I'm short.

The offbeat bride: Dina, technical writer

Her offbeat partner: Desiree, IT support technician

Date and location of wedding: Pipeline House, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii — March 3, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: A lot of people might say our wedding was offbeat due to the fact that it didn't include a groom. But really, even if one of us had been a man, our wedding would have been offbeat because we are two offbeat people.

Ceremony shot!

Desiree and I didn't always agree on what we thought our wedding should look like, however. For example, my desire to wear a green dress got completely steamrolled when I first saw the white dress I did end up wearing, and that caused anxiety in my partner because she thought that meant she would have to wear white. In the end, we both wore things that were perfect for us.

Seattle is closer to space than it is to Australia.

We didn't have seating arrangements, place cards, first dances, or bouquet tosses. It was just a ceremony and a lot of booze and food (some by a caterer and some by my parents with assistance from our friends and family). My brother Hunter and Desiree's sister Darrielle were our people of honor.

The Internet approves

I'm running out of witty titles, guys. HALP

We wanted to keep the wedding small and only include people who had been supportive of our relationship in the past. This meant keeping certain members of both of our families off our guest list. This lead to some sadness, but in the end I'm glad we kept it the size it was (and without the stress of our wedding being someone else's learning experience).

Desiree and fam

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was short but sweet — neither one of us wanted to be standing up in front of people for very long. It was officiated by our dear friend Tobey, who has known me since before I was me. The whole thing lasted maybe ten minutes, and it was just pretty much a prelude to partying.

This is a wedding.

We didn't have any readings or music, aside from some singing. We also had a ring warming and ring exchange.

Kristin bearing some rings

Our biggest challenge: Our major challenge was the fact that Desiree and I were both born and raised in the United States but live in Australia. If we had the wedding in Sydney, some of our friends and family from the US would have had a hard time coming over.

Happy family

If we had the wedding in Seattle, ditto for our Sydney-sider friends. So we decided to meet at the rough halfway point — Hawaii! Hawaii is also where my partner was born and the site of our first vacation with just the two of us.


There were time zone issues when calling vendors. Fortunately, my Chicago-based mother was willing to make the calls for us, since she lives in a more advantageous time zone. There were payment issues, since paying American vendors in Australian currency is harder than one would think.

Tip for foreign-based couples planning a wedding Stateside: Paypal often comes at a premium, but it's worth it when you consider how much simpler it makes everything.

I like how it's half shaka, half \m/

Des and I ended up flying over a week before the wedding to make sure everything was under control. Everything worked out in the end, of course, but there were some panic moments.

The Internet approves

My favorite moment: We added lots of touches that were meant to bring our community into our relationship, since same-sex marriage is not recognized in New South Wales. We had a ring warming with our immediate families and my grandmother insisted on jumping in at the end and grabbing our hands to warm them herself!

We also had a wedding certificate inspired by ketubahs and Quaker wedding certificates, which everyone signed at the end.

Wedding Certificate

Flowers and love

My funniest moment: Too many to count! From our ill-fated jumping pictures (not easy on sand!) to my mother leading everyone in singing the Bridal Chorus and Wedding March to various indiscretions that happened as the night wore on and the alcohol flowed freely, it was a laugh-a-minute.


The highlight would probably be our wedding piñata. My uncle Bill climbed up to where we had tied up the piñata and kept tugging it out of the way, which made it very hard to hit. Eventually, my dad had to peek, grab hold of it and beat it within an inch of its papier-mâché life. And then we had candy. Australian and American candy, naturally. The Picnic bars were a big hit!

Desiree vs. Wedding Donkey

Best. Reaction shot. EVER.

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather forecast was dismal for the day of the wedding, but I forbade myself from looking at weather reports since there's nothing you can do except make sure you have a plan B. It did sprinkle a bit on the day, but that night there was a ridiculously huge storm that pretty much flooded the house. Thanks for waiting, Mother Nature!


