The offbeat bride: Caroline, Mediator
Her offbeat partner: Aimee, Financial Analyst
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to have a wedding that was a reflection of our relationship. Our first date was at The Charles Theatre. When we found out we could have the wedding there, we were thrilled. It just felt right. We didn't want a hall and we didn't want a religious institution. We felt connected to the theater. The adjacent restaurant made the reception brunch and opened up their space, which is what allowed us to invite as many guests as we did.
We also didn't want to spend a lot of money. Caroline's shoes were the most expensive part of her outfit. Both dresses were off the rack, for under $50. Caroline's mother addressed the invitations in calligraphy and arranged flowers that she brought with her on the plane from farms in California. Caroline's beautiful sister was the woman of honor, and arranged for her brother-in-law to contribute handmade chocolate truffles for the wedding favors.
Incorporating our son was the most fun. He and his best friend, Aidan, whom he's known since birth, walked/ran the rings down the aisle. They were so adorable and one of the highlights of the ceremony. Our mothers walked us down the aisle, and our son's father (one of our best friends) helped carry the chuppah and signed the Ketubah.
Tell us about the ceremony: Caroline is Christian and Aimee is Jewish, and we decided to raise our son in the Jewish faith. Because of their preschool and family activities, we've been attending Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for a couple of years. The rabbi is openly gay and she leads the children's services, alongside her own preschool-aged children. It just felt natural to ask her to perform the wedding. We went through all the aspects of the traditional Jewish wedding to figure out which ones felt meaningful to us, and what translations we wanted to use.
We were under a chuppah designed and sewn by our friend and neighbor, incorporating lace crocheted by Caroline's great grandmother. We added a quote from Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God: “Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore”
My favorite moment: The day before the wedding, we went with our family to Washington, DC, where gay weddings are legal. (In Maryland, gay weddings are not yet legal, but the state respects gay marriages formed in other states.) The rabbi performed a brief wedding service on the National Mall, the site of great moments of America's civil rights movement, of which our struggle is a small part.
After the service, jewish tradition allows for a “Yichud” or seclusion, when the brides go off together to share the first few moments of their marriage alone together. We went to a smaller theatre down the hall and sat silently together. Suddenly, the loudspeakers started playing the music we had chosen for the reception, beginning with “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We couldn't keep from dancing.
At the ending for the reception, Caroline's mediator coworkers facilitated a blessing circle, where all were invited to give their blessings to the couple, either in the form of a toast, a reading, or a written message. The wedding invitations contained paper leaves on which to write a message, and a Navajo wedding basket was given to the brides to collect everyone's leaves in. The circle ended with a group song, written by one of the mediator/sisters.
My funniest moment: The movie theater had a resident black cat. The cat came into the theater where we were having the wedding ceremony and was running around the stage. Everyone thought she was our cat. The funniest part was when she started batting the (very good-natured) rabbi's tallit.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Ever since becoming moms brought us out of our introversion four years ago, we have made dozens of new friends through our babysitting co-op, preschool, synagogue, kid classes, charter school planning board, playdates, craft groups, etc.
We knew we couldn't invite all of our new friends to the wedding. That's when we decided to have a kid-friendly post-wedding brunch the following day at our house. When the RSVPs started to reach over the 100-person mark, we had a little panic attack. Caroline's best friend Marisa saved the day, and got us space at the fantastic Women's Industrial Exchange restaurant. For a small donation, we were able to use their empty restaurant before its grand re-opening, and contribute to their excellent work, helping Baltimore women support their families through craft since 1880. We had bagel platters, delicious salads made by our friend the vegan chef, and made part of the space into a playzone for kids. Guests did some holiday shopping in the craft shop in the building, giving the nonprofit one of its best sales days.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Shoes: Fluevog Bellevue
- Venue for ceremony and reception: The Charles Theatre
- Caterers and venue for reception: Tapas Teatro
- Post-wedding brunch site: Women's Industrial Exchange
- Photographer: Matthew “Dag” D'Agostino
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!