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KC Title_key Katie

Elopement
gallery Jan 18 2017
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How did you meet?

Katie: I moved to Albuquerque in the late summer after graduating college in a small Midwestern town. I was 22. A friend moved down with me and we were determined to have a good time. Every night was a night out—every good-looking guy a potential conquest. Simultaneously, I was starting grad school and getting to know my new peers. We had a small cohort of seven and we were quickly a tight knit group. KC was one of the seven. I realized about three weeks in that I had a crush on her.* I had only dated cisgender men and didn’t (yet) consider myself queer, but I was open to the possibility and decided to go for it. On her* birthday, KC had planned a birthday get together at a bar near campus. I showed up in little white shorts and high heels, my “on-the-prowl” outfit. I had a flirty/nerdy birthday letter for KC and I made a point to talk up all of KC’s friends.

KC: She definitely wore her “game-on” outfit to my birthday! My friends were like, “Damn! Who is that?” And I said, “Just my straight friend from school.” They said, “Uh huh, yeah right.” And they were right! I was getting out of a bad three-year relationship at the time, staying on a friend’s couch. So it was improbable, right? An emotionally damaged queer and a straight chick. But it totally, totally worked.

What about the proposal?

KC: There wasn’t so much one proposal. We went back and forth. Should we get married? Shouldn’t we? And sometimes I thought, “Hell yes, we should get married!” and Katie thought, “No.” And other times, I was a no and she was a yes. It was never about whether or not we wanted to be together, but ambivalence about the institution of marriage. What we knew for sure was that we wanted to start a family, and to be as legally secure as possible, we wanted to get married. Honey, do you remember when we decided about Door County? Like when we decided for sure to get married and made it real?

Katie: Well, I sent you a pseudo-proposal in the mail (from our house to our house) on Valentine’s Day this year. We had been together 8.5 years at that point and had brought it up, on and off, for years. But I think we had firmly decided that the laws were dicey enough in Wisconsin that we needed to get married before having a kid. I don’t remember what exactly I wrote in the note. Knowing me, it wasn’t terribly sappy. We decided to go for it. And then we promptly forgot about it and didn’t talk about it again until later that summer, when we figured we should probably plan the thing if it was ever going to happen.

When did you know you were meant to be together?

Katie: I am not a “the exact moment I knew” sort of person. But. The moment I knew we had a serious connection was on our first accidental date. I was out with other grad students at a bar and invited KC with less than pure intentions. Despite all the reasons in the world not to come, KC came out anyway. At a certain point, the other grad students drifted to another bar, leaving us blissfully unaware of their absence. We danced. The minute our hands touched, I knew there was serious chemistry. But knowing we’d be together for the long haul? That took years to calm my previously relationship-flighty mind.

KC: That night at the bar! I was not officially broken up with my ex, though we were separated and it was imminent. I have a hair trigger for guilt, so when we kissed that night by my car and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt, that’s when I knew. I mean, I was looking for the guilt and there was nothing. It shocked me and I knew that meant it was right. And I made sure my parents had a chance to meet Katie too. They came into town maybe a month into our dating, but we lived in New Mexico and they live in Virginia, so I thought I’d better jump on it. Part of it was to show them what an amazing person Katie was, and part of it was to show them that this was what queer relationships could be like—important after my last girlfriend.

Wedding planning, what did you definitely know?

KC: I definitely knew I didn’t want to deal with wedding planning. Or, I knew that it freaked me out. I knew there needed to be drinks. And good food. And that it would be non-traditional. Oh! And I knew I didn’t want to see Katie in her dress until we were getting married. Which is pretty traditional.

Katie: We knew, based on the short timeline, budget, and everything else that this would be a small gig. We couldn’t possibly pare down our large, eclectic, scattered friend group to “only essentials,” so it pretty easily became an “immediate family only” affair. We didn’t realize how upset certain family members would be by the lack of an invitation, so we widened the guest list a bit and wound up with 17 total. KC’s mom took the lead in planning (thank god). Neither KC nor I are particularly awesome in that role and KC’s mom thankfully is. I guess the moral of that story is: Wait till the last minute, be kind and open-minded about people’s intense feelings about your special day, and let someone who knows what they’re doing run the show.

What surprised you about planning?

Katie: I was naively surprised at how invested certain family members were. I didn’t realize how staggeringly important our wedding day would be to our family members, nor did I realize how much what we did on our wedding day would matter to anyone who wasn’t us. It turned out that this level of investment from our families helped create the joyful and perfectly executed experience we can all look back on now. Without it, our wedding would have been much smaller, far less organized, and way less memorable.

Is there anything you wish you knew?

