Susan & Jana’s barn dance wedding in the Catskills

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 | Photography by Hudson River Photographer

The Offbeat Bride: Susan, Theatre House Manager

Her offbeat partner: Jana, Theatrical Sound Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Full Moon Resort, Big Indian, NY (deep in the Catskills) — October 21, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We're theatrical, so we chose a Monday wedding, which was a less expensive option, but also let other theater professionals attend without pay penalty. We also thought about the wedding a lot like a performance: you have a lot of lead-up time, a really quick load-in, quick rehearsal, and then it's the day of the performance! And then of course there is the after party!




We tried hard to pick and choose what really mattered to us. This was partly to stay on budget, and partly to express ourselves and our relationship. We chose not to use fresh cut flowers but instead to DIY or purchase paper flowers. Susan made the pomander centerpieces and the bouquets and boutonnieres were custom ordered. DIY showed our strengths and weaknesses. Where Susan would say, “Let's do this,” Jana would say, “How do we execute that?”




In lieu of garter fetching and tossing, we decided to have a few extra toasts. Susan chose her Best Lady and her sister/Maid of Honor, Jana chose her sister/Matron of Honor and her father. Hearing their stories and words of support were really special and way more important to us than some under skirt shenanigans.


We also gave a prize for the coed bouquet toss, since the antiquated prize of a husband didn't really mesh with our vibe. Susan's sister painted a canvas with the state of NY and it was given to the winner.


For the cake cutting we had a few ideas, especially since we were having cupcakes and not a traditional cake. We ended up taking a BIG bite each of one cupcake at the same time (Lady and the Tramp-style). Unpracticed, it was one of the funniest and most spontaneous moments of the reception.



Both each having two supportive parental units and not caring to be “given away,” we opted to be walked down the aisle by both our mothers and fathers. This was one of the things we hemmed and hawed about the most but it turned out to be the right solution to the problem.


Tell us about the ceremony:
The processional was Daniel Johnston's “True Love Will Find You In The End” performed on acoustic guitar.


Our officiant was Susan's (and for a time Jana's) old roommate. She had seen us come together and eventually find our own place together. She's much like a sister to us. Having our dog as the ring bearer was really special, too. He even got to show off his “sit pretty” trick.



The wedding arch was a last minute thought, not realizing that we had to make our own since we did not hire a florist. We bought a $30 garden arch from Amazon, a few yards of ribbon and lace, and then let our artistic parents go to town on it (Susan's mom and Jana's dad). They took branches from the surrounding area and draped the hell out of that arch. It turned out to be a beautiful backdrop.

We adapted a reading from the movie Safety Not Guaranteed written by Derek Connolly. Jana's sister read:

To go it alone, or to go with a partner?
When you choose a partner you have to have compromises and sacrifices, but it's the price you pay.
Do you want to follow your every whim and desire as you make your way through time and space?
Absolutely But at the end of the day, do you need someone when you doubt yourself and you're insecure, and your heart's failing you? Do you need someone who, when the heat gets hot, has your back?
So do you?

Jana and Susan: We do.


Our biggest challenge:
Full Moon Resort is deep in the Catskills so there is no cell reception. This made for some hairy travel arrangements, people arriving undetected, and one Zipcar that wouldn't start because of lost satellite reception! Everyone made it safe and sound, though, and eventually everyone got home safe as well.



My favorite moment:
The first look was really emotional, we didn't see that coming at all. Also, at the reception, there was a photo montage that our families had secretly put together. It was so fun to see us both grow up before our eyes.



It meant a lot to have a photographer that we trusted and felt comfortable with. Diane was more than amazing, and so was her assistant. It wasn't a requirement at all, but we also love that Diane is a proudly out lesbian. There was never a time when we felt like, “Will she understand this dynamic?” It became meaningful to have a community member in this pivotal role.




My funniest moment:
Our special vows to each other got a good laugh. Jana promised to “give my thoughts and feelings voice as much as possible,” (she's a bit of an introvert). and Susan promised to “always share my sandwich pickle with you and to break down boxes as they enter our home.”


We laughed real hard when we realized at the reception that we had left our cake topper home in Brooklyn. It was a Giraffe and Squirrel ceramic topper and almost all of the print materials were based on it since it was one of our first purchases. When someone pointed it out we just laughed and laughed and then kept on dancing.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Dressing a butch or masculine-of-center person can be a frustrating and expensive journey. It was months of internet research, emails, and phone calls. Jana lucked out because she knew a theatrical seamstress who fabricated, from scratch, her pants and vest. Jana wanted to have a masculine look, but something that let her female body (read: hips and chest) be flattered. In the end it all came together, but we learned that it can be a difficult journey.

Also, if your guest favor is beer, there will be none left at the end.




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Comments on Susan & Jana’s barn dance wedding in the Catskills

  1. What a wonderful wedding! Susan looks so glamorous and the details in Jana’s suit were great. The DIY projects in this wedding must have taken a really long time and were so well executed!

    • This comment almost made me cry. The DIY projects did take a lifetime, thank you so much for your appreciation and kind words!!

  2. What a beautiful wedding and beautiful couple! The paper flowers look incredible, but most of all, I adore your reading from Safety Not Guaranteed! I never would have thought to look to that movie for such a perfect, lovely, not corny reading!

  3. This wedding is so beautiful! I love the repurposed wedding traditions. I want to steal the co-ed bouquet toss, the tandem cupcake eating, and the beer favors! You two are so thoughtful and creative and clearly over the moon for each other.

  4. Amazing wedding! I do like to see a couple expressing themselves and having the wedding THEY WANT, and not listening to the old fogies who only want traditional! I tip my unconventional hat..

  5. I must know about Jana’s shoes! What brand are they? LOVE them!

    Your dog did a great job with the sit pretty trick. 🙂

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