Iz, IT Specialist & Colleen, Public Health Advocate
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Everything for love, nothing for propriety.
Planned Budget: 15,000
Actual Budget: A little less than 17,000
Number of Guests: 125
Location: Fred Wildlife Refuge | Seattle, Washington
Where we allocated the most funds:
The biggest single wad of cash we dropped was on the venue. With the money we spent on it we got a cotton candy station, slushie machine, full staff, 60 foot video wall, and an incredibly helpful venue coordinator. We thought it was well worth it!
Where we allocated the least funds:
Given that we scrapped our original wedding plans six months out and started again from the top due to concerns about wildfire smoke at our original venue and the health of my grandmother, we focused on putting together a minimal viable wedding with all the things we would enjoy (kittens, tattoos, flower crowns, cotton candy) and ditching everything that woulds stress us out. We spent approximately twenty bucks on decor. There’s a hilarious picture that our photographer sent us of our attempt to use a $3 gold glitter poster board from Office Depot as a reception schedule sign laid out flat on a table because we were too cheap to buy an easel.
Quakers also don’t have wedding parties, in keeping with a spirit of humbleness and not elevating people above one another. We had a series of conversations with friends, and asked a group of them to serve as “witnesses and upholders” of our marriage, meaning that they would be there to both celebrate the good times with us and be there to support our marriage when times got tough. Saved us a bundle on wedding party costs too! Our photographer gave us a significant discount because she thought our wedding sounded fun.
What was totally worth it:
So many things. One was spending money to spend time with friends and family. We originally planned a camping wedding weekend out in the boons, and it became clear that that wasn’t going to work. Instead, we invested in getting an Airbnb for out of towners, having a welcome dinner, renting out a women’s bathhouse for our guests the morning of, and having a breakfast afterwards.
We also prioritized spending money on things would make them more comfortable. We went to a restaurant supply store the week before and bought a bunch of meats and cheeses for a cocktail hour, and made sure there was snacks at the ceremony site as well. We tried to be ethical in the way we spent our money, and supported primarily PoC and queer vendors. The kittens joined us for a donation to the Seattle Animal Shelter and the 501st Garrison came and partied with us for a donation to Black Girls Code.
We don’t have tons of money, and so it was amazing to be able to use the wedding as an excuse to support causes we care about. The thing that was most worth it was being upfront but kind with our families about who we are and what values we hold. As previously discussed on APW, some of my family had previously made transphobic comments, and in the process of talking with them about whether they’d be kind to me and our trans friends at our wedding, they disinvited themselves. But the love we were bathed in from our families throughout the whole weekend helped us know we’re on the right path.
What was totally not worth it:
We found working with the Quaker meetinghouse to be kind of a hassle. We’re not members of that meeting, although one of us has been a Friend for many years, and they seemed kind of suspicious about why we were having a wedding there. Ultimately, we could have spent the money on a secular space that was much more beautiful for half of what we paid.
A few things that helped us along the way:
Reading APW for years definitely taught me that a wedding could be whatever I wanted it to be, and that it didn’t have to include a single thing we didn’t want to. We cribbed a lot of the ceremony script from Colleen and Sam’s wedding.
We set low expectations for other people’s interest in participating in wedding. For example, my mom is surprisingly shy, and was adamant that she was not going to walk me down the aisle, give a toast, or stay with us during the weekend. We decided that her comfort was more important than forcing her to meet our expectations. She surprised us by not only walking me down the aisle, but giving a beautiful off the cuff toast at the reception.
My best practical advice for my planning self:
Get your mental health in order! I was struggling with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and my wife was dealing with unmedicated depression while we were planning. If we could go back in time, I would have scheduled an appointment with my doctor right after we had gotten engaged to talk about mental health, and to make sure I wasn’t making things harder than they needed to be.
Favorite thing about the wedding:
There were so many things, from watching our guests make flower crowns before the ceremony and realizing that this was it, that we had really made it to the wedding, to surprising my wife with Darth Vader and crew on the dance floor.
Mine: Listening to our friends and families’ who were called stand and give their testimony on love and marriage during the period of expectant waiting during our ceremony.
Hers: Taking a swim together in Lake Washington after the ceremony to catch some peace and soak in the moment.
We’re the drag falcon wedding from here. We flipped some things around because we were concerned about family finding it, but now don’t care. We did not get a wedding falcon after all, but our tattoo artist did include one in the flash sheet she made for our guests, so a few birds of prey did make an appearance after all. Members of my drag house, the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence Abbey of Saint Joan attended, but out of face.
A friend’s mother made the jumpsuit as a wedding gift, and I had tried it on for a total of about minutes and got it the day before the wedding. I didn’t realize quite how much it showed of my chest (my nipples made MANY unexpected appearances) and scars from a gender affirming surgery. That was tough to see when I got the pictures back, but I realized that I had felt like a wedding sex god that day, and that’s what matters.