KC: Actually, no. There’s nothing I would do differently if we did it again. I might have one less whiskey the night before the wedding. Anything that happened unexpectedly on the day—that it was hot, that Danny forgot the book for the readings during the ceremony, that Aunt Peggy’s blues ringtone went off at just the right time, that we rehearsed for three minutes on the deck that afternoon, all of it for me just gave the day texture, made it feel alive.

Any advice for couples planning now?

Katie: Let go a little. No one remembers the details. They remember the overall feeling and tone of the wedding and you can’t micromanage that. Also, remember that people get weird with weddings, so try not to take peoples’ various opinions and suggestions too personally. That being said, it’s important with queer and trans weddings to set expectations with your guests about what will happen/what pronouns are being used so they can get fully on board. Your day shouldn’t be about your family’s reactions to your love; it should be about your love. So help your more traditional guests out by preparing them ahead of time with what to expect. We did this in a pre-vacation email and reinforced our choices in our wedding program.

One last thing. If you’re going to splurge on anything, splurge on a talented photographer you like. It’s an intimate thing, having your photo taken (several hundreds of times) and the memories created in those photographs will be the most tangible artifacts of your wedding. Don’t skimp on this facet of your big day.

KC: The photographer is SO important. I had no idea, but Katie did. She called one guy and asked how he felt about queer weddings and he said, “I’m a professional photographer. I’ll photograph whatever.” No. Do not choose a photographer who gives you these kinds of vibes. You want someone who sees you, who gets you. Katie found Jen, loved her aesthetic and loved her on the phone. Don’t settle for someone who will photograph “whatever” because you are not whatever. And let people contribute to you and the day. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Letting people participate is a way of loving them and relating to them. And you can let go and just be there. Like Katie said, though, we sent out an email ahead of time letting our family members (who are all straight and all either currently, formerly, or soon-to-be married) know what this wedding means for us. I knew that if anyone referred to us as bride and bride (even on the front of a card) that I would die—I’m trans and don’t identify as a woman. But I hadn’t been very open or explicit about that with my family before, so it was a good (and necessary) opportunity to do that. I guess I’d say do what you need to do to make sure you are recognized and seen and present on your wedding day.

What was your favorite part of the wedding day?

Katie: My favorite parts of the day were when I turned the corner and saw KC standing there with our siblings, all of our family members (some of whom are notoriously late) sitting there at the correct start time in the sunshine. AND when our photographer Jen stole us away for a special magic hour sunset shoot.

KC: I have two. Sitting on the concrete dock by the water that morning writing our vows back and forth. No wait, I have three. Seeing Katie for the first time when she came around the corner and “down the aisle.” She was stunning and I had no idea what her dress would look like or that she would be wearing that headwrap. And Bach’s Cello Suite #1 was playing, which was the perfect soundtrack for a moment that slayed me. And when Jen, our photographer, stole us away for photos before the sun went down. It was intimate and playful and involved just a little trespassing.  

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Sneak Peek
gallery Jan 17 2017
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Taylor Title_key Kaitlin

Real Wedding
gallery Jan 16 2017
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Sonoma County Vows

Tell us your love story!

The day was August 24, 2012. We were both attending orientation for the graduate program we were beginning that fall at American University. Taylor’s birthday was several days later and being new to the city, her celebration plan most likely consisted of Netflix and ice cream. Upon learning of this considerably sad birthday celebration, Kaitlin rallied the troops and threw Taylor a bash to remember that welcomed her to the District of Columbia and brought her many close friends. Through months of graduate study, many post-class drinks and weekend adventures they quickly became inseparable. The rest, as they say, is history.

What about the proposal?

We planned a camping trip one weekend, out on the Craig Family Farm in eastern Ohio, where Taylor’s grandfather grew up and where she spent every summer as a kid. A hurricane was heading toward the East Coast and the rainfall in Ohio wasn’t ideal for camping. Taylor desperately did not want to drive for five hours, only to sit in a tent all weekend. With a little help from Taylor’s mother, Kaitlin somehow convinced Taylor to make the drive. Once there, we set out building the tent in the rain and soon realized that Taylor forgot the tent poles! Luckily, tent poles were scavenged from the house and everything worked out fine. The next day, Kaitlin proposed as we were waking up in our tent. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating, during what turned out to be a sun-filled span of days!

Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?

We knew that we wanted our wedding to be at a place that was meaningful to us, that had history and nostalgia wrapped in and all around it. We wanted our wedding to be outside and in one location, where folks could dance all night, rather than getting the boot at 10pm.

What surprised you during planning?

Finding Taylor’s dress was surprisingly easy. It was literally the first one she tried on. On the other hand, finding Kaitlin’s outfit took many trips to various stores and often navigating unfriendly “male clothing departments”. We anticipated this but were still surprised by the reaction we got from many salespeople.

