We teased this colorful Burner wedding in a recent Monday Montage and knew you wouldn't want to wait long to see it!
The offbeat bride: Psyche, Psychotherapist (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Legend, Psychology student
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Burning Man has played an important role in our relationship since the beginning. It naturally became an important part of our wedding as well. Most of our wedding guests were burners and we met our best man when we camped next to him our first year. We held the ceremony at a regional event and invited everyone to participate in whatever creative way called to them.
The wedding party was asked to wear whatever they felt best expressed their awesomeness. Our "Madam of Fabulousnesss" (maid of honor) created gift bags with items to represent each of the 10 Principles as favors. Most importantly, our community spent an entire weekend camping in chilly, rainy weather and still had an amazing time bonding with each other. I've already heard several proposals for making it an annual get together. [Personal aside from Ariel: Eight years after our camping wedding, we're still doing our annual camp-out. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.]
Tell us about the ceremony: Each member of our wedding party was invited to read or sing something they chose. I asked our officiant to read "A definition of marriage" from Goodridge Vs. Department of Health by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, and my seven-year-old read "A Lovely Love Story" by Edward Monkton.
I read Alyssa's monologue from the movie Chasing Amy:
I've given [it] a lot of thought, you know? And what I've come up with is really simple: I came to this on my terms. I didn't just heed what I was taught, you know? Men and women should be together, it's the natural way — that kind of thing. I'm not with you because of what family, society, life tried to instill in me from day one. The way the world is — how seldom you meet that one person who gets you. It's so rare.
My parents didn't really have it. There was no example set for me in the world of male/female relationships. And to cut oneself off from finding that person — to immediately halve your options by eliminating the possibility of finding that one person within your own gender… that just seemed stupid. So I didn't. And by leaving my options open, I was branded "gay," which to me was no big deal — labels are labels, you know? They define what you do, not who you are, I guess. But then you come along. You — the one least likely; I mean, you were a guy. And while I was falling for you, I put a ceiling on that, because you were a guy. Until I remembered why I opened the door to women in the first place: to not limit the likelihood of finding that one person who'd complement me so completely.
And so here we are, I was thorough when I looked for you, and I feel justified lying in your arms — because I got here on my terms, and have no question that there was someplace I didn't look. And that makes all the difference.
Legend sang a song he wrote for me after our first date. We included a sand ceremony as a symbol of the four of us coming together as a family, and a handfasting as a way to include our Pagan faith. A broom jumping was included at the last minute when our priestess and officiant surprised us with a handmade broom.
Our biggest challenge: I was finishing up grad school when I proposed to Legend. This meant we spent our entire engagement with almost no money to spend on the wedding. We tried to keep our guest list very small in order to keep costs down, but our parents had other ideas. Our solution was to invite anyone who wanted to come, but they had to be willing to spend the weekend camping at a Burning Man event. It's amazing how quickly our guest list shrunk after that — but no one felt left out.
My favorite moment: I'm a queer-identified woman who has based my professional and academic work in the LGBTQ community. My decision to get married involved a lot of introspection beyond, "is this the person I want to spend my life with." Since I married a cisgender man, it would have been really easy for my queer identity to become invisible in the process. This was why I chose to read the monologue from Chasing Amy. I was more nervous about this than probably any other aspect of the wedding because it was a very honest statement about myself, and I wasn't sure how well it would be received by my future in-laws. It turned out to be just fine.
It also gave me one of my favorite pictures: Legend wiping tears from his eyes with two fists, baby-style, as he tried to pull himself together to sing afterward.
My funniest moment: My 11-year-old daughter wanted to sing the processional in the ceremony, but we were having difficulty agreeing on a song. She thought all of our suggestions were boring and we weren't interested in having a Katy Perry song as part of our wedding. We finally agreed on one song, and we all walked in to her rendition of Billy Idol's "White Wedding."
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our friends and family helped us with almost every aspect of our wedding weekend. Sometimes this meant managing anxiety over how things would turn out because it was completely out of my control. It also meant that we found ourselves without anyone to officiate a month before the wedding. We changed officiants three times because our first two weren't able to afford the trip. But it also meant we ended up with spectacular things we never would have come up with on our own, like our attire and having a dear friend and former housemate marry us.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? I was married before and this was Legend's first wedding. My first wedding was a traditional, fancy event and not at all me. This time I wanted to go very small and simple. Legend's vision of the wedding had my maid of honor calling him "the princess bride." What we ended up with was a balance of both and a perfect expression of who we are and what we value most as a couple.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: friends of the couple, Nicholas and DJ
- Bride's dress, groom's attire, bouquets and accesories: Diana McCaul
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!