The offbeat groom: Christopher, Special Education Teacher
His offbeat partner: Kevin, Disneyland employee
Date and location of wedding: Dana Point, CA — June 9, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: First and foremost, Kevin and I really wanted a long engagement to sort our relationship into “marriage mode,” and give us time to really figure out how we wanted to go about getting married, even if it wouldn't be legal in California at the time. When Kevin and I got engaged in 2011 and started planning this event, we were very undecided about the theme, and decided to look into our mutual hobbies and interests for inspiration. Both of us are self-proclaimed geeks, and we decided that we would work that into the theme. We couldn't cover all aspects of our interests, so we narrowed it down to one mutual love between us: Batman.
The trouble was that we liked Batman for different reasons, and we didn't want to have a costume party or a child's birthday party-style wedding. Kevin loves the heroic aspect of Batman, and I love Batman's many villains, especially the much ignored and unloved Mr. Freeze. It took a few months before our vision started to gel into a “heroes versus villains” cocktail party. This gave us the ability to decorate and dress up, but within the confines of making everything cocktail party-inspired.
After some financial hardship that shut down our longest standing plan, we went back to the drawing board in January, less than six months before our wedding date. Pulling funds together, we started looking at what was important to us: all of our supporting family members and friends to attend if they wanted to, and being by the beach.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our officiant was a mutual friend and my coworker. He took a great deal of care crafting a ceremony that paid tribute to us as a couple and to acknowledge the fact that though government and religion may not condone what we were doing, it was nonetheless an act of love we were committing in front of all of our family members and friends. We loved it.
We each had one of our friends read a superhero-inspired love poem. My friend from art school, Margelia, read this:
My superhero doesn't fly.
Or wear a cape.
My superhero doesn't have a mask to hide his face.
And he doesn't have a super suit.
In fact the only suit he wears is with a shirt and tie.
My superhero spends his days playing video games.
My superhero has his nose in a book.
In fact, my superhero is an open book.
I can always tell when something is wrong.
Though I want to help, I cannot find the words to say.
My superhero doesn't fight bad guys.
Or save damsels in distress.
My superhero hasn't been in life or death situations.
But has trails of his own.
My superhero doesn't get called to save the world.
So I get to see him every day.
I am not his Robin.
I am the man who fell for the man who saved my little world.
He is kind and considerate of my feelings.
Though he may be the one who hurts my feelings,
He is also the one who makes everything all right again.
He is the one who saves me.
I guess I could call him my Batman, my Superman, my X-Man…
But that doesn't fit.
Because, he is just,
We also planned a ring warming, and though it was a bit rocky trying to get 25 people to pass the rings in the right way, it really did work and make the exchange feel that much more personal.
Our biggest challenge:
We had two giant challenges: finances and false friendships. I had to use the wedding money at one point to pay for my last semester of my teaching credential and that shut down our wedding for a few weeks. Both of us pulled as much as we could get together, and our friends searched for alternatives for us until we found our way to a beautiful venue that was in our new budget.
Also, both of us had to deal with the loss of significant friendships over the course of our two-year engagement. These friends were a part of our wedding parties, but due to shakey ground we both had to let them go of their titles and obligations. Two years is a long time. Make sure you choose your wedding party members wisely if you are in a long engagement.
My favorite moment: The first thing that comes to mind is the amount of people who came. We ended up with 85, which is pretty huge for a gay wedding in a state where it was not legal at the time, in a very conservative county, and with conservative families. I will never forget what it felt like standing and greeting people as they came in… and just kept coming in!
After that, it was seeing our wedding party members take such love and care with our plans that day. We weren't going to be around to set up the décor in the ceremony or reception spaces due to a photography appointment we set up for that morning. I trained our wedding party members on how to set up some things, and then just gave them the supplies and hoped for the best. So, when we came to the restaurant and saw all of our dreams and crazy wedding plans come to life… it was magic.
The last and most meaningful moment of the wedding was being able to hold Kevin's hand as we walked down the aisle and saw 85 smiling faces look at us in approval. The feeling of acceptance blew all worry out of my body in that moment. I really was nervous because we had spent so much time and money on a ceremony and reception that wasn't for a legal marriage. I felt silly, really. It wasn't until we walked down the aisle and everyone smiled at us and applauded as we walked past them that I felt accepted. From then on I realized, though it wasn't legal, that doesn't mean it wasn't real. And all 85 of our guests saw it as the real deal.
My funniest moment: Our officiant really wanted to participate in the theme, but we ran out of Batman characters for him to dress as. When he greeted us at the altar, he turned around so his back faced us, opened up his shirt, then turned back around to reveal a Superman logo under his dress shirt! It was a perfect reveal, and so absolutely fitting.
I found myself laughing a lot during our vows, because we both wrote personal moments that we share. It was funny hearing how Kevin makes sure to prepare my favorite cookies and save favorite American Dad and Bob's Burgers episodes after a hard day at work, and how I always seem to cheer him up with my “cartoon faces.”
Then there was the chaos that was our wedding party photos. Since my wedding party (11 people) dressed in villain-inspired cocktail attire, and his wedding party (another 11 people) dressed in hero-inspired cocktail attire, it seemed only fitting that instead of formal line-up photos, we would go with an all-out faux brawl between the two sides. 10 minutes and three wars later, we left with a lot of fun shots of people beating each other up. Nothing says a wedding without a good bit of fisticuffs!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Be mindful of your engagement length, and aware that things can change a lot during a long one. Try not to hammer all the details out more than a year and a half in advance. If you do, make sure the details involve things that are not likely to change prior to the big day. Friendships may change, financial situations may change… so make sure you've got the right people with you to help.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Collective Perception Photography
- Grooms' suits: Express
- Mr. Freeze snowflake pendant: Jan Hall Designs
- Custom Converse: Converse.com
- Mr. Freeze gun and cardbox: NoDice1904
- Snowflake belt buckle: Rhythmic Metal
- Hourglass: Heirloom Hourglass
- Cake: Beverly's Best Bakery