Imagine a wedding between Wonder Woman and Deadpool, attended by Mary Poppins, Superman, Dr. Who, Kylo Ren and the Little Mermaid.
More than 100 costume-clad nerds, cosplayers, gamers and fantasists gathered June 17 to celebrate the real-life union of Megan Mattingly and Adam Merica, dressed as Wonder Woman and Deadpool, at Awesome Con, an annual Washington comic book and pop-culture convention that drew approximately 71,000 visitors last weekend.
The self-described geeky couple were introduced a short time ago (April 2014) in a galaxy not so far, far away (Alexandria). Megan, a Fairfax native, had decided to swing by Restaurant Eve for an after-work cocktail and immediately noticed Adam tending bar across the room. Intrigued, she decided to make the first move.
“The first words out of her mouth were literally, ‘Tell me everything you know about robots,’ ” Adam says, laughing. Dumbfounded, he instead offered to make her a drink (it was called the “Never Ending Saga”). But Megan, not one to be easily discouraged, continued to engage him in lively — and nerdy — conversation.
“I was helping a friend plan a robotics-focused STEM and pop-culture convention, but really I just wanted an excuse to talk to the cute bartender,” admits Megan, who works as an investment banker by day and a fantasy writer by night. The conversation flowed easily, as the pair swapped stories and interests. Megan, 30, disclosed her plans to try cosplay (short for costume play) for the first time at Awesome Con, and Adam, 29, showed off his Deadpool tattoo.
“We just clicked, immediately,” he says. “She was smart, funny and absolutely beautiful. The more that we talked, the more all of that stood out.”
A friendship soon formed, and Megan became a Restaurant Eve regular. “I was immediately smitten with the way his eyes light up every time he [talked] about something he was passionate about,” Megan says. “He’s the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”
Although Adam acknowledges that Megan “was always the first to like his Facebook updates,” he was involved with someone else and didn’t realize she had romantic feelings until nearly two years later. During that time, Megan dated other people and grew more involved with the cosplay community, making appearances at comic conventions as Emma Frost, Harley Quinn, Lara Croft and a steampunk version of Jasmine from “Aladdin.”
It finally clicked in January 2016, when Megan began clapping excitedly after Adam disclosed that he had ended his longtime relationship.
Within a few weeks, they were dating. By their second date, they were discussing marriage.
“Adam told me I was crazy,” Megan says, “because that’s not what people say on a second date, [but] I asked him if he thought we wouldn’t get married. He realized we probably would but said we should probably date a normal period of time.”
Megan took this as a green light to try a variety of marriage proposals, five in total, until Adam accepted. The first four were admittedly more in jest, but at the three-month mark of their relationship, she decided to surprise him with a formal proposal at the restaurant Pineapple & Pearls. Halfway through dinner, she plopped a vinyl figurine, custom-made with Adam’s face as the animated superhero One-Punch Man, on the table.
Adam, not used to surprises, cursed and walked out of the room. Luckily, Megan knew this was his way of expressing shock and excitement.
“When he came back grinning — and thank God, since we were in such a fancy place — he said, ‘We aren’t normal, so why be normal with this? Yes, let’s do it. Let’s get married,’ ” Megan recalls.
They decided right away that a full cosplay wedding, right down to the dress, would suit them best. By that point, Megan had accumulated a following in the cosplay community (she has more than 45,000 followers on Instagram) and founded the local group DC CosGeeks. She also didn’t want a repeat of her first wedding, which was much more conventional.
A Deadpool costume was a natural fit for Adam, who has been a fan of the character since childhood, and Megan chose Wonder Woman, whom she calls the “epitome of a modern woman.”
“I’ve told my friends that if they show up as Wonder Woman that would be weird, but showing up in white is highly encouraged,” she says.
They debated getting married at Awesome Con in 2016, only five weeks after the proposal, but decided to wait until this year. In anticipation of the big day, they each got ring-finger tattoos of the Konami Code, a classic video-game cheat code from the 1980s. The sequence, popular with programmers, often unlocks a surprise Easter egg on websites and games.
“It’s like we’ve unlocked the secret together by finding each other,” Megan says.
Everything was set into motion for Awesome Con 2017, but days before the wedding, Megan’s Wonder Woman armor was nowhere close to complete.
Luckily, in true superhero fashion, help swooped in at the 11th hour, but not from a burly man in tights. Three female cosplay costumers came together to produce a gown from scratch, and fit for an Amazonian bride, in less than 48 hours.
Their herculean effort was rewarded with audible gasps, ahhs and applause as Megan glided down the aisle, accompanied by a live performance of “The Diva Song” from the sci-fi flick “The Fifth Element,” and joined her groom at the front of the private room, located off the main convention floor.
She passed her bouquet of “flowers,” fashioned out of old comic books, to her parents, appropriately dressed as Zeus and Hippolyta, and took Adam’s hands.
Flanked by their wedding party, who were outfitted in DC Comics, Marvel and Disney attire, the couple recited personalized vows that referenced a wide assortment of popular fandoms, including the British series “Dr. Who” and the cult favorite “Game of Thrones.”
“I promise to be your partner in life, in love, in adventure and in crime, in dungeons and while riding on dragons,” Megan said through happy tears, as she placed a plastic Super Mario Invincible Star ring on Adam’s finger. “I will always be your Ready Player Two.”
Before their officiant, dressed as Darth Vader, introduced Mr. and Mrs. A. Merica, Adam grew emotional and removed his Deadpool mask.
Choking back tears, he quoted Dr. Seuss to his beloved: “We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Later, the bride and groom celebrated into the night at Society Fair in Alexandria. Costumed guests enjoyed a full taco bar, a deep-fried chimichanga tower (Deadpool’s snack of choice) and beer brewed by the bride’s father’s church group.
Anything resembling traditional wedding fare, including cake and the “Cha-Cha Slide,” were prohibited. “We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Megan says.
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