Some of y'all may remember the teaser post we shared featuring JP and Scott's FANTASTIC queer groom fashion. They're back, and not only did they bring their beautiful wedding photos, but provided us with the sizzle reel of the freaking CENTURY. Come for the queer groom fashion, stay for the layers of queer wedding epicness!
Offbeat partners: JP Karliak & Scott Barnhardt
Date and location: Camarillo Ranch – Camarillo, CA — 07/09/2022
Our queer wedding with queer groom fashion at a glance:
The marriage of a Broadway boy who loves Dolly Parton and a cartoon voice who idolizes Skeletor, all on a ranch dripping with Vincent Minnelli “Meet Me In St. Louis” realness replete with Judy Garland and Auntie Mame-ified tuxedos and a RuPaul's Drag Race lipsync throwdown. But really: the 40-ish year journey of two queer folk to each other and the celebration of the many wonderful souls who walked with them along the way.
Going off the “Meet Me In St. Louis” theme, Scott wanted a summery, masculine suit, yet with some queer touches that paid homage to Judy Garland from the film. Specifically her blue & white striped outfit from “The Boy Next Door” scene. Scott's suit was pink to complement JP's, but the blue/white striped shirt, the vintage white high-topped leather shoes, and especially the custom bow tie (matching Judy's exactly!) were all in service to this vision.
Oh and one more thing: we each got custom Converse (with insoles) to wear for the reception, knowing full well the fancy shoes we bought would destroy our feet. We're SO GLAD WE DID!!
Tell us about the queer wedding ceremony:
The ceremony began at 5:30pm just as the mid-day California heat was beginning to break. The grounds of Camarillo Ranch are stately and picturesque. And tucked away from the 100+ year old red barn where the reception was held, and in the shadow of a grand Victorian Manor, the outdoor ceremony for 200 witnesses was held in a quaint garden framed by an antique gazebo with a perfectly oxidized ceiling.
The tone of the day was celebratory, joyous, and colorful. There was no such thing as “too much” in this circle. Guests took the dress code to heart and showed up in beautiful patterns and bold colors. The collection of humans sitting on pristine white chairs in the intimate garden created a patchwork quilt of vibrancy.
Every detail of the ceremony was thought through between Scott and JP. While in structure the event could certainly be recognized as a wedding, there were flares of surprise throughout. Perhaps most important to the couple, no cell phones were allowed during the ceremony so the participants could be fully present to witness their union.
The officiant, Jason Michael Snow, a very talented Broadway and film/TV actor, used humor and charm to keep the ceremony moving along, while taking great care to make sure the moments of earnest connection could land and be appreciated by all.
Kicking off the procession was a pair of liturgical dancers: Wendy Rosoff and Tom DeTrinis. These two talented humans were responsible for Scott and JP meeting. Decked in caftans and LaDuca kitten-heel dance shoes, they danced, pranced and giggled down the aisle (in lieu of flower children) and set a perfectly ridiculous and joyous tone for the events to follow. Family followed (no wedding party, see below), and then Scott and JP individually. JP pulled a final surprise by signing some of the lyrics to “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now,” a tribute to Scott's stage work in ASL.
…Wait till you see the incredible dancing down the aisle and the ASL in action in the sizzle reel!
Other highlights of the ceremony were Lindsay Mendez & Krysta Rodriguez singing “Carried Me With You” by Brandi Carlile (from the movie Onward) accompanied by Christopher W. Smith on keyboard, and Scott's brother, Frank, on guitar.
Also readings of Neil Gaimen's “All I Know About Love” and an Excerpt from the “Obergefell v Hodges” decision by JP's sisters Molly and Jessica Stone.
Instead of a traditional wedding party, a new tradition was forged: “The Fellow Travelers.” Scott and JP asked 7 of their dear friends who represented a unique time in their lives (i.e. High School, College, First Job, etc.) to share a reflection of their time with Scott and JP. As told in chronological order, first Scott's travelers and then JP's, it illuminated the journey of Scott and JP coming to find each other. LOTS of tears were shed during this section of the ceremony.
To include the witnesses and guests in an intentional way, Scott and JP included a Ring Warming Ceremony. In traditional Celtic weddings, the rings are passed from guest to guest with each guest holding a ring and offering a silent wish, prayer, or positive vibe for the couple. The idea is that by the time these bands reach the front they’ve been touched, held, and wished on by the entire community and all that energy stays in the rings forever.
Throughout the ceremony, custom dolls of Dolly Parton (Scott's favorite singer) and Skeletor (JP's favorite character) had Scott and JP's wedding rings around their neck and guests were able to take a second, touch the ring, imbue it with something good, something hopeful, something loving and pass it on.
