kate & karen

This submission comes from Victoria & Josh of Triquetra Photography.  Kate & Karen shared their story, “Kate and Karen met in Philadelphia and fell in love on those big city streets. A family illness and Kate’s father’s business sent the pair packing to Cincinnati, Ohio where Kate grew up. Thankfully, the Midwest proved a perfect home for the two of them, and served as the backdrop for their wedding in the outskirts of the city.

They were married at Grailville, a women’s retreat center in Loveland, OH. Home to “The Grail”, an international women’s movement, the space embodied everything they both want out of their lives and relationships: spirituality, transformation and respect for the natural world. The center was perfect for the Zaino-Zaidan nuptial, with a beautiful converted barn ceremony space, grounds for guests to hike, a labyrinth for private meditation, and best of all, enough rooms to house most of their guests on site. Their wedding was a beautiful community weekend, with lots of time to spend with friends and family.

When they first started wedding planning, they had lots of ideas for alternative celebrations that would downplay some of the more sexist and materialistic aspects of weddings. Early on, however, they realized that that people take wedding traditions very, very seriously! After looking for weeks for the perfect inexpensive yet appropriately chic non-wedding wedding dress, Kate (alongside her mom and sister) picked one up off the David’s Bridal clearance rack. Turns out, it was just right. They did have a wedding party, but instead of making everyone buy the same outfit, they gave their friends a range of colors to pick from and let them work with their own style. And, after talking at length about adding their mother’s to the father-daughter dance (or doing some complicated family dance), they ended up dancing with just their dads, and it was one of the best parts of the evening.

It was also just the right mix of DIY (though Kate’s sisters might disagree). In leiu of hiring a florist, a few days before the wedding they drove to a lavender farm in rural Ohio, where they picked all the flowers, and crafted them into bouquets and boutonnieres together. The centerpieces, vintage books filled with small potted plants, were made by a local Etsy purveyor (Karen is an English teacher, so books featured prominently). Kate’s mom made the cake, lemon flavored and dotted with blackberries. The other unique touch was that the food was served family-style, and guests could pass large dishes of french lentil salad and grilled fish around. While there was a fair share of headache involved to get it right, it was absolutely worth it. Breaking bread communally, sharing food together was the atmosphere they wanted to create.

It was truly a charmed weekend from beginning to end. The welcome party the night before gifted a spectacular light show of fireflies in the orchard, an unforgettable sight (and one that moved a very tired Kate to tears). On the night of the wedding (a solstice, supermoon wedding) a local church having a festival and light off fireworks at midnight. It was a re-written fairy tale, celebrating community, equality, and joy.”

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