The offbeat bride: Andie, Nonprofit Sex Education Consultant
Her offbeat partner: Laurie, Mutha F'in' (Theater) Artist
Date and location of wedding: Dicken's Opera House, Longmont, Colorado — April 14, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: One religious studies/sociology nerd + one post-modern theater performance artist = Andie and Laurie's Big Gay Love Extravaganza Event (aka: The GLEE!). We did our absolute best to capture all of our nuanced nooks and crannies and cram them into a performance-based ritual that would still satisfy the Hoosier family from out-of-town.
Our highlights included: two corsets and lovingly handmade wedding "costumes," a gender-blind and deliciously creative wedding party that included two men of honor, a best lady, a wedding admiral, a ring master, a banjoist and baladeer, a celebrity Lutheran pastor, and a Drag Queen Mistress of Ceremonies. There were handmade paper flowers, coffee roasted by our favorite local cafe, a print and glass rainbow color scheme, hand-selected coffee mugs, a sundae bar, a lovestruck ballad from one bride, and a SURPRISE DOLLY PARTON FLASH MOB from the other.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was, in a lot of ways, very modern American traditional. We included a ring warming ceremony, where our Glitter Girl carried the ring to each row in the audience and people could bestow blessings. We had a number of readings (from T.S. Eliot to Pema Chodron), and closed it all with "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali, which felt incredibly appropriate since we are the proud parents of an English bulldog, a Springer Spanial, and a Bichon Frise. Our ring master held up "Oooo!" and "Ahhh!" signs throughout the ceremony to get a little audience participation.
The most powerful piece of the ceremony for us was having our celebrity Lutheran pastor (and one of my very close friends) Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber deliver a skin-tingling homily that spoke to our religious beliefs and the political quandry of being a same sex couple getting married in a state that doesn't recognize our relationship, in front of family who range from somewhat in denial to super supportive to wholly ambiguous.
Our biggest challenge: Our primary challenge was figuring out how to preserve the traditions we wanted while scrapping the rest, and still having our friends and family feel like they could relate, tap in, understand, and connect. We spent a lot of time talking theoretical wedding ideas (not just the what but the WHY) and didn't always share all of those details with everyone. There were a few times when we realized the tension we were feeling was because our loved ones didn't understand where they fit into our big crazy dreams.
Once we were able to articulate what was happening and why, things seemed to clear up nicely. Whether it was why Laurie would want to wear pants (but why she didn't want that to have to mean anything about her gender identity or our relationship) to what a mom of the bride, when there are two moms of the bride, do… we found communication really helped us figure things out so that we got what we wanted but also kept the relationships that are important to us.
My favorite moment: I'm kind of a control freak, and the two of us (with a lot of help) had handled nearly every detail of the wedding. I had heard a lot of horror stories about how stressful the day of the wedding could be, and knowing my propensity towards anxiety, I was nervous. Laurie and I had made a committment to trying to have everything planned and scheduled so that we could chill out the day of, but I was still wary.
We stayed at the local Holiday Inn (along with out-of-town guests and our wedding party) and woke up, packed a car, and went to breakfast together. It was sweet to have time alone together to feel all the big feelings about this crazy thing we were doing. When we arrived (later than planned) at the venue, all of our friends and family were busy setting things up and while I tried to insert myself, I really couldn't find a thing to do. Not only was the heavy lifting happening, but folks were making decisions for us (in a GREAT way) and we were able to retreat to our rooms and get ready. I felt SO taken care of that morning seeing how wonderfully things were coming together.
Laurie and I wrote our own vows, and they ended up mirroring each other in beautiful synchronistic ways, even though we didn't share them ahead of time. Laurie even included a nod to our favorite show, The Golden Girls, by prefacing her vows with "And if you threw a party, and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say… " It was a moment of levity amongst the big feelings in the room.
My funniest moment: The surprise (for me!) Dolly Parton flash mob was amazing. Of course, there is the fact that I loved looking out and seeing everyone, from my 98-year-old great aunt to the conservative Indiana in-laws to my bike punk buddies, all dancing with total joy and abandon.
Our Mistress of Ceremonies, Shirley Delta Blow, was also a huge hit. Aside from her three costume changes (all of them, mid-reception), she honored us with a five-minute Steel Magnolias re-enactment with Barbie dolls and some truly amazing dance moves.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Less than a week before the wedding, we still didn't have dessert nailed down. Our dream had been to rent a frozen yogurt machine and buy yogurt mix from our fave place. We ended up making frantic calls to all sorts of places. But we called a super delicious ice cream shop in Boulder and they ended up catering it. There were rainbow sprinkles and everything!
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Do it even when you think it might not match or you think people might not get it or they might not notice or understand. Do it if it fills you with joy, or looks pretty, or helps you sleep at night. We knew we wanted all of our circle of friends in our wedding party, but not all of them wanted to stand up next to us and smile. The ones who did, did, and they were amazing. Others took on plotting weeks in advance, or hanging the letters with crafty aplomb, or choreographing the flash mob. But all of them got a special place in our wedding.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I really didn't think I was going to feel any different after the wedding, but I did. I've been a fence sitter on the marriage idea for a long time. As a highly politicized queer lady, I have often felt that the emphasis on the same-sex marriage argument obscures other issues that are (in my estimation) more troubling than my lack of ability to get married. When I fell head over heart into love, I started feeling slightly different, but I still wasn't ready to do something that didn't feel like it was that big of a deal, outside of the cultural construct.
Laurie was so excited that I couldn't say no to her request for a huge performance-based party, and it ended up being a super fun adventure. But more than that, I realized how important it was for me to have my community witness my love and promise to Laurie, and to in turn promise to support us when things get especially sucky. I'm still not sure that marriage equality is my soapbox, but I understand much more deeply the desire to have a cultural recognition of ones love, family, and relationships.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Trace Faust and Kayln Bohl
- Andie's skirt: made by her fabulous mother, with a pattern from Truly Victorian
- Laurie's adventure corset outfit: made by friends of the couple, Mo and Brent
- Glassware/vases: Hobby Lobby in Lakewood, CO
- Design work: friend of the couple, Jim Smelser
- Coffee catering: Pablo's Coffee
- Catering: The Dickens Opera House
- Sundae bar: Glacier Ice Cream
- Many wedding party and guest costumes: Disguises
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!