Allie & Megan's traditional Christian wedding goes queer

Updated Mar 15 2021
 
Photos by: Michelle Lytle
Wills (580 of 907)
Photos by Michelle Lytle

The Offbeat Bride: Allie, grad student, therapist

Her offbeat partner: Megan, grad student, tutor coordinator

Date and location of wedding: Grace Episcopal Church and the Carleton Hotel, Oak Park, IL — April 20, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Megan and I are fairly traditional, feminist, queer, Episcopalian women and we wanted a wedding to match. Our first date was when Megan came to my campus church in college, so naturally our college chaplain was our officiant. When it came time to pick a location, I wanted somewhere close to where I grew up so my maternal grandparents would be able to come, even though they can't travel very far. There was no better place than the church I converted into as a teenager, Grace Episcopal Church, in my opinion one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

Wills (458 of 907)

Wills (171 of 907)

Wills (195 of 907)

We're also vegetarian and have food allergies, so we insisted on a vegetarian wedding and making sure our vegan friends and friends with food allergies had food and cake. That was interesting because we didn't know we were bucking tradition until it upset people. But everyone seemed to enjoy it in the end.

Wills (683 of 907)

The traditionalists in us honored our ancestors during the day, too. Our rings were claddaghs, old-fashioned Irish wedding rings. Megan's family is from Ireland and her grandparents wear claddaghs, too. Our table markers contained photos of our parents and grandparents at their weddings as well as vintage photos from other queer weddings.

Wills (396 of 907)

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was very traditional, except for that whole bit where there were two brides. Because we were already wearing our rings, we had no ring bearers, but we had two adorable flower throwers, who were two boys we babysat in college. Although, they were a little disappointed they couldn't throw overhand.

Wills (388 of 907)

Our music at the ceremony was all traditional, Anglican hymns, including an older version of "Be Thou My Vision," taken from an old Irish hymnal.

Our mothers walked in to the "Marcia Trionfale" from Aida. It was quite apt, since I think we were all a little triumphant that we had made it that far alive. Planning a wedding is stressful!

Wills (516 of 907)

One of our readings was as gay as it gets and from the Bible:

Ruth said to Naomi, 'Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die — there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!

Our whole (long) ceremony was based around that piece. We had a standard Episcopalian wedding with Communion so all told it was well over an hour.

Wills (561 of 907)

Our biggest challenge:
Since Megan and I are both vegetarian, I never dreamed that having a vegetarian wedding would be a dilemma. Maybe I should have known better, considering we come from predominantly German and Irish people, both cultures not exactly known for their vegetarian fare. The venue seemed a little troubled at first… and our families certainly were… but it all worked out in the end. The Carleton made an absolutely wonderful vegetarian meal for us (with a vegan option for friends) and we got a great, completely vegan cake from West Town Bakery.

Wills (832 of 907)

My favorite moment:
I'm a music girl, so a lot of mine were music-related. When we started planning the wedding, I thought the tradition was silly at best. Slowly, I realized that my dad would be super disappointed if we didn't dance, and our wedding was not just about Megan and I. My dad and I danced to "Cranberry Lake" by Ari Hest, a beautiful song by an artist he loves who we've seen in concert together twice.

Wills (849 of 907)

Years before we'd even explicitly agreed to get married, Megan and I attended the ordination of one of our friends to the priesthood. The hymn she played at the end of her service was "Come Away to the Skies." Megan and I looked at each other and knew we had to have it at our wedding. I remember very few moments of the wedding, but walking out while we sang that, with all our family and friends around us, will stick in my mind forever.

Wills (706 of 907)

Wills (695 of 907)

Wills (794 of 907)

Wills (829 of 907)

Wills (187 of 907)

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. "That was interesting because we didn't know we were bucking tradition until it upset people."

    This is basically the entire theme of my wedding!

    Your wedding looks like it was so beautiful! I'm glad that you were both true to yourselves and to your families. 🙂

  2. What an incredibly beautiful couple. I wish you both blessings and light.

    I'm also thrilled this post was titled, "traditional Christian wedding goes queer". Loves me some OffbeatBride, but the anti-religion snark can be a bit marginalizing, especially to a religious reader like myself.

      • Let me rephrase: not snark coming from the Offbeat writers (who are terrific people). Nothing malicious and definitely OK within the no drama comment policy. It can just be a little lonesome when all the cool looking weddings are very intentionally non-religious, and with a lot of very supportive community comments about not having religion at your wedding (which is great, if that's where you are in life) but the religious weddings sometimes get the cricket noises. Again, not a conspiracy against the religious folks, and certainly I think everyone should celebrate their wedding in the way that's right for them, but it seems like the tattooed vegan wedding with God is more subversive these days then the ones without 🙂

        And thanks for sharing the Offbeat Home post. I haven't had a chance to visit the whole of the Offbeat Empire.

  3. Your wedding is so beautiful! You two make such lovely brides and an adorable couple. Your church building is gorgeous, and I love the photos of the processional with the clergy in their vestments, too. My very favorite pics are of you dancing with your fathers; there is so much love there.

    Best wishes to you two from this old godless heathen – may you have every happiness and many, many wonderful years together!

  4. The activity book killed me! I used to do those diligently in church as a kid, what a brilliant thing to do!
    (Also what a beautiful wedding. So much love everywhere)

  5. You and Megan look so happy! 🙂 I love the photo of your dads walking you both down the aisle, absolutely adorable.

  6. What beautiful brides! That reading made me grin from ear to ear, how absolutely perfect! As a Christian, it is so encouraging every time I see a church community celebrate a queer couple. Thanks for sharing & happy marriage!

  7. This was entirely too adorable for words! What a lovely, loving wedding. You both look amazing! Congratulations 🙂

  8. OMG I am dying over the vintagey cap veil. It's so much like the one my antique 1940's cake topper bride has on. I adore this!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.