What surprised us the most, and quite frankly shouldn’t have, was the generosity of our friends and family. We were married in wine country, Santa Rosa, CA, in the backyard of Kaitlin’s parent’s home. The very home she grew up in. The vineyards surrounding their place led our wedding toward that theme. We planned for cocktail tables made of wine barrels and to serve local, Sonoma County wine. We were taken away when Kaitlin’s father hand-built two stunning bars out of reclaimed wine barrels and cut and stained centerpieces made from the tops of the barrels. It was more beautiful than we’d ever imagined.

Taylor’s Aunt who has a love of flowers and a talent at arranging them spent an entire day making incredible arrangements. Our day would not have looked beautiful without her creativity. For some reason, Taylor desperately wanted dried flowers to be thrown as they walked back down the aisle as a married couple. Kaitlin’s mother spent months collecting petals from her own garden and asking her friends to contribute to the common good. When we arrived the week of the wedding and saw the amount of beautiful petals she had collected, we were amazed and humbled.

We had planned a breakfast for the morning after the wedding. Coffee and bagels, literally. Our plan: to order cardboard carafes of coffee and boxes of bagels to place on a table the next morning. A family friend generously offered to take on the coordination of this to help out. Help out she did! Along with her family, they made homemade bloody mary mix and had an incredible spread to remember. It made the morning so lovely and we couldn’t believe how much she and her family had done for us.

Taylor spent her early childhood years in Baton Rouge, LA and it forever has a special place in her heart. As we were planning the wedding, Taylor once mentioned to her mother that she wished she was cajun enough to have a second line at her wedding. So, sure enough her mother stops the music at 10pm, having handed out white napkins to all the guests and announces that we were going to have a second line! We paraded around the yard with our parasols and napkins to the sound of New Orleans jazz. It was truly remarkable and a complete surprise! These moments, along with so many more and the work that our friends and families put in to make this weekend incredible, are some that we hold the most dear.

Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?

We both plan big events for our jobs. Ones that are for VIPs around the world; often in places we’ve never been. So, we set out on this planning journey, with a lot of experience and knowledge under our belts. It served us well. However, we really planned the entire thing ourselves and this led to some knowledge transfer problems during crunch time. Leading up to the celebration, we had everything organized. But there’s always a million last minute details that pop up.

We think, similarly to the surprises mentioned above, that we can forget how much people truly want to help and feel a part of this event in your lives. All this to say, ask for help where you need it and even where you’re not sure. You never know who knows someone that knows someone. Similarly, and maybe the most important, let people do things for you if they offer. They want to and it will help your stress level severely.

Any advice for couples planning weddings now?

Our practical piece of advice (for the budget friendly wedding) is to:

1. Be aware of the “hidden costs.” Dress/suit alterations are more expensive than you think and that should be included in the price you want to pay for your outfit.

2. Decide what is most important to YOU (food, photography, music, etc.) and focus on that. Essentially, know where you want the most money to be spent and cut where it’s not as important.

Our unpractical advice is to enjoy the moments of planning. The day goes by so quickly (we know you’ve heard this before), you hardly even notice those details you fawned over, so enjoy the making of them with friends, the looking at photos together on Pinterest and the moments laughing at what might be.

Our activist advice is to not be afraid to educate. It’s no surprise that the wedding industry is built around the long-standing tradition of seeing marriage as only between man and woman. You will come into contact with exclusionary people, business and forms. We chose to confront vendors we liked about their (intentional or unintentional) exclusionary practices and to educate those that weren’t sure how to respond to us. We encourage you to do the same so in the future all vendors are as inclusive and incredible as our photographer was.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Our favorite part was truly seeing two families come together. To see a cousin on one side dancing with a friend from college on the other side is remarkable. Getting all of these people from various walks of life together in a place that means so much to us, will likely never happen again in our lifetimes and it was a beautiful feat. If we have to pick a favorite moment, we think it is a toss up between: 1. The comments about our playlists (yes, we did spend hours perfectly curating them), some of which include: “How can I get this to listen to at home?” and “I’ve never heard so much Jack White at a wedding before and it’s perfect.” 2. The reactions to our vows, which included clapping and shouting, notably at the moment where one of us (Taylor) vowed not to obey the other. 3. When Kaitlin’s father came out in a Darth Vader mask saying, “Kaitlin, I am your father…. Taylor, I am you father in law.”  

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Weekend Snapshot
gallery Jan 13 2017
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A Thought For Thursday
gallery Jan 12 2017
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Remembering

Your touch

Your kiss

Your warm embrace

I'll find my way back to you

If you'll be waiting

If you dream of me

Like I dream of you

In a place that's warm and dark

In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Remembering

Your touch

Your kiss

Your warm embrace

I'll find my way back to you

If you'll be waiting

-Tracy Chapman, Promise

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