Offbeat partner: Käri, English teacher
Offbeat partner: Roz, GIS Research Specialist
Date and location of wedding: Farmin' Betty's in Columbus, WI, — June 24, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our wedding was rustic and relaxed. We are avid birders (in a really hip, appropriate-for-30-somethings kind of way), so we included small bird-related details wherever we could. We snuck feathers into our boutonnieres and centerpieces, our cake toppers were a sweet pair of lovebirds, our table "numbers" were antique-framed Sibley's bird postcards and each of us referenced our shared love for birding together in our vows.
Our wedding was very DIY; we made all of our signage ourselves, crafted our favor labels and escort cards, and EVEN drank all the beer for our centerpiece vases. We bought our flowers at the Madison Farmer's Market the morning of the wedding and arranged all of our centerpieces with the help of our friends, and I helped my mom create all of the corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets from our flowers. Because so many of our friends came from all corners of the country, our whole day had the feeling of comfortable, easy relationships; everyone just falling back into step with each other, drinking beer in a field next to a beautiful old barn.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Continuing with our DIY vibe, my older brother and several friends played the music during our ceremony. Their unique sound (an alto sax, violin, trombone, and trumpet) was so fitting for our style. They played "All My Life" by K-Ci and JoJo during our processional, which was just an absurd choice and mostly a joke, but it sounded awesome.
One of our best friends was our officiant, and she included a beautiful Mary Oliver poem, "Wild Geese," during her speech. My younger brother and Roz's best friend from college both read poetry about love and nature and birds. Our dog, Smokey Lonesome (with our nephews as dog-handlers), was our ring bearer, and he wore a bow tie and was the cutest, fluffiest, best-behaved part of the day.
We wrote our own vows for each other and traded rings, each with wood inlay on the inside of the band to keep us rooted and close to the trees we love. Because we didn't want any of the "I now pronounce you . . . kiss the bride. . ." stuff, our officiant gave us a wink and we kissed and were married! A brass/strings rendition of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police was our recessional.
Tell us about your reception:
We had drinks and appetizers in the milk yard before dinner. We did all the appetizers ourselves; my favorite was a trail mix bar with all the fixings to commemorate all of our hiking trips and GORP (“good old raisins and peanuts”) snacking. We set up some intense lawn games for folks to play, like giant Jenga, KanJam, and Spikeball. My dad kicked off dinner with his "toast": an acoustic performance of a folk song I sang in my 5th grade talent show. The lyrics were especially poignant and had our families and friends in tears — "and the only measure of your words and your deeds will be the love you leave behind when you're done."
A local Madison restaurant catered the buffet with our favorite Tex-mex BBQ, and our cake still lives in my dreams. Our moms also baked some family/friend favorites for our dessert table: Scotcharoos, Key Lime Pie tarts, and Polish Kolachkes. We couldn't forget our favorite Sour Patch Kids either. Our friend was our DJ for the evening, queueing up a playlist painstakingly created by Roz with '90s hip hop, a lot of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and some Justin Bieber for good measure.
As dusk fell, a giant double rainbow settled in the sky; the biggest, gayest blessing Mother Nature could give us. We danced hard in a barn over a century old, we drank, and we screamed the words to some Taylor Swift. It was the perfect end to a day that celebrated and reaffirmed our enormous love for each other, our friends and family, and the life we choose and create for ourselves each day.
What was your most important lesson learned?
About three months prior to our wedding, we found out that several close family members would not be attending due to the gayness of our marriage. That was a huge emotional blow on top of the normal wedding stress. We struggled with what to do, with our anger over the hypocrisy and cruelty of their choice, with our sadness of the injustice of it all. Eventually, we came to terms with the reality that the people who love and support us are our true family, whether it be biological or chosen. We ended up filling our day with THOSE people, and we didn't look back. We are so lucky that we have so many supportive, loving people in our lives and we chose to direct our energy there instead of stewing in the negative, hateful, narrow-minded view of only a few. Making that conscious choice to move forward made our day so much more open, loving, and positive.
- Catering: Eldorado Grill
- Cake: Craig's Cake Shop
- Photography: Steph Seymour and Lauren Richards of Point Photography
- Venue: Farmin' Betty's
- Flowers: Dane County Farmer's Market