Michelle & Deborah


Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

I’m a little absurdly excited about today’s post. I know, I know, but I just am. Michelle (the one in the red shrug, for those of you who like to know these things) and I have been friends since back in her NYU days, and my slightly-past-NYU professional NYC theatre days. Michelle is hilarious (and will be back tomorrow co-hosting Ask Team Practical with Alyssa… yeahhhh, it’s gonna be good), and we used to be on an email list together, back in Web 1.0, about Television Without Pity, and American Idol. We’ve logged many a snarky writing hour together. She’s also a writer for So You’re EnGAYged, but I knew her first, so I’m borrowing her today! So I’m thrilled to bring you Michelle and Deborah’s theatre-kid wedding. It’s a story of learning to own your power, to stand up for yourself without apology, and, well, cutting cakes with swords. So. The important stuff.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Deborah and I met in a summer community theatre production of Thoroughly Modern Millie just two months after I had moved back home to Texas.  I had been living my dream life in New York City, interning for a Broadway PR company and attending NYU. Then I got hit by a drunk driver while I was in a cab in Long Island. Due to the accident and resulting knee injury, I moved back in with my parents so I could go through physical therapy. I was broken, mentally and physically. So, I did what any good theatre kid does when they are feeling down in the dumps– I auditioned for a musical.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Deborah and I spent a lot of time together during the production, and after months of friendship, flirting and late nights watching The X-Files, we started dating in October 2007. By July of 2008, we were already discussing our futures together.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

We both came from very traditional families, so I don’t think we ever considered *not* getting married. To us, the fact that we were two women living in a state that constitutionally bans gay marriage didn’t phase us at all. We proposed to each other in September 2008 after a completely serious discussion over the appropriate minimum length of dating time required prior to an engagement (see? traditional).

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Now, having been a wedding junkie since the tender age of 10, I jumped head first into wedding planning. The funny thing about planning our wedding was how much I grew-up during the process. Sure, in the general day to dayness of your twenties you learn about compromise, sacrifice, dreams and goals.  Somehow, our wedding put that learning curve on hyper-drive and sent me sky-rocketing into full fledged honest to goodness adulthood. In planning our wedding, we were defining ourselves.  That doesn’t mean our wedding defined who we were to other people. What I mean is that our wedding helped define our roles as wife and wife.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

There were a lot of DIY projects for the wedding. The biggest project was making our bouquets. Deborah, being the responsible person she is, didn’t want to spend loads of money on flowers because…well, flowers die. We ended up making both of our bouquets and all of our bridesmate bouquets.  When I say we, what I really mean is me and our bridesmate Sarah. Deborah is not a crafty person. She is logical and rational and can do things with our monthly expense budget that I would never be able to, but the woman can’t tie a bow to save her life. This, very surprisingly, turned out to be extremely frustrating.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Equally frustrating was the assumption from friends and family that because we are both women, we would be equally awesome at doing crafty, artistic things. The whole gender-role wedding issues arose on more than one occasion, but I eventually learned that our loved ones weren’t trying to be rude. It never made the questions less annoying, but once I realized they were coming from genuine curiosity or confusion, I was able to have honest conversations with people. I would calmly explain that just because Deborah is not a DIY genius doesn’t mean she cares less about the wedding. It didn’t mean she was ‘acting like the groom’ who didn’t care what ‘the bride’ did (which is just a gross assumption, gay or straight). She just wasn’t (isn’t) crafty.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

