Makenna & Yvonne's military island escape wedding

By on Jul. 18th Photos by Erika Monaco

Photos by Erika Monaco

The Offbeat Bride: Makenna, birth doula and academic

Her offbeat partner: Yvonne, Captain in the U.S. Air Force

Date and location of wedding: Guemes Island Resort, Guemes Island, WA — September 15, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: It was nearly four days of fun: Friday through Monday. We cooked all the food (with the help of our guests) from Saturday morning through Monday morning. Yvonne and I were in the kitchen with our guests constantly, except on the wedding day. We rented some neat, vintage furniture and dragged it out to the island ourselves. Yvonne wore her mess dress, too! This is almost unheard of for women, let alone lesbian women. She decided it was important to her to embrace her military career, even though they didn't recognize our wedding.




I won't say the wedding was cheap, but it was well-below average, especially for a full weekend. We didn't cut corners, but we did look for the most affordable options for everything we did, including picking up items and returning them ourselves (our wedding vehicle was a van), and shipping everything to the resort from Amazon.



We didn't have a wedding planner, which, in hindsight, was likely crazy. We made our bouquets out of flowers from Pike's Place Market for $200. We made our attendants wedding jewelry, and my friend who couldn't attend the wedding made the veil. My mother and three of her friends made over 500 pennants to create a bunting effect all over the tent. All of our people made the food, too. My brother-in-law caught nearly 100 crab, and my father and three others shucked 10 dozen oysters.


We wrote a letter to each person (over the age of 16) who came to our wedding, which turned into their wedding favor.



Tell us about the ceremony: We did a very casual ceremony that included vows we wrote to each other, and call and response from the crowd.




Here is an excerpt:

Makenna and Yvonne: you realize that in a greater sense, no other person or officiant can truly marry you. Only you can marry yourselves. By your commitment to love each other, and to work with all your hearts toward creating an atmosphere of care and respect, and by your willingness to face together the fears and uncertainty that underlie human life, you marry yourselves more surely than any document can. Your love for one another and your willingness to accept each other's strengths and frailties with understanding and consideration will form the foundation for an everlasting life together.

makeve_ceremony_0176You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of 'yes' to this moment of 'yes,' indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held driving across the country, or over a meal, or during long walks and late nights — all those sentences that began with 'When we're married' and continued with 'I will and you will and we will' — those late night talks that included 'someday and somehow and maybe' — and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart –all these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, 'You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.'

makeve_ceremony_0178Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another — acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in the days, months, and years leading up to this joyous day.

A vast, unknown future stretches out before you. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. It is a great tribute to your belief in each other that you are willing to face those uncertainties together. May the pure, simple love with which you join your hearts and hands today never fail, but grow only deeper and surer with every year you spend together.

Part of the wine ceremony:

A good wine, like a good marriage, is the result of many years of hard work. There is the unhurried nurturing of the vine and tender care of the grape, thoughtful mix of ingredients, patient fermenting — yielding the unique flavors of each passing year. Let this first glass of wine that you taste together celebrate all that has brought you to this moment, expressing hope and faith in the commitments you have made here today. And let it symbolize for you how sharing the partnership of marriage not only doubles the sweetness of life, but also lightens the burden of its bitterness by half.



Our biggest challenge: We had numerous people who didn't come due to religious reasons, and to be honest, we were completely devastated by a few of them saying no to our invitations. We dealt with it as gracefully as we could, and went into the day trying to remember that so many people were there to support us.

But really the best way we could deal with it was show them our wedding photos after the fact. They were all dumbfounded by how "normal" our wedding seemed. In fact, most of them were really sad that they didn't get to show up after that. Sometimes its best not to push it, and let people have their process, even when it hurts.



My favorite moment: At one point in the evening, my father came up to me and said "this is the coolest thing I have ever been a part of." Of course I started crying. Neither of us come from the most supportive of families, and it was beautiful to see them show up, and become so overjoyed by the gravity of it.


I also loved taking all the traditional military photographs, because it showed we were married, even if the military didn't view us that way.



My funniest moment: We had a wine ceremony, with the wine box that Yvonne had made while she was deployed in Honduras. Our wedding party also contributed letters for the wine box. But we weren't content with just a wine box ceremony, we wanted to share a glass of wine with our attendants. The end result was me chugging the wine, because one of my bridesfolk said to everyone, "Take the smallest sip possible. Let's make Makenna chug on her wedding day." I was a rugby player, and my chugging skills were well-known. To say the least, even after Yvonne drank a good clip of it, there was still a full serving left. There are great photos of me chugging red wine, in my wedding dress, on a beach, in front of over 100 people!





What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Family and friends make a marriage sweeter, because without the people you love, you wouldn't be who you are today. Having our family and friends there was so magical, and it was their presence (more than our union) that mattered that day to us.







Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Venue: Guemes Island Resort was amazing. I would suggest this venue to anyone!
  • Photography: Erika Monaco. She did so much for us, and it was truly spectacular.
  • Dresses: Wai-ChingThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them. She was amazing to work with, and her customization options are nearly endless.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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