Offbeat partners: Mx. Pucks & Josh

Date and location: A friend's property in Woodinville, WA — 09/18/2021

Budget: $6,000

Our queer burlesque hand fasting ceremony at a glance:

I'm Seattle-based burlesque performer and producer, Mx. Pucks, and my tagline is “The They/Them/Yas Queen of Burlesque”. Josh and I wanted an epic, queer, witchy hoe, burlesque celebration at our sex positive friend's wooded property.

We decided on a hand fasting ceremony for many reasons, but I'm polyamorous and all five of my partners (including Josh) were going to be present at this celebration. The colors were inspired by Rembrandt floral paintings, dark core aesthetics, and lots of fall inspiration. Our good friend and local artist Whisper De Corvo hand made hundreds of paper flowers for our handfasting over the course of four months.

Our handfasting parties were called the Queen's Guard and the King's Court. 

Tell us about the queer burlesque hand fasting ceremony:

Our altar was sent up with meaningful items including a cat candle, a fat femme candle, a bottle of tequila for my aunt who passed away some years ago, bass guitar strings for Josh's father who passed away three months before their handfasting, and roses for my grandmother who's no longer with us. Our priestess was my good friend, burlesque performer, and walking magic herself, the Goddess Briq House.

The ceremony was written by me. I did a lot of research on handfasting and pagan ceremonies in terms of scripts that are out there. So much of it was extremely gendered, swaying towards monogamy/one true love sort of thing, or relationship escalator framed. So I put pen to paper and wrote something.

Queering up this handfasting was the ultimate challenge and goal for all parties involved. And what a noble goal it was. Navigating the gendered language and some of the more outdated ideas of what commitment can look like has yet again highlighted how much the patriarchy is a pain in the ass. Acknowledging the love I share with other partners and the love Josh and I share for our friends and communities guided the creation of our ceremony script.

Offbeat Bride had some neat non-possessive and super egalitarian ideas, that really helped them feel empowered to find better words that spoke to the why of it all.

Parts of the ceremony script:

High Priestess Briq House: Good evening and hey y’all!

We are gathered here to celebrate two humans that have touched us all…some of us in more ways than others.

When these two wildly unique and creative individuals called upon me to be the High Priestess for their handfasting ceremony I knew that this day would be a reflection of not only their love for each other, but of the love they have for the communities, friends, partnerships, and families that they are a part of and have created separately and together.

First, before we continue we wish to invite their ancestors into the space that wish to be here and bear witness to their binding. We would also like to invite those that have offerings for the altar to please approach now.

***Offerings were tequila, bass strings, roses, and a can opener***

High Priestess Briq House: The only gendered language to be used for Pucks will be Queen. Many of you may already know that Josh’s last name is King. These two will be referred to as such through this ceremony.

This ceremony isn’t about ownership. This ceremony isn’t about monogamy. This ceremony isn’t about one true love.

Both this Queen and King have an understanding of love that goes beyond eros, pragma, and ludus. These two believe in a universal love. Which they share with us, their friends, family, and community. Today this Queen and King want to bind their hands in front of us, their friends, family, and lovers as a sign of commitment to each other. They have invited us to witness their agreement to each other under this September sky with the sun and moon looking on as well.

We had a reading from Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker read by our dear friend and local theater actress Rebecca M. Davis. 

Our friend played acoustic guitar for us as we both walked in, specifically “Take Off Your Cool” by Andre 3000 and “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones.

Josh is a cannabis medical consultant and is known among friends as the Weed Wizard. On the altar were two stash jars each with our own strain of cannabis, a grinder, a lighter and a pipe. We each added our strains to the grinder and each took a turn grinding it. Josh packed a glass pipe that was blown in the shape of a snake and we took turns taking a hit, instead of doing a unity candle.

Tell us about the queer burlesque reception:

We are lucky because a good friend of ours flew into Washington from California to take care of our food for us. Food and entertainment were our top priorities for our family, friends, and community.

We wanted it feel a little like bacchanal with good food, drinks, and of course burlesque. One of my partners is also someone I co-produce burlesque shows with, so they took on the task of booking our community for the reception. I even kicked the show off with a burlesque act myself.

Faggedy Randy, D'Monica Leone, Celia Lipshutz, Carmen Caliente, Lavish Leone, Irish Lashes, and world famous boylesque stars IZOHNNY did a fire performance to close out the show.

Performer IZOHNNY
Performer D'Monica Leone

I also changed into a custom velvet infinity jumpsuit made by local nonbinary and woman-owned size inclusive lingerie brand Bawdy Love Clothing. Josh made all of the cupcakes for our reception over the course of two days before the handfasting!

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

Our family of origins were not involved or invited to this ceremony, for good reason. Our chosen family and community came together for us with helping to plan, execute, set up, teardown, and drag this party across the finish line.

I'm the event planner and so I had to give up a lot of creative control so I could focus my energy on writing the ceremony.

The ceremony gave us a run for our money in navigating the gendered language and some of the more outdated ideas of what commitment can look like.

Overcoming that and creating what we did really made an impact for our family, friends, and community in terms of what is possible for those of us who aren't cis het mono.

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