That being said, accepting and loving my significant other’s shortcomings, no matter how trivial they may be, was a difficult process. Especially when it was 2 a.m. and I was covered in tiny hot glue gun burns and asking Deborah if she could just maybe help with these motherf&*ing bouquets this ONE TIME?!  When her flower looked more like a five year old’s art project over the solar system, I couldn’t be mad. I wanted to be mad! I wanted to say that I was doing all of the work and pout, but where would that get us? I would be upset and Deborah would feel bad about herself, but she wouldn’t magically become a DIY expert just because I threw a hissy fit. So, I fixed her sad little flower, and she kept me company and helped where she could. That would be what we educators call “a teaching moment”.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Navigating a wedding with two ladies in a state where homosexuality was actually illegal twenty years ago is a bit… tricky.  So is dealing with parents who refuse to recognize you as their daughter’s fiancee. I would love to say that we took Deborah’s parents refusal to participate in or even acknowledge our wedding in stride. We didn’t. We are still struggling with it today. For a time, their lack of support, though expected, affected how we dealt with other people outside of friends and my family. Deborah and I would sort of try to skirt the whole ‘how do you feel about gay weddings?‘ conversations when we would first talk to vendors. For a while, I felt like the ‘gay’ thing should only be discussed in whispered conversations. After all, it was whispered conversation between Deborah’s family.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

When Prop 8 passed, something else shifted in the way Deborah and I handled our wedding planning. For two people who have always tried to do ‘the right thing’, it seemed like our wedding was everything but. Sometimes, we felt like the whole world didn’t want us to get married. That idea did some terrible things to our self-esteem. When speaking to vendors, heck even distant friends sometimes, I would mention it was a gay wedding and then mentally prepare myself for a slap in the face. It almost was like we were asking permission to get married from every person we encountered.  It was strange and very self-demeaning.  When I think about it now, it makes me nauseous.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

After a particularly tense episode surrounding a trip to visit Deborah’s family for Christmas, we reached our emotional limit.  Yes, it hurt that an entire side of her family would not be a part of our wedding or our life, but we couldn’t let that keep us from celebrating the family and love we had. We got sick of feeling like our wedding didn’t hold the same weight as other weddings. I then went to the other extreme and got a little angry and militant. This too was a strange reaction, and any psychology major would be able to scream “DEFENSE MECHANISM” , WHAT?!  Eventually, like goldilocks, we found the ‘just right’ form of interaction with others. For us, that was balls-to-the-wall-bluntness. Bluntness, not to be confused with anger, prevented many awkward situations and stupid questions, especially from vendors ( Are y’all having a double wedding? Are y’all sisters?).

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

I always assumed, like most people do, that Smalltown, Texas, is not a welcoming place for the LGBT community. I am happy to report that my assumption was for the most part wrong. Once we got over our issues and started treating ourselves the way we deserved to be treated (i.e. engaged, happy couple), I found that people we didn’t know were excited for us and vendors were thrilled to work with us. It made the whole planning experience strangely empowering. Getting to that place was a journey and even though I knew Deborah and I were married couple material, it was on that journey we realized who we really were and how we worked as a couple.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Once we stopped thinking of our wedding as a ‘gay wedding’ and started see it for what it really was, OUR wedding, everything fell into place.  Sure, the day we got married had a few mishaps.  We had a bridesmate go M.I.A., a fair share of ‘no show’ wedding guests and I hated the boutonnieres so much that I made our male bridesmates take them off immediately following the ceremony.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Yet, every ounce of stress or anxiety melted when I saw Deborah for the first time that day. Our photographer encouraged us to do a ‘first look’ and I am so glad we did. Those first few minutes made our wedding day a reality instead of this whirl of activity and emotions. Neither of us were prepared for how momentous or meaningful it would be. I would highly encourage any couple to try and do a first look if they can arrange it. After our first look, things moved quickly from photos to ceremony to reception, but even though the hours flew by I feel like the moments did not. Just for the record, I call ‘shennanigans‘ on anyone who tries to tell you that you won’t remember your wedding day!

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

So, if I could offer advice to anyone getting married it would be this: Don’t let anybody make you feel like you are less than an amazing human being or less than a beautiful loving couple. Regardless of whatever may be stressing you out right now, know that your wedding will be remarkable.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

Here’s why: you will be marrying your friend, your constant, your touchstone.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

I promise you that all the bullshit that surrounds your wedding won’t matter once you walk down the aisle; because you will be just minutes away from marrying not only the person you love, but the person who makes you feel like you could run a marathon, broken knee be damned.

