Caitlin & Kaitlyn's secret garden lesbian wedding

By on Jul 12th
gazebo train loving

Photos by Andrew and Michael DeWitt

The offbeat bride: Caitlin, future minister (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Kaitlyn, student

Date and location of wedding: Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie, IN — June 16, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our authentic selves happen to be incredibly poor in money and rich in friends. This was definitely reflected in the wedding. Instead of vendors, our "friendors" contributed astonishing services for cost of materials only. Our general community rushed to throw in extra help like driving the brides around, providing extra hugs, and finding a surprise maypole in the middle of the reception!

c kristin k mitchell

We wrote everything in the ceremony with help from our officiant, Julia. The vows were completely ours, down to sandwich-ing a Doctor Who and a Tolkien reference into the same sentence without breaking the sense of importance and reverence.

We did sprinkle references to our nerdier fandoms through places like the programs, vows, cookie choices (Jammy Dodgers), and cake toppers, while keeping the general, more traditionally romantic theme of The Secret Garden alive in our decorations and outfits.

k giving ring

Tell us about the ceremony: Our readings included the very popular e.e. cummings poem "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in" as well as a more obscure poem by J.R.R. Tolkien. I was actually completely unable to find any reference to this poem other than where I discovered it.

Found in Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carter p.83.

Lo! young we are and yet have stood
like planted hearts in the great Sun
of Love so long ( as two fair trees
in woodland or in open dale
stand utterly entwined, and breathe
the airs, and suck the very light
together ) that we have become
as one, deep-rooted in the soil
of Life, and tangled in sweet growth.

J.R.R.

We also included a chalice lighting, which is a tradition in our Unitarian Universalist Church.

full view from back ceremony

My favorite moment: For Caitlin: Definitely the vows. I'd had a hard time looking at Kaitlyn through the first half of the ceremony because she was so radiantly beautiful and happy, that I felt like I would burst into happy tears every time I saw her face. When the time came to pass off my bouquet and hold her hands though, I couldn't wait to say the words we'd spent hours crafting:

I vow to trust you, and to be worthy of that trust. I vow to listen with an open heart when you speak, and to share my own thoughts even when I am afraid. I vow to be your harbor in life's storms. In times of darkness, I vow to remind you of the astonishing light of your own being, and raise you up when your own wings falter. I vow to follow you, even if life requires an awful lot of running, down the Road that goes ever on. I vow to always strive to be the person you see in me. More than all of this, I vow to love you for the rest of our lives together.

For Kaitlyn: Those vows, first off, culminating in the exchange of rings. We're both wearing claddagh rings, the symbolism of which allowed us to wear them as engagement rings and then turn them at the wedding so they signified marriage. I'd been waiting to see our rings finally turned inward for so long, and the moment it happened was, to me, the final punctuation on our vows that said "this is how it will be."

parents in gazeboAlso, as the majority of my family has been extremely unsupportive of my relationship with Caitlin and chose not to attend or participate, I was expecting to not do either a father/daughter or mother/daughter dance, and had made my peace with that. I wanted Caitlin to be able to enjoy those moments even if I could not. I was extremely touched and completely surprised when her dad insisted that I stay on the floor after our opening dance and share the father/daughter dance with him, and then her mom did the same. That, and their unrestrained warmth in the impromptu receiving line made me feel like I was really and truly an official member of the family and that they had fully and happily accepted me as a new daughter. With the issues I've had with family over the years, and the scars I'm still working on healing, it was an especially powerful moment.

k went flop

My funniest moment: When Kaitlyn got to the phrase "an awful lot of running" in the vows, about a quarter of the guests burst into laughter (being the good Whovians that they are). Everyone else just thought it was funny that we were laughing, even when they didn't get the joke.

During our first dance, our friend's toddler decided he wanted to dance with us. No amount of cajoling by his mother could convince him otherwise!

photographer preparing

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I had resigned myself to abandoning the idea of professional, semi-professional, or really any kind of organized photography. We flat-out couldn't afford it, and we kind of used up the universe's jackpot of luck on skilled friends (seamstress and corsetry expert, budding caterer, retired florist). But one day before the wedding, my brothers sprung a surprise on me: even though they hadn't pursued photography seriously in several years, they'd been preparing to borrow all the best camera equipment they could get and take all those classic shots of our wedding. This last-minute bit of generosity completely overwhelmed me, and reminded me (not for the first time in this process) how amazing my beloved community really is.

brides and coven

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Trust your family. They might be a lot more loving/accepting than you think. For example, my parents surprised us with financial generosity, and Kaitlyn's dad surprised us by coming at all.

Wait to buy your reception alcohol until after you get your final head count.

sweetness flowers outdoor

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photography: Andrew and Michael DeWitt
  • Hair glitteries for brides and bridesmaids: Claire's
  • Caitlin's dress (the floral white): David's Bridal
  • Bridesmaids dresses: a DIY project of the brides and bridesmaids, cut roughly along the infinity dress pattern found here, with fabric bought from Mood Fabrics.
  • Kaitlyn's dress (the leafy ivory): Custom-sewn by Cortney Koerner.
  • Food: Miriah White

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!