Emily, Willie and Sarah’s DIY throuple wedding at the Inn on the Russian River in Monte Rio, California
Emily (she/her), Willie (he/him) and Sarah (she/her) enjoyed a low-key waterside throuple wedding at Inn on the Russian River in Monte Rio, California. The queer triad shared their love story with Equally Wed, as well as details about how they navigated planning a throuple wedding, something none of the marriers had ever attended.
HOW THEY MET
“Willie and I (Emily) met in high school! We dated for a bit and then went our separate ways in college. We reconnected back in Reno over a break and have been together ever since. We met Sarah at the San Rafael Farmers Market. She was working, selling produce, when she caught Emily’s eye. With some big encouragement from Willie, I went back to her stand to buy some veggies. There was clearly an instant spark, we exchanged numbers and now we have a classically queer, Bay Area meet cute story.
We openly planned and talked about when we wanted to get married. We decided that we all wanted to ask each other, so there were SIX proposals and SIX rings!! It was a way to honor each relationship within our triad. I (Emily) proposed to Sarah first in Pt Reyes, on Sarah’s birthday hike. I hid the ring in a vest pocket the night before and hid a bottle of champagne in her hiking pack. We popped the bottle overlooking the pacific ocean! Sarah took me (Emily) on a day trip to Pescadero where we picnicked on the beach and Sarah returned the proposal.
Willie proposed to me (Emily) on a trip to San Luis Obispo. After mushroom foraging and hiking in the rain, Willie found a quiet spot on the beach to pop the question. Emily proposed to Willie that same weekend on a lazy, cozy morning.
Sarah proposed to Willie on a trip back to her home on the East coast. They snuck away for a walk on Thanksgiving day and found the cove where Sarah grew up. They both had their rings ready to go and had a beautiful moment together on the dunes.
HOW THE VENUE WAS CHOSEN
Guerneville (the town next to Monte Rio) is a special place, it is a historically queer enclave and has a quirky-small town vibe in the middle of the redwoods. We loved going up there for river days during the summer and it always felt really special everytime we were there. We were looking for somewhere surrounded by incredible nature and that felt quintessentially California, and this area checked all our boxes.
We were really drawn to the setting of the Inn and we wanted the celebration to feel longer than 1 night. It overlooked the Russian River and redwoods, and we could host our close friends and family onsite for the whole weekend. It was incredibly cozy, low key, and had everything we needed. We found it just through detailed and rigorous googling! It was the perfect setting for a relaxed, low stress wedding!
WEDDING INSPIRATION AND THEME
Our theme was loosely ‘In the Forest,’ ‘CA redwood,’ with a splash of ‘On the Shire.’ We didn’t want to overdo the decoration or accessories because the setting was pretty perfect as is and we were DIYing the whole event. The vibe was very much like a redwood forest backyard party. We wanted people to feel connected to the space and enjoy being under the trees. The ceremony, cocktail party, dinner, and dancing were all at the same location (The Inn) so everything felt well connected and had an easy flow. We even had an outdoor fireplace and got the fire going so it was really cozy!
We are all very low key people so we didn’t want anything over the top, or anything that didn’t feel true to our relationship, and so that is how we planned everything. If it didn’t fit us, we didn’t do it, especially when it came to any of the standard wedding traditions. We wanted to keep things simple and easy so we could get the most out of the day. It was all straight forward but cute. All the decor and food was done by someone we know and love. Our flowers, desserts, table decor, all had a personal touch from a family or friend and that made every single detail that much more special.
THE WEDDING DAY DETAILS
Our wedding day felt incredibly relaxed. We had all our friends and family onsite to help and everyone was eager to help us set up. We also really focused on delegating tasks so once we gave people direction, we gave them creative freedom to do the jobs which made our lives so much easier! Our hair and makeup was all done by Willie’s sisters, and we all got ready together, sitting outside. We didn’t follow any of the usual traditions where we all hide until it is time for the ceremony, we wanted to greet our guests and have as much time as possible soaking it all up with them.
We didn’t want to spend a bunch of time taking photos so we worked with Alesha, Equally Wed preferred vendor Rove Coast Photography, to make our family photos as efficient as possible and they are perfect! She was so confident the whole day and made us feel really relaxed. We didn’t want to feel rushed or like we had to keep moving locations to get the shots.
