Offbeat partner: Molly, Software Designer
Offbeat partner: Haven, Nonprofit Executive Admin
Date and location of wedding: Washington Hall, Seattle, WA — September 3, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
It was important to both of us to represent both of our faith traditions, and to incorporate our vibrant, polyamorous, queer, trans communities as much as possible. We had a huge wedding party (14 people!) because there are so many people who are incredibly dear to us.
We DIYed almost EVERYTHING. I’m a huge crafter, but this was ambitious even for me. Haven’s mom helped us make giant paper flowers as decorations, Haven’s dad helped us make our light up marquee “LOVE” letters, I quilted our chuppah (wedding canopy), and we made all of the flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces out of paper.
Our wedding was reflective of our DIY mentality, our incredibly supportive queer/trans/polyamorous communities and families, our different faith backgrounds, and our feminist values. We asked our guests to share their pronouns with us so that we could print them on their nametags for the day.
My partner is a bearded, genderqueer, transfeminine person, and it was really important to us to be visible and proud about our relationship because so many people think that people like us can’t (or don’t deserve) to find love and happiness. Haven rocked a gorgeous wine-colored wedding dress, while I went with a more traditional white gown, and we did our damndest to show the world that love like this will not be hidden.
One of the ways we honored our feminist values was that neither of us took the other’s surname. Instead, we created a whole new name. It was important to both of us to avoid wedding traditions that are historically rooted in property transfer. The tradition of a woman taking her husband’s name is an emblem of her ceasing to be her father’s property and becoming her husband’s property. Haven taking my name would retain the symbolism of ownership and property transfer, but just in reverse. Neither of us wanted to engage in any wedding ritual implying that one of us is acquiring the other. We didn’t want to keep our separate names because we wanted to honor the new family we are making together, and possibly pass the name down to kids (should we choose to have them). We didn’t want to hyphenate because we think that just passes the problem down to the next generation. We wanted our new name to speak to our shared feminist values and honor the fact that we are creating something new with our partnership, while still having roots in that which shaped us. We each picked names from our matrilineal lines, and merged them into a whole new name.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Haven and I are from different faith backgrounds; Haven is Episcopalian, and I am Jewish. It was important to us to represent both of our traditions, while not trying to flatten them into just their overlapping similarities. Our ceremony was officiated by Haven’s (queer femme) priest, and my rabbi, and we spent many months examining all of the wedding traditions from both of our faiths so that we could understand the meaning behind the rituals. We eliminated pieces that were about property exchange, or modified them with modern adaptations.
I heavily referenced Engendering Judaism (Rachel Adler) and the Open Siddur Project while putting together the Jewish aspects of our ceremony. Because we are polyamorous, we also removed any references to exclusivity of our love and affection. Our vows included a commitment to support the love we give to others.
My vows also included some of Anya’s lines from her (ill-fated) wedding to Xander, because I’m a huge Buffy nerd:
“I, Molly, promise to love you, Haven, to cherish you, to honor you, ah, but NOT to obey you, of course, because that’s anachronistic and misogynistic and who you do you think you are, like a sea captain or something?”
For the ceremony, we stood under the chuppah (wedding canopy, representing home and community) that I quilted from fabrics donated from our friends and family. I also made our ketubah (Jewish wedding document) myself on my papercutting machine, and the Hebrew text at the top translates as, “To love is not to possess,” which was a line from one of the readings we had during our ceremony.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception was super fun! Haven and I initially connected over a mutual love of whiskey, so we spent the last year touring local whiskey distilleries. We collected a sampling of our favorites and had the bartender hold whiskey tastings for our guests during the cocktail hour while we enjoyed our yichud (the Jewish practice of giving the couple some time alone after the wedding ceremony).
We have a big, supportive community of friends, chosen family, and relatives who came out to celebrate our day. My favorite aspect was how queer it was! We explicitly told our guests to wear whatever clothing was most gender-affirming for them, and it was wonderful to see so many of our loved ones (who often don’t get to be themselves at big family events like weddings) get to rock their genders on our wedding day.
Our other partners were also incredibly supportive all day long, and made sure we got time to eat, breathe, and drink lots of that whiskey.
Favorite activity was “the shoe game”: we had our partners and wedding party come up with questions that our emcee asked us in front of everyone after we’d each had a bit to drink.
We traded shoes, and sat back-to-back, and each held up the shoe of the person we thought the statement/question applied to. (“Who is better at puns?”…we both agreed that Haven’s partner Heath is better than EITHER of us at puns!)
What was your most important lesson learned?
I recommend a receiving line for large weddings. We didn’t plan to have one, but one happened accidentally as our guests came back into the ballroom, and I’m SO glad that it did. Otherwise, there would have been so many people I didn’t get to even say hello to that day. This way, I got to hug and say hello to pretty much everyone. I hadn’t planned to have one (because honestly I thought the idea sounded forced and boring), but it was one of the best parts of the day to see how joyful everyone was about celebrating our relationship with us and connect individually with people even if it was brief.
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More polyamorous wedding ideas
We have a deep archive of poly wedding planning posts, but here are a few you might enjoy…
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