The Offbeat Bride: Marita, Mortgage Counselor and Aspiring Esthetician and Makeup Artist
Her offbeat partner: Loren, Social Worker
Date and location of wedding: Loren's parents' home in Ferndale, WA — August 18, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When Loren and I started planning our wedding, we wanted our celebration to be as much about the community that brought us together and supports us day to day as it was about us. With the exception of our incredibly talented and fun photographer, Jenny Jimenez, everyone involved with the planning and facilitation of the weekend was friend and/or family to us. Everything from the food to the flowers to the décor to the officiant to the day-of-coordination to the reception performances — all of that was the result of the generosity of our friends and family.
We wanted everyone to feel as comfortable and welcome as possible, so we really focused on making sure our wedding was accessible for all of our guests. This manifested in a couple of ways: asking all who attended our wedding to be fragrance-free and letting everyone know that there would be no alcohol on our wedding day. Many people have fragrance and chemical sensitivities, so in our invitations, we included a fragrance-free request, information, and how-to resources, and asked our friend, Casey, to act as Accessibility Coordinator in case anyone had questions or access needs that day.
Also, I have been sober and in recovery from alcoholism since 2004, and we made the choice to have a sober wedding. In addition to having many friends in recovery as well, alcohol is neither a big part of our daily lives nor is it how we celebrate milestones as a couple, so having an alcohol-free wedding felt authentic and important.
Loren and I met through mutual friends in community, namely in poetry and queer/trans community. We wanted our wedding weekend to reflect that. While the whole day was a poem in and of itself, we asked some of our close friends to perform poetry that they wrote specifically for us during our reception. Getting to share those moments with our families of origin and bring all of our worlds together was really special.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a very simple processional. Loren walked each of his grandparents down the aisle, then came back to meet me while our flower girl, Marcella, walked down the aisle. Loren and I then walked down the aisle to Etta James' “A Sunday Kind of Love.” We wanted our ceremony to mimic our own journey to one another, so we started with each of our parents sharing words about marriage — what they had learned along the way and what they wanted to share with us as we begin our marriage. Two of our closest friends, Anne and Foley, shared a story and a poem, which symbolized and narrated how we connected to each other through mutual friends and our shared love of words. Next, our community made vows to help support and witness our marriage in the years to come. Then our officiant, Patch Avery, shared words he had written for us on our wedding day:
Most of us look for the fairytale, the pixie dust — everyone wants the grand ballroom, that last dance. The moral of the story isn't about a forever that is sweet shop easy.
The weight of the glass slipper, second star to the right, the rabbit hole.
On this day, in your best clothes, in front of these people, I can only offer you
what I know you have already offered each other. The chance to become explorers.
Loren and Marita, you have cuffed your sleeves, put on your best lipstick, and the pirates, and the crocodile, are coming for you. The beanstalk is epic, the Cheshire Cat is grinning his most troublesome grin. Something new, what you find, outside of any castle, longevity, the breath after this wake up kiss,
how the mistakes will rust in the corner and remind you of all those times
you fell down the hillside, ran through the forest.
Today we get to celebrate all the ways you will become a beautiful classic bedtime story,
we get to watch the new chapter unfold. On this day, the fairytale is very real,
the moral of all these stories is to find home, which is why we are here, for all that you have beautifully blue printed, and the commitment in breaking ground. – Patch Avery
Loren and I then shared individually written vows and our rings before we turned toward all our friends and family and Patch invited everyone to pronounce us married.
Our biggest challenge:
While we had been out as queer and/or trans to most people in our lives, there were some relatives and old friends that we needed to tell before our big day. We spoke early on about how we wanted everyone to be fully aware and supportive of us as individuals and as a couple, so Loren and I wrote separate letters to be sent with some Save the Dates or had individual conversations with people. For the most part, this invited people into deeper conversations with us, allowed us to feel more supported as well as let go of any lingering fear or shame we had. Of course, there were some people who probably would have shown up had they not been made aware that we identify as queer and that Loren is transgender, but we wanted to be with the people who loved us unconditionally — people who would show up and witness our marriage even if they didn't fully understand.
My favorite moment:
The night before the big day, a couple of our dear friends, Erin and Liz, facilitated an intention-setting and ring-blessing ceremony. Our immediate families and close friends gathered around the firepit and Loren and I got to soak up all of their intentions for us as a married couple. We received poetry, visual art, cross-stitch, stories, and heartfelt looks. We both cried more that evening than on our wedding day. There was something very sacred, vulnerable, and nostalgic about standing in a circle in casual clothes, listening to our beloveds speak intentions and hopes for us as we move forward together.
Our other favorite moments of the wedding were the in-betweens: the quiet morning of getting ready together with our close friends, the moment right after the ceremony when we hugged behind the house — crying and laughing with the gravity and joy of it all, smiling and dancing with friends and family, and hanging out with the dogs and the kids.
My funniest moment:
What started out as a joke during the rehearsal became the best way we could have ended our wedding ceremony. I like to run and jump on Loren every once in a while just to see if he'll catch me, so we were joking about doing that as the recessional. Loren and I demonstrated this for everyone during our rehearsal and they all said that we just had to do that for the real thing. So as Phillip Phillips' “Home” began to play, Loren walked to the end of the aisle and I kicked off my bright floral heels and ran to him. Our guests were cheering and laughing and he caught me and twirled me as I jumped in his arms.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
So many things. I had been married before, but Loren hadn't. It was important that this weekend felt like a completely new adventure for both of us. We were so intentional about building something that felt reflective of both of us and our families. We only used wedding customs that felt appropriate and genuine, we created rituals, and we let go of the rest. Instead of filling the blanks in a template, we hand-crafted our very own celebration.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Build a strong support system around you, before, during and after your wedding day and know when to let go of the details so you can be as present as possible. Since it was such a community effort, we were both involved in a lot of the planning up until the night before. Our friend Stefanie was our day-of-coordinator, and having someone we trusted to facilitate the day really helped us relax as much as possible that morning and focus on each other. We asked our friends Claire and Jen, who got married the year before, to be with us as we got ready that morning. They cooked us a delicious breakfast, made sure we stayed hydrated and really helped us stay calm with their steady and supportive energy. We laughed a lot on our wedding day, which was important and reflective of us as a couple. Find ways to make sure your day feels like home.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Jenny Jimenez
- Dress and Fascinator: I Do Bridal
- Alterations: Victoria's Bridal Couture
- Makeup: Marita (the bride herself!)
- Custom Earrings and Necklace: Dixie Darling
- Wooden Bowtie: Two Guys Bow Ties
- Reception Music Performance: Amber Darland
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!