Highland & Jack's winter wedding in Las Vegas

Updated Apr 19 2021

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VougeThe Offbeat Bride: Highland, Customer Service Manger and Hair/Makeup Stylist

Her Offbeat Partner: Jack, Wedding Photographer and Graphic Artist

Location & date of wedding: Floyd Lamb State Park, North Las Vegas, NV — January 24, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Jack is transgender, and the way we decided to tell our family (well, Jacks half of the family, mine already called him, "he") is by having our officiant (who is also in an awesome rock band called Thrown Clear) pronounce us "Husband and Wife" and use all male pronouns throughout the ceremony.

We chose to go against park regulations and have our ceremony right out next to a giant pond instead of in the recommended venue they would have provided for us (which was so ugly even my great grandmother would have thought so) and because of this we couldn't set up anything. We told everyone on their invitations that no chairs would be provided, and to bring blankets and cuddle up on the ground. (We say "cuddle" because it was about fifty-five degrees outside.)

Our wedding attire was all black with hints of red, white, and damask. We had an all dessert reception (which was also outside) where our guests could roast marshmallows over a fire pit to make s'mores, put on some props (like pirate hats and Darth Vader masks) have their photo taken, wait for it to print out in about one minute, take one as a favor and use the second one to paste into our guestbook which could be decorated with hundreds of stickers and markers. After that they could put "Ed Hardy" style temporary tattoos all over themselves.

And lastly our wedding mascot was a plastic sheep named Sir Charles Scrufflton.

The ring bearer.

Tell us about your ceremony: Our ceremony was very modern, nothing religious, and nothing "cheesy." We exchanged rings, vows, and preformed a sand ceremony. The bridal party walked down to Bush's "Come Down" and walked back to Live's "All Over You." No "Here Comes the Bride" song for us either, Highland walked down the aisle to Etta James' "At Last."

But what really made our ceremony special was really our officiant, Adam. Adam and Jack are good friends and actually work together on occasion (because Jack is a wedding photographer) and Jack was a little concerned that our ceremony wouldn't be as special because he had heard the same ceremony hundreds of times before our day. We were delighted with what Adam did for us.

VowsMy favorite moment: Our vows for the ceremony. There is nothing more meaningful then expressing in words just how much you love someone and why. Everyone cried and we are really blessed that our families put away their differences even if they didn't agree with our life style and came out for our wedding. No one was rude or disrespectful, they all just came and helped with whatever needed to be done.

For our reception it was both of our families that pulled together and came to the park at 8:00 AM to set up EVERYTHING! They handmade every single dessert we served! Everyone thought it was catered because it looked and tasted so good!

What was the funniest moment of your wedding?: Got surprised with a necklace during our ceremony but the little zipper pouch he decided to put it in didn't work out too well. He pulled the necklace out it was all tangled and bunched up and we couldn't fix it. We couldn't stop laughing because the thought was so sweet but it just didn't work as planned.

Our biggest challenge: The absolute biggest challenge was definitely budget! It's not always easy to save bundles of money when you're working to afford other things in your life. So we decided way ahead of time that we were going to do as much on our own as we could. We had help from our family to make everything at our dessert bar instead of buying it from expensive bakeries, we made our own centerpieces, printed our own invitations, we found cheaper decorations like tulle and paper lanterns on ebay, we had everyone come to the wedding with a blanket to sit on instead of renting chairs (this also helped us achieve a relaxed atmosphere instead of a more formal one), and we decided to have the wedding outdoors in a beautiful local park rather than paying a hefty fee for renting a hall. We were actually able to get a lot more creative by thinking outside the box and coming up with ideas on our own! And once everything was done, we were that much more in love with it, knowing we put so much time and effort into it.

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great?: The dessert bar! I didn't think it would be enough and I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Whether it would look cheesy and home made or classy and delicious. But most people ended up saying it was so yummy and looked so good they thought it was catered! It was a relief and looked unique, classy and was definitely a highlight.

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?: This is our first marriage, and coming from families that are both notorious for three to five marriages a person, it is EXTREMELY important for us (being fairly young and an offbeat couple) to prove to our families that we don't have to be prim and proper, traditional couple to make your marriage last! We hope to prove to them that love knows no gender, race, or age, and it can be simple, beautiful, respectful, and fulfilling if you only let it be.

My advice for other offbeat brides: From Highland: The little details make a big impression! If you're having a themed wedding, carry it all the way through. If you like skulls or swallows, for example, find a way to incorporate those little things in everything you do. Stencil them on your linen, make them into cut outs and spread them around on the tables, make centerpieces out of them, hang them from the ceiling, etc. Also, be ORIGINAL with your FAVORS. Try temporary tattoos, a photo booth, candy apples or something else edible, shot glasses, movie tickets, or different kinds of teas and honey sticks, depending on your theme. Find the things that will make your wedding unique to only you!

