This Couple Was Queer Married By A Renegade Catholic Priest

Bye bye, heteronormativity!


Shannon, Therapist & Herbie, Transportation Researcher

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: Loose, eclectic, fun, communal, and surprisingly traditional love fest

Number of guests: 200

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Where we allocated the most funds

The venue, which we had for the whole weekend and our families got to stay in. We also chose to spend more on catering and photography because we wanted to have high quality in those areas. We also had a higher guest count than we originally imagined.

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Where we allocated the least funds

We got friends and family to help out with details like place cards and the ceremony arch. Shannon’s friend Maggie made some amazing invitations. We did an Internet-only save the date. We had talented friends and Herbie’s cousin Iman do live music, and we had friends and family do hair and makeup.

radandinlove_ShannonandHerbie-189 couple standing together during wedding portraitscouple kissing one another next to a pool on wedding day

What was totally worth it

Having a big wedding was pretty terrifying, but totally worth it. Each person there was someone who shaped our lives. To be so vulnerable and feel so supported all at once was totally exhilarating. Spending on photography was totally worth it: we’ve already looked at the pictures a million times and relived the whole day. Our wedding coordinator was also totally worth it. She was a very good value, and was worth every penny. On the day of the ceremony, numerous little things came up and she handled each one of them, including multiple little things we were glad to not even hear about until after the wedding. (So-and-so doesn’t have a seat! Children are running around and the ceremony is about to start! Shannon is cold and her jacket is wherever! Etc.)
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What was totally not worth it

Nothing really! We chose what to spend on and feel pretty good about our choices.

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A few things that helped us along the way

Therapy? One of Shannon’s best’s friends got married a month before the wedding. She was a constant support and was very helpful the day of as well. Also, remembering that this is something we chose to do. It meant a lot to us to put our relationship in front of our families and solemnize it that way.

radandinlove_ShannonandHerbie-571radandinlove_ShannonandHerbie-421couple celebrating the end of their wedding ceremony

My best practical advice for my planning self

Everything needs to be good enough. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s a wedding and everyone’s there to feel happiness and love! They don’t care if some detail is not precisely the thing you imagined it could be.

radandinlove_ShannonandHerbie-594 child dancing at wedding receptioncouple kissing one another after wedding ceremony

Favorite thing about the wedding

Doing our grand entrance to “Bad Girls” by MIA? Feeling the love of all of our family and friends? Having our union blessed as a sacramental marriage by a renegade Catholic priest? No, honestly our favorite thing is that we got to share the moment with everyone we love. It’s incredibly special and a blessed moment to stand in the powerful beam of 200 people who really, really love you.

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Anything else

We decided not to have wedding parties, which was great to not have to deal with silly matching outfits or any of that drama. But at the same time, the wedding party serves a purpose that I (Shannon) wish we would have anticipated. Although we had SO much support from close friends, there were times on the morning of the ceremony when Shannon was totally stressing and maybe it would have been nice to have more people around distracting her and complaining about their ugly dresses.

Have a shorter engagement period! We were engaged for a year and a half, and it would have been nice to have executed all the details in half the time. It happened to us because of venue availability and because we didn’t want to get married in the summer. By the end of the engagement it felt like we had been planning a wedding for half our lives. Avoid this.

Our wedding planner thought it was funny that we got ready in same area. We were in different parts of the top floor of the mansion, which has multiple rooms. So we had to just knock on the doors and make sure we wouldn’t see each other. Apparently this is super weird? Whatever.

During the ceremony, we would both get nervous. Our niece Euna who isn’t yet two years old was in the front row smiling up a storm and she was totally our conduit to help us enjoy the moment.

Herbie’s mom is really shy and insisted that she not give a speech at the reception. During Herbie’s dad’s speech, she shocked us all by grabbing the mic and giving an extemporaneous toast that started with a somewhat winking, self-knowing, “I’m really a shy person…” We were so stoked she was feeling the moment.

There was random missile test during the toast. It was really beautiful and colorful flashing through the dusk sky. No one knew what it was and it was deemed a freak astronomical event that blessed our union.


