so is less likely to exhibit rapid unscheduled disassembly all over the top table once glued.

One fin has since unglued itself while being transported so it was probably a wise design!

Step 5: Table Settings: Place Card Holders

I designed cute little rockets to hold the place cards, these rockets were also 3D printed. I ended up using two different designs and these were alternated around each table.

The one engine version was my first design. Because I was printing a lot of them the design needed to be printed without support, and I needed to be able to fit a large number on the print bed. I did leave the raft on to give the fins a good contact patch to stay upright before they were bridged onto the rocket, and a test print showed it worked. However the yield was lower when I printed 36 to a bed. The additional vibrations caused some of the fins to move meaning only about half the bed came out successfully. After a few attempts I had enough for half the places. I then came up with a new design with rocket motors on each fin, giving a much more stable base. The challenge here was to remove the rockets from the raft without snapping the narrower section, as they stuck down too well!

The place cards themselves were printed on a print your own business card set. They tore out very cleanly and were perfect for the job. They had the orbit rings background to stick with the common thread and we printed them double sided with Latin writing one side and Cyrillic the other.

All in all I was pleased with how they turned out and they were particularly popular with the kids. Even some of the adult guests took theirs home which is probably a good sign!

Step 6: Table Settings: Table Names and Lego Adornments and Seating Plan

We named our tables after spacecraft that made particular achievements.

For our seating plan I managed to find technical drawings of each spacecraft. Many were freely available but a couple I bought for $3 each from enthusiasts funding their hobby. I laid the drawings out in the same pattern as the tables, labelled the tables and added the guests for each, and I also added a technical drawing of a lego man to mark 'you are here'. I used an engineering drawing style for the writing and arrows and even managed to include the border from an original engineering drawing of Sputnik to complete the look. As per usual I used PowerPoint to lay out the drawings, though I am sure other programs would be much more suitable.

The tables themselves were labelled with half A4 signs that were printed with the name, again Latin one side and Cyrillic the other, and each side had the engineering drawing as an illustration. All but one of the tables used the Russian name for the space craft as a direct translation (you could argue that for the Russian craft names it was the English side that was the translation), but as a joke almost entirely for my own amusement the flipside of SHUTTLE read BYPAH, Cyrillic for Buran the Russian equivalent to the shuttle (Buran was indistinguishable enough that a toy shuttle I had when I was young that was made in China was in fact a model Buran with NASA markings painted on). I included a technical drawing of Buran that side too.

The signs were made by printing one side of A4 card and folding in half. A bamboo skewer was then taped to the inside and double sided tape held the sign together around it. The other end of the skewer was held by a Lego spaceman on a pad of more Lego, and to keep it stable the base of the skewer was inserted into a full height round piece, as these both have a suitable hole in the top and can be fitted between four dots, important to allow the man to hold it vertically.

Further adornments of Lego spaceships and more space men were added to complete each centre piece.

Step 7: The Cake

The cake was designed to have the 60s space age look about it, combining bold colours with planet balls 'orbiting' on metal rings. It doesn't show up very well in the photos but the balls were glowing too.

The cake itself was baked and iced by a friend, with the three layers lemon sponge (yellow ribbon), orange Madeira (orange ribbon), and red velvet (red ribbon).

The balls were cotton wrapped spheres from a cheap set of LED fairy lights. They had a clear plastic ball inside the cotton layer that was hooked onto LED string lights. Bending the wire that hooked them meant they were easily freed, and two small holes were drilled to feed onto the wire. The original LED hole was also widened to fit the LED and battery module from an Illoom LED balloon, allowing the planet ball to glow without the need for unsightly wires (on picture 7 you can see the pull tabs to turn them on).

The wire rings were made from gardening wire. The original curvature of the coil it arrived in was carefully straightened by hand to create a smooth circular section with 3 inches of excess on each end. To hold the wire up a plate was designed to fit between cake layers that would support the wire. Because of the weight of the ball, the ends needed constraining torsionally as well as positionally to keep the arc circular so both ends were fed into the 3D printed anchor plate (through the holes bottom-right in picture 5) then bent using the access cut out and clipped into the side grooves. The top orbit ring had two separate anchors (and used just one hole in each) because it entered either side of the cake. Some nerve-racking lifting of each layer of the cake enabled fitting of the rings the evening before the wedding.

The cake topper comprised a little Lego-scale lander and two Lego spacepeople. We had chosen a white and a blue one to match Katya's dress and my blue suit respectively. I decided to sew a little patch of silk I had (left over from making Katya's ring box) into a Lego-scale wedding dress to complete the pair.

