Harvest-Themed DIY Multicultural Southern Fall Gay Wedding
“Star Trek” fans Patric Bell-Good and Darin Good were made for each other. Their symbiotic sense of humor and attention to creative details shine through in the telling of their love story. Patric, a local chef, and Darin, a marketer, got engaged on Patric’s 41st birthday with a proposal from Darin complete with a ring from Tiffany & Co. They spent about a year planning their elaborate DIY wedding, set in their own backyard on a gorgeous fall afternoon. The Atlanta grooms went for a bountiful harvest theme, drawing upon natural elements for their wedding décor of pumpkins, corn, birds and cotton with hay bales for guest seating. Their ceremony was unparalleled in its creativity.
Both grooms were escorted down the aisle by their mothers. Patric donned an outfit of denim jeans, purple Converse, a blue gingham shirt, an orange-and-blue tie and a light brown vest, and Darin sported brown Converse, jeans, a white striped shirt, a blue-and-orange tie pulled together by a light brown sports jacket. Their boutonnieres were zinnias and bolls of cotton. Their ring bearer dressed like Patric, even matching his funky hairdo.
Their friend Juan, also a groomsman, handled the flower arrangements (which they bought wholesale). The blooms ranged from hot pink ranunculus, orange and purple zinnias, orange gerbera daisies, to an eggplant-colored sunflower mixed with stalks of cotton, brown leaves, and purple kale in galvanized tin buckets.
“Like us, our lives, and our “tribe” of friends and family, our wedding was a blend of Korean, Jewish, Spanish, ‘Star Trek’ and African-American traditions,” says Patric. “We started out with the Korean dates and chestnuts (Pae Bek) tradition, where we tossed dates and chestnuts—symbolizing the good, bountiful years we will have together—back and forth; the goal was to catch as many as possible, to ensure as many good years together as possible.
“We followed that with The Seven Circles from Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, which symbolizes the number of times Joshua encircled the walled city of Jericho before sounding his horn and destroying the walls. I circled Derwood (Darin) seven times while our friend Holly gave the Sheva Brachot (The Seven Blessings).
We followed that with our vows. Derwood’s were short and sweet and offered the ‘Star Trek’ tie-in. I recited the last two verses from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s XVII:
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
“We followed that with the jumping of the broom from African-American/slave tradition, for two reasons: one, because I am Southern-born and Derwood has adopted the Southern way of life, and the history of the slaves is as much a part of Southern and American history as the cotton which we used to symbolize it, and two, because slaves jumped the broom because their marriages were not recognized as legal, just as gay weddings were not considered valid [at the time]. Our friend, my ‘twin sister’ Shameeka, officiated this part of our ceremony.
“We ended the ceremony with the breaking of the glass, again from Jewish tradition, a representation of the fragility of human relationships, and also a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. Then everyone shouted ‘Mazel tov!’ and we walked down the aisle together.”
Patric is a chef, and in keeping with their DIY theme, he did all the wedding himself, a casual buffet of all of their favorites, such as okra chips, Funyuns, pimiento cheese, chicken liver pate, chicken salad, a cheese board, gefilte fish with horseradish, and boiled peanuts. For wedding favors for their 35 guests, Patric made bottles of Puerto Rican hot sauce called pique. The members of the wedding party got a bottle of pique and a jar of pickled okra.
Patric even found time to make the pumpkin wedding cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with marzipan pumpkins and crowned with a repurposed “Star Trek” Kirk and Spock salt-and-pepper shaker set.
So would they advise other couples to do a DIY wedding? In a heartbeat. “We had a very casual wedding,” says Darin, “and in my opinion, it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to!” Patric adds, “Do it yourself. You’ll save a lot of money, it will truly be personal, and, in the end, it actually will be the best day of your life.”
Photographer Caryn Oxford Photography
Hair Heather Everson of Bubbles Salon (Darin)
This article first appeared in Atlanta Gay Weddings, a publication co-owned by Equally Wed (Palladino Publishing, LLC) and GA Voice.