Michelle & Deborah | A Practical Wedding

The InfoVenue: The Astin MansionMichelle’s Dress: VIP Bridal in College Station (Side-note: my dress was a $325 sample, in real people sizes no less, so if anyone in Texas is looking for a good dress and willing to road trip—I would highly encourage it!); Michelle’s Bolero: Crimson Empress; Deborah & Bridesmates Dresses: David’s Bridal; Head-wear: Hems and BustlesSuits: H&M; Ceremony and Reception Music: Acoustic ProductionCakes: Cinderella Stories (Book Cake), Cakes by Jocelyn (Croque-em-bouche, ask Michelle for info); Adorable bird cake toppers: The Girl In Yellow

Photos: Katherine O’Brien Photography in Austin, Texas

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  • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

    The joy! The glee! I have no words for how giddy these pictures made me – I started sniffling halfway through and haven’t really stopped yet. And how wedding planning made you feel like an adult, for real? Yeah, I had that moment too. Except I was the non-crafty one who provided moral support while J folded itty bitty origami for hours on end… And I can’t count the number of times we’d talk to a vendor and they would look at us and say – so where’s the groom? And we’d have to explain that we weren’t, in fact, brother and sister. So evidently it can happen to anyone!

  • Canita

    This was in my town which my family jokingly calls the conservative capital of Texas! Wow! Congrats to the lovely couple! I’m thrilled to hear that vendors were happily cooperative and that the wedding was such a fun time. I’m also thrilled to see some local vendors! Great story…thanks for sharing!

  • Caroline

    I am not usually one to fawn over DIY details, but DANG those bouquets are about the prettiest things I have ever seen.

    Right, back to real stuff – awesome, lovely post, and great to hear that (most) vendors in Texas were positive. Your pictures are glowing, and they make me happy :)

    • Mallory

      Agreed about those bouquets! They almost inspire me to make my own, though I’m afraid I may bit a bit more in Deborah’s camp of craftiness…

      And that bolero!!!!

      What a beautiful wedding grad post. One of my favorites!

      • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

        We made my bouquets as well (but out of felt & family jewelry) & I cannot express how AWESOME it was to have something like it. Everyone drooled over it and I have the coolest keepsake EVER.

        My mother, my mother in law, one of his sisters, my sister, myself, two bridesmaids, and our mothers’ entire quilting guild rallied together to help make the 8 bouquets over the span of 4 months.

        My advice? Enlist LOTS OF CRAFTY FRIENDS. Even those who aren’t super crafty can help assemble and pick out flowers/buttons/fabric/jewelry/etc. Those suckers will take forever. Totally worth it in the end, though.

    • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

      I have chime in on the bouquet love. They are GORGEOUS. You could seriously start an Etsy business selling them, they are so amazing. (As was the rest of your wedding!)

      • valeria

        I have to agree,the bouquets are beautiful.What a great memento from the wedding!

    • http://bringitinheavy.tumblr.com Genevieve

      Ditto on the rad bouquets!!! Can I please request a DIY tutorial on those? I am seriously coveting them and have been struggling with how to make a non-perishable-flower something to hold in my hands.

      • Mallory

        YES!!!! I would love a tutorial on these, they’re beautiful!!!

        • http://www.cookiejarcupcakes.com Louise

          I have made the paper flowers that form part of this bouquet following these instructions. They were tricky (for me, a little craftily challenged) to get absolutely perfect but after a practice couple got easier.
          http://foldingtrees.com/2008/11/kusudama-tutorial-part-1/

  • http://www.queerskiesahead.com BirdRoughsIt

    This brought tears to my eyes, and I wanted to show you every sentence that I thoroughly agreed with, but then I realized that would be almost the whole post. You are both GLOWING in these pictures, and I LOVE your book cake! Here’s to learning to be a couple through wedding planning, even if your future wife CAN’T DIH(erself).

