Offbeat Couple: Courtney & Ester
Location and Date: Dunn Gardens in Seattle WA, 9/03/2022
We wanted to be really intentional about how we approached wedding traditions. We kept what we wanted, and left what we didn’t! For instance: as a masculine woman, Ester wanted to experience some of the groom-ish parts of wedding traditions, like seeing her future wife come down the aisle.
But we both wanted to be walked down the aisle by our fathers.
In place of a large wedding party, we had a group of friends involved closely with the wedding that we called “Wife Support.” Our wedding truly felt like a community effort!
We also played to our strengths during planning as much as possible. Courtney works in events, so she was our contract reader and budget maker. Ester loves design (and cats!) and worked on the aesthetic and physical side of planning:
Community is very important to us. Ring warming was a way to invite our loved ones into the ceremony with us. We had the opportunity to make each other’s rings in a studio with a local artist (shout-out to With These Rings!) and the warming was just another way to imbue them with love.
Ester’s pocket watch was given to her by her father as a graduation gift, and had been given to him by his parents. From childhood, she admired the pocket watch and receiving it as a gift was incredibly meaningful.
Engraved on the back of Ester’s watch is an image of a train as well as the phrase “Once past, gone forever”. Ester sees it as a reminder of how important it is to be present in relationships.
Her father’s watch dates back to 1888 and has been in the family since. It was found among Ester’s grandfather’s belongings after his passing, and Ester’s father fixed it up and had it working perfectly in time for the wedding. The watches were a symbol of remembrance, connection, and family.
Ester’s car was turned into its own version of a guestbook when we provided a bucket of chalk pens. It was cheap, easy, and very kid-friendly!
We had already had a legal ceremony in which we exchanged short vows, so Ester loved an opportunity to do longer vows and make them sappy.
Our close friend, Jules, was our officiant and went out of her way to make the ceremony special – she even printed and beautifully bound our vows for us!
Ester: Courtney, I promise to spend this forever dreaming with you: of flowers always on the table, of cats warming our laps, of tiny toes on tiny humans to marvel at together.
I promise to cherish our commitment and the blessing that is you and I.
I promise to hold you lightly or tightly, whenever or however you need me.
I promise to remember that our time is precious.
I promise to value all your relationships and treasure our connections with family and friends.
I promise to hold space for every part of you, whether she is joyful or mourning.
I promise to be your partner in happiness, love, illness, loss, birth, laughter, boredom, grief, success, and failure.
Knowing you and creating a life to delight in has been warm, comforting, and utterly freeing.
Thank you for sharing you with me. I am so fortunate to be your wife. Let’s be wives forever.
Courtney: Ester, you delight and fulfill me in every way – with humor and patience and poetry and compassion and resilience and perspective.
I love that you are a huge sap and are probably crying right now. I love your clarity of expression, how you say exactly what you mean and never leave me guessing.
I love your intentionality and directness, and your optimism, and your diligence.
I love you thoroughly and completely. I love you easily and without hesitation.
I love every piece of you. I will choose you again and again, every day, for the rest of my life.
After the ceremony, we provided a few fun and original activities that wouldn't break the bank, like temporary tattoos of our cats, our friend’s artwork, and Ester’s real-life tattoos.
We loved seeing guests of all ages rock their sick tats for the rest of the evening!
We wanted a variety of low-key activities that were short and sweet and wouldn’t break the bank. Courtney had the idea to make a trivia game using real questions from our OKCupid profiles!
She’s been to a LOT of weddings, often as a plus-one, and wanted to make sure the game would be fun even if you didn’t know the couple at all. To that end, every question was an easy multiple choice, and invites the player to make small talk with fellow guests by sharing how they would answer, too. Live-action internet dating!
We spent a long time thinking about what to do for the guestbook. We saw some cool options like vintage phones that record audio, boxes for guests to drop in messages, and of course the classic big ol' book. We wanted to find something that would fit us and not cost hundreds, so Ester eventually came up with the brilliant tape recorder idea.
We purchased a recorder and bought enough tapes for at least twenty more weddings. We discovered some technical issues after the fact, and also learned that not everyone likes to record their own voice. But we feel very lucky to have all our toasts recorded on cassette!
Neither of us like cake, so we had wedding popsicles and wedding churros instead!
And of course, we always make time to dance.
- Venue: Dunn Gardens IG: @dunn.gardens
- Photography: Rove Coast Photography IG: @rovecoast
- Day-of Coordinator: Jenny Cravens IG: @allinthedetailsseattle
- Dessert: Seattle Pops IG: @seattle_pops
- Catering: Paseo IG: @seattlepaseo
- Suit: Indochino IG: @indochinoweddings
- Dress: Blue Sky Bridal IG: @blueskybridal
- Rings: With These Rings
- Furniture: Stellar Event Rentals IG: @stellar_event_rentals
- Table Decor: Parlez Soiree IG: @parlezsoiree