Betsy & Tiffany's queer Southern glitter circus wedding

December 17 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Anne Almasy

We featured this couple's philosophy on their very gay wedding yesterday, and now here's the full wedding profile…

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Photos by Anne Almasy

The Offbeat Bride: Betsy, Ph.D candidate in American Studies

Her offbeat partner: Tiffany, R.N.

Date and location of wedding: Canopy Studio, Athens, Georgia — August 4, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of our entire community and the ways in which the people we care about make our life possible. We wanted to prioritize a queer ethic of community. Our families-of-origin and families-of-choice played a large role in making the event happen, and the day celebrated our relationships with others as much as our relationship with each other.

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We decorated in turquoise and red with lots of glitter. We went DIY as much as possible: we made our own decorations and favors with the help of friends and family and constructed our own custom playlist. Our centerpieces were stacks of thrift shop books tied with twine, in homage to our bookishness. We also relied on the kindness and generosity of our friends and their special skill sets to provide music, food, decorations, and entertainment.

The wedding was in the trapeze studio where Tiffany first trained in aerial arts (she is now a nurse and trapeze artist in Philadelphia). Friends from Georgia, New York, and Philadelphia came to the wedding as guests and performed trapeze at the reception along with others who sang, played instruments, and spun poi.

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We blended this circus vibe with some Southern touches, since we're both from Georgia, met in Georgia, and chose to get married in Georgia (not legally, since gay marriage isn't recognized in Georgia). We ate delicious Southern food catered by a local Athens restaurant, and our favors were jars filled with coffee from the local coffee shop where we first met. Sweet tea, lemonade, and local beer were served at the reception and the dance party that followed. The day after the wedding, we took photos around our favorite spots in Athens, including the coffee roaster of the coffee company where we first met.

We had an epic dance of the "Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the end of the reception, after which everyone collapsed together on the floor even in all the fancy outfits.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Both the ceremony and the reception were held inside Canopy Studio, with a brief break after the ceremony outside on the patio with appetizers, tea, and lemonade. The backdrop was created using three aerial silks draped across and clipped together. We also had the dance trapezes flown out against the ceiling, but they naturally drape in a decorative way. Our aim was to use the natural essence of the space and create our event with the beauty already there.

Our vows were a combination of inside jokes, meaningful memories, and thoughtful, sincere promises for the future. This was one thing we didn't share with each other before the ceremony. We heard each other's vows for the first time when we read them to each other that day. We both emphasized balancing commitment to each other with helping each other to grow as individuals and making sure to prioritize our respective goals, dreams, and personalities.

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We included some Jewish elements in the ceremony since Tiffany is Jewish. Our friend Rachel did the seven blessings in Hebrew, which was beautiful and touching. Rather than a unity candle, we entwined two aerial silks which were hanging from the ceiling, and we circled each other seven times as a nod to that wedding custom. We also broke a glass at the end and had several explanations in the programs about Jewish aspects of the ceremony or potential interpretations of our choices.

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Our processional was Tristan Prettyman's "All I Want Is You," which is a rare song that involves a woman singing "Will you be my bride?" Our recessional was an upbeat and somewhat silly choice, "I'll Cover You" from the musical RENT.

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My favorite moment:
The extent to which our friends and family played a role in making our wedding possible was truly astounding. The two closest members of our chosen Philadelphia family, Rachel and Bonnie, baked and decorated an incredible gluten-free wedding cake from scratch, never having embarked on any comparable baking project before! We ended up with an incredible three-tiered, nine-layer chocolate cake filled with almond frangipane and mixed berries, and frosted with a bright blue almond-flavored Swiss buttercream. A family friend made our second cake, a key lime cake with cream cheese icing.

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It was challenging to plan it all from afar, and it would have been impossible without our dear friend, Allyson, who facilitated lots of the communication with friends at Canopy Studio and helped conceptualize many aspects of the logistics for the day. We also could not have done it without Melissa, director of Canopy Studio, who acted as a wonderful supporter as well as providing every detail we needed in order to plan the day. She also later did our makeup.

Our friend Faith, who, among other things, is a graphic designer, created our save-the-dates and invitations, and she did an incredible job. Faith also designed the program covers. We had a wedding assembly party a couple of weeks before the event, and friends came over to drink wine and help us staple the programs and make homemade paper fans. Tiffany's Aunt Kathy assisted us in tying miles of tulle around all the chairs, which we had previously hand-cut at Tiffany's dad's cousin's house nearby as our friends started the initial steps for baking the cake. And during the ceremony, our friend Sara played guitar and sang.

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The role of our friends in making our wedding possible even extended to officiating the ceremony itself. We decided not to have a formal officiant, and instead we opted to have all the wedding guests give us their blessing during the ceremony. Our friend Emma delivered a beautiful address that she wrote herself. After delivering her message, she asked the wedding guests to repeat after her: "Betsy and Tiffany, as members of your community, we celebrate your past, your present, and your future together — in friendship, in partnership, and in love."

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Finally, during the reception came the performances. We invited guests to make "performance toasts" during the reception. In the end, we had a Shakespeare recitation, spinning of light poi, multiple aerial performances, an excellent saxophone solo, and an extra special surprise trapeze performance by Tiffany's mom, who had been secretly training for weeks to learn trapeze so that she could perform at the wedding!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. What a beautiful wedding! It's amazing to see how your community came together to make your day so incredibly beautiful. Congratulations!

  2. This is so beautiful! I love the dresses and the color everywhere. It's nice to see so much support for a couple.

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  3. Ohh, yay!!!!! I live in Athens and have practiced at Canopy. I love love LOVE everything about this beautiful wedding. Congratulations, and YAY!

  4. Absolutely beautiful! I love the embrace of your community, it sounds like a perfect celebration.

  5. Your mom looks so pleased with herself in that trapeze pic! How wonderful to have her participate. And what a beautiful wedding, filled with so much love from everyone around you.

  6. Just when I think I have found my favorite wedding on this site, I find a wedding like this! It looked like such fun and the use of color is amazing…..not to mention that the couple looks fabulous! Congrats!

    1 agrees
  7. What a loving group of people. You can see it in every picture. Really cool ways to incorporate who they are. It really shows. And that cake looks delicious.

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