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    “In planning our wedding, we were defining ourselves. That doesn’t mean our wedding defined who we were to other people. What I mean is that our wedding helped define our roles as wife and wife.”

    This touched me deeply. As did all of the rest of it! The pictures are incredible, my heart is literally beating faster. I’m so very glad you were able to push past the self-minimizing from the stupid stupid STUPID haters.

  • Gillian

    thank you for sharing your wedding, your photos (you guys look awesome!), and the x-files quote ;)

    • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Michelle

      Gillian- thank you! I really like your x-filian name :) We actually used that quote during our ring exchange. The whole thing “You are my friend, and you tell me the truth. Even when the world is falling apart, you are my constant. My touchstone.”

  • Meredyth

    You two are the funnest looking couple I’ve seen on this site. Every picture looks like an incredibly awesome time was being had, and jazz hands were obviously mandatory. These pictures are such evidence that you’re marrying your best friend. Honestly, it’s unreal how much fun you must have been having. When I move to Austin wanna hang out?

    More seriously, this part: “Sometimes, we felt like the whole world didn’t want us to get married. That idea did some terrible things to our self-esteem. When speaking to vendors, heck even distant friends sometimes, I would mention it was a gay wedding and then mentally prepare myself for a slap in the face. It almost was like we were asking permission to get married from every person we encountered. It was strange and very self-demeaning. When I think about it now, it makes me nauseous.” It left me in tears. It’s been a strange process for us getting married and feeling like we were kids playing dress up. But everyone took us seriously. I can’t imagine feeling like I had to ask permission for how I felt, and the fact that you did, and the fact that your love felt somehow more trivial or false to others because you’re ladies made me so sad. This right here increased my (already strong) feeling that NOT having the right to marry is a civil injustice not just for legal reasons but for emotional reasons that resonate throughout our communities. I’m sorry you felt that way at all, but happy that you came through it and had a blast at your wedding.

  • Lauren

    What a beautiful post! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • Abby C.

    All I can say is YAY! Go Michelle and Deborah!!

  • http://smittenimmigrant.wordpress.com Pluis

    It looks like so much fun!

    Is that a cake decorated to look like books? That’s just awesome!

    It’s impressive how you managed to find an equilibruim in wedding planning, and how it helped you shape your roles as wives to each other. Lovely :)

  • http://made-of-sun.blogspot.com/ Trisha

    You know those grad posts where you see a couple and want to say to them “You are so awesome! Please be my friend? Please?” but you are worried that you’ll come off as a total crazy-face if you do? Yeah, this is one of them. The obvious and rampant joy, the bouquets, the book cake, all of it is wonderful.

  • http://blametheweatherman.wordpress.com Melissa

    I couldn’t eat your pictures up fast enough. You two are absolutely gorgeous, and the grins and smiles were so full of love it almost brought tears. I’m a Texan, too, & Rick Perry can suck it. Anyone who sees the pictures can’t possibly have anything ill to say.

    I also LOVE your shrug! Oh. my. goodness.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      The shrug is *amazing*.

  • Cameron

    I’m just upset that I couldn’t be a part of this awe-inspiring event! Ten times more love in that place than any silly “straight” wedding I’ve ever attended. Egads–the book cake, the bouquets, the dancing, the sword, the BOLERO (I’m getting me one of these…) are all so fabulous. And thank you for the use/invention of the term “bridesmate” as I’ve been struggling with what to call my male bridesmaid. “Bridesman” just lacks a certain ring… Congrats and a lifetime of love to you both.

  • Danielle

    What a beautiful post! And Deborah, can I just say that I love your dress? LOVE.

  • http://intrepidbrytani.wordpress.com Brytani

    “I would calmly explain that just because Deborah is not a DIY genius doesn’t mean she cares less about the wedding. It didn’t mean she was ‘acting like the groom’ who didn’t care what ‘the bride’ did (which is just a gross assumption, gay or straight). She just wasn’t (isn’t) crafty. That being said, accepting and loving my significant other’s shortcomings, no matter how trivial they may be, was a difficult process.”

