It was the ideal wedding for Park Slope residents Oscar Quintanilla and Tanya Garcia Quintanilla: a rendition of "Here Comes the Bride" on electric guitar to usher the bride down the aisle; a Scottish handfasting ritual to bind the newlywed's hands and hearts; a tiered cake bedecked with spikes and skulls to feed their friends and family.
The Quintanillas, who both identify as "metalheads," were married last month at the heavy metal bar Lucky 13 Saloon, their regular hangout for the past 7 years.
And their shared love of an extreme musical genre dictated more than their choice of wedding venue. It also led them to DonnaMarie SanSevero, otherwise known as the "Reverend D."
"Looking up death metal wedding officiant, she’s the first one to pop up on Google," said Tanya Garcia Quintanilla, 28, who also drew wedding inspiration from Wiccan and Pagan rituals. "If there was such a thing, it was her."
SanSevero, who lives in Forest Hills, describes herself as a "low-budget, alternative, D.I.Y., offbeat, gothic, gay/lesbian/bisexual/[transgender], steampunk, rock and roll, Halloween, cosplay, Comic Con, sci-fi, nerd, punk and generally left-of-center wedding planner and non-denominational Reverend."
Reverend D will preside over and dress the part for almost any wedding — though she may draw a line at a nudist wedding, she said, should that request ever be made.
"I have very little shame or pride," said the retired FDNY paramedic who now works as a project manager at Empire Mayonnaise while booking weddings on the side. "I’ll do whatever you want, to the best of my abilities.”
SanSevero, whose larger-than-life personality suits the wedding dais, characterizes her services as standing in defiant opposition to the traditional wedding industry.
"I want people to understand that your wedding can be whatever you want, not just because it should be, but because you’re f--ing paying for it," she said, adding that she considers herself a "wedding anarchist."
"It’s a party! Let’s have fun, let’s celebrate your love instead of being miserable and quiet during it."
Since registering with the city to officiate the wedding of two friends in 2011, SanSevero has had clients with requests of all stripes. There was the couple who met on a gaming website and wanted to be addressed during their ceremony by their avatars' names.
Another pair planned a wedding entirely around the mathematical formula of Pi. A third couple asked her to dress as a wizard and cast spells during their Harry Potter-themed ceremony.
SanSevero’s own wedding in 2010 — which she says she planned only after her fiancé talked her out of eloping — was far from traditional.
She billed the event at a now-closed nightclub on the Lower East Side as the “Unholy Union.” The bride performed with her heavy metal band. Her wedding dress was red, not white. Her show-stopping wedding cake resembled the apartment building from the original “Ghostbusters,” decorated with a to-scale Stay Puft Marshmallow man and topped with two figurines of the bride and groom dressed as paranormal investigators.
The Reverend D brings the same creativity and attention to detail to the personalized ceremonies she writes for her clients.
In preparation, she presents the betrothed with a long list of questions.
“Some seem normal, like, ‘How did you meet?’ And some are really random, like, ‘If you could murder him in 20 years, why?’” the officiant explained.
She incorporates answers in vows she hopes will not only meet the couple’s needs, but engage their guests, too: “That’s a point of pride for me — to get the couple and still include the family, because usually they don’t get [the technical nerd details.]”
At the Quintanilla’s wedding, friends and family members chuckled when SanSevero addressed the groom. Would he promise Tanya, she asked, “to just suck it up and admit it when something is bothering you because it’s mad obvious, she totally knows, it’s driving her insane?” Would he “haunt her ruthlessly and relentless if you die first and she tries to marry some other dude?
“I will,” he vowed, prompting more laughter.
“He sounded a little vindictive when he said that,” the Reverend D told the crowd.
The Quintanillas are one of more than 60 couples SanSevero has married this year, having started with four in 2011. She typically charges $500 for her wedding services.
Reflecting on the past five years, the officiant said, “For someone who hated weddings, it’s been a f--king crazy ride.”
Here are a few roles she’s played along the way:
A punk-rock zombie
Wedding theme: Halloween
The Fourth Doctor
Wedding theme: the classic British sci-fi series "Doctor Who"
A 1920s Gangster
Wedding theme: the Roaring '20s
Wedding theme: the BBC sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous," set in the world of fashion and public relations
Patsy Stone is one of the show's two leading characters, a champagne-swilling magazine editor played by Joanna Lumley.
Wedding theme: a small claims lawsuit
A Renaissance woman
Wedding theme: the Renaissance and pirates
This ceremony took place at TrotCon 2014, a convention for an annual convention in Columbus, Ohio, for adult fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."
Elvira, mistress of the dark
Wedding theme: Halloween
The Rev D dressed as the titular character of the 1988 flick "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark," a seductive horror hostess.