Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
I spent two summers in a research lab at Yale thanks to a NIH funded program for teachers to gain research experience. While there, I got to know a cute, clever neuroscientist who won me over with his amazing fruit fly brain dissection skills and his funny German accent. We eventually fell in love and got engaged!
So, when it came to designing the Save the Date for our wedding we wanted to have a little fun and acknowledge how we met. The postcard we created highlights our biology backgrounds by emphasizing the evolutionary process in our selection of one another (the idea was not my own, I copied it from a cute Valentine’s Day card).
For Michael’s German relatives we wrote underneath, “Wissenschaft hat uns zusammengebracht.” Which means, science brought us together.
It was important to us that our wedding day be fun and showcase our science backgrounds. While the ceremony stayed pretty true to tradition, we wanted to have a bit of fun at our reception.
In order to set the tone of the event immediately when guests walked in the door, we created a Dichotomous Key game for our guests to play! Also known as a single-access key, a dichotomous key is a method that helps scientists categorize and identify species by making logical choices in a series of identification steps.
In our game, we assigned each person to an organism that either Michael or I have worked with in our science careers. On their escort card, they received a picture of the organism, its common name, and a brief description of how either Michael or myself once worked with the organism.
I must stop here just to vent about how hard it was to find cute pictures of the organisms Michael has worked with in his career. As a neuroscientist, his model organisms have been grasshoppers, mice, bees, crayfish, and now fruit flies. I didn’t want guests to be grossed out while eating their meal, so it took quite a bit of searching to find *cute* pictures of fruit flies. I gave up on the crayfish. It was so much easier for my organisms – several adorable seabirds and a golden eagle!
Once they read their escort card, they were given the Dichotomous Key below:
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You can see from the game instructions that each guest’s mission was to figure out the Latin name of their organism. Once they identified the Latin name, they could find their table which was labeled with a table sign only showing the organism’s Latin name.
The point was to just have fun and use an actual scientific method to play a game. So, you can see that the questions and answers weren’t very difficult. You also probably noticed that the table signs had a small silhouette of the organism. We wanted to make sure everyone found the right answer.
We were a little nervous that no one would participate in our geeky science game, but we figured even if they didn’t it would still be attractive decoration. We were thrilled when everyone played and had a great time. It was a great conversation starter. We had a few scientists on the guest list so that helped. Many of Michael’s family members were farmers and they loved playing a game that involved nature. It was a great success!!!
In addition to our game, we had many science-themed decorations at each table. Below is a gallery of photos showcasing all of our science decorations. If you click on a photo you can see it full size.
At the end of it all our guests said it was a “magical” and “fairytale” night. Which really isn’t scientific at all, but we took it as a compliment.
And they lived happily ever after…