Cat shoes and tattoos: a queer D.C. elopement

May 20 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Olivia Carson

We previewed one of the bride's super adorbs hand-painted kitty shoes earlier this week. Ready for the whole thing? Hell yes you are!

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride
Photos by Olivia Carson

The Offbeat Bride: Courtney, Nanny

Her offbeat partner: Marisa, Manager

Date and location of wedding: D.C. War Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C. — April 1, 2016

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We decided to elope on April Fool's Day so that it would be a total surprise to our friends and family members back home. When we changed our relationship status on Facebook to married, many people thought we were kidding which is exactly what we were hoping for.

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

We brought along two guests: our best friend, Amanda, and our rescue pup, Luna. And since we couldn't bring our two cats on this adventure, I had their faces painted on my shoes. It was just enough to feel surrounded with support, without feeling overwhelmed.

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

The ceremony was held in the D.C. War Memorial which is a beautiful, marble dome with columns all around it. It's tucked away on the side of the National Mall so it's a little more private than some of the other monuments. We wrote the ceremony ourselves and tried to keep equality in mind. We weren't interested in the traditional messages of honor and obey so the wording of our declarations were as follows:

"Courtney, do you take Marisa to be the wife of your days, the companion of your heart and the friend of your life? To stand united in the face of adversity and bask together in the light of good fortune? With these words spoken, and all those as yet unspoken, do you wish to marry Courtney and join your life with hers?"

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

The ring exchange, "I marry you with this ring, with my heart, and with all the syllables of my soul," were carefully chosen to reflect our personal values. For our reading, we chose the poem "A Mouthful of Forevers" by Clementine von Radics, and we wrote our own vows. I was barely two sentences into mine before Marisa started tearing up and she actually had to stop in the middle of hers because she was overcome with emotion. That was probably my favorite moment of the day just because of how raw it was. The ceremony ended with the closing phrase from Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion on last year's marriage equality decision: "it is so ordered" which was very meaningful to us.

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer D.C. elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

The weather was unexpectedly warm and we did a lot of walking around, so after the ceremony and pictures, we decided to head over to District Taco for some food. It was nice just to hang out for a bit instead of rushing all over the place.

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

After we had a chance to eat and rest our legs a little, we headed over to Fatty's Tattoo shop. The shop was very accommodating and made sure we were in a big enough room to fit all of the extra people and camera equipment. We each got the phrase "i do." tattooed on our ribs which was inspired by the show Whitney. We had held on to the idea for years, thinking it would be difficult to put into action, but by eloping we were able to fit it in.

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

We had an amazing dinner later on in the night at Founding Farmers, which is a restaurant that specializes in farm-to-table comfort food. After a long day, getting a plate of chicken and waffles with macaroni and cheese is exactly what I needed.

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

Our cake got a little banged up on the six-hour drive from our home in Connecticut, but it had a topper that said "surprise!" on it so the waiter assumed it was for a birthday and put candles in it. We blew them out and it was hilarious.

A queer DC elopement as seen on @offbeatbride

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  1. The both of you look so dapper and beautiful! Congratulations on your marriage!

    1 agrees
  2. This is beautiful…

    Other than the beauty and charm of bride & groom, the way and art of clicking the picture has added icing to the cake. These are perfect poses clicked at perfect time. The most important thing is their compatibility. Both of them are looking perfect with each other in love, affection, understanding and bonding.

    2 agree
  3. Beautiful. And Yay to weddings at the DC War Memorial and H Street and Fatty's! Our wedding was also at that Memorial (or should have been if a freak storm didn't close the Mall that morning) and I work and live along H St.

    1 agrees
  4. I want to hug you both.
    What a lovely beautiful way to start your marriage.
    Congrats:)

    2 agree
  5. This is a super touching wedding and amazing pictures. One of my favourite weddings that I've seen in a while!

    1 agrees
  6. This is so pretty and low-key!
    Quick Q from a DC-resident—how was your experience with your photographer? (context: I am getting married in about a year and am just now thinking about vendors and whatnot). I see from her website that Olivia is based out of Seattle. Was there no one in the DC area who jelled with you guys?

    • There were a couple of photographers that we liked, but none that we loved. As soon as we saw Olivia's portfolio we knew she was the perfect one for us. I know for me, it was the way the rawness of the moment jumped out of her pictures that sealed the deal.

      1 agrees

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