Offbeat partners: Kirsten (They/Them) & Tim (He/Him/Any)

Date and location: Stone Oak Manor (Our historic house that we have spent the last 3 years restoring and turning into a bed and breakfast in Oak Glen, CA) — 10/31/2021

Our genderqueer and nonbinary gothic viking wedding at a glance:

We completely threw tradition and gender norms out the window. We had one big wedding party, let them decide what to wear, and if they wanted flowers, daggers, bouquets, boutonnieres, or any combination of the above. We didn't use any gendered terms such as bride/groom or Mr. and Mrs. Instead used our names, “Partners for life”, “Newlyweds”, “Wedding Party”, etc. Kirsten held an axe instead of bouquet.

Our ring bearer dressed as an actual bear. And instead of a flower girl we had a “defender of the rings” who dressed as a Viking Barbarian with a sword and shield.

We had our wedding party roll for initiative (Dungeons and Dragons) to see what order they would walk down the aisle in. If they rolled the same number as someone else then they walked down together.

During our ceremony, we had our wedding party sit down and drink beer out of medieval steins instead of standing with us.

We walked down the aisle together and did an “exchanging of weapons” during our ceremony. This was a take on an old norse pagan wedding tradition symbolizing our promise to protect one another.

We DIY'd almost the entire thing from the decor, to the florals, to the venue itself.

Tell us about the genderqueer and nonbinary gothic viking wedding ceremony:

Our “vision” for the ceremony was that we were all returning from battle, holding our weapons, and we decided to get married in a local tavern. Our friend Lauren who was was the officiant poured everyone drinks as folks were walking down the aisle.

Here's a snippet of the ceremony script:

Today we’re doing more than just an exchanging of rings. Tim and Kirsten will also be exchanging weapons. In traditional Norse and Viking weddings, partners would exchange swords as well. The symbolism behind this is an exchange of protection; two families joining as one to forever support and protect each other. Just so everyone is clear…we still fully expect each family to raise arms and charge into battle for each other, so starting now, please be prepared for that at all times until the end of time. It’s about to get official.

Tell us about the genderqueer and nonbinary gothic viking wedding reception:

Our friends made all of our desserts! And they were all Halloween/Horror/DND themed.

Instead of a cake we had a stack of pancakes which we cut with a dagger.

One of Kirsten's siblings taught everyone at the rehearsal dinner a choreographed dance to the Monster Mash. When it played at the wedding it was almost like a flash mob because half of the guests knew the dance and those who didn't jumped in and quickly learned it. So by the end of the song it was about 100 people doing a choreographed line dance to the Monster Mash. Incredible!

We had an “introverts corner” with tables, chairs, some lounge seating and shelves filled with board games, books, and cards. This was on the opposite side as the dance floor. We wanted to create a spot for people who wanted to hang out and have a conversation without all the loud music and dancing.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?

I learned that expectations are a slow death. Let go of the expectations others have of you, your partner, and what your wedding day looks like. But also, let go of your expectations of how others are “supposed” to be a part of your wedding day. You might be surprised that support comes in unexpected ways and from unexpected people and places, and you might miss it if you continue looking in the “expected” places.

Especially as two folks who don't fall into traditional gender roles or fit into the gender binary, it was so important NOT to “go with the flow” when wedding planning. While planning our wedding I experienced the most gender dysphoria I've ever experienced, and it forced me to learn to advocate for myself in ways I've never had to before. At times it felt extremely isolating. It can be easy to fall into “traditions” that leave you feeling unseen as a person, just because “it's the way weddings work.” Advocate for yourself and how you feel, push back on traditions or expectations that don't feel right for you and your partner. Every decision should make you feel SEEN and HEARD as the complete interesting and quirky human being that you are. As someone who is not practiced in advocating for myself, it was challenging. But we ended up with a wedding that felt completely true to who we are, and a support system that helped us put the whole thing together piece by piece.

Vendors behind this genderqueer and nonbinary gothic viking wedding:

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