Talk us through what falling in love was like for you both.
M: We’ve been together for about five years, but have known each other much longer. We were both art students at the same time (in different schools), making comics and illustrations. Noelle was such a hotshot, I was intimidated by her but determined to be her friend!
We never lived in the same place, but seeing her was always the most exciting part of any comic convention, for reasons my not-yet-out-to-myself brain couldn’t quite figure out. On my way to a comic convention one year, I got in a pretty bad car wreck, and she took care of me the whole weekend. After that, I was done for…she was all I could think about.
N: I felt like Molly, and I were always dancing around each other. Like, there was this pull to her for reasons that I couldn’t explain.
We lived on opposite sides of the country, and Molly had a long-term boyfriend, so I never thought anything would happen.
We kept getting into these very chaste but emotionally intimate situations, and it completely broke my brain. I didn’t know what was happening or what my heart was doing. Then she moved out to Los Angeles, where I lived, and I was thought to myself; I just have to go for this. I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t.
I immediately tripped and fell in love HARD, made a huge fool of myself, and blew everything up, but after that, we were together, and it was the best thing that’s ever happened.
It sounds like it was meant to be, tell us about the proposal.
N: We talked about it first, and Molly told me she wanted to be the one to propose, but that she wanted me to give her a ring back when she did.
So we both bought rings for each other, and then one day Molly bought us tickets for a Brandi Carlile concert in Napa and I was like, oh this it!
I snuck the ring into my bag just in case. I’m aware of how huge of a stereotype it is for two lesbians to be as into Brandi Carlile as we were, but her music was kind of the soundtrack to us getting together, and her concerts are always the places that we feel the most understood and at home among the audience.
Molly rented a little Airbnb that was almost a treehouse, with this little light-filled room with forest on three sides. But I thought she would propose at the concert, so I wasn’t ready that morning. I was lying in bed half-naked, trying to book plane tickets on my phone and complaining about the airline’s busted website. Molly kept trying to get me to get up and get dressed, but I was not in a hurry, so she just went for it. She got down on one knee, and then we both just CRIED.
It was beautiful and perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. Even if I was half-naked.
Your venue was stunning. Why did you choose it?
N: It was perfect. It was in nature like we wanted, but comfortable enough and close enough to town that we knew all our guests would be taken care of, and we wouldn’t have to cart everything into a super rural location. My favorite detail is that it was right on the lake, but because of the drought, the lake had dried up when we first visited and booked it.
Then there was a really good rainy season, and the lake came back in time for the wedding!
M: We’d started getting into camping the summer that we got engaged, so that was a fun starting point – wanting it to feel really easy going, like a summer camp. We are both big fans of Lord of the Rings, and I always wanted to have a party like Bilbo’s birthday in the first movie!
Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?
M: Noelle drew and designed our save the date cards, making them look like a park’s postcard. I designed our invitations and day-of paper. We’re both visual artists, so it was really fun putting all of that together and getting to use gold foil and nice paper.
Our cocktails were named after our cats, so Noelle did cute drawings of them for the bar menu, I did a bunch of floral illustrations for the seating chart, things like that.
N: My favorite detail was the flowers. Molly likes flowers more than I do, so I didn’t really care about having a bouquet for the ceremony, but we both agreed we should carry something. I suggested lanterns to fit into the camp theme and give it a little sense of ritual. Molly found an amazing local florist who did such an incredible job, and then the day of the wedding, she used extra flowers to decorate the lanterns. They were so beautiful.
Your outfits were both stunning, tell us about finding them.
M: We both are comfortable in butch/tomboy fashion in everyday life, and we both thought this would be a great opportunity to get custom suits.
However, Noelle’s sister was getting married around that time, and we went with her to BHLDN to see her try on dresses – she looked so gorgeous, and the trying-on process seemed fun. There was also free champagne. So, we scheduled an appointment of our own.
We took a few close friends (after warning them not to laugh) and I right away found a dress that I loved. I didn’t anticipate how much fun it would be to wear something pretty and flowy and dramatic. All the angst I had around wearing feminine clothes just disappeared, because it was for a special day and I knew I’d be surrounded by people who cared about me and knew me.
N: Never in a million years did I think I’d wear a dress. I’m slightly masculine of center and haven’t worn a dress since growing up in the church, so I have many negative associations with them. But I was watching Molly try them on, and they were just so beautiful, so I figured, why not? I’ll just try some on for fun.
I picked out the most ridiculous, frilly dresses because I didn’t want it to look like I was taking it seriously. The first one I tried on was a dramatic long-sleeved number with beaded lace all over – nothing I would ever wear. I looked like a Victorian ghost. And yet… I felt AMAZING. And it was so fun to wear! That’s when I started to realize I wanted to wear a dress.
