An intimate, nonbinary pandemic wedding at sea
Rebecca and Maya always planned to have a small wedding, but the pandemic still required a complete change of plans.
“When we got engaged in February 2020, after being together for three years, we had said from the start we wanted a short engagement and a small wedding,” Rebecca says. “So when Covid shutdowns began, we decided to wait things out and try to keep our wedding as planned…We originally were going to get married in a park in our neighborhood and then have a catered celebration in our building’s common space. However, our building stopped allowing visitors, and in June we had to start completely fresh, two months before the day we were hoping to get married.”
Soon after, the couple discovered Hornblower Cruises, which offered an intimate wedding ceremony package. With only family in attendance, the two were married in August on a gorgeous sunny day while cruising through Boston Harbor.
“It worked out beautifully in the end,” Rebecca says.
“We both have queer siblings, Maya’s sister Meagan and Rebecca’s sibling Gus, so it was still a fun little LGBT+ celebration.”
The ceremony was centered on respect for nonbinary identities, as Maya identifies as bigender and also goes by Sebastian.
“Our justice of the peace was so open to our changes to the ceremony for inclusive nonbinary language,” says Rebecca. “Make that a priority when looking for a JoP. It made us so comfortable having a ceremony that was our own. Our venue, planner, and JoP were all asked to refer to us by our first names, “Maya and Rebecca” as opposed to “the brides,” etc… to make the whole experience affirming of Maya’s identity.”
With Taylor Swift’s Lover being played on violin, Maya and Rebecca walked down the aisle together, stopping to kiss their parents along the way.
What was the overall vibe of wedding?
Maya and I are often told that we look “edgy.” I am a bartender, covered in tattoos with a platinum buzz cut. Maya is in tech sales, but also models and used to be a boxer, with short platinum hair as well. Our wedding balanced our edge with an intimate, nautical, romantic ceremony. We stuck to simplicity, black and white, to let our love shine.
Maya proposed first, on vacation on the beach at a resort in Costa Rica, before a romantic private dinner (she arranged for a photographer to document it). When we returned to our hotel room, I [Rebecca] laid out wooden letters spelling “Marry Me” on the bed with a ring and proposed as well!
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples?
Think about and talk about name changes early! Filing our marriage intention snuck up on us, and then we had a deadline to decide if we were going to keep our own last names, take one, hyphen, or change it completely. Ultimately we decided to keep our own last names, but as an LGBTQ+ couple, we had less social expectation and more options when it came to a name change that we hadn’t considered.
What advice do you have for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples?
At least in Boston, it seemed any vendors we spoke with had experience with gay weddings. Having inclusive non-gendered language options is where we saw some room for improvement, and factored in our vendor selection process.
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
Maya came out to her grandparents just a few months before we got engaged. They were so happy for us, and called asking for details about planning, and for photos as soon as we got them back (we didn’t want to risk them traveling because of Covid). It was so nice to have that support!
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Ceremony Venue: The Boston Elite – Hornblower Cruises
Photographer: Amanda Macchia of Sister City Photography,
Florist: Orly Khon
Band: Maeve (violinist)
Invitation Designer: The Knot
Attire for Rebecca: Theia Couture “Jean” purchased at Flair Bridal
Cake Designer: Oakleaf Bakery
Officiant: Roberta Lydon Chapel
Makeup: Bloom Beauty