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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear Love FAQ,

My fiance and I are planning our wedding. The problem is, we want to celebrate our geeky side without being tacky (no Master Chief figurines as centerpieces!) and without isolating those in our families who don’t get their game on. Is there any advice you could give us on making our wedding a unique – but NOT weird – experience?

Thanks,

The Master Chief to His Cortana

P.S.: There is one thing I know we’ll do for certain: I’m walking down the aisle to a choral version of Nobuo Uematsu’s “Prelude,” from the Final Fantasy series.

Dear Master Chief,

Girl, you came to the right place. I happen to have first-hand experience in this exact situation.

You can still express your individuality in a situation as formal as a wedding, just keep it subtle and appropriate to the occasion. After all, what makes a Halo centerpiece tacky isn’t the medium in which Master Chief first appeared. It’s all the dead aliens and sun visors. (They just clash with the dress.)

As you’ve already discovered, ceremony music is an ideal way to tastefully nod to your favorite hobbies, especially since so many videogame soundtracks offer instrumental pieces that could easily work in a processional or candle-lighting. And don’t feel limited by piano or symphonic arrangements, either; the OverClocked Remix archives offer high-quality, free-to-the-public revamps of classic game tunes, everything from jazz to orchestral to hip-hop.

Consider your attire as fair game, too. Nobody’s saying you should walk down the aisle in a Varia suit, but you can still select colors, fabric, patterns, jewelry, even a hair style that pays tribute to your favorite heroines or game moments. Get as ambitious as you like — I modeled my own wedding dress after Celes’ opera house gown — but in the interest of simplicity, a single pendant or ribbon in your hair will work just fine. Just as long as *you* know what it symbolizes.

Decorations are another opportunity to personalize: Anything from table cards emblazoned with Vault Boy’s grinning face to flower arrangements inspired by Final Fantasy summons could work. Again, the sky’s the limit here (and I’m sure our commenters will have plenty of suggestions). But at the same time, don’t get carried away; the point isn’t the spectacle, but the familiarity of it all, a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge for those guests in the know.

Above all else, don’t let anyone convince you to forgo indulging your inner geek altogether. Because I’ll let you in on a well-kept bridal secret: Your wedding day isn’t just the best day of your life; it’s also the most *terrifying.*

It’s easy to lose yourself in the stress and anxiety of that day. That’s why it’s so important to include personal touches in your ceremony, familiar talismans that will ground you and focus your thoughts. And if that source of comfort and peace is the opening theme to Final Fantasy, then by God, you make your bridesmaids and your flower girl and your preacher strut their stuff to Nobuo Uematsu all day long if you need to. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

For you and your husband, videogames are a source of joy, comfort and peace – an integral part of your lives. Embrace that. Your wedding is *your* wedding, nobody else’s, and it’s not tacky if it makes you happy.

Best of luck, and mazel tov!

Dear Love FAQ,

I am a bit of a recluse. Socially I’m fine, but I fear and despise large groups in public places, which is sad, because I hate being alone.

A couple of my friends and their girlfriends sometimes take me to bars and clubs so I can meet somebody. On these outings, I find the darkest, quietest corner I can, assuming I can’t just disappear completely. I just get so depressed and anxious.

I don’t talk about what standard girls talk about, and I don’t do what standard girls like to do. I feel hopeless, lost, and lonely. What can I do?

Thanks,

No-one to Co-op

Dear No-one to Co-Op,

First off: You’re not a recluse; you’re an introvert. There’s a difference. Some people find hanging out in big groups relaxing, while others – like you – find it terribly stressful. And while that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with you, it does mean that no amount of shuttling between bars and clubs will change your natural inclinations.

So set yourself up for success. Seek out small groups and one-on-one interactions in more low-key environments, ones you’re more likely to feel relaxed in. Try the local board-game store, perhaps, or a sci-fi MeetUp, even an anime club. Find places where you already feel comfortable, where you already have something in common with the rest of the group, and you won’t have to try so hard to make conversation.

But truth be told, this isn’t the only reason your letter caught my eye.

Tell me: What, exactly, is a “standard” girl? Is it like a “standard” kilogram? Is there a woman-shaped slag of platinum alloy locked away in a French vault somewhere, gathering dust alongside the IPK?

I’m being flip, yes, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you think so-called “standard” or even “geeky” women exist, like so many brands of toothpaste, all indistinguishable beyond the label – and that you belong in one group but not the other.

Truth is, we’re all geeks, and none of us are.

In high school, we divide ourselves by cliques – the jock, the nerd, the drama kid – but the reality is that human beings are far more complex and layered than one single label can capture. Individuals are a cacophony of interests and beliefs, often conflicting. That lady getting her mani/pedi may also be able to quote Minbari scripture; the girl devouring the latest Pretty Little Liars novel may also keep Zelazny and Gaiman on her nightstand.

People can and will surprise you. You just have to give them a chance. But devote too much energy to organizing the people you meet into labels, and you become a self-fulfilling prophecy, unable to break free of your own disappointment.

So stop telling yourself you’re not a “standard” woman, because “standard” women just don’t exist. There are only women, and you’re a pretty fabulous one, just the way you are.

P.S.: Next time you’re stuck at a bar, try asking the cute guy whether he thinks Han shot first. You may be pleasantly surprised – and if he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, he wasn’t worth your time anyway.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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