While yesterday's California judicial decision about Proposition 8 deeply frustrates me, I figure the best way to voice my dissent is to continue featuring all my favorite California lesbian weddings … it's my way of saying “Love will prevail, despite the judges.” -Ariel

LA_IMG_0048The Offbeat Bride: Alli, coffeeshop manager

Her Offbeat Partner: Liz, specialty foods manager

Location & date of wedding: Beach wedding and firehouse reception in Pacifica, CA — September 21, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: From the start, we wanted a private beach wedding for those we're closest to, with a kick-ass party following for all our friends and family. We decided early on to go with a rock ‘n roll motif, which helped us remember that this wasn't a boring, traditional wedding, but a unique celebration of our commitment.


We gave out Haribo gummy bears, guitar matchbooks, and mix CDs, made by Liz's sister Katie, as favors. I wore a black and silver dress from a mall bridal shop — the first and only dress I tried on — and Liz rocked a solid black suit complete with an awesome vest and open tuxedo tie. We asked our wedding party to wear a black dress of their choosing or a black shirt and pants, and everyone wore flipflops and black sunglasses. We hired baristas from the coffeeshop to help run the bar, cater, and DJ. It was a five-hour dance party reception that our photographer said was the most fun wedding she'd ever been to!


We'd been engaged for ten months and had been actively planning the wedding for five by the time we found out it would actually be a legal union. We included a note in our invites that let our guests know that yes, it would be a legal marriage, and no, we weren't rushing to get married just because the California Supreme Court had overturned the gay marriage ban. I mean, exciting — but we also wanted people to know we weren't just jumping on the bandwagon.


Our biggest challenge: The wedding was awesome and we're happy we did it, but it was a lot of stress on our families, specifically the moms. They butted heads a lot during the set-up the morning of the wedding. Luckily were able to be civil during the ceremony and reception. Most guests had no idea there was family drama going on behind the scenes.

Luckily, we didn't get too much crap about the choices for our wedding. Our family sometimes disagreed with how we wanted to do things, for example, Alli's mom was pretty much against our wish for the rehearsal dinner to be at a bowling alley, but hey, it ended up being the coolest rehearsal dinner ever!

My favorite moment: Being surrounded by both friends and family, who were all there in support of our love and commitment, was overwhelming. There were some family members who we'd never discussed our sexuality with until it came time to invite them to our wedding, and they showed up and had a blast.


My advice for other offbeat brides: Focus the bulk of your planning and money on the elements of the wedding that mean the most to you, instead of letting every tiny detail drive you crazy. We'd originally thought we could do this on a dime, but we decided to throw more money into our budget for photography and food.


We completely let go of the idea of having flowers anywhere in sight and Liz's mom made our cool centerpieces — we let go of the control and saw them for the first time in person the morning of the wedding.


The food was very important to us, as Liz was a chef and most of our friends are foodies. We were turned off at the idea of a buffet or sit-down dinner (both for the formality and the huge cost of wedding catering here in the bay area), so we found a northern Italian restaurant around the corner that did all kinds of amazing hors d'oeuvres for the very reasonable price of $2000 — still a big chunk of our budget, but well worth it. Everyone loved the food and it didn't stop the party, and I'm so glad we didn't just heat up frozen appetizers from Costco!


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Comments on Alli & Liz’s Rock n’ Roll Beach Wedding

  1. Wow, that dress looks amazing. I can see how you must have fallen in love with it straight away.

  2. I was privileged to be a part of this wedding and I must say, it was a kick ass wedding! I love you Ali and LIz! I’m so happy for you!

  3. I’m happy to say I was there too and enjoyed every minute of it. Flying in from Finland to see my dear friend Alli getting their beautiful union legally recognized was truly special. And what a night it was!

    You (very discretely, I may add) left out one truly rock n’ roll moment: your unnamed friend’s slightly-inappropriate-champagne-bottle-in-hand-speech. Legendary, loved it!

  4. Looks amazing, and very moving. I’m so happy for you both, even as a total stranger.

    If anyone wants to talk about how to plan a rehearsal dinner in a bowling alley, I am all ears. Or, eyes. Or, whatever.

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