When we tried our crinolines, we quickly realized they were way too long for the dresses. I think I gave the seller the wrong measurements. But we realized they'd be fine if we just got rid of a tier, so my mom and grandma quickly removed that bottom tier and used all the leftover tulle to decorate!

back to eating

My advice for offbeat brides: Don't be too proud to get outside help, be it from friends and family or professionals. Near the end of the planning process, I often turned to Desiree and said, “Why didn't we hire someone to do this stuff again?” If you're the sort of couple that has a hard time planning a weekend barbecue (like us), don't try and be a hero!

Also, have a piñata. Or, if not a piñata, some other game that seems more suited to an eight-year-old's birthday party. It's a great way to get everyone smiling and laughing.

And it will be hilarious.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dina's dress: Unique Vintage
  • Desiree's dress: her sister's closet
    image 5420483 10984344 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Dina's shoes: Shubar
  • Dina's headband: Sportsgirl
  • Desiree's necklace: Magnolia
  • Cronolines: Etsy seller DawnsAtelier
  • Rings: Green Karat
  • Catering: Happy's Hawai'i
  • Cupcakes: I am so sad about this – I CAN'T REMEMBER. But we found her at the Sunset Beach farmer's market. So if you see a lovely lady selling cupcakes there, it's probably her!
  • Venue/Accommodation: Pipeline House (Note that this venue does not normally do weddings. My mother managed to talk the owner into it.)

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

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Comments on Dina & Desiree’s intercontinental destination queer wedding

  1. Hooray!

    A couple of things I forgot –

    1. Our delightful ring bearer, Desiree’s and my mutual friend Kristin (who has known me since high school and Desiree since elementary school). When I asked her to be our ring bearer, her immediate response was, “I WILL DO IT. I WILL TAKE THE RINGS TO MORDOR.”
    2. The lovely lady who made our wedding certificate, Lamice from White Bird Art (http://www.whitebird-art.com/). She does commissions, and she is an amazing artist!

  2. I too am having a piñata, as I agree it makes wedding alot more awesome. Well done, beautiful wedding, and funny choice of dress… that same one almost made ME buy it when I wanted a blue dress!

    • I must mention that my other talented offspring, Hunter, is an origami master. He made the bouquets, there there was an awesome moment when he realized that the colors he chose matched oh-so-perfectly with the crinolines (he had no idea of the color since Dina hadn’t said).

  3. Hmmm, there is a notoriously wonderful baker over on the North Shore my mom keeps mentioning that has been used by my family before, I could ask her. Apparently my aunt and uncle’s wedding cake from her was the most incredible thing ever.

  4. Dina (you will always be D.C. to me) – Your dress is gorgeous! I am so happy for you and Desiree! Best wishes!

  5. This is the first wedding I’ve peeked at that had me crying tears of joy. Congratulations to both of you!

  6. Aw! Seeing how much fun you guys had with the pinata makes me 1000x more excited about the board games we’re having at our wedding.
    Thank you and congratulations!!

  7. At risk of sounding stalker-ish, you have excellent taste in both weddings (especially marriage certificates, that is beautiful) and blogs, assuming you are the same Dina from AS and APW.

  8. I also meant to say that I am so excited to see your wedding, after seeing you on the Tribe for a while. It was beautiful!! Congratulations to you both.

  9. Awesome wedding! Hopefully Julia Gillard gets her act together soon and your marriage will be recognised properly over here.

  10. Of course I am biased, but it was an Epic wedding for too many reasons to count. Dina, it would be awesome for you to add a comment in your wonderful writing about your extremely special bouquet.

  11. BEAUTIFUL wedding. My partner and I are getting married next June, and I’ve this idea in my mind for a skirt… and THERE ON DESIREE is the fabric I’ve been dreaming about!! From her sister’s closet? My sister doesn’t have that in her closet! Can you give me any more info about where it is from?

  12. Such a cute couple! You can see instantly that they love each other completely. I am tearing up, need to stop being so sentimental and girly…

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