Offbeat partner: Rebecca, High School Chorus teacher
Offbeat partner: Shyla, College English + Literature professor
Date and location of wedding: Ithaca Farmers Market, Ithaca, NY — August 7, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
There was no specific theme per se. We did have a specific color scheme of plum, turquoise, and burnt orange. Our bridal party — we called them our "friends of honor" — was coed and we let them pick their outfits as long as they were purple or turquoise and then we supplied the "pops of orange." This was cool because everyone brought their own flair. My MOH got her dress made for herself in Nigeria (she is Nigerian) and another friend worked his family kilt into his outfit. Rather than floral bouquets for the bridal party, we used lanterns (IKEA lanterns which we painted), so that it wouldn't be gender-normative.
We tried to have meaning and community in all of our choices. My shoes were hand-painted by my good friend who is a silk artist, the rings were made from diamonds from my grandmother's pin by a friend who is a jeweler, the ring pillow I made from the lace from my mother's wedding dress that my two aunts also wore, the cake was made by our two friends (and life lesbian mentors), our guest book my mother made, our engagement photography was done by our maid of honor, and all of our music was made by our friends as a gift, It was definitely a perk of graduating from music school (even my mother played the cello during our ceremony)!
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was on the water (Cayuga Lake) at Ithaca Farmers Market (the reception was in the pavilion to follow). We had a "Y" aisle so we could both walk down the aisle at the same time. Both of my parents brought me down and Shyla's mom and favorite professor/mentor walked her down. We met at the middle of the Y and walked the rest of the way together. We had a chuppah to represent my Jewish heritage made by our florist, and our ceremony was officiated by my college voice teacher (and amazing life mentor to us both).
The ceremony began with a reading of one of our favorite children's books "Peace is an Offering" by Annette LeBox. This was followed by a very special unity ceremony. Both Shyla and I quilt so we asked all of our guests to bring a small pieces of fabric to the ceremony that was special to them (we also had extras which we offered at the beginning). We collected these while my mother played my favorite Bach prelude on the cello. We then promised our families we would make a quilt to represent the community that these pieces of fabric represented.
We wrote and read our own vows (so emotional!), and finished the ceremony by both jumping the broom (an African American tradition) and stomping on the glass (a Jewish tradition). We left our ceremony venue to an acoustic version of "Love on Top" while our guests blew bubbles.
Tell us about your reception:
The reception was wonderful! It started with a very low pressure cocktail hour — with AMAZING food. Can you say fresh rolls, mac and cheese tarts, and dumplings? For beverages for the night we had sangria, wine, and beer, and mocktails — neither Shyla nor I are big drinkers and this was the perfect compromise.
We had an amazing dinner (complete with vegetarian and vegan options), followed by speeches by our best friends of honor, and family. Our first dance was to "Ribbon in the Sky" which was magical, and my father and I shared a wonderful dance to "My Funny Valentine," something we have been looking forward to since I was young. The dancing was a blast, with a great combo of a playlist we made ourselves and live music from our extremely talented friends.
We had a gorgeous lighting scheme in the pavilion set up by our amazing caterers, and instead of flowers we had lanterns at our table settings (reflecting what we did for our friends of honor). Cake was made by friends, with lesbian cake toppers we found online, and was absolutely delicious. We gave our friends of honor all homemade notebooks (by my mother) with individualized notes in them. Our friends ended the night by spontaneously making a circle around us while we danced!
What was your most important lesson learned?
The biggest lesson we learned is to trust your friend-vendors. We read a lot of things warning us about not using friends as vendors (and we did in a lot of ways), so we were nervous about them not coming through. They all did amazing jobs. If you are confident enough in your friend that you ask them to be a part of your wedding in such a big way, be confident that they won't let you down!
Photography: Alexandria Photography • Engagement Photography: Carmen Ladipo • Flowers: Plenty of Posies Farm • Catering and decor: Serendipity Catering • Guestbook: Passionato Books • Music (one of many musicians): Travis Knapp • Venue: Ithaca Farmers Market • Sound System: McNeil Music