Leah & Lisa's fantastical whirlwind wedding of rainbows and butterflies

December 13 |
6.8.12
Photos by Karen Leah

The Offbeat Bride: Leah, Library page and ASL instructor

Her offbeat partner: Lisa, Travel training supervisor and ASL interpreter

Date and location of wedding: Tivoli Too! in Laguna Beach, CA — June 8, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We are detail-oriented women so we planned our wedding that way. We chose the colors of the rainbow because of the meaning they have in both communities we feel a part of — Pagan and LGBT.

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Once we had our first detail, our rainbow butterfly cake topper, the rest took off from there. We DIYed as much as we could and that was a lot! We had a Ketubah that we hand painted and wrote ourselves.

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We had an Honor Party of Awesomeness that was a fantastic mixture of our closest of close and our two daughters. We personally chose all of the music and didn't carry any flowers.

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We had Hidden Mickeys, hints of love, and small bursts of color throughout. We are super big on equality and made sure we showed that. One way we did is by having a cake kiss instead of a traditional cake cutting.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We wrote our ceremony ourselves. We based it off of our Handfasting ceremony and made sure to include things we wanted and eliminated things we didn't. At the beginning, our Celebrant asked everyone to shut off their phones and cameras. We wanted people to BE with US during this time. It made the experience more intense and that much more awesome.

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We had a Handfasting and a broom jump. We exchanged rings with our girls. The Honor Party walked in to "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter. We walked in together to a fabulous rendition of "Pirates Of The Caribbean."

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We had two readings. Our dear friend, Diana, read "To Love is Not to Possess," written by James Kavanaugh. Our oldest daughter, Kora, read "A Family."

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Before we said our vows, we ro-sham-bo'd to see who would go first. We really expected it to be done with the first try but it took four times! People thought we planned that but it was all in the moment.

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Finally, the closing was truly awesome. Because our wedding took place in California where same-sex marriage is STILL being battled over, the final wording was important. Our great friend, Kerri (our Celebrant) said this:

Through the powers of love between yourselves and this company and the blessing of the God and Goddess and by the powers denied me by the State of California, do I now declare you partners in life, for life. You may now high five.

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Our high five led to our kiss and we walked out to the theme from "Star Wars" with a ringing of bells and waves of ribbons from the wishing wands we had made for our guests. It was epic.

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Our biggest challenge: As many couples have stated, it was money. Not only designing a budget and being able to follow it but also being able to pull it off as two unemployed parents for over half of our planning time. We hand crafted, waited for sales, opted out of things because they didn't make it to our Priority 1 list, and we didn't sacrifice because of money or lack there of. If it was on that #1 list, we made it happen. We were exceptionally blessed with great friends who gifted us their talents. We had friends and family offer their time to help us on projects. And we had a few who were able to offer extreme discounts for their services. The other large challenge was our clothing, not the whole party, but us. Finding something we could feel comfortable and beautiful in AND meet budget was a feat.

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My favorite moment: A year before our wedding, we had a private Handfasting. During the wedding, we had our Honor Party of Awesomeness and our Celebrant tie us up again; securing the bond we created the year before. Because Lisa and I met in a Fingerspelling class in a program for ASL interpreters, we wanted ASL involved in our wedding as much as possible. We had two interpreters, one for the ceremony and one for the reception (both dear friends of ours who gifted their talents to us) and we signed our first dance in ASL. We hadn't shared with a single soul we were doing that so it surprised everyone.

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Our rings and our ring exchange were uber special. We gave our daughters rings of their own because it was important to highlight that our family was official. We carefully chose every detail from the DIYed butterfly confetti to the handpicked music to the Hidden Mickeys to including our children. It was all "us" and yet, it was not just about us. We included everyone and by doing so, we created a big bubble of happiness and love.

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My funniest moment: We got a good laugh when we found out the next day that our youngest daughter (9 at the time) ran around stealing the strawberries off of people's cake! When we asked her about it, she said she loved doing it because she loves strawberries! Makes total sense, right? Never mind that she was eating other people's food!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We were super worried about going over our guest list cap. Our venue had a specific number of guests and it was very clear that if more than the arranged number showed up, we would be charged for them on the spot. More people said they were coming than we expected. We really didn't think all the people we invited would want to come! But they did! We were fortunate that so many people wanted to share our day with us but holy shit we were worried. Everything worked out in the end and was perfect.

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Signing their first dance.

My advice for Offbeat Brides: From Leah: Be kind to yourself.
From Lisa: Remember there are things that happen in life beside the wedding during the planning time. Take a step back and enjoy family time, alone time, partner time, whatever. You don't ever get this time back.

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Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? We have both been married before and we did everything different. For me, my opinion mattered this time. For Lisa, this time around, she was able to let go of what was traditional or expected and just embrace what we wanted.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Two things. One, find someone or somewhere to vent. Yes, it's important to talk with your partner about the stresses and joys of wedding planning and the bliss that is to follow. However, if it takes up your entire relationship to the point where you "just want it over with," what is the point? Venting helped me get it out, that's why I started my blog. I wanted to maintain not only my friendships with people involved but I also wanted a wife at the end, not a roommate. The other thing was finding a balance between being true to ourselves and accepting other people's feedback.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Can we copy your wedding? It is so amazing! I love what you did with the colors for the wedding parties. And that butterfly cake topper is the most amazon thing I have ever seen! Thank you for including the link. And your outfits! They are awesome!

    3 agree
  2. The way you included ASL into your ceremony was really heartwarming. And the butterfly cake topper was awesome!

    2 agree
  3. This is beautiful – I love that your daughters got rings too (blending families at a wedding – it really is like the kids are marrying your partner, too), it's a beautiful symbol.

    7 agree
  4. This wedding made me cry, and not many weddings do that. Much love and happiness to you both and hopefully soon, full legal rights.

    3 agree
  5. BY FAR THE MOST AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL, HARMONIOUS WEDDING I HAVE EVER SEEN. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT ALL OF IT. I CRIED ON JUNE 8TH AND I CRIED AGAIN JUST NOW RELIVING IT. WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE….<3<3<3 I LOVE YOU GUYS…STAY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

    1 agrees
  6. Beautiful! I wish I could have been there! Joyous future filled with love and happiness for you all!

    1 agrees
  7. Congrats, ladies. You two seem like real rad chicks and your daughters are so lucky to have you. Beautiful wedding!

    0 agree
  8. Oh, yay! It was wonderful to see your pictures. I love the love, and the way you incorporated your personalities and your kids. Plus, you know, y'all are gorgeous.

    0 agree

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