Sarah & Megan’s Gay-Barn-Fab Wedding

I’m thrilled to introduce the blogger behind Ms Grrrl at So You’re EnGAYged (which I just noticed bills itself as a wedding resource for same-sex and *allied couples.* We’re allies! Yay! I love getting called and ally. Go check it out mixed-gender-couple-ladies!). She’s smart, she’s sassy, and something about this wedding makes me feel like skipping. Maybe it’s the barn? Maybe its the fab dress and hair piece? But it may just be the love… And now, the wedding:
Creative: I am slightly embarrassed by how over-the-top I went with the crafts. I didn’t realize how overboard I had gone until the week before the wedding when I had to put together all of my crazy half-done projects. Megan and I made chalkboards with broken furniture parts from Ikea’s As-Is section and chalkboard paint.I made our cupcake stands out of thrift store finds and super glue. I made little envelopes with a heartfelt thank-you message for our favors,which were scratch-off lotto tickets), I made about a zillion flags for our guests to wave that said “Yay!,” “Woot!,” and “Whoo hoo!”I collected hundreds of childhood photos of Megan and I and backed them all with construction paper and hung them from twine in the barn where our wedding and reception were held.And as busy as I was, I wasn’t the only one who totally overdid the DIYing. Early in the planning process, I put my mother in charge of the centerpieces and she went so far above and beyond that I still kind of can’t believe it. She collected antique milk bottles from thrift stores and garage sales all year, which was great, but not anywhere near as amazing as everything else she did: She is a kayaker and spend the year collecting hundreds (maybe even thousands) of pieces of sea glass and dozens of beautiful white ocean rocks — enough to have probably 30 pieces of sea glass and 3-4 rocks surrounding each of the milk bottles that held our flower arrangements. They were so beautiful, I’m still in awe of her.We also got creative with our ceremony. Instead of picking readings from our favorite poets or holy books, we asked my grandmother, who is a poet herself, to write a poem in celebration of our marriage and read it during the ceremony. We also asked our singer-songwriter friend, Kelly McFarling, to play an original piece during the ceremony. She also played our processional and recessional music on her banjo. I really loved having our friends and family play a part in the creation of the ceremony and not just play roles outlined by us.

Thrifty (whatever that meant for you): When we started planning the wedding, we wanted to keep it as inexpensive as possible. We thought about how much we could afford and decided that we really wouldn’t feel comfortable spending more than $5,000 of our own money. Then we asked each of our parents if they would feel comfortable giving us $2,500 each and they all agreed that that seemed like a reasonable amount.We saved a lot of money by doing the flowers entirely on our own (my mother spent the morning of the wedding picking Queen Anne’s Lace and Hydrangas from local fields and my grandmother’s garden). We found a five piece contra band that would play for an hour for $500. We made many, many, many things ourselves. We got an incredible deal on a photographer, Kelly Prizel, who was just starting out. Her rates have since tripled because she is FABULOUS and totally worth waaaay more money than we paid… (I still can’t believe that we got such amazing photos for so cheap). My incredible gourmet Aunts baked the cupcakes (which were obscenely beautiful and delicious). And I found a young designer on Etsy.com, Janay Andrews of Janay A. Handmade, who handmade my dress to my specifications for $755.Sane: This is the hardest question to answer, because in a lot of ways, I’m not quite sure it was so sane… all the crafting and the personal touches were amazing, but they took a lot of work, a lot of time, and lot of thought. But in some ways, that ended up making it more sane for me, because even though I was kind of consumed, I felt like I was consumed by something that was a true reflection of who Megan and I are as a couple. And in the end, my mother, my grandmother, and all of my aunts came together to make my vision a reality. So it kind of felt like a big family effort, a labor of love from an entire community and that made it feel like even more than a ceremony and a party.

I think the one thing I would have changed that would have made our wedding even more sane is that I would have gone on a relaxing honeymoon right afterwards. We took a long weekend in the San Juan Islands off of Seattle (where we live) several weeks after our wedding, but I definitely needed a vacation in the days following the wedding. I recommend a honeymoon directly following the wedding to everybody who is planning a wedding — even if it’s just a camping trip to a neighboring town or a B&B; down the street — you will need a break and you will need to be alone with your new spouse. Nothing in your wedding is worth getting rid of the honeymoon for… not the food, not the flowers, not the dress. Go on a honeymoon… even if it’s just to a Best Western in the town next door. Go. Pictures: I really have no idea why I’m featuring two weddings back to back shot by the fabulous Kelly Prizel Photography (who’s work has never been on this site before). That’s kind of strange, huh? But maybe it’s some sort of clobber-you-over-the head message from the universe for one of you. Or maybe it’s just a weird coincidence.

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