Chris & Kyle's accidentally Whovian excellent adventure wedding

January 26 2015 | offbeatbride
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Photos by Hannah Woodard Photography

The offbeat "bride": Chris, Account Analyst and soon-to-be Grad Student

Their offbeat partner: Kyle, Data Analyst and Writer

Date and location of wedding: Durham Arts Council Building, Durham, NC — December 27, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Chris: I think the most obviously out-of-the-norm elements were the heavily DIYed nature of the wedding, the wedding party, and the "bride's" duds. We DIYed the ceremony text, the non-cake food, the drinks, the flowers (origami lilies made from wrapping paper) and their arrangements, the other decor, the cake topper, the veil, the music playlists, the favors (recipe books of all the recipes used at the wedding), the welcome bags, and all the wedding paper goods (save-the-dates, invitations, thank-you notes). We also did all of the (non-day-of) coordination. It was important to us both that we put a lot of ourselves into the details of the wedding, and with grad school coming up for me, we wanted to be as cost-conscious as possible. DIYing as much as possible let us do both.

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The wedding party was just Chris's dad and Kyle's mom, the parent that each of us is closer to. The entire wedding was family-only, and it felt right to have the two people who've most supported us over our lives stand for us when we formally joined our lives together.

Lastly, despite the word "bride," I identify as genderqueer and butch, and wouldn't have felt comfortable in a dress, much less a white one, so instead I wore a gray suit with a black vest. It was actually quite challenging to put together, as I'm plus-sized and 6'4", so my suit-shopping options were pretty limited. I can't say I've seen very many other examples of a bride (more or less) in a not-white suit who was marrying a man, and I certainly felt much more myself than I could have in a dress, so I think it qualifies as offbeat in both senses of the word.

Kyle: Chris did an amazing job DIYing many parts of the wedding. She did the work of six people: bride, ceremony writer, DJ, florist, caterer, and coordinator. We managed to fit in a "Rick-Roll" into the pre-wedding music playlist, followed by "Somebody's Getting Married" from The Muppets. We processed and recessed to songs from Battlestar Galactica, and the last song of the night was "The Final Countdown." All the music was from bands we enjoy together.

In addition to saving money, self-catering was fun because we both like to cook, and we got to prepare the food as a family.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We wrote the entire thing together. As Chris is a Pagan and Kyle an Atheist, we wanted to write a purely civil ceremony, which still reflected us. We started with the "mawwage" line from The Princess Bride and ended with the "wedding ceremony" from Spaceballs, and in between featured Robert Fulghum's "Union," a confirmation of identities, the passage on the nature of civil marriage from Goodrich vs. The Department of Public Health, a public affirmation by the guests, and vows that referenced everything from Neil Gaiman to zombies. You can read the original text here.

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Our biggest challenge:
Chris: There was a lot of struggle over the size of the guest list and the restricted budget. My parents both wanted a larger and more traditional wedding for me, both in terms of guest list and content, and it took a lot of time and work to reconcile them with the kind of wedding Kyle and I were comfortable with and could afford. Kyle and I privately set boundaries on what we would and wouldn't accept as far as potential guests or financial contributions, so that when we discussed it with the rest of the family we could back each other up. Kyle also ran interference for me when I was getting overwhelmed by family history and drama, and we were all able to have a more productive discussion and come to better decisions due to Kyle and I having our hard lines worked out ahead of time and presenting a united front.

Kyle: I also had some family issues on my side. My father and I are semi-estranged, and he declined our invitation to attend. His mother (my grandmother) did attend. She is very important to me, and I tried to make her feel welcome, despite the awkward situation.

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My favorite moment:
Chris: I think the most meaningful moment for me was putting the ring on Kyle. We selected a quote from The Song of Songs to do it by, and standing in front of all our relations, having just read the vows we wrote to one another, and putting a ring on my darling's finger while murmuring "Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your hand, for love is strong as death" was very powerful for me.

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The most unexpectedly meaningful moment for me was my dance with my dad. We've had some strain in the relationship in the past, and currently live several states away from one another and so didn't get a chance to practice beforehand, so we stuck into a back hallway for a couple of minutes during the reception so he could teach me to waltz a little. This private moment was really nice, and set up the dance itself, which hit me much harder than I expected. I'd selected "Edelweiss" from Roger and Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music, the earlier iteration with just Captain Von Trapp and his daughter singing. When I was quite young, my dad had taken guitar lessons and performed the song while I sang to it, and when we were dancing, stumbling along fondly and a little awkwardly, together we both started singing along. I had expected the father/daughter dance to mostly be a pleasant formality, but it ended up one of the most important moments of the day.

Kyle: Shortly before the processional, Chris's father found a moment to say to me how happy he was that she found someone who made her as happy as I do. It was a small moment, and I did not feel a need to get the father of the "bride's" approval, but it felt good to know that even someone who had not seen Chris and I together often could still tell we were good together.

The ceremony itself was really touching. Despite having written and read the ceremony many times, actually hearing the words that day felt really incredible. Also, the recessional moments, the literal first steps as spouses, felt really special (I'm such a dork).

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My funniest moment:
Chris: The funniest moment was during the ceremony. The officiant accidentally called Kyle by his father's name (which is also Kyle's middle name), and I corrected her on reflex.

Kyle: During the ring exchange, I accidentally tried to put my ring on Chris's finger. At the time, it was kinda embarrassing, but the photographer managed to capture that moment, and I'm making a hilarious face. Looking back, it is now a very funny moment to me.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Chris: I learned that while I myself live by the six Ps of Theater (proper planning prevents, uh, pitifully poor productions), no amount of planning in the world can compensate for the grace of having willing hands to help. I may have set up our wedding stuff in cross-referenced boxes, but they never would have gotten to the venue, unpacked, and set up, without lots of people other than myself. It's sort of a cliché, but forcing a Type A control freak to actually admit s/he isn't an island and actually does need help is quite the accomplishment for a non-sentient event. Also, Welcome Bag are way more work than expected.

Welcome Bag -- Pic not by Hannah

Kyle: I learned I could count on my family more than I expected. My aunt, cousins, brother, and mother all pitched in a great deal with the wedding. Also, things went far better than I feared with my paternal grandmother.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. I love Chris' suit and think the waistcoat is an especially nice touch. She looks like her very own kind of gorgeous! And those origami flowers are awesome! Congratulations to both of you. It looks like it was a wonderful, heartfelt day.

  2. Thank you SOOO much for putting this online. I am genderqueer FAAB and my partner is male, and I've been feeling so alone, because most of what I find online about genderqueer weddings are a lot different from what mine will be like… because most of what's online, there's a female partner, or both are nonbinary. I'm not out to his family, so I'm afraid it will be a bit of a shock for them to see their boy at the alter with… me. I dress fairly masculinely, especially if I have to be in public, and I don't want to horrify his family, but I don't want to turn our wedding into something I have to pretend to enjoy in some weird, uncomfortable dress

  3. I just found your wedding under the North Carolina tag and you guys just made my heart hurt a little with how fantastic the day looked and your encouraging words about dealing with people/stress/etc. as a united front.
    p.s. Brood soda for the win!

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