Jordann & Betsy

*Jordann, Sign Language Interpreter & Betsy, Sign Language Interpreter*

It seems fitting that our wedding graduate post this APW Pride week would be a post about how really, gay weddings are exactly like straight weddings. We’ve spent much of the week discussing politics and struggle, but it’s important to remember that, at their core, weddings are weddings. They have the same struggles, the same joys, and the same core of two people that love each other. Though in this case they have hot ladies in the hottest pants suits ever, which I’ll totally take. Let’s do it.

I never wanted a wedding. I knew from an early age that I wanted to elope. I had no desire to spend the money or the time planning a wedding. Being that I am more feminine and she more masculine the last thing I expected was for Betsy to want a traditional Jewish wedding. But after eloping to Iowa (the closest legal state to us), I knew my wife was not satisfied. She has always wanted a traditional wedding with the chuppah, seven blessing, glass stomping and everything else that comes with a Jewish wedding. Being a lesbian was not going to stop her and I was not going to stop her.

Coming from a state where gay marriage is not legal, I was surprised at how little resistance we received to a same-sex wedding. We contacted a variety of venues and vendors, and not once were we told “no” because we were lesbians. Granted I didn’t go to the Catholic Church asking them if I could have my lesbian Jewish wedding there. Although every vendor I called asked me for my groom’s name, I was not offended.

Again, we live in a heterosexual minded society; why would I assume they would ask me the other bride’s name? Yes, they could use the term “partner” but again I was not going to take lack of awareness as homophobia. Instead, I used it as a teaching moment. I explained it was a same-sex wedding and moved on to the point of the conversation. I was inspired by how many people had their own personal stories to share about their experience (or lack there of, but desire to learn) about same sex weddings. One individual shared about his sister marrying her long time partner in the near future.

Although you don’t see same-sex interfaith weddings every day, we faced the same challenges most heterosexual couples face. Not everyone will be happy with all of the decisions that are made. Often times when wedding planning begins, decisions are made based on what a couple feels they are supposed to do, not what they want to do. We went through this same process. In the early stages of our wedding planning we looked into traditional wedding venues that could hold hundreds of people and would provide a bartender, caterer, and a DJ. However, these options were not only not in our budget, they were not what we wanted.

At the conclusion of our wedding planning we were able to use a friend’s house for free, we used our canoe as our “bar,” we ordered BBQ and we borrowed some speakers and plugged in an iPod for our DJ. Enlisting the help of our friends, we were able to create the type of wedding we were comfortable with, including a trip around the lake in our “bar.”

Betsy and I are beyond blessed with the friends and family we have. The day was perfect. We managed to pull of an intimate wedding at a reasonable price. We felt so much love and support by the people that spent time contributing to the wedding and the people that showed up for the day. If one were to look at the guests at our wedding they would never know it was any different from a heterosexual wedding. We had close to every minority on our guest list: gay, straight, Deaf, white, Asian, Mexican, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, and Christian. Eventually, it all comes down to love.

The Info—Photography: Jordann & Betsy’s friend, Mike Totays / Venue: Smith Family Backyard / Jordann’s Dress: David’s Bridal / Betsy’s Attire: Denver Dressmakers

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  • Contessa

    As if to prove your point, my heterosexual wedding last weekend also featured a Booze Canoe, an iPod dj and a number of guests who thought the whole shindig was going to be a circus.

    I am loving this week of postings because it reminds me that the differences that some people think are SO big are just not. Humans go through the same experiences in different ways and we really need to be kind to each other and celebrate everything always.

    Much joy in your new marriage always!

  • Lauren K.

    First – Mazel Tov! Lovely wedding!

    Second – May I ask where you got your ketubah?

  • Karen

    I must ask: who created your ketubah? It’s beautiful!

    • Class of 1980

      Does anyone else who is not Jewish feel the loss of a ketubah?

      They are beautiful and you see your promises every day. What a great tradition for Jewish people.

      • Karen

        You can have one too! Check out They can create them completely in English. Hebrew is not required. Check them out!

      • Kat

        Neither my partner nor I are Jewish but we’re planning on having our vows written up in a very nice artistic way and having everyone who was there sign the border of it and then hanging it in our home as a daily reminder of our vows.

  • Jordann

    I can’t believe we forgot to mention where the ketubah came from. Tsilli was amazing! is the website. We wanted a more modern, but still traditional, ketubah. We loved that we were able to personalize our ketubah with Tsilli.

  • Meg

    What a beautiful wedding! You both look so happy and comfortable :) May you enjoy a long and wonderful marriage!!

    I do have a question for you – you and your wife are both sign language interpreters? That’s so wonderful! My fiance has recently begun to be interested in learning sign language and potentially becoming an interpreter. He’ll be taking an introductory sign language course this fall. I’d love to ask some questions about your and your wife’s backgrounds/education/careers, if you wouldn’t mind my prying. If you’re up for a little question/answer time, please email me at megs.od @

    Thanks and congratulations on having the wedding that was right for you!

    • Jennifer Lyn

      You could email me about those questions too, a lot of it ties into your location. I’m at jennfcsu at msn dot com.

      Betsy and Jordann, where are you guys located? This looks like a Colorado wedding to me! My husband and I are both Deaf and were married last fall at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. It’s awesome to see an interpreter wedding here!

      • Jordann

        You are correct, this is a Colorado wedding! The wedding was actually in Snowmass but we live closer to Denver.

  • kayakgirl73

    Darn I was hoping for a picture of the “bar” canoe trip around the lake. Fun.

    • Jordann

      Here are more of our wedding pics if you want to see us in our “bar”!

  • Fermi

    LOVE this post!

  • “Eventually, it all comes down to love.”

    So very, very true! Congratulations!

  • YAY JORDAN AND BETSY :) Glad to see you sharing here!!!

    Beautiful wedding, lovely amazing ladies!

  • “Eventually, it all comes down to love.” < Yes. This. Exactly this. This is how I felt about our not-legally-recognized, but full to the brim with joy wedding. Thank you for sharing.

  • Wow – what a gorgeous day and a gorgeous wedding!*

  • If I can get one wedding photo half as adorable as that first one of the two of you, I’ll be very happy!

  • One More Sara

    I just want to say that I LOVE the fact that these comments aren’t spinning off into a political discussion (as much as I love those, I really do). Everyone is keeping it about the love and the people and the booze canoe and awesome ketubah.. fun and pretty things that could be at any wedding!

    Congrats on your marriage!!!

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