Chanelle & Julie's two-bride backyard BBQ wedding

December 10 |

Today is Human Rights Day and I wanted to feature a wedding that illustrated just how absurd it is that two people this in love can't get married everywhere in the world. – Becca

Photos by The Beth Photos Ever and Jennuine Photography

The offbeat bride: Chanelle, Intermediate English Teacher (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Julie, Elementary Music Teacher

Location & date of wedding: Friend's backyard, Vancouver, BC — August 28, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a two-bride, two-culture backyard bbq — catered, DJed, officiated, set up, torn down, and otherwise fully centered around our friends and family.

We had a simple ceremony and reception in a friend's yard and recruited friends and family to help us do everything from the food to the photos to the officiating.

It was a casual affair, and being a somewhat non-traditional pairing, we didn't feel bound by any of the usual wedding rules that some people get sucked into.


Julie looked stunning in a traditional wedding dress, while Chanelle rocked out in a wedding t-shirt and Vans.

Instead of having a wedding party, we had a posse of our nearest and dearest walk us in to the Muppet's "Somebody's Getting Married" and Charles Aznavour's "For Me Formidale," with the two of us walking in together at the end of the posse.

During the ceremony, there was homemade lemonade and ice tea to toast the brides as we sipped our unity cocktail (an amaretto sour).

We put a moratorium on speeches, and instead invited our friends and family to prepare short poems, songs, and dance numbers during the reception.

Our first dance was to "Now that we've found love" by Heavy D and the Boyz and everyone was invited to hit the dance floor with their spouse, partner, "roommate," child, friends, or whoever else they had found love with.

Tell us about the ceremony: Even though same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, neither of the churches we attended would officiate our wedding (again with the gay-haters), so our friend Kirk agreed to officiate the ceremony even though he is not ordained. Another friend, Nathan, jumped at the chance to help make the whole thing legal and used his special Pastor Powers to do just that.

We had readings from Elizabeth Alexander's Praise Song for the Day, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, and I like you by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.

We finished up the ceremony with a unity cocktail and a toast to the brides and walked out the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta a Feeling."

Our biggest challenge: Luckily, Julie's family have always been great supporters of our relationship. They, along with our amazing chosen family, were just brilliant.

Unfortunately, Chanelle's family is not as supportive. It was a hard burden to bear, but the fact that her aunt made such an effort to fly across the country in a show of support really made up for the absence of the others.

During the ceremony, we invited all the witnesses and supporters of our marriage to leave their fingerprints on a tree, hand-drawn by Chanelle's sister, signifying the greater community in which our relationship has and will continue to grow. This simple, yet beautiful, act of involving our loved ones really helped us understand that family is what you make it and even with all the heartache associated with our blood family, our chosen family has always been there for us.

My favorite moment: Instead of doing our vows traditionally where one person says their piece, followed by the other, we said our vows together. We took lines from our favorite pieces of children's literature and scripture along with our own words and wound them into a authentic expression of what we feel for each other.

My funniest moment: Three words: rogue belly dancer. Julie's step-grandmother's daughter (who neither of us have seen in decades) decided to surprise us with not one, but two belly dances. One of which was meant to represent the vigorous consummation of the marriage. Words cannot describe it, but if you peruse our pictures, you might catch a glimpse of our faces during the performance.

My advice for offbeat brides: Plan ahead and ask for help if you are planning to do-it-yourself. The "yourself" bit of do-it-yourself should be taken rather loosely. Our friends (even the out-of-town ones) were more than happy to pitch in anywhere they could and it gave our wedding day a real sense of community.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? You can overcome anything if you are just a little patient and if you keep your mind open.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



This wedding features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to offbeat brides:

  1. OMG! Awesomeness! I am in so love with the color, vibrance, simplicity and love that comes across in the photos!!! Wohoo! What an awesome wedding! Congratulations!!!! Yay!

    3 agree
  2. Wow WoW WoW! This wedding looks amazing, but more importantly the brides look so beautiful and happy to be together with friends and family! Just wonderful! And I loved the unity cocktail and the fingerprint tree. What great ideas. Who doesn't love a rogue belly dancer! LOL Congratulations!

  3. Congrats Julie and Nellie! Apart from the fact that to my mind, Julie will always be 10 years old and has no business getting married, I hope you both have a long and happy life together. :) I loved your wedding pics and looked through them with my sister, who is stealing several of your ideas for her own wedding this summer. xxxx Verity

    1 agrees
    • Funny that you say that, Verity. . . because we basically stole all of our ideas from you. You were the first one to introduce us to I Like You, homemade wedding certificates, and hand-painted wooden wedding signs. ;) Hope you and Lucky are living the dream.

  4. Congratulations!
    I should tell you that "special Pastor Powers" just made it into my vocabulary.
    As a children's lit nerd I adore and admire how you did your vows. And I must say that fingerprint tree is very touching.

  5. The tree is a wonderful, brilliant idea. I love it. Congratulations on your marriage!

  6. Aww, this wedding is just so full of awesome! It left me a little weepy at my desk. Congratulations ladies, you both look so lovely, and smiley, and happy!

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  7. i love the tree and the fingerprints!!!! you both looked so happy and beautiful. congrats!

  8. The whole wedding is just so beautiful! Congrats to you both. I just laughed so hard at "The Little Prince" picture. :)

  9. How beautiful! It looks like your wedding was a ton of fun! Best wishes to both of you!

  10. cutest ever. i really love chanelle's wedding attire. my girlfriend would rock that…only with toms instead of vans. :)

  11. Congratulations! So wonderful to see two brides so in love with each other. May many blessings come your way for all eternity. No matter what challenges come your way, Always remember Your Love for One Another! :D

    1 agrees
  12. Nellie, you both look wonderful, and very happy.
    The tree is also a lovely touch – but then again the whole thing looked like a blast. All very you.
    Congratulations :)

    • Thanks, Milo! It was a blast. I imagine if you decide to get married, it'll be a party to remember, too!

  13. The picture of the two brides laughing together is so heartwarming. Congratulations to both of you.

  14. the wedding looks like it had an awesome, easy-going, laid-back vibe. beautiful pictures & such a beautiful couple!!!

  15. I love all the offbeat aspects – wearing whatever you wanted, your vows, the fingerprint tree, etc. Well done and I applaud the lone aunt that is supportive and willing to go against the family grain. You are very inspirational to the rest of us two bride couples!

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  16. Adore. I LOVE the fingerprint guest book and the vows. In fact, you just gave me a brilliant idea for a guest book inspired by children's lit (one of my favorite things)! Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Your ring bearer is such a cutie! And you gave me some great ideas for wedding songs.

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  18. I love so many parts of this wedding. Especially the Unity Cocktail and the fingerprint book, and walking in together! It's brilliant. :)

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  19. Everything about this wedding has just put a huge smile on my face. Awesome!

    1 agrees
  20. Love this…thanks for starting my day with a smile on my face!!!!!What a beautiful couple…love the spirit of the day, it really comes across in the photos!!!!

  21. The main photo at the top of this page absolutely took my breath away. What a stunning wedding, and stunning couple. I feel like you can get a sense of both the brides' personalities simply in how 'at home' they look together.

    Also. Combined vows = AMAZING idea. Homemade lemonade and ice tea toast = um, holy adorable.

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