The offbeat bride: Meghan, Student/Afterschool Teacher
Her offbeat partner: Anne, Middle School Science Teacher
Date and location of wedding: The Presidio's Log Cabin, San Francisco, CA — June 5, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: As if merging a traditional Irish Catholic family with a modern WASP blended family wasn't enough, we were having a big GAY wedding! It was a first for both families, and everyone handled it beautifully (especially my Irish Nana who offered to find a Catholic priest to oversee the affair). It was important to both of us that we make the wedding a reflection of us, while keeping it a fun event for all our guests. Even though it was a lesbian wedding (and not legal in CA at the time), it mostly looked and felt like a traditional family wedding.
The wedding was held at The Presidio's Log Cabin, a historic building located near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. We met while working at a summer camp in the redwood forrests of northern california. After Anne performed at a friend's wedding there the year before, she rushed home and told me she had found the perfect place for our event. There was a beautiful outdoor lawn with a view of the San Francisco Bay, and great indoor space with a big dance floor and a working FIREPLACE!
Since we were both students and on a "reasonable" budget, we did as much as we could ourselves. My friends' helped make the centerpieces; Anne's mom did all the flowers and my mom baked homemade cookies for wedding favors. My sister Kerry and her friend Bianca did everyone's hair and make-up.
Our caterers, Asqew Grill, were awesome at finding solutions and allowing us to save in places like providing our own alcohol and snacks. Anne and some family friends arrived early to help the caterers set up everything and we kept decorations simple to highlight the cabin's decor.
Most amazing was our photographer, who happened to be the person who introduced us all those years ago. Her gift of photography services was invaluable and we cannot do enough to thank her!
After much debate we went non-traditional with the wedding party. Rather than splitting along gender lines, my brother, two sisters and best friend stood with me, while Anne stood with her brothers and sisters.
Have I mentioned that we are both members of a local bagpipe band? Kilts were a MUST, and Anne and the guys wore a combination of owned and rented kilts and accessories.
The girls were told to wear whatever they wanted, and everyone independently ended up in black and white.
I was struggling to find a dress, and tried on my sister-in-law's dress just for fun. I fell in love with it, and with her blessing wore the same dress for our wedding (with just the slightest of alternations for my shorter stature). As a child I swore I would get married in blue Chucks, so at my bridal shower my mother presented me with baby blue Converse dressed up with sparkly laces!
Tell us about the ceremony: Short and sweet. Neither of us are religious, and we politely declined Nana's offer of a Catholic ceremony. Our officiant was a friend and did an excellent job of helping us organize and execute the strange performance piece that is a wedding.
Two of our bagpiper friends played us in and out.
My dad held off tears long enough to give me a kiss and shake Anne's hand (both our mothers had dissolved into tears hours beforehand).
Our photographer, Annie Kohl, dropped her camera for a moment to read the traditional Corinthians 13. Typical, yes, but it is beautiful and summed up how we felt.
We recited traditional vows (honor, cherish, etc.) but spiced it up by making short speeches to each other just letting the other person know how much we loved her and how excited we were.
I would tell you more about that part but I was so nervous I don't remember what was said! We had our kiss and gave some high fives on our way back down the aisle.
Our biggest challenge: Before we got engaged I wasn't a ring person. I'd never worn one, and didn't like how it felt. I was pretty uninterested in having a wedding ring, and definitely not one with a stone.
Anne was insistent that we have rings, and shopped around until she found designs that I thought I could live with. She found a local goldsmith, Lyn Magnuson, who created amazing Celtic knot-style designs in white gold — a thick band for Anne and a thin band with a small diamond for me. Lyn was an incredible character, and spent lots of time showing us patterns and settings, and producing a beautiful pair of rings that we love.
Sadly, Lyn Magnuson was murdered in February of 2011 during a robbery at his shop. When we saw the story on the news, it was heartbreaking. We are so thankful that we were able to meet and spend time with him, and that we have pieces of his art to remember him by.
My favorite moment: As many people know, one of the most amazing moments is seeing your partner after the long and stressful road to the event. When I saw Anne in front of everyone, waiting for me, I had to stop myself from running to join her. She looked so handsome in her kilt, it made everything worth it!
Spending time with our families at the reception was one of the greatest experiences. Whenever I looked around it seemed like everyone was having a blast. It definitely made it feel like all the planning and money spent was worth it! Hearing from my family how special it was and how much fun they had was the best!
My funniest moment: Our officiant was a friend from our band who had done just one other wedding. He graciously accepted our request to officiate our wedding, and took on the responsibility of planning the majority of the ceremony.
It was pretty traditional, including asking everyone to rise when I started to come down the aisle with my dad. About halfway through the ceremony, we realized that he had never asked people to take their seats. They were all still standing! Thankfully our ceremony was only about fifteen minutes, but there are some great pictures of the crowd with our young guests being held up so that they could catch a glimpse of the action.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our traditional Irish Catholic family apparently LOVES gay weddings! Or at least, our gay wedding. Even though they have never shown us anything but love and support, there were twinges of fear that people could have a sour reaction to our re-appropriation of the traditional wedding schema. It went over fantastically well, and you still cannot get them to stop talking about how much fun it was.
- Work together to make it your wedding.
- Choose a venue that you love.
- Make your goals for the event and plan backwards.
- If you are going to smash cake in your partner's face, smash downwards to avoid frosting up the nostrils! (Sorry, Anne)
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The most important lesson we had to learn was how to delegate. Everyone was rushing to help us, and we just didn't know where to apply their energies and how to keep people from stepping on each other's toes. Once we had a plan and figured out what we wanted to do and who we wanted to do it, we were able to delegate roles and everyone did an amazing job of helping out where we needed it.
- Photographer: Annie Kohl
- Cupcakes: Cynically Delicious
- Caterer: Asqew Grill
- Venue: Presidio's Log Cabin
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!