For the lander I originally considered using Lego but found this would make the cake too visually fussy and lose some of the elegance. Instead I designed a simplified Lego-scale version of the Soviet LK lunar lander. This was developed during the space race but issues with the N1 launch vehicle meant it never made it to the Moon (it did however make it to the London Science Museum recently, see the last photo). I had the L-Cake lander SLS printed for a smoother finish (look at 3Dprintuk, shapeways or i.materialise for cheap SLS), and then sprayed it with several coats of mirror chrome spray paint.

I had to be careful placing the blue spaceman onto the cake as he needed to be pressed in enough to not fall over (the icing can creep over time) but at the same time not break through the fondant as this would make him much less stable. The white spacewoman was posed holding the ladder so was much more stable. The wide stance of the L-Cake lander itself, combined with its landing feet pads, was as well designed for landing on cake fondant as it was for landing stably on the soft moon surface!

Step 8: Polaroid Photo Station

To add a bit of fun we had a polaroid photo station for guests to add into a scrap book. The space theme made this very easy as there were lots of things available to use.

We found a quiet site in the venue under a staircase, and put up cardboard cut-outs of a rocket and an astronaut (we cut the visor out for people to look through). We then added some random alien pound shop props and other bits and left a polaroid camera to let people's creativity take over.

To make it work properly we bought a cheap photography lamp so there was enough light, placed plenty of film packs, a scrap book, some glue and some sharpies for comments.

Step 9: And for the Kids...

Much as the kids had fun with the polaroid booth, we had to add other things for them to do, some of which we managed to keep on theme...

...the most popular of which was the stomp rockets!

We also brought space themed drawing and colouring books, as well as a 3D Space book that looks from the photos to have been enjoyed more by the adults

Step 10: Other Decorations: Candlesticks in the Ceremony Room

When we viewed the venue there was an empty candelabra in the ceremony room that gave me an idea. I measured it while I was there and designed a couple of parts to 3D print in triplicate. One part was a straight adaptor to plug into the candelabra to mount a section of chrome curtain pole tube, and the section was a larger version of the place card holder rocket with a stub to plug the rocket into the tube. With three tubes of different lengths and the mirror behind too, this gave a great visual effect.

I erred on the side of undersize for the adaptor plug as I wouldn't have a chance to test fit it, but a couple of layers of tape brought it out to size.

Step 11: Other Decorations: Big Orange Rocket

As well as sourcing the previously mentioned space craft components, my best man also surprised me during the set up with a 7-foot fluorescent orange rocket. While it isn't quite able to get to space it is a real rocket that has propelled itself to supersonic speeds! It really looked phenomenal behind the band with their lighting effects.

Step 12: Other Decorations: Space Duck and Giant Lego Spaceman

Guarding our card post box was space duck, a giant rubber duck with a space helmet. I made the helmet by dremelling a neck hole into a giant plastic bauble designed for filling with sweets. The bauble opens in half so the hole only had to be big enough to clip round the duck's neck.

The king of all the small Lego spacemen was a giant red spaceman I 3D printed in several parts. Like his smaller subjects he is fully posable and was printed from two designs available on Thingiverse: The Lego minifig and the astronaut accessories. He came out beautifully, and just needed his badge printing and his face carefully sharpie-ing on.

Step 13: That's All Folks

Thanks to everyone who made it this far, this describes all the space related aspects of our wedding.

If you enjoyed it don't forget to vote in the Space, Wedding and 3D printing contests, and check out my other instructables for, among other things, some non-space-related wedding instructables for more inspiration.

Thanks :)

3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016

Space Contest 2016

Participated in the
Space Contest 2016

Wedding Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wedding Contest 2016

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I'll try. From step 4: the metal piece under your space vase. Step 7: I'm guessing the metal cake plate. Step10: The candlesticks made out of piping. Step 12: The metal piece that the space duck is sitting on (on top of he card box). Also the contraption that the giant lego man is standing on. So, how'd I do?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Definitely close enough! The cake stand wasn't, but the contraption under the giant Lego man was two pieces (though together in the photo so slightly misleading). Also two of the candlesticks were just plain old curtain pole, only the right hand one was ultra thin wall titanium awesomeness!
    One membership to arrive by pm as soon as I can:)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Cool! Great instructable by the way, sounds like you had a fun wedding!


    3 years ago

    No attempts to win the pro membership? Have a go, it isn't too hard!