    Oooh, yes. I’ve been there. My groom was a bit of a silent partner to the whole planning process and at some points I would get frustrated and say, “do you really not care about any of this?” To which he would reply, “Of course, but not nearly as much as you do.” Which made me mad at first and then later I decided it was kinda sweet when he elaborated that he just wanted me to have whatever I wanted. His support and skills in making me laugh when I was crying were the best contributions to planning, even if they were invisible to other people, and I defended his position as the keeper of my sanity more than once.

    I’m so glad you two were able to see yourselves as equally deserving of a dream wedding. The pictures are gorgeous and I can see joy written all over them. May it follow you through the rest of your marriage, you beautiful ladies.

  • http://orifitweresublime.wordpress.com/ Kelly

    I love the happiness that emanates from these pictures. Also the book cake? The bouquets? Can you please plan my wedding?

    Congratulations! And also I would like to second @Melissa’s thoughts on Rick Perry

  • http://lezgethitched.blogspot.com Diana

    Oh, thank you! I’ve been following your wedding on So You’re Engayged and I’m so glad you wrote this post. You gave voice to all of these things I’ve been feeling as my lady and I start planning our wedding, especially the asking for permission and the effects on my self-esteem.

    I’m going to try my best to hang onto this in the months ahead: “Here’s why: you will be marrying your friend, your constant, your touchstone.”

  • http://thehandmadeevent.com Kari

    I love it, love it, love it. I love the flowers, the opinions on crafting, the fun sword cutting pictures, the book cake, the sparkler exit, and I really love the happy couple. I am just filled with joy looking at these pictures, and I think that this was one of the most engaging posts I have ever read (and, um, I read all of them). Congrats to you both! May your marriage be as joyful as your reception!

  • Edelweiss

    Favorite thing countdown:
    5. Both your dresses – gorgeous!
    4. You as teacher + “When her flower looked more like a five year old’s art project over the solar system” = <3
    3. "our wedding helped define our roles as wife and wife"
    2. "Once we got over our issues and started treating ourselves the way we deserved to be treated" – great life advice
    1. Decapitating your croque-em-bouche with a sword!

  • http://misallocationofresources.blogspot.com Jenn

    The photo of you attacking the croque-em-bouche with a sword is phenomenal. Love it :)

    I feel like the attitude we all take in approaching our weddings is so important, and you are 100% right in how it seems to define other peoples’ reactions as a result. For a while I felt embarrassed/ashamed by how much effort I wanted to put in, thinking no one would understand why I wanted to DIY all this stuff, thinking people would somehow judge me and like me less. How crazy is that? Luckily I have great friends who convinced me otherwise (thanks APW!)

  • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

    thank you for writing about respecting your own wedding. this would have done wonders for me to read before i got married. as a mormon lady marrying a not-mormon man in a secular building, i often felt like my wedding wasn’t as legitimate as the LDS temple weddings that people in my family and (traditional, conservative) community strive for. i can absolutely relate to telling people in my church that i was engaged to my agnostic long-term boyfriend and that we were not getting married in the temple and then flinching in anticipation of their recation. in hindsight, i learned what you did. once i let myself be happy, people were (of course) overwhelmingly happy for us. it was really hard to get to that point. and, frankly, it still is. i’m learning it’s important not to let anybody make me feel like my marriage is somehow less real, also. i know that my interfaith experience only gives me a glance into your journey, which is surely much more strenuous at times, but i’m grateful for your post and insight.

    also, deborah’s dress? i love it. i tried it on many times at DB. the pockets are the most incredible, right?!

    • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Michelle

      Deborah’s dress was phenomenal! Everyone in our bridal brigade had pockets *except* me. I was so jealous.

