Offbeat partner: Emily
Offbeat partner: Mason
Date and location of wedding: Salvage One in Chicago, IL — August 3, 2018
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a ceremony musical theater interlude, a Stevie Nicks themed cocktail hour, social justice and queer themed tables, bomb food, bomb dancing, and homemade wedding cakes. Our theme was to have a queer AF wedding that was hopefully as much a gift to the people we love as it was to us. We were rounding out an ambitious year: cross country move, new jobs, new careers, and a wedding all happening within a few weeks.
So basically, we needed this wedding to be just a shout into the universe of “we’re gonna make it!”
Tell us about the ceremony:
In addition to the just STUNNING feeling of having all of your favorite people in the planet in one room, our friends performed pre-ceremony music, including a singalong to the Golden Girls theme song and our processional, a slowed down, dreamy rendition of “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle. We were very lucky to have a friend who is a queer, theology professor navigate us through the process. The ceremony went from being something we wanted to get through to the highlight of the day. We did three readings, including a scene from the play Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman and poem I LOVE called “Love Listen” by Ann Gray.
Our officiant recommended a mid-ceremony song to create a space to reflect, since ceremonies can go by so fast. His husband shares our love of all things musical theater so we cooked up a little ceremony surprise — Mason and I both picked a short list of our favorite musical theater love songs and sent them to our friend, keeping them secret from each other. He then brought in some jaw-dropping performers who did a fantastic mash up of our picks performed live at the ceremony. This had to be one of the best parts, hearing what each other picked out! And unsurprisingly, we picked a lot of the same songs. A lot of Sondheim, Music Man, Oklahoma, and Buffy the Vampire the musical episode. I was a MESS.
We ended with our vows, one my favorites being:
“to live our values of inclusion, justice, and acceptance;
to work together spread those values in the world.”
Tell us about the reception:
Mason picked out and wrote mini bios for queer icons that our then incredibly talented digital artist friend rendered into table markers. She also created our invitations, bar signs, guest favors… little buttons with our two favorite illustrations of David Bowie and Marsha P. Johnson. We had many wedding heroes; our digital designer was one of them.
I flew out to Chicago five days before the wedding so I could live in a magical baking bubble, watch the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice on repeat and conquer the most ambitions baking project I’d set for myself — to bake three tiered wedding cakes. This process was a mix of relaxing/meditative, a reason to ask people to leave me alone, and stressful at times but deeply satisfying. I made Milk Bar’s Birthday Cake, an orange zest cake with lemon curd, and a boozy chocolate ganache cake.
Our friends and family gave gorgeous toasts with lots of pop culture references, our DJ was the BEST, and I had a costume change and danced my ass off. One of the greatest gifts was seeing our guests drenched in sweat at the end of the night… and then going to one of our homebase gay dance clubs for the after party.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I want to give a major shout-out to my sister who recommended the app Headspace. I started it not knowing what it was and it has changed my life. I directly credit it and meditation with not only giving me the opportunity to be completely present on my wedding day but it becoming THE tool for how I daily manage anxiety and every day thoughts that shape my experience. Could not recommend this more for anyone stressed about wedding anything.
Footnote to this. A lot of people involved in weddings stress about their physical appearance leading up to and on the day. When we got engaged I went through the, “I’m going to lose all the weight because I dread the immortalization of my fat body in wedding photos” to “I’m going get down to the brass tacks on what real body positivity and love look like.” I flooded my Instagram with fat fashion bloggers and designers and committed myself to learning/unlearning body talk. Again, meditation was a huge tool in this. It’s a process, not a light switch but I felt FABULOUS on the day. I was also dressed in head to toe items from small, lady-owned businesses, living my femme fantasy!
I also give all the credit for a fab day to our vendors, including our Day of Coordinator, Alexis, who was a godsend. We will forever be obsessed with our dreamy photographer, Danielle. We also donated a percentage of any cash gifts to an organization a friend of mine runs called the Grand Rapids Trans Foundation.
Registry charity: Grand Rapids Trans Foundation • Digital assets artist: Melissa Szwan • Wedding website designer: Eric Mikkelsen • Day of Coordinator: Swiss Dot Weddings • Photographer: Danielle Simone Charles • Food/Bar: Fig Catering • Officiant: Dave Wellman • Musical theater performers: Amanda Horvath-Adair and Justin Horvath-Adair, director Andy Robinson • DJ: Toast and Jam • Venue: Salvage One • Flowers: Flowers For Dreams • Balloons: Balloons by Tommy • Bride hair/makeup: Elizabeth Breen, our BFFL • Wedding nail artist: Angelica the Amazing • Wedding party beautification: Michelle Shaughnessy and Carly Pribich • Dress: Zelie For She • Wedding Cape: House of Ollichon • Wedding Shoes: Bryr Clogs