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Kayla & Maddy – A Pandemic-Inspired Virtual Wedding

Kayla & Maddy – A Pandemic-Inspired Virtual Wedding

Melissa Rose Photo Chicago, Illinois USA lesbian gay queer wedding marriage Dancing With Her magazine

They weren’t able to have any family or friends in attendance, so, Kayla and Maddy married in a forest surrounded by trees and cameras live-streaming their ceremony.

We want the proposal details!

Oh, it was wonderful. And a bit of a long story, so let us tell you the highlights.   

Kayla is the planner in our relationship and Maddy tends to prefer spontaneity. So when Kayla started planning a proposal to Maddy, Kayla had no idea that Maddy already had her own epic plan underway. 

Maddy reached out to Kayla’s grandmother to ask for Kayla’s great grandmother’s engagement ring. Her grandmother happily obliged and brought it with her across the country to Kayla’s mother’s house on her next visit. From there, Maddy’s parents drove eight hours each way to get said ring from Kayla’s mom.

Maddy carried the ring in her backpack throughout our entire ten-day road trip around northern California. On the final day of the journey, Maddy mustered up the courage to ask. That was also the day we stayed in a quiet A-frame cabin at the top of a mountain. Maddy literally proposed at the top of a mountaintop and caught the whole thing on video. There were lots of happy tears, disbelief of seeing Gee-Gee’s ring, and of course, a “yes.”

Tell us about finding your wedding outfits.

K: I wanted to include my parents in my wedding dress shopping, but they couldn’t be with me in person. So, I bought a dress online (with a 30-day return policy) and “unboxed” it with them on FaceTime and tried it on for the first time. Surprisingly, it fit like a glove, and I was so glad to have them be part of that moment. 

M: I didn’t think it would be so hard to find a suit, especially online, but I struggled to find suits that would fit my body type and style.

Ultimately, I ordered a suit from Kirrin Finch online and had it tailored by, maybe the only queer-focused tailor in Chicago, Uncommon Closet. They did a nice job and made me feel comfortable. 

How was the wedding day?

It was magical and, dare we say, relaxing. On a beautiful autumn day with no stress (except for one small meltdown Kayla had while trying to do her hair herself but was able to recover with mom’s help on video chat). 

Having a virtual wedding meant that there weren’t lots of people at the house fussing over us. It was just us two. But we got to also share the moment with everyone we love. We got the best of two worlds: the intimacy of eloping and the connection of a big celebration. 

What are your favorite moments?

We spent the night before our wedding in separate rooms to build up some anticipation. Still, We spent an hour together in the morning doing an impromptu yoga flow together that set the tone for a relaxed and joyful day before going off to get ready separately.

Maddy was able to get ready at her sister’s house with her brother-in-law, niece, and parents. It was very relaxed. Her sister did her hair while her niece crawled around. They all toasted with a special beer. Kayla got ready separately while her siblings and mom were “hanging out” on Google Hangouts and playing her hype-up music. Her mom was once a hairstylist and always gets the family done up for special events – so she was on video chat, talking Kayla through where to place the bobby pins and how much hair spray to use. 

Although we had a virtual wedding ceremony and cocktail hour with many loved ones online, we opted for a totally private first dance in the woods. No Zoom; just us, our record player, and our wedding photographer. We danced to “Like Real People Do” by Hozier, and it was beautiful. 

After we said goodbye to our loved ones on Zoom, we weren’t ready for the celebration to end. So, we had a bonfire in the backyard among the trees. We cozied up on our loveseat camping chair and drank straight from the bottle of Dom gifted to us by a friend. It was the perfect end to a perfect day – and our photographer got a spectacular photo of us by the fire before we changed into comfy clothes. 

Anything you are glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?  

We made the single best decision while trying to plan a wedding during a pandemic to make it just the two of us with everyone joined via video streaming. We spent so much time and energy trying to find a safe way to gather our loved ones, and nothing ever felt right. Once we decided to keep everyone safe at home, it was like a massive weight off our shoulders (even if it’s not the wedding we originally dreamed of). 

Our wedding was the best of an elopement and a big wedding. Everyone got to be there over Zoom, and we got to have an incredibly intimate ceremony where there was nothing to focus on but one another. We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone in person someday, but we wouldn’t change our wedding for the world.


Photography by Melissa Rose

Accessories Shinola, Tiffanys
Cake Pie Pie My Darling
Champagne Flutes Kate Spade
Florist Wild Rose and Sparrow
Gown Boutiques BHLDN, Wtoo by Watters
H&MU Liz Koch
Planner & Stylist Virtual Wedding Moderation- Wedfuly
Printer Shutterfly
Shirt Hawes & Curtis
Shoes Keds, Cole Haan
Stationery Viola Mirabilis Design
Suit Designer Kirrin Finch, Altered by Uncommon Closet
Wedding Favors Maddy wrote recipes that we put on digital recipes cards and emailed out to our guests along with the Zoom login information.
Wedding Party Gifts We mailed our bridal party and parents their dried boutonniere, a mini-bottle of prosecco, a ring light for their computer, and Maddy’s canned bourbon-soaked cherries.
Wedding Rings Redbud Jewelry

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