Traditions honored at the wedding:

We thought we would have NO traditions and then we ended up having so many of them. It turns out (in our humble, somewhat reluctant opinion) that many traditions serve important functions that actually added a lot to the experience of the wedding:

  1. We were actually sacramentally married by a (renegade) Catholic priest, Herbie’s uncle. We did not go into the planning process thinking that we would have a religious ceremony, but we found ourselves with the opportunity to have a ceremony that spoke to our families’ religious traditions. (Both of our families are Catholic.) Instead of having a first dance (the thought of which made Shannon very anxious), we decided to perform a “first song” on musical instruments—Herbie on cajon, Shannon on wood blocks. We did have a wedding cake because we did want to have a delicious sweet treat, and our connection with Trent at Sweet Lady Jane let us have a really nice cake in exchange for a donation to the bike coalition. We then had a cake cutting to honor Trent’s gift to us. On the other hand the cake itself was very non-traditional in shape and we overheard the caterers having an intense all-hands meeting to announce the cake-cutting strategy.
  2. The hat being passed around during the dancing: Shannon’s cousin Nick is the keeper of that hat. He brings it to every family wedding. It started at Shannon’s sister’s wedding. It was just a magical thing that happened on the dance floor with Shannon’s grandma, her aunts and uncles, and her cousins. Whoever is wearing the hat needs to boogie down and it’s just a fact of life.
  3. We didn’t do any gendered traditions because we’re not into that. Bye bye heteronormativity! As an added benefit, no one had to purchase or wear matching outfits.


The Info:

Photography: Rad + In Love | Associate Photographer: Aurelia D’Amore | Venue: Newhall Mansion | Shannon’s Dress: Mara Hoffman  | Herbie’s Shirt: Barong from the Philippines | Herbie’s Pants: LOFT | Herbie’s Shoes: Clarks | Florist: Brie’s Honeybee | Officiant: Orlando Carvajal | Catering and Cocktails: Jennie Cooks | Cake: Sweet Lady Jane  | DJ: Anthony at Red Shoe | Hair: Jessica Enabe | Makeup: Jen Chou | Coordinator/Planner: Tricia Dahlgreen Events | Decor/Tables/Runners: 24/7 Events | Music: Iman Ramzan, Gabriel Deutsch, Stephen Jones, and Harry Um

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  • seriously

    Talking about funds in the abstract is so not helpful.

  • Lluviata

    Your pictures are so beautiful! That golden sunlight, the happy tone, the love… I can see it shining through this 2D screen. It must have been a wonderful ceremony and reception. Congratulations!

  • savannnah

    This was so lovely and look at that dress!

  • rg223

    1) That dress is out-of-control amazing.

    2) Nerd alert: the venue was used in the Christmas episode of the X-Files! I don’t know if that was a factor for the couple but WIN.

    • Ebloom

      ! Is that the one with the married ghosts that try to turn Mulder and Scully into ghosts?! Definitely WIN.

  • Sosuli

    Everything is beautiful, but an extra wow-I-love-this to Shannon’s dress and Herbie’s hair… damn!

    • Kayjayoh


  • Kayjayoh

    Herbie’s hair. OMG, can we talk about Herbies hair? Because damn. That is rockin.

  • another lady

    I call our wedding ‘the big wedding that I never knew I wanted, but totally loved!’ sounds like you all had a similar experience. I thought that I wanted to elope and not have the ‘big’ ‘traditional’ wedding and reception, but It turned out great and we are so happy that we did it, in the end. (However, if I never have to plan another wedding, I will be totally fine in life!)

  • Camille

    You both look amazing! Congratulations!

  • Abe

    Love this beautiful couple’s wedding, and especially the practical advice about planning and traditions. “Perfect is the enemy of the good” = wedding mantra!

  • Alexandra

    Nice! More weddings on A Practical Wedding, please. I’ve been married 2.5 years and I still love looking at the pretty pictures and happy people.

  • brakell-basicinvite

    Okay- beautiful and very touching!! Love just about everything about this wedding.

  • AP

    Beautiful!! And the hat tradition absolutely made my day.

  • Colbi Brawner

    Herbie! You both look so incredibly happy and joyus! Congratulations on the wedding! What a beautiful event!

    • Herbie Huff

      colbi! thank you! hope you are doing well.

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  • Dinesh Taylor

    so wonderful! such an emotion! Love this beautiful couple’s wedding

  • Staria

    My gosh you are both ridiculously cute! Herbie you have the sweetest facial expressions towards Shannon, and Shannon I just love your dress. Also reading that you recommend a shorter engagement is making me feel better about my own engagement – with just over 6 months to go to a November wedding, I keep panicking about not having enough time, since by the time we get to our wedding it’ll only have been 11 months. But then I think about why I wanted to get married at that time of year (late spring in Australia), and how I just want to get it done… ok, full steam ahead! xoxo

  • Emma Klues

    Dude. Best dressed couple since…ever.

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  • Well, that’s really lovely… The post is showing some very elegant and lovely stuff around. This is one of the most beautiful wedding I have been over web and I loved every element in this ceremony including the beautiful duo.