I angsted about it for a while, and I ended up asking on social media if any other butches had worn dresses for their weddings and if they regretted it. The reply that stuck with me was a transmasculine person telling me that his favorite article of clothing he’d ever worn was still his wedding dress, and that sealed it for me. I feel the same way now!
I will never regret wearing that dress, no matter where my gender presentation goes. It made me feel so amazing, nothing like the church clothes I always hated.
I felt free and flowy and beautiful.
Talk to us about the big day!
M: We got a lot of advice leading up to the day – you won’t be able to talk to everyone, don’t expect to actually spend much time with your spouse, you won’t have time to eat the food, etc. And for us, none of that was true.
We went all out with good food and decorations but otherwise kept the day pretty informal. Our friends and family looked beautiful, and I somehow did get to talk to every one of them, try all of the food, and every time I turned, Noelle was there with me.
The only way I can describe the feeling is to compare it to the feeling of swimming in water that’s the perfect temperature. Being perfectly comfortable and enjoying every moment. I felt so much love lifting us up from all sides – everywhere I looked I would see people who I love and trust – it was really special, and so much more perfect than I hoped for.
N: One of my favorite memories is seeing Molly in her dress for the first time, making everyone in the audience cry. Seeing how beautiful all our friends looked, the bartenders said it was the best-dressed group of guests they’d ever seen. All the little moments of just sitting together and hanging out, by the lake or beside the fire wrapped in blankets.
Completely cutting loose on the dance floor with all our favorite people and singing Billy Joel’s Piano Man with my whole family was also a highlight
Do you have a stand out vendor?
M: Emily Gaikowski of Heartthrob Weddings and her partner Becca Canote made everything happen with a lot of effort that she managed to make seem effortless. It meant so much to have a queer woman who could talk us through nerves and logistics leading up to the day. I love to plan events, and I was in awe of her abilities! A few of my friends are working with her now, and I’m jealous because I miss her!!
Did you incorporate any family or religious traditions into the day?
N: This was a touchy subject for us. I’m formerly religious, and most of my family still is, while Molly doesn’t have much religion in her family or background.
There were certain parts where I really longed for certain religious ceremonial aspects, and others where I was extremely adverse, and Molly handled that very well. For example, my favorite part of church weddings was always the part where the bride walks down the aisle, and my siblings have always walked to hymns that were important to them. I wanted to do that, but obviously not with a hymn. But at the same time, I was very averse to my parents walk me down the aisle. I didn’t want to feel like they were giving me away.
This was our day and our decision, and I wanted our families to be a big part of it but not in a way where I felt like they were sanctioning it. I think this was the biggest angst we went through in the lead up to the wedding – I wanted Molly to be able to walk with her parents if she wanted to, but I knew how it would look if she walked with her parents and I didn’t walk with mine, and I worried that would stir up bad family feelings. I really broke down about it a few times. Ultimately we decided to each walk by ourselves while friends played an acoustic cover of our favorite Brandi Carlile song (I know, I know) on guitar and violin.
It was so beautiful, simple, and intimate, and our families were in the front row, so they still felt like such a central part of it. I’m really glad we worked it out. You never know what those little traumas are and how you’ll react until you’re in it, I think.
It sounds like you did exactly what was right for you both. Do you have any last words that you’d like to share?
N: Coming into this, both of us were a little skeptical of weddings – like, is this just something that straight people do because of tradition? But we enjoyed the journey and the planning and the wedding itself so much.
I think there’s pressure from both sides – on one side, you have to conform to wedding traditions, on the other, you have to put your own spin on everything and make it absolutely unique to you. Both are sort of stressful. So even things that are traditional, like a wedding cake… it was nice to have! The cake was never the most important thing to us, so there was no angst about designing it, we just found an incredible baker and let her do her thing. But there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel just to make it totally unique to you. If you’d rather have a pie or a donut tower or no dessert at all, great! But cake is also delicious, you know? Just do what you like, enjoy it, and enjoy your time with your spouse and your guests.
It’s a celebration of your love as a couple, but it’s also a time to come together and show your community that you love them and that they love you. I’m so happy with every single detail of our wedding. It was the best day of my life, no doubt.
M: She said it. I love being her wife!
Photographer Studio XII Photography
Accessories StringOfJewels2 [Etsy], Lichen & Lychee [Etsy shop]
Bridal Boutique both from Floravere, both tailored by Nayantara Banerjee at the Williamsburg Seamster
Cake Nicole at nicolebakescakes.com
Catering Taste of Pace
Celebrant Keely Weiss [friend]
Decorative Elements La Pinata Rentals
Engagement Rings Lichen & Lychee [Etsy shop], Audry Rose
Entertainment DJ Maasha
Event planner / Stylist Heartthrob Weddings
Florist Little Green House Florist
Hair & Makeup Jen Plus Colour
Printer Arnold’s Copy & Printing
Signage – Self Designed
Stationery Self Designed
Venue Noon Lodge