  • Tegan

    OMG those pictures are GORGEOUS! It makes me want to shove my guy in a big poofy dress so that I can have those pictures too! :-P (He’d probably do it for the lolz)

    Wow, everything about this wedding is just beautiful and well-put-together it seems. I don’t care how much of it was 2am work (I’ve been in theatre too! :-p) it looks well orchestrated and godsdamned beautiful.

    Wow, I just really can’t get past your pictures…

    Congrats! And I’m so happy for you that you wound up not having a terrible Texas experience.

  • http://eclpse.lifestylesmagazine.com Kimberly

    The book cake!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    (Actually, my birthday is in just a few short weeks, hmmmm . . . . )

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

    I have been following your posts on SYE and been lusting after your wedding the entire time, what a treat to see you here too! Congratulations!

  • Kat

    I’m so, so, SOOOOO very happy to see marriage equality here in Bryan! I’ve done so many weddings at that venue, and I am not lying when I say that this is definitely one of the more heartfelt weddings I’ve seen! Congratulations to you both!

    P.S. I seriously almost fell out of my chair when I recognized the Astin Mansion… no lie. Such an amazing place!! :-D

  • http://www.wedding-for-two.com Ellie

    I had the exact same problem with the whole “practical partner but I’m the crafty one”. Every time my husband said, “but we can just do that ourselves” I wanted to turn on him and yell, “AND WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK ‘WE’ IS?” He does it now too. “We should bring a pie to so-and-sos barbecue” only we all know who makes the pie, and that would be me, while he putters around the house and plays on his computer. But he does all the practical and nitty gritty stuff – files our taxes, pays our bills, makes sure we have money in the bank. I’ve always been stressed over this because I felt like it was a gender-role thing: I am the woman, therefore I must be crafty. But but but…if this happens with two women, well, maybe it doesn’t have to be a gender thing and I can just let that stress go.

    Thank you for this post though. It’s lovely, and I love seeing two women in beautiful fluffy dresses. And the bouquets are GORGEOUS.

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    This was such a touching, moving post. Also, theatre people have the BEST expressions in photographs (achem, Meg.) And chopping off the top of your cake? Coolest photo ever! Congrats!!

  • http://onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    I love the honesty in this post, and it made me smile because I remember the DIY part of our wedding and getting frustrated with my husband at times when it came to getting everything done and being the only “crafty” one. Wouldn’t you know, though, that when the time came to fold paper cranes – I couldn’t do it, but he mastered it immediately.

    Anyway, It’s so easy to get frustrated at various points when planning a wedding, and while I we did have some family issues, we didn’t have to deal with not being accepted by each other’s families – it’s understandable that you both still struggle with this – I can’t imagine how hard that would be and it takes truly strong characters to handle it so well. You had such a beautiful wedding and you can see the love radiate between you both.

  • http://contradictorylife.wordpress.com Barbra

    I think this post has a great message for life, not just for weddings. You can’t ever expect other people to treat you better or respect you more than you do yourself. Anytime we treat ourselves like we don’t deserve something, other people won’t think we deserve it either.
    Someone told me once to be as nice and encouraging to myself as I am to my best friend. I think she deserves the world! So I’ve been trying to remind myself that I do, also. This post was a great reminder of that.

  • http://dearwedding.wordpress.com/ Andee

    I just want to exclaim that I have been encouraged more and gained more confidence in my wedding plan during APW Pride Week than at any other week!It so doesn’t matter if I am in a hetero relationship, this has been the most encouraging week on APW for me! Yea Pride Week!!!!!
    Also your wedding was astoundingly beautiful! Thank you for your wonderful words!

  • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

    One of my favorite grad posts of all time – the advice is wonderful, you two are gorgeous and your wedding day looks like one hell of a good time. I always love hearing the story behind the pictures!

  • http://breadvirgin.blogspot.com/ Libby

    Beautiful post with fantastic wisdom, beautiful wedding! It looks like it was a hell of a party!

