A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

June 30 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Syd London
A queer winter wonderland wedding
Photos by Syd London

The Offbeat Bride: Karalyn, Therapist

Her offbeat partner: Ali, City Research Scientist

Date and location of wedding: MyMoon Restaurant, Williamsburg Brooklyn — January 7, 2017

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

After the election, Ali and I decided that we wanted to get married before Trump took office. He had proposed to me in August at the gay section of Riis Beach in Queens, and we had originally planned to wait until the following fall. Once Trump was elected, we decided that we (along with our friends and family) really needed a good party to restore some much-needed warm fuzzies.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

So we sent out a Doodle poll to our closest bio and chosen family members. From their responses, we selected a date when nearly everyone could attend: Saturday, January 7th. We looked at a few venues, but fell in love with MyMoon, and negotiated an amazing price due to January being a slow month for weddings and events. We also opted for a luncheon with only wine and beer (and a full cash bar), which saved us several thousand dollars.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Our officiant, Kelli, is a wonderful performer and friend, and our photographer Syd is just the loveliest person — we'd known her from all of her community work. Both of my parents are deceased, so our dear friend Shelly walked me down the aisle, representing my parents and our queer community. Our friend Paula shot the engagement photos, which we loved!

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Tell us about the ceremony:

We opted to not have a DJ, and instead used iTunes to create playlists for the reception. Our friend Chris handled the music for the ceremony. We wanted to come up with some kind of ritual that would allow Ali's parents (his father, Scott, and his wife, Jane, and Ali's mom, Joan) to participate. We asked them each to light a candle during our ceremony. Shelly also lit a candle, representing my family and our tight-knit queer community in Brooklyn.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Kelli, our officiant, spoke about the importance of love and support from community in our relationship. She said:

We have survived against all odds and this… this is what we have left. Queer love, defined mostly broadly, is what we have left. And not just romantic queer love, but queer friendship, and queer community. It is all we have left. And it is everything. This is what we celebrate today.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Our friend Ally read a passage by Rainer Maria Rilke, and Julian read from Louis de Bernières: "…those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Ali and I exchanged vows with one another, and then we exchanged vows with the attendees, asking them for their continued love and support and blessings. Our dog, Violet (accompanied by Charlie), was the ring bearer, and Ali's cousin's son, Jackson, was our "flower child."

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Tell us about your reception:

We fell in love with MyMoon because of the beautiful space and the incredible food selection. With some accommodations from the venue, we were able to choose food from the Spanish tapas menu that met the dietary needs of our guests, which was important to us. The in-house wedding coordinator, Lee Chappell, was a great help and was very welcoming to our queer and gender fabulous group!

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

One of our favorite aspects of the reception was the desert table. MyMoon provided two Spanish deserts that were gluten-free, and we purchased three separate cakes and vegan cupcakes from Baked NYC: raspberry lemonade, chocolate coffee, and a carrot cake. The desert table was absolutely cleared out, although we did escape with a small portion of the main cake to eat when we got back home, completely exhausted from the amazing party.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

Ali and I danced our first dance to "I'll Be Your Mirror" by the Velvet Underground, which I had always imagined would be my wedding song.

Ali's friend from Smith College, Graeham, gave a speech and my friends Elana and Marcy also shared some stories. The day was perfect not because of the food, flowers, or gifts, but because we got what we wanted by throwing a life-affirming party for our loved ones.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

What was your most important lesson learned?

Honestly, the biggest challenge we faced was having 45 days to plan the wedding. We realized early on that we really only needed to identify three options for each element of the wedding, all of which were good, and then just choose the one we liked best.

We kept the cost down by buying flowers from Whole Foods (they actually do special orders for weddings) and then inviting our close friends to help put together bouquets and boutonnieres the night before. We spent a lot of late nights after work putting together wedding programs and menus ourselves, and ordered many items from Etsy, including a guest book poster, place cards, and even our wedding bands. By doing it this way, we saved thousands and still managed to get what we wanted. I also realized that while no one really remembers the flowers, they will remember the food and whether or not they had a good time.

A delightful community-led queer winter wonderland wedding

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  1. This is amazing and wonderful. So many elements here are part of my dream wedding. Thank you for sharing!

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