From Jack: Don't let anyone get you down! if you are offbeat chances are someone is going to make you feel like crap for it or make you feel like you are weird. Just be yourself and make your day for you and your love, don't worry about anyone else because after your wedding is over you won't remember the bad things they had to say, just how amazing and unique your wedding was to you!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?: We really found out who our friends were through our wedding! Our best man and maid of honor who were our closet friends (or so we thought) completely flaked out on us, they weren't there for us, didn't contact us and in the end couldn't even make it to the wedding because they didn't request the time off work soon enough. But we found out fast enough that they didn't matter. We had friends fly in from out of state just to be there for the wedding, we had coworkers come to the park at 8:00 AM to help set up the reception, we had our families and friends tear down our reception in twenty minutes to be out of the park in time, and our friends even went back to our hotel suite and set up candles, turn on a bubble bath and brought all of presents from the reception and set them out for us.

We realized there are some people who sadly only want you around on their time and can't give you the time of day when you need it most, but then there are people who will drop everything to help you even when you don't ask them too… those are really the people who count in life.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Our Wedding Planner IS AMAZING if you are local to Las Vegas then Leigh Yates is your lady!
  • I had two professional photographers for my wedding: Mark Higby & Laszlo Rathonyi. The work GREAT as a team, they have a great eye for photography my photos turned out perfect!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

  1. Congratulations you two! Oh. my. goodness…everything is so beautiful…LOVE the park, the colours, the couple!

    Yay for true love! May you two have many many blessed years of togetherness! Yay!

  2. I LOVE that the bride walked down the aisle to "At Last". I had never thought of it being used in that context and it's just perfect. Actually, this whole wedding is pretty perfect- the love and support shine through so clearly.

  3. Oh, this is delicious! I saw your pics in the flikr pool as was hoping that you'd be featured. My partner is also trans, and it's really wonderful to hear happy wedding stories (especially now as my family is acting kind of crazy). Best wishes for many, many years of happiness!

  4. This is making me tear up. My partner is also trans (and also named Jack!), and I love feeling connected to other couples like us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics!

    • Glad you can relate! It's not often you come across other transgendered couples so we definitely understand. Thank you!

  5. How beautiful! Highland, you looked lovely. And the photo of Highland kissing Jack lying on the ground – it made my heart skip a beat, it was so touching. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Amazing! Thank you for reminding me of some of the little things that need to be remembered, like the people who really pull through and that love is the core of the event. Loved your suggestions and how sweet you are together!

  7. I'm at work, tearing up! lol This was just beautiful! And I just love your cake and I love the sheep! lol The pictures were great too! Love it all!!

  8. I've been reading this site for a loooong time and have never been as touched as I was reading this. The part about how love knows no race, gender, sex, age… that hit me right where it hurts. The cliche is true…love knows no bounds. May you two continue to prove that for the rest of your lives.

  9. Wow the photos are gorgeous! They really seem to capture the day and how obviously wonderful it was for both of you. Congratulations!

  10. you are both so incredibly beautiful and the pictures just show your love so incredibly. congratulations!

  11. The wedding was fantastic! I am so fortunate to have been there and witnessed this beautiful union. Highland and Jack know whats up!!!!

    xoxo

  12. Highland= beautiful name, and wow you are gorgeous!!
    I love that you both wanted to have your ceremony be personal and your wedding looks beautiful. I wish you and Jack many years of happiness!!

  13. I love the attire! So lovely, and the red, white, and damask accents just look perfect! Also, that wedding cake is too beautiful!

  14. Hey everyone! It's Highland. Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments! That is so sweet of everyone. We really enjoyed our wedding and creating it was half the fun. If anyone has any questions or ever needs inspiration or advice, feel free to ask here or to look us up on Facebook!

    Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, because i'm sure it struck at least one person as odd…the reason for the sheep mascot was because my favorite animal is a sheep and I have acquired many of them over the years (stuffed animals, figurines, etc.). That particular one has been in our vacation photos, family photos, etc. so we thought it would be funny to get some shots with him as our ring bearer. : )

    Thanks again! <333

    • A sand ceremony, symbolically, is similar to a unity candle ceremony. It represents uniting two lives, two hearts into one. Instead of using two candles to light one flame, though, you use two vases of sand and you pour them together into one empty one, symbolizing the joining of the two. And it's a cool thing to do, also, because afterward, you can use the vase of sand as decoration in your home and also as a keepsake. There are a couple pics of it in the photostream. Thanks for the question! : )

  15. I was so moved to read this part :

    "really blessed that our families put away their differences even if they didn't agree with our life style and came out for our wedding. No one was rude or disrespectful, th ey all just came and helped with whatever needed to be done."

    It IS such a blessing when people you love are loving toward each other. Congratulations! I pray that your families remain loving and supportive. Both of you looked wonderful!!!!!

  16. Ok I just have to rave about how AWESOME that black dress is! Beautiful wedding, and I'm glad your families were able to share this with you without yapping!

  17. Thank you for this. My FTM fiance and I are getting married in just over a week and we have been wary of family dramas (his aren't coming and very few of mine are) as well as budget, officiant, etc. issues. It's so nice to hear about someone else having such a lovely, personal event. I agree that having to overemphasize the traditional in light of what some may view as an untraditional relationship is difficult. He and I are practically the Cleavers in that respect, but I think it's hard for people to see that. I wish you both the happiest of lives together.

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