The ceremony was officiated by Sarah’s mom, who we let take creative liberty of the ceremony. She did an incredible job making it special and true to us. We walked down the aisle with our immediate families to ‘Let go of your plans’ by Lukas Nelson which I (Emily) thought was the perfect tone for an unconventional wedding. We didn’t do wedding bands since we were already blinged out from engagement rings. But we all shared vows to each other…so six vows total, Emily’s dad read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, and we took a step forward together entering the next chapter of our relationships. After the ceremony, we met our families on the patio and there was an incredible moment of a ‘welcome to the family’ hug train and celebration. Many happy tears were shed and everyone could feel the love in that moment.
We had tacos for dinner from a vendor that we also met at the same farmers market where we met Sarah, the salad was made with greens from the farmer Sarah works for, and the desserts were made by another farmers market friend. The tacos were a big hit and maintained the low-key vibe!
WHAT THE THROUPLE LOVED MOST ABOUT THEIR WEDDING DAY
The rain!! Yes, it rained on our wedding day and the whole event was outside, no coverage in sight. It held off during the ceremony but really started to come down after dinner and during the dancing. Rain in Northern CA in June is kind of a miracle these days so we fully embraced it and it turned into an epic, soul medicine type dance party. Our last song was ‘Dance with Somebody’ by Whitney Houston and everyone was so present in that moment, dancing and singing and getting drenched all together. It was so magical and truly the most joy we’ve ever felt!
We also loved the moments before the wedding getting ready. At that point everyone was on it with the various jobs and we could just be together and look out at the whole thing coming together. Since we didn’t really separate ourselves from most of the crowd, seeing everyone gather for us was very heartwarming.
WHAT TRADITIONS THE THROUPLE INCORPORATED
Not a tradition but we wanted to create something that was communal and everyone had a hand in so we asked everyone to bring something to add to our altar. We set up small benches in front of the ceremony space and just let everyone build up the altar. We had photos of grandparents, shells from beaches that were special to us, photos of friends, plants, dried flowers, small trinkets from friends. It was a collection of all the moments in our lives that we shared with our guests.
We sent out a “Throuple Wedding FAQ” card with our save the dates which we and all our guests absolutely loved. We wanted it to be ok that people had questions about the wedding because it was a new thing to all of us! We shared up front that yeah, this is a little different but it is ours and we are excited to share it with you. Everyone loved them and I think it got people in an open mindset for the day!
Throuple Wedding FAQs
Can three people get married?
Legally, no! We are following our hearts and making our own path through the world. Our ceremony will be for all three of us and truly one of a kind. Expect a river party with sweet moments and good food and drinks in a beautiful part of California.
Who are the McDeckmans?
Emily and Willie have been dating since high school. As we’ve made our way through the world, we met Sarah at the farmers market and we all fell in love. Each pair of of us have our own relationship, and all together, we are the start of a family. We aren’t following any rulebook. We are figuring it out, just like any other family.
What can I do?
We know this is not the typical adventure, but it’s ours and we are thrilled to share it with you. We are trying to cultivate a supportive and judgement-free environment where our families can get to know each other. We ask that you bring an open mind and share your excitement for our future. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Another favorite thing we did was hosting our closest friends and families onsite. The wedding is a hard time to actually catch up with people so having everyone around for a few days before and after made it so we could actually hang out all together, without the intenseness of the wedding day. It was so fun to wake up and all have breakfast together, go for walks, go out to dinner together, etc.
We also loved having the wedding at a location that makes us feel relaxed. I (Emily) truly feel that the wedding felt so easy because our venue and location were both so peaceful, independent of the wedding. The day was already special before it even got going because of the location and I think it kept us and everyone relaxed the whole weekend.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE PLANNING A QUEER THROUPLE WEDDING?
When we started planning, we were on the fence for a while about what kind of wedding we wanted; we weren’t sure what would ‘fit’ us but we are so glad we worked to find it. Throwing a queer, nontraditional wedding is really hard, and honestly I (Emily) was nervous to create a whole new type of wedding that no one, including us, has been to before. Not a lot of throuple wedding blogs to reference out there! Even for our wedding website, we had to find a workaround since all the templates only have spaces for two names. There were also a lot of wedding traditions out there that made us question, “Do we do this thing because we want it or because society or Instagram is telling us we have to?” Once we got past those initial hurdles, the planning got much easier and it was so worth it!
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Photographer: Rove Coast Photography, a preferred Equally Wed vendor
DJ: DJ Shy
Venue: Inn on the Russian River
Gown: Catherine Deane
Kirsten Ott Palladino
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