A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

December 21 2018 | bijouxandbits  
Photos by: Mike Olbinski Photography
A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding
Photos by Mike Olbinski Photography

Kendra and Thomas had a crafty, musical, beer-filled wedding day in Tuscon with heirlooms galore and so many meaningful moments. Thankfully, we got the WHOLE scoop from the bride so I'mma let her finish. Read on for more details and lots of killer photos of the countdown to the new year…

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

We met at a party at my house. Thomas arrived with a group of mutual friends and noticed a guitar in my empty room and kept going in to play it. I kept going into the room to try and get him to join the party. We began talking and realized we had a ton in common, a mutual love of music, and a large group of common friends. It was so natural. We quickly began spending every day together, playing in a band together, traveling together, and making memories with our families and friends. We met as freshman, dated through college, moved to NYC together, and 11 years later, were married in our hometown of Tucson, AZ.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

Thomas proposed in August 2015 shortly after the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the US Supreme Court. Both of us have been activists in the LGBTQ+ community for several years and always felt strongly about waiting to get married until after all of our loved ones were granted the same rights as us.

After being overturned in June 2015, Thomas began planning the proposal. He brought me to Prospect Park near our apartment in Brooklyn for a picnic and paddle boat ride, knowing that I would ask to take a carousel ride at the end of the day. When I did, and towards the end of the ride, the staff changed the music over to our song and he jumped off his horse and asked me to marry him. After tears and inaudible talking, a group of friends and family from across the country walked into the carousel area with flowers and smiles eager to celebrate and congratulate us.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

Our priorities for the wedding were good music, good photos, good beer, an open guest list so we could include all of our family and friends (and their kids!), vegetarian Mexican food, and a FUN PARTY.

We also wanted our wedding to be authentically us. We wanted it to reflect who we are and celebrate the life we have built together and the future we will share. We are creative and crafty so the theme and decor was very DIY. We wanted the feel of the day to be fun, relaxed, casual, and colorful. We wanted to embrace the desert colors while adding a bit of sparkle for the New Year's holiday.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

I wore my mother's dress during the ceremony. My mom made the dress herself and wore it for her wedding, 46 years prior. My mom made the bonnet she wore when we was taken home from the hospital as a baby into a handkerchief and Thomas wore it as a pocket square. For the reception, I wore a necklace that was custom made from a collection of jewelry from the grandmothers, moms, aunts, sisters, friends, and niece. Thomas wore cufflinks that were my grandpa's. I also wore a University of Michigan garter (Go Blue). We made all of the bolo ties that the groom, best men, groomsmen, ushers, officiant, ring bearer, and dads wore.

We made candle holders that had the images of all of our grandparents that passed so that they would be part of our ceremony.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

My favorite parts were the vows and our high-five after our vows because we made it through them without crying too much. Our officiant (and best friend) was incredible and perfect. Our wedding party made of family and best friends who stood by us as they have for years. Our flower girls who jumped down the aisle to "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn" throwing gold and silver confetti that got bored during the ceremony and kept grabbing our legs. Our sweet ring bearer who is way too responsible for his age. Our moms standing by us and assisting us with our candle lighting ceremony. The bell being rung after it was all over and being surrounded by the people we love most.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

At the reception, we displayed all of our grandparents' and parents' wedding pictures. We used Thomas' grandparents' guest book from their wedding (we started where they left off). We distributed beer koozies that featured a custom image that Thomas' cousin made. We received two custom paintings of us that we displayed behind our seats at the reception. Thomas' aunt made our ring pillow. We made small notebooks for all of the speeches and vows and now we have all of them filled out as keepsakes.

Our reception involved a lot of dancing to our great playlist, two amazing best men speeches, and one sweet and emotional maid of honor speech. I also loved the father-daughter dance performed live by one of our best friends who sang and played piano to "God Only Knows" by Dad's favorite band, the Beach Boys (and watching Dad try not to cry). The mother-son dance had everyone singing along and doing the wave.

Playing with our band in front of everyone we love was amazing! Our band recorded and mixed two songs that were pressed to flexis that were our wedding invitations. Our good friend and graphic designer created the artwork and our officiant took the photos featured on it. We made the centerpieces ourselves using jars collected throughout the planning year and our friend who manages a bar gave us empty tequila bottles that we sprayed with glitter paint and became the holders for our table numbers. Our table numbers corresponded to pictures of us when we were age 1-18. We DJed our own wedding using Spotify, cross-fade, and hours of song placement.

Also great: being presented Thomas' family's loving cup and drinking our favorite beers together from it, eating candy at our dessert table, and cutting the cake to "You Shook Me All Night Long." I also loved our parent's sweet and funny speeches and counting down to midnight on stage with our best men, maid of honor, and their special people. Kissing at midnight, too.

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

A chapel in Tuscon & playing their own reception: a fab desert New Year's Eve wedding

Vendors

Photographer: Mike Olbinski PhotographyThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them • Caterer: La Indita • Favors and Gifts: Totally Koozies • Floral Designer: Alexis Grace Florals • Beauty: The Powder Room • Men's Attire: J. Crew • Reception Venue: Whistle Stop Depot • Ceremony Location: San Pedro Chapel

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