Colorful Episcopal and Presbyterian queer wedding at Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville, Arkansas
When Angela Tyler-Williams and Adelyn Tyler-Williams decided to tie the knot, they did it in a style that was unmistakably them: playful, prayerful and colorful. This queer Episcopal and Presbyterian wedding was a celebration of love that defied convention and embraced everything that makes Angela and Adelyn unique.
The brides took their individuality and turned it into a wedding that was authentically them. This wasn’t just a celebration; it was a reflection of their love story, values and, of course, their sense of fun. “Adelyn is an Episcopal priest, and I’m a Presbyterian pastor,” says Angela. “We joked that the hardest part of wedding planning would be making decisions about the ceremony that honored both of our traditions. Turns out many of the words are the same, but we chose the most pro-women and queerest versions of prayers, scripture, and music. Our co-officiants are two of our best friends who are also an Episcopal clergy couple. We had a wedding party featuring people of all genders, and our flower girl was one of Adelyn’s seminary classmates who claimed that title right at the beginning of our relationship! As a somewhat spontaneous decision, we had our 32-year-old flower girl carry our 4-month old goddaughter (first born of the officiants) down the aisle, too!”
“The ceremony was ‘cool church,'” says Angela. One of their officiants even wore a pink tutu, setting the tone for a service that was both spiritual and wonderfully unconventional. “Music in our ceremony was all hymns with some lyrics changed to be more gender expansive where necessary.” It was a touching way to make the ceremony more inclusive. The service included communion, and the brides had the honor of serving the bread to their guests, even if it sometimes led to serving the ‘other side’s’ guests—a delightful mix-up that only added to the day’s charm. The brides had several scripture readings during the wedding ceremony: Ruth 1:16-17; 1 John 4:7-12, 18-21; and Matthew 5:13-16.
The music that Angela and Adelyn included for their fabulously queer Christian wedding included, “I Shall Not Leave from By Your Side,” sung by Angela’s bestie of honor, which she says was based “on our Ruth scripture from Songs for the Holy Other, a collection of spiritual songs for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.” Angela and Adelyn’s recessional music was “God, be the love to search and keep me (O Christ Surround me).” Later, for their first dance, their friend and musician, Sam Burchfield, sang his song, “Someday.”
The wedding’s color palette was a vibrant mix of berry, blush, tangerine, sunshine yellow, mint, teal and navy. “We wanted our wedding to feel vibrant and full of life,” they say. Floral arrangements, lovingly crafted by friends and family, featured lilies, Craspedia (Billy balls), gay feather and blue thistle. Each table was adorned with hand-dyed vases and jars, a testament to the couple’s commitment to personal touches.
This queer Episcopal and Presbyterian wedding was a testament to Angela and Adelyn’s love and their commitment to celebrating it on their own terms. It was a day of fun, whimsy and vibrant color, a reflection of the couple’s personalities and the uniqueness of their love story.
“The whole day was everything that we wanted it to be, and none of the expected or traditional things we didn’t want. It was just so impossibly perfect!,” says Angela.
As for the reception, it was a casual foodie’s dream. “Tacos and donuts are important in our relationship,” they say, and these treats took center stage, reflecting the couple’s love for them. “It was the perfect meal for us.
“Our grand exit had bubbles! We set up bubble machines and had a few sets of bubbles for some guests to hold,” they explain. The bubbles brought an element of childlike wonder to the festivities, adding an extra layer of fun to the celebration.
In the end, Angela and Adelyn’s wedding was not just a celebration of their love; it was a celebration of love in all its beautiful, diverse and playful forms. “Our wedding was a statement of who we are and what we believe in,” they say. It was a reminder that love knows no bounds and can shine brightly in the most unexpected places.
FROM THE NEWLYWEDS
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples or marriers?
Do your internal work. Wedding planning brings up so many emotional things! Some you may have thought you healed, some you’re not aware of, and some you can anticipate. Stay focused on you and your partner. Take the time to build the solid foundation of marriage that goes far beyond the wedding day. And. Ultimately the day is about you. Surround yourself with people who celebrate you unapologetically and don’t feel obligated to include those who won’t bring the exuberant joy to your wedding that you deserve!
What advice do you have for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples/marriers?
Meet couples where they are. Do your work ahead of time to be ready to work with LGBTQ+ couples. Don’t make assumptions about gender, family and relationship dynamics. Let the couple tell you about themselves, but don’t make them teach you.
What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple or LGBTQ+ marriers planning your wedding?
A few months after we got engaged, we moved to a place where we knew no one, pretty far from friends, family, and community. Wedding planning in a new place that is progressive for the area, but more conservative than where we were before was hard. We didn’t know people who had vetted vendors and always wondered what vendors would say about two women…or two women clergy getting married.
We don’t talk enough about the grief of wedding planning. I (Angela) had an expectation of a big say yes to the dress moment that I didn’t even know I had until I realized I wasn’t going to have that moment and felt sad and upset about it. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to wear. I wanted a jumpsuit, not a full suit, not a dress. Wedding clothing companies may have a jumpsuit or two but will they have plus-sized garments made for my body? That’s a toss-up. I ended up buying a lot of jumpsuits from different companies and having our wedding party and my mom on zoom while Adelyn helped me try them on at home. It was about the clothing, but it was also about the fact that we left our community and really missed them. And that’s all real.
Overall, the wedding industry isn’t made with people like us, relationships like ours, and bodies like ours in mind. Even when people were fine with two brides, it wasn’t queer. There are still binary expectations of femme and masc that just don’t fit us. And that’s hard to navigate.
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple or marriers planning your wedding?
Despite being in a more conservative place, we didn’t experience the kind of backlash we expected. Our vendors were kind and generous and didn’t put any weird gendered baggage on us. We were really excited by vendors and people in the community who just celebrated our love, were delighted by our presence and decision to get married in our new town. Having a queer wedding already breaks some of the usual wedding traditions and expectations. So it gave us more freedom to create what we wanted and leave behind what didn’t fit us. Angela actually read the Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding book after getting engaged!
Search our directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding vendors.
FEATURED LGBTQ+ INCLUSIVE WEDDING VENDORS
Photographer: Freckled Fox Photography
Wedding ceremony and reception venue: Mount Sequoyah
Flowers: Dripping Springs Garden
Planner, design and coordination: Stardust Weddings & Events
Band: Sam Burchfield
Videographer: Paper Ketchup Products
Catering: Carmelita Catering Co
Donuts: Rick’s Bakery
Officiants: Father Lizzie Mcmanus-Dail and Fr. Jonathan McManus-Dail
Bar: Tie 1 On
Rentals: Intents Party Rentals
Wedding attire: Azazie, David’s Bridal, Oleg Cassini
Angela’s engagement ring: Brilliant Earth
Angela’s wedding ring: Helzberg Diamonds
Angela’s wedding jewelry: Etsy – Jewelry Saving Lives
Adelyn’s engagement ring: Franzetti Jewelers
Adelyn’s wedding ring: Helzberg Diamonds
Adelyn’s wedding jewelry: Anthropologie