A Peacock-Themed Castle Wedding at Meyer's Castle in Dyer, Indiana

While attending a Bruno Mars concert with mutual friends, Nicole (31 and network administrator) and Liyan (30 and a project manager) instantly hit it

While attending a Bruno Mars concert with mutual friends, Nicole (31 and network administrator) and Liyan (30 and a project manager) instantly hit it off. Four years later, while hiking at Pictured Rocks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Nicole brought along her camera and started taking pictures of the scenery. Liyan then took the camera to take pictures of her, and while she was busy posing, he proposed. He was able to capture her surprised expression with one hand and a ring in the other. Unable to find a ring that he thought would suit Nicole’s minimalist style, Liyan designed the diamond himself. “I love the fact that he knew me well enough to design a ring without my input,” Nicole says. While they originally wanted a destination wedding, they instead decided on a venue close to home so that Liyan’s 95-year-old grandmother could attend. They threw an elaborate, peacock-themed wedding merging their Chinese and Filipino cultures at Meyer’s Castle in the heart of Dyer, Indiana. When asked why she wanted a peacock theme, Nicole said, “It symbolizes openness, immortality, protectiveness, and prosperity in Chinese, which we wish to achieve in our relationship and lifetime commitment to each other."

Although everyone expected her to get married in a princess-style ball gown, Nicole opted instead for a Madeline Gardner mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline and a semi-cathedral train that “added elegance and drama to the overall look just like the tail feathers of the albino peacock.” She accessorized with a custom gold belt (that she designed herself), her grandmother’s ring, borrowed earrings from her bridesmaid, and sweeping veil (that she found for $10 on eBay!).
Nicole used white roses in her bouquet and blue thistle to tastefully imitate peacock feathers. A wide assortment of other flowers were used for other members of the wedding party, including calla lilies for the bridesmaids, orchid wristlets for the mothers, and blue-green hydrangea wristlets for the godparents.
While not traditionally a fan of fairytale weddings, Nicole says she fell in love with the gazebo, outdoor lighting, and exotic plants of Meyer’s Castle. Most importantly, she says, “After we saw flocks of peacocks, both fully colored and albino, roaming the grounds of the castle, we were sold!”
Nicole and Liyan at Meyer’s Castle
The Navy Wedding Party at Meyer’s Castle
Jeanette Pe created the peacock inspired stationary, including invitations, programs, and menus. Nicole and her bridesmaids met every month before the wedding to assemble all the elements, which Nicole said saved her a lot of money and “made our wedding more personal.”
The five flower girl dresses were handmade by Nicole and Annie Moody, an eBay tutu dressmaker. Rather than the traditional baskets full of flowers, Nicole made her flower girls whimsical “grapevine balls" with twinkling fairy lights.
Nicole and Liyan Celebrate First Kiss with Sparklers
Liyan’s mother has a gift for making silk flowers, so she incorporated them into string lights to place around the Moroccan lanterns. Guests loved these decorations so much that they ended up taking them home as favors.
Despite the theme, Nicole wanted to minimize the use of peacock feathers in the décor to focus on the natural beauty of the venue. The feathers modestly accented the tall Eiffel tower centerpieces with blue mums.
A Chinese- and Filipino-Inspired Wedding Cake
The wedding cake (inspired by a design Nicole Found on Pinterest) was topped with the Chinese symbol for double happiness. For the cake cutting, Nicole and Liyan used a Dao (a traditional Chinese sword) instead of a knife.
Planned entertainment kept wedding guests on their toes, from Chicago’s Samba 1 Brazilian Dance Group performing (in festive, feathery costumes to match the theme) to a choreographed fight scene between Liyan and his groomsmen over the garter.