Lovingly written vows and touching tributes at this queer rustic barn wedding

August 3 2016 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Wild June Photography
Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride
Photos by Wild June Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Kaitlyn, Social Worker

Her offbeat partner: Jude, Musician

Date and location of wedding: White Star Farm, London, Ohio — June 25, 2016

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We wanted our wedding to be as down-to-earth as possible. I wrote the ceremony, and my husband picked all of the music for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted everything to represent our journey together and who we are. We picked a rustic theme, because we both thought it was beautiful and would best connect with the natural, simple look we were going for.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

It was originally going to be a backyard wedding, but then a generous coworker let us use her barn, and suddenly… it all came together. I think the setup for the wedding best describes our attitude: we walked in there with a handful of decorations my one bridesmaid had made and another bag of craft supplies and just moved around and set up tables on the spot. We didn't have a plan going in, because we refused to stress ourselves out creating a plan that may not even go right the day of.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We had three sections of vows. Our shared vows were structured around values we wanted to promise one another: loyalty, gentleness, friendship, etc. With each vow, I wrote a specific promise. For example: “I promise you forgiveness — to always let our love be bigger than my pride.” During the handfasting ceremony, we had a cord for each element (earth, air, fire, and water) and a corresponding vow to that element. Finally, we each wrote personal vows.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

My coworker, Cherylann Richards, a Chaplain and lesbian, performed the ceremony. It was very important for us to have a fellow member of the LGBTQ community marry us. She knows us well and beautifully tied in themes of spirituality, without it being a religious ceremony, giving the balance we desired.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Jude selected the ceremony music very carefully. As everyone was getting seated, different songs from throughout our relationship were played, but instrumental versions. Once the processional began, our parents and grandparents walked down the aisle to "The Prayer" by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, representing their faith and also my Italian background. Our bridal party walked down to "Here Comes The Sun," but a version by James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma, which Jude picked because he calls me his "sun and stars."

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

We said "fuck tradition" and entered before the bridal party — we weren't about to miss all their hilarious entrances! We began the reception with a little "open mic" portion, where we opened up the floor to our bridal party members for speeches. About half of them spoke, each fitting their unique personality. My one bridesmaid, who is typically a jokester, surprised us with a serious spoken word piece in tribute to the Orlando shootings (which took place a few weeks before our wedding) about letting love win. We will never forget how powerful that moment was.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Jude then sang a song with his sisters, then my sister, who introduced us after meeting Jude at the American Idol auditions back in 2011. After that, it was a free-for-all. Everyone was drinking, dancing, and laughing.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Once it got dark, we ran outside in the field and caught fireflies. We both drank and danced, and let the night take us where it did. We actually almost forgot the cake cutting and bouquet/garter tosses because of it.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

We learned that we're an amazing team. We kept each other from stressing throughout the entire process by refusing to let any stress enter the situation and grounding the other if we forgot that mindset. It was really tough planning a budget wedding (the entire wedding was under $6K), but we made it work and didn't feel like we missed anything.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

My biggest piece of advice for readers is to enjoy the journey. We remember our wedding so fondly and don't feel like it was a fog (the way many people describe), but it was also just one day. If we hadn't enjoyed the planning process just as much as the wedding, I don't think it would have meant as much.

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Queer rustic barn wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

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  1. So beautiful! Also, I love it when I see queer weddings in Ohio. I'm currently planning one in NE Ohio and the whole barn thing is really my dream! Congratulations!

    1 agrees
    • Hi Sierra, I'm the bride and wanted to say THANK YOU! Good luck planning your own wedding! Enjoy the process; ours was a blast!! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful ceremony! You can tell everyone is having a wonderful time.

    Which designer is the bride's dress from? I'm obsessed – she looks gorgeous.

    1 agrees
    • This is the bride! 🙂 Thank you SO much!! The dress wasn't from some specific designer. I actually got it from a shop in Vienna, VA (listed above in the vendors). They have two floors and I got it from the top level, which is the "off the rack" section. It was only $400. Simple and perfect!

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