  • Kathryn

    Michelle, I was so terribly excited to see your post today! I’m not a big commenter, but I have to say – this wedding was the best! Michelle is one of the bravest, funniest, and most amazing ladies that I know, and I’m so glad she found an equally amazing lady to spend her life with.

    I’m also glad that Michelle is a bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding and is lending me her awesome DIY skills! I feel lucky!

  • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

    “I always assumed, like most people do, that Smalltown, Texas, is not a welcoming place for the LGBT community. I am happy to report that my assumption was for the most part wrong.”

    My husband’s family is from Smalltown, Alberta – proud conservative redneck cowboys and farmers. We were up visiting last summer and one of his aunt’s starting talking about a girl she worked with who had recently got married to another woman. I was bracing myself a negativity, but all his aunt could talk about was how happy they were, and what a rowdy party the wedding was, and how there was a bit of raised eyebrows when the engagement was first announced, but then it passed. Even in the most conservative part of Canada, gay marriage is accepted as a right, and a celebration. It made me a little weepy, I will admit.

    It also made me wonder if it’s in some ways easier to accept in small towns, because it’s not “the gays” who are getting married, but “Suzy and Jenny” – people you know. It’s easier to be afraid of some faceless mass than someone you’ve known since they were a child.

    • meg

      And that’s why change is a’ coming, right there.

  • http://www.stefaniedebestphotography.com Stefanie de Best Photography

    A) I love the words Bridesmate
    B) Kudos to the two of you for treating your wedding and yourselves with the respect you deserve. There are so many emotions and different preconceived notions at play that it’s no easy thing.

  • valeria

    Congratulations on your wedding,you looked great and the photos tell it was a true celebration of love.You made think a lot what it must be to find the reject of people especially some family only because you are gay.When you are heterosexual you take for granted the option of getting married if you want.Gone are the days were people were TOLD to marry….
    Although it seems that for some people and in some countries we are still denying people what should be a basic right.
    Well done in going ahead despite the comments and the oposition.i completely understand that made into an adult,perhaps that is the true original meaning of wedding planning.
    All the best!!!!

  • Molly

    Bridesmate! Genius!

  • Shae

    THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  • http://twitter.com/emilyrose423 emily rose

    “It almost was like we were asking permission to get married from every person we encountered. It was strange and very self-demeaning.”

    I know that the situations aren’t totally comparable, but sometimes I felt this way about getting married at an age that’s considered quite young for my race/class/location/education-level/etcetera (we’re 21 and 22). Your words made me realize that I’m still carrying some of that permission-asking tendency in these early weeks of marriage as I start using words like “husband” with a bit of hesitation, and I really need to stop that.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      Oh, I’m nigh 30 and married for a year and still use the word husband a bit hesitantly, as I don’t feel adult enough to do such a grown up thing. Age is just a number. :)

  • Shannon

    YES!! That’s about all I can say about this post… I’m not really actively planning my wedding just yet, but somehow this was what I needed to hear today. Sometimes when I think about our wedding I get bogged down in the stuff that I know is going to be hard, and then I wonder if it’s really worth it. Thank you for giving me some reassurance on that!

    As a Canadian, it’s interesting for me to read all the posts during APW pride week. It’s exciting to see all the dominos falling around marriage equality in the U.S. With each passing year, it becomes possible for more people to marry in more U.S. states. When I heard about New York, it made my day.

    This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how marriage is changing in Canada now that we welcome all marriages. I certainly can’t speak for the entire country, and I admit that I live in a very gay friendly bubble of a community, but I think that there are some pretty great cultural things going on as a result of legalizing same sex marriage. I think that involving all sexual and gender identities in the discussion about marriage is bringing a much deeper meaning to marriage as a cultural construct. When marriage includes the diversity of human identity, it serves an important role in building the sort of egalitarian communities we all want to live in. Even though it’s not legal to get married everywhere in the U.S. (yet – it’s clearly going to happen!), Americans like you (Michelle and Deborah) are already involved in the general cultural discussion about marriage, and that is changing your culture’s definitions of marriage and community whether your marriage is legal or not. So… I guess I’m just saying more power to you! You’re being the change you want to see, and that is never without its struggles. And yet, it’s somehow always the most fulfilling way to live…

    Damn, we’re all so amazing, quietly changing the world one wedding and marriage at a time!

