When we came up with our wedding budget, we first made a list of everything we desired: a live band to play Gogol Bordello songs, a stage for puppetry and drag performances, life-sized paintings of us as angels with halos of spray painted cheddar bunnies, and a cauldron. From there we ranked priorities and outlined necessities.
This is how we came up with a budget that doesn't include food, with more than a third reserved exclusively for fabulous outfits. That should say something about our priorities. (The artwork and performances are actually equally as important, but we can make them ourselves virtually for free, using dumpstered materials and supplies we've got on hand.)
This isn't entirely just vanity. Our wedding is an all-day affair, carnival-style, ending in a sunset ceremony with a late night afterparty reception. We decided that this required at least three changes of clothes.
Further, we have a little gender problem…
My partner and I are both trans. Liam has been on hormone replacement therapy longer than I have (and actually, I quit), so he passes for male with less ambiguity than I do. Frankly, depending on where we are, we can be read as anything from two dykes, two gay men, the unfortunate but strangely happy-seeming pairing of a very gay man with a very butch dyke, and, to wishful thinkers, a very bizarre straight couple. To put it mildly, this results in lots of interesting outcomes, not least of which is conflict between us.
To push things further, as I usually tend to do, I LOVE to dress in drag. LOVE LOVE LOVE to dress in drag. This, plus the fact that men's formal apparel can be so unremittingly dull, equals one hell of a desire to strut my stuff in something unspeakably femme and fabulous on our wedding day.
Initially, we'd decided to have three ceremonies: the first would be the anti-wedding, in which we mocked, parodied, besmirched, and Dada‘ed the institution of marriage. We envisioned it as sort of an impromptu performance art happening, complete with people popping out of trashcans, roller skates, zombies, and puppets. We both intended to wear drag for that one, and I planned to end the ceremony by smacking Liam on the ass and proclaiming, this ass is MINE! Then we'd have a pagan wedding naked in the woods, and then we'd have a wedding we invited our family to, cause by then we wouldn't care if they fucked it up.
Finances have now dictated that we're having a clothed pagan wedding in the woods with puppets and zombies and crazy performances, but I'll be damned if I'll be cheated of my opportunity to wear some truly outlandish drag.
Considering that many family members on both sides aren't real versed in gender-related issues (conflating, for example, a desire to wear a skirt with the identity of female), Liam and I are being very careful to not tip the gender scales so that either of us feel overtly feminized. (Another way of putting that is, neither of us want to get “she'd,” and we'll be damned if anyone decides that Liam is “the groom” and I'm “the bride.”) Initially, we were both going to wear robes, which are pagan, gender-neutral, and were going to be custom designed to not be fucking boring, but then we couldn't afford them.
So we've come up with this crazy idea: we'll be comfortable and confident in whatever throughout the pre-ceremony reception, get married in equally butch attire, and then we've planned what we're calling the moment of weirdness: to the tune of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Liam (in red long johns, boots, a holster belt, and hat), my sister (in male drag), her husband (in female drag), our officiant (in god-knows-what, something amazing), and me (in pettiskirt and garters and two bustles and an LED boa tail and thighhigh leg warmers and gold wings) will dramatically take the stage — complete with lightshow, desert backdrop, Christmas cactus, oversized sardine can, bird's nest, and trash can props — and, basically, dance around foolishly. But fabulously.
Afterwards we plan to don our “just married” fuschia and turquoise duct tape tiaras. We hope to have scared off all the more conservative relatives by then, so that the queer reception can really take off.