The Offbeat Bride: Shannon
Her offbeat partner: Jen
Date and location of wedding: Camp Campbell, Boulder Creek, CA — August 30, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We definitely wanted a rustic/DIY-themed celebration, and felt that the venue was the most important part of that theme. Once we secured Camp Campbell, Jen's creative wonder went wild! Everything from building a bar out of pallets, to enlisting her friend to paint burlap signs and personalized name tags for jars, this was definitely in her wheelhouse. Everything about it was just perfect, mostly because of all the love and detail that went into planning it. We couldn't have been happier with our wedding in the woods.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We hired a DJ/vocalist duo named Toast & Bells, who interestingly enough I found through a Craigslist ad I had written, but all but given up on when I got their message. We still get compliments on the vocalist, Rachelle. We walked down the aisle to her version of Melissa Ferrick's “Anything, Anywhere,” which if you've heard it, you know that the lyrics can melt any heart.
While the ceremony mirrored traditional, we did our very best to make it anything but. Rather than be “given away,” I had my brother walk me halfway down the aisle, and then Jen came to meet me. It was more of a joint meeting in the middle, rather than a transaction. We also wrote our own vows and were married by a good friend, and fellow social justice activist, Ernie, who was ordained online. There was supposed to be a reading by our friend, Katie, but we missed it, so she read it during the reception. It was called, “Things I learned about love, from Shannon & Jen, James Baldwin, and Ranier Rilke.”
As far as decor, we were in a natural redwood chapel, so there wasn't much that could top it. We did add a gigantic rug on the stage that we picked up at a garage sale, though, and now it's in our bedroom.
Tell us about your reception:
We were in a huge field surrounded by a majestic forest (in spite of the drought), so lawn games were a must. People played cornhole, signed our handmade guest book (also from pallets), took photos in the open air photo booth, and just hung out. We didn't want the reception to be too organized, so we had a loose timeline and really just went with the flow. We ate delicious organic food, played the shoe game, a few of our friends gave speeches, and we had our first (unrehearsed) dance to Rachelle singing “Diamonds” acoustically. That song had just came out when we met back in 2012 and everywhere we went it was playing. It seemed fitting that our first dance as a married couple be to it.
The most touching moments for me, though, are when all 90 of us gathered in a huge circle to say the Serenity Prayer before our meal, and when Jen gave the most moving impromptu speech ever. Words can't convey how moving each were. If you were there, you know. In lieu of favors, we made a donation on behalf of each of our guests to San Francisco-based suicide hotline, TransLifeline. We did give out personalized Chapsticks, though. It's not a lesbian wedding if there's no Chapstick involved! The end of the night was spent around a fire ravaging s'mores, honoring how blessed we were to have such an incredible celebration.
What was your most important lesson learned?
The fiddlers were our biggest challenge. Someone told us in the early planning stages to prepare for anything and everything to go wrong, and now we know that firsthand. After finding and signing a contract at our dream venue, the planning seemed to happen naturally and without many hitches. Then, just a few months before the wedding, we got a call saying that there's been a terrible mistake and we were double booked with a group of 250+ fiddlers! We panicked, of course. The save-the-dates had already gone out, people had booked flights to California, vendors were booked and paid. We had to get married that day and at that location.
Rather than get into all the sticky details, I'll just say that in the end, everything worked out beautifully and there wasn't a fiddler in sight on our wedding day. We learned a lot through that experience: how important it was to stand up for each other, to be patient with one another & others, and most importantly to have faith in the Universe. The best advise I can give is recycled, just remixed: Prepare for things to go wrong, because they will. And regardless of what that thing is, just breathe through it.
- Photographer: Molly Gilholm
- Shannon's dress: Allure Bridal
- Jen's custom suit: http://www.bindleandkeep.com/
- Venue: Camp Campbell
- Rings: Dawes Design
- Floral: Love Apple Floral
- Herb boxes, bud vases, garland, bouquets, and boutonnieres: the bride, Jen
- DJ: Toast & Bells
- Cake: Buttercup Bakery
- Day of Coordinator: Sabrina Haley
- Rentals: Alexis Party Rental
- Makeup: Makeup by Amy Wolfrom
- Hair: Your Hair By Michelle