  • http://bringitinheavy.tumblr.com Genevieve

    I loved everything about this post! I wish I could’ve been rockin at your reception with y’all. You are a wise wise woman.

  • carrie

    I totally have tears in my eyes from the last parts of your story – I’m two weeks ago and am so freaked out about the *things*. But seeing the joy in your pictures match your advice makes me so very happy. Thank you for sharing, congratulations, and you ladies are so beautiful!

  • Marina

    I think this is my favorite wedding grad post ever. The pictures are SO beautiful, and the words are SO wise. Amazing.

  • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Michelle

    Thank you everybody for all of the kind words about our wedding! It was truly an awesome experience. Awesome in the dictionary definition way of inspiring awe. The amount of love and support we were shown on that day was overwhelming and the amount of love and support I read today in the comments was also so spectacular! Thank you thank you!

  • Kayakgirl73

    Fabulous wedding. The joy just jumps out from the pics, especially the dancing ones. That book cake, makes my librarian self want to jump into the computer to eat it.

  • Kat22

    Totally shallow comment: You’re both so beautiful! :)

  • Elyce

    “I promise you that all the bullshit that surrounds your wedding won’t matter once you walk down the aisle”

    From the bottom of my heart thank you for this. I’m in the middle of my own wedding shit storm and I never realised that one negative person could have such an effect on me. I can’t wait for it to melt away when I see my soul mate at the other end of the aisle.

    You and your wife are beautiful. Here’s to many happy years ahead! xx

  • http://ridiculouslyeverafter.blogspot.com nikki

    favorite grad post ever. ever ever ever.

    PS am I the only one who thinks Deborah looks like Evan Rachel Wood? like, a lot? gorgeous, gorgeous brides

  • Ariel

    This is now my favorite wedding grad post ever.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Michelle, thank you for your incredible insight about honoring ourselves and our relationships, no matter the audience – perceived or real. I want to cheer you two on to continue the amazing solidarity, confidence, and love you found for your wedding. Hurrah!

    Also, this sentence hit home for me today:
    “That being said, accepting and loving my significant other’s shortcomings, no matter how trivial they may be, was a difficult process.”

    As a happily married lady of almost two years, this continues to be relevant. And sage advice. Thank you!

  • Pingback: Weddings For All: Part II « tandem weddings

  • rebecca

    well now i’m crying at my desk at work. thank you for this beautiful post!

  • Spicy MacHaggis

    This was amazing for me to read. And timely.
    I am not, by nature, a ditherer. Nor, for that matter, a quibbler. I’ve been out and and proud and vocal and visible and all that for over twenty years. Half my life, even. Since I proposed to my boyfriend, now fiance, this past spring, though, I find myself dithering. And qualifying. And minimizing. (“We’re getting married. Well, not legally. I mean, we would if it was still legal. So we’re just having a commitment ceremony.”)
    We met today with Elizabeth from LHC and she pointed it out. “You’ve said ‘wedding’ and ‘commitment ceremony’ interchangeably,” she said. “So which is it?”
    We talked for a bit and I sort of mentally came back to the idea that, legality notwithstanding, I asked him to spend the rest of his life with me. Yes, we’re having a ceremony and yes, it’s for our commitment, but no, we’re not having a commitment ceremony. We’re getting married.
    Then we talked about pirates. And ninjas. And how pirates are way cooler than ninjas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406002856 ourlady

    Hire now! I just got married two mtnhos ago, I had my Florist by September of last year. You can go in, sit down and discuss everything you want at the moment. Then if you change your mind, you’ll have plenty of time to do the adjustments with the florist. The sooner the better for everything!! Trust me.