Offbeat partner: Rabbi Malka, Director of InterfaithFamily/Atlanta & wifey
Offbeat partner: Reverend Mercy, chaplain, husbo
Date and location of wedding: The Kaplan Mitchell Retreat & Conference Center, Camp Ramah Darom, Clayton, GA — October 15, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We are a queer interfaith clergy couple. We are non-traditional. Our wedding party consisted of a spiritual and supportive “Femme Crew” and “Butch Crew.” We call ourselves TEAM UNICORN because we love rainbows and sparkles and magic and don’t subscribe to socially constructed ideas of gender.
We celebrated our wedding at a stunning camp site in North Georgia all weekend with biological family members, super star supportive friends, and chosen family. We hosted a Friday night Shabbat prayer service, a 12-step recovery meeting, swimming and boating options, hikes to waterfalls, a bonfire, yoga on the dock, and there was oodles of time to hang out for days before the ceremony.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We spent a year planning our wedding ceremony. I am a Jewish Reconstructionist Queer Rabbi and Mercy is a UCC Queer Reverend. We adore nerding out together, creating meaningful rituals, and wanted our ceremony to reflect who we are as a couple and the family we are creating. We wrote our own Ketubah text (Jewish marriage contract) and had it translated it into Hebrew. Our friends and family at our wedding were our witnesses and all signed the outer edges of the document.
Our friends are incredible musicians! They sang "Time After Time" by Cindy Lauper (with audience participation) as our butch and femme crew entered. Our officiant was a queer, social justice warrior, Reconstructionist rabbi, and beloved friend. During the ceremony, Rabbi Josh named the homophobia that kept some of our beloveds from attending our wedding, incorporated quotes from Barbara Streisand, and led us in meaningful rituals from both of our faith traditions.
At the end of the ceremony, we each broke a glass bulb that we had blown at a local glass blowing studio. Mine was chartreuse green and Mercy’s was royal blue. After our wedding weekend, we took the shards, which represent the brokenness in the world, to Janke Studios so they could turn the pieces into a bowl that we now use to serve our guests.
Tell us about the reception:
After the ceremony, Mercy and I drove off to our room in a decorated golf cart with a handmade “Just Married” sign on the back. We spent some private grounding time together called Yehud, where we took in all that just happened, held hands, and got to BE married!
When we entered into the reception room, we danced to the song, “It Takes Two,” ate a delicious lunch, received some tearful love toasts, and moved right into the horah where we danced in circles and were lifted in chairs. Because Mercy and I are children of the '80s, our first dance was to the song “Time of my Life” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack — we camped it up with fabulous dance moves and twirls. Our photo booth was a hit! The background was gold sequins with the words “love wins.”
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We learned that LOVE WINS! Neither of us ever thought we would have the opportunity to get legally married. Our wedding weekend was full of beloveds who loved and adored us deeply and fully. While it was painful to be rejected by so many family members for being a queer interfaith couple, we experienced the gifts of our rainbow community.