Eugene Weekly : Cover Story : 8.26.2010


Eugene Celebration 2010

Stylish Pets Take the Stage Raise the woof, meow and bray at the Pet Stroll 

Local, National, International Film mania, plus zombies, at the EC Film Fest

Yoga Slugs and Friends in France SLUG Queen Slugasana takes over the EW

Ready to Raise Some Heck, I Mean Roofs? Eugene Celebration music round-up  

Village People Habitat volunteers to build a shed

Regress, Relax, Unwind Health and Wellness Celebration

Speedy Celebration For runners, the parade happens in the afterglow

Undeath Will Not Them Part The Celebration gets its first zombie wedding


Undeath Will Not Them Part
The Celebration gets its first zombie wedding
by Zanne Miller

On their first official date, Jesse Delay turned to Chelsea Guyette and asked: “Do you like zombies?”

Yes, she does. She even whipped out her cell phone to show him a picture from the first Zombie Pub Crawl in Eugene.

Photo by Naomi Levit |

Delay, 31, is the frontman for I Am Ruin (“We play very melodic post hardcore”) and by day part owner of Rutledge Staircase, which specializes in custom wood stairs. Guyette, 27, is in sales support for the Health and Safety Institute. Both lifelong Eugeneans, they’d met before through various friends, but reconnected on Facebook. They got together in early January of this year. 

When he popped the big question a few months ago, it was romantic — her favorite pad Thai, a jar of Ruby from McMenamins, acoustic guitar and candles in a hotel room overlooking the beach in Lincoln City. “It would have been absolutely perfect,” Delay says, “but I got crazy hot chili powder that went with the Thai food in my eye, and looked like I had a case of pink eye. Despite that, I pulled it off pretty smooth.” Again, she said yes.

When she says “I do,” it’ll be romantic, of course. They’ve planned a zombie wedding at Voodoo Donuts on Saturday night of the Eugene Celebration. “This is us,” Guyette says.

The zombie concept came about after a string of weddings that, Delay says, “besides being ?perfect’ seemed to have little to nothing to do with the couple and who they are together.” He says he “felt like their individuality got lost in the expectations of the ritual. We wanted something with no outside influences or expectations.” 

To those who giggle, Delay says, “This is not a joke; we are not trying to trivialize the concept of marriage. This is a celebration of our love and our life together.”

But why zombies? “I think for my generation, we have a huge sense of apocalyptic anxiety. Modern zombie lore is about having ourselves turned against our own will and turned into something that will end the world, as the result of humans’ need to experiment with things they don’t understand and have no right to be testing. With things like the BP spill going on, it doesn’t seem that far fetched that we will take ourselves out through our own arrogance.”

But it’s not a big political statement either — it’s a celebration, with a built-in reception. “This city has a heart of culture and individuality to it that makes me proud to live here,” Delay says. “During the Celebration you can feel that energy and magic pulsing everywhere downtown.”

Voodoo Donuts do weddings regularly in Portland, but this is their first wedding at the Eugene doughnut shop, which opened a few months ago. Delay and Guyette have no affiliation with Voodoo. “We just love their doughnuts, atmosphere and their attitude,” Delay says.

So their wedding cake will be zombie doughnuts, body parts, and voodoo doll doughnuts. They’ll also have their names spelled out in doughnuts. 

Paradegoers can see the couple earlier in the day in wedding garb as they lead the zombie procession. 

So what kind of zombies are they? Delay said the couple is “definitely not the voodoo zombie.”

 “We are big Max Brooks fans,” he says. “The source of the infection in Brooks’ books Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z is the Solanum Virus. As far as the speed debate, it makes sense to us that that is dependent on the level of decomposition. Not a slow zombie, or a exceptionally fast one either.”

Last week, Delay and Guyette were still working out the details of the ceremony — including how to handle the whole bit about “’til death do us part.” 

Says Delay: “When our grandkids look at pictures of our wedding, I want them to see that they can make their own path, create their own traditions and celebrate who they are.”