real lesbian wedding – laura & laura

i was so excited to receive this submission the other day from one of my readers!  laura has been reading my blog for a while and also writes her own – becoming mums, which i love to read as well, as my wife and i are in a similar situation (trying to “become mums”).  it’s so nice to “meet” people online who have similar experiences to you and to keep up with their lives on a regular basis through their blogs…

laura & laura were married on the 13th of August 2011, at the Rowhill Grange Hotel, in Kent, England.  they had a beautiful outdoor ceremony under a gazebo and then a fun reception afterwards inside the hotel.  everything from their dresses, to their tiaras, to their wedding cake is just awesome and all works together!  they did an incredible job putting it all together and i’m excited to share their english country garden wedding with you.

so, without further adue, all the way from england, here is laura & laura’s wedding!

Why did you chose your location?

We decided early on that our guest list was the number one priority for us – we wanted all our friends and family to be there to share our day.  We had quite a few family members travelling from various parts of the country so preferably we wanted somewhere that included accommodation or had hotels nearby.  Rowhill Grange is a spa hotel, but is also only a short drive from a couple of cheaper chain hotels, so everyone could be catered for.  We also had a lot of colleagues and friends who live local to us and we didn’t want them to have to fork out for a hotel if we could find somewhere near enough to be a taxi drive away.  This limited our options to venues close to where we live.  Having said all that, when we first visited Rowhill Grange, we absolutely loved the way it looked and loved the idea of an outdoor ceremony.  We checked out a couple of other places, but there really was no competition.

Tell me a little bit about where/how you met:

We met at work and were actually both seeing other people at the time, but eventually we realised we were meant to be together (alcohol helped).  We kept our relationship quiet at first, because we were worried it could be awkward working together, but everyone at work has been brilliant and loads of them came to the wedding.  We are both teachers and even the children know we are married now, which is great.

The Proposal:

I planned it for ages.  I had secretly had a ring made based on one she had seen and loved and booked us into a restaurant of a famous British TV chef we both like.  It was a couple of weeks after Christmas and I told Laura that she had one more Christmas present to come, but that it was a surprise.  I’d also booked us into a cottage over night so I packed a case for us and then we got in the car.  Laura said she was mentally ruling places out as we travelled along the motorway and passed various turn offs.  As we pulled into the village, she realised where I was taking her and was thrilled.  That night we went for our meal and once we had sat down and had a glass of champagne in front of us, I stumbled my way through a little speech I’d rehearsed and put the ring in front of her.  Her immediate response was to kiss me, which was lovely, but then I had to ask, “So, is that a yes?”  It was an amazing evening, bettered only by our wedding day itself.

Were traditions incorporated into the day and other cool specifics – why a certain color pallet – what did you include in your day that had some sort of meaning behind it?

When we first started thinking about the aesthetics of the day, we googled bridesmaids dresses to get some ideas.  We found a picture of some bridesmaids in a very pale grey/green and really liked it. 

Then we were browsing in a department store and found these mosaic green glass vases that were on sale at half price.  We bought them to use as centrepieces, thinking initially that we could put candles in them, although they ended up with flowers in.  The green glass had a metallic, oily sheen with pinks and purples in, so we tied those colours in with our bouquets and the flowers on the tables too.

Our table plan and table names were handmade.  We didn’t like the idea of having table numbers, but struggled to think of a theme for table names until we came up with the idea of famous lesbians.  In a lot of ways our day was very traditional and we wanted something a little bit different.  Each table name had a picture of a well-known lesbian along with some information about what they were famous for and some detail about their coming out or gay rights activism.  I managed to make them look quite classy, printing the pictures in sepia onto ivory card backed with a sort of burnished gold that matched the style of our invitations.  As we’d hoped it was a great talking point and the guests really got a kick out of it, as did we.  The top table was ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ of course!

How was your experience with the wedding professionals that you worked with?

Our day came together perfectly in the end, but we felt like we often had to do a lot of chasing of the people we had hired to do various things.  It took us months to pay the fee for our ceremony, for example, because the payment department was constantly busy, no matter how many times we phoned!  We were very happy with the professionals we chose in terms of their being ‘gay-friendly’ although we did have a rather unpleasant encounter with a toastmaster at a wedding fair, who refused to believe we were marrying each other.  Needless to say, we decided against having a toastmaster, particularly him!

A few favorite things about your day:

It’s so hard to pick out one or two really special parts because the day itself was just one long amazing experience.  We’d decided that we would both walk down the aisle, but that I’d go first and then Laura would follow and the hotel worked very hard to make sure we didn’t see each other before that moment. 

(i love this image of the train of her dress!)

We had chosen our dresses together to make sure they complemented each other, but hadn’t seen them again at any of the fittings, or seen the other’s hair and makeup.  I didn’t expect seeing Laura for the first time to affect me the way it did, but the moment she appeared from behind the trees at the end of the aisle my eyes welled up and I really had to struggle not to cry (I didn’t want to ruin my makeup!).  She looked SO beautiful i just couldn’t hold it together.

Another highlight was the speeches.  My brother’s Best Man speech was pretty much a stand-up comedy routine about lesbian weddings and was very, VERY funny.  Several people have told me it was the best wedding speech they’d ever heard and I’d have to agree.  He had us all in fits of laughter and it really did make the day even better!

Our cake was pretty amazing too.  It was ridiculously expensive considering that, ultimately, it was a CAKE.  But we spent days debating whether or not it was worth spending that much money on a cake and eventually decided that it was, because it really was like no other wedding cake we had ever seen.  Plus it was DELICIOUS!  We had a chocolate layer, a strawberry layer and an apple layer, but those descriptions do not do justice to how totally amazing it tasted!(um, look at their cake!!)

A few words of advice/tips/lessons learned when planning your wedding to share with other couples
Remember that you won’t be able to please everybody – and that the most important people are the two of you!  Don’t let other people dictate what your wedding should be like. Remember to relax and enjoy the day.  Also, we didn’t realise how much time we would spend with the photographer on the day.  When we realised that, we were so glad we’d chosen the photographer we did, because he really put us at ease and we were barely even aware he was taking photos – and yet look at the brilliant results.  Choose your photographer with care as this is really one of the most important decisions!

congratulations laura & laura!  i wish you many years of love and happiness.  and much success on your journey of becoming mums!  i can’t wait to read more of your story.