The vows were written by the couple, and both certainly fell in line with the Dolly Parton quote from Steel Magnolias: “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” Earnest, humorous, and full of love and gratitude for the journey to the other.
JP's final vow statement brought on the waterworks:
Finally… I do promise to love you… for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health… but not till death do us part… because my love for you can’t be contained in this one body, in this one lifetime. But science tells us that matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only change form. So many years from now… long after we’re gone… someone will find an old image of this wedding. Of us. And they’ll see who we were. How we felt in this moment. And the energy of this day will return once again. So I can love you for one more second in time.
The ceremony concluded with a Pronouncement, brilliantly written by Jason Michael Snow (and adapted after hearing JP's vows), to officially unite the couple in marriage. After their kiss, the original rendition of “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now” began to play and the couple and their Fellow Travelers danced down the aisle.
And to top off the MGM dream of a ceremony, they all hopped onto a Trolley that escorted them (while singing “The Trolley Song” of course) to the start of the cocktail hour in style!
Tell us about the queer wedding reception:
The dress code was “wear something when you look in the mirror, you think ‘I look fabulous'.” That took the form of gender-bending, vintage florals, royal wedding fascinators, summer casual and black tie, feathers, sequins, and the robbery of at least one theater’s costume shop.
We had a trolley that served as a guest shuttle from the main hotel, our recessional getaway vehicle/joyride, and a backdrop for cocktail hour photos.
Every place setting had an “Old Timey Dance Card,” where guests were given different prompts to meet other folks! Like “chat with somebody Scott worked with” or “dance with someone 10 years older or younger than you” or “gossip over dessert with someone that has an embarrassing JP story.” Then they wrote down on the card who they talked to and turned them in! We loved reading them!
Our first dance was kicked off with a slideshow including pictures of us from birth till today. We started our dance once we “met” in a collage of photos of our relationship.
We also did an “In Memoriam” slideshow of our parents and grandparents who have passed. It led into a dance between Scott and his aunt in memory of his mom.
We did a Drag Race LipSync which immediately led into open dancing as we pulled people out of their seats onto the dance floor. It was PACKED!
The night concluded with the final song “The Time of My Life,” which led into Scott being lifted Jennifer Grey-style by all of us below. Totally unplanned, completely spontaneous, absolutely perfect!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
We examined the whole idea of marriage, the traditions, the customs, the many purchases we were told we HAD to make… and really thought about what applied to us, what didn't, what could be changed to fit our needs, and what didn't belong at all.
We headed the advice of being intentional about the planning/structure of the event via the wise words of Priya Parker's “The Art of Gathering.” We didn't rely on the routine of a wedding, but made deliberate choices about WHY we were doing this and how to share that information/experience with our guests. The goal: to create a meaningful event (and weekend) for our chosen families.
We ditched a wedding party in favor of “fellow travelers” to be more inclusive.
We wanted our photos to show our friends at their best, not in the uniform we told them to wear, so we ditched a real dress code.
We hate cake — so we had Hawaiian ice and pie! We're not big on flowers, so we only had greenery.
No detail was too small to examine and make personal and our own, and every attendee really picked up on that. That said, we let go of a few things along the way that weren't worth the stress (we dropped decor for an already stunning gazebo and dropped the need for a photo booth).
This was a joyous process. And anything that felt like a real stressor was changed or dropped. We wanted to enjoy the day, not be freaking out at vendors. Instead we were hugging all of them.
We can agree we all loved the photos from this queer wedding with FIRE queer groom fashion, yeah? Now wait till you see their wedding video:
A few of the vendors behind this queer wedding with Skeletor, Dolly Parton, and queer groom fashion:
- Wedding Planner: Jason Mitchell Kahn
- Venue: Camarillo Ranch
- Catering: Command Performance Catering
- DJ: Jonathan at RedShoe DJ
- Hair & Makeup: BreLuxe Beauty
- Photographer: Andrew & Melanie Mishler // @melanie_mishler
- Videographer: Kristiann Jones at Enchanted Captures// @enchantedcaptures.withkk
- Transportation: Santa Barbara Trolley Company
- JP's Outfit: Custom by Patrick Howell
- JP's Shirt: custom by Proper Cloth
- JP's Shoes: custom by Girotti
- JP & Scott’s Hairstyles: Tonia Jost
- Scott's Pink Suit: Tommy Hilfiger at Macy's
- Scott’s White Victorian Boots by Stacy Adams
- Scott's Shirt: custom by Proper Cloth
- Scott’s Custom Bow Tie by Melissa Velia