Marni and Casey: Atlanta Queer Organic Wedding
Marni and Casey walk the walk with their eco-friendly wedding
It was love at first pitch when Marni Kahn first met Casey Brown at her company’s softball game. The two met through mutual friends, and as soon as Marni saw Casey’s hazel eyes it was lights out, game over. They talked through most of the game in the outfield. Marni asked for Casey’s phone number that night, and five years later she proposed.
Casey came home from work one day to find all of the cards she had ever given Marni strewn about the dining room table. Next to the cards lay cupcakes from Highland Bakery, Cakebread wine and a box of UGZ slippers—her favorite kind. There were two large picture frames wrapped and leaning against the dining room chairs. These were pictures of Piedmont Park, where they had spent time together as a couple. All of these things represented Casey and Marni’s relationship in the past and the present. And what was inside the slipper box would symbolize their future together. Here, Marni placed two rings; one, a simple gold band with diamonds, and the other, a white gold band with diamonds and an emerald for the center—green like Casey’s eyes.
After she saw what was on the table, Marni grabbed Casey’s hands and professed her love and adoration. With tears in her eyes, she asked Casey to spend the rest of her life with her.
“I was completely taken by surprise!” Casey says. “I’ve never seen Marni at a loss for words until this moment … She was a nervous wreck!”
It took the brides about four to five months to plan their wedding. Both shared the responsibilities equally, picking and choosing which tasks to complete based on their own unique talents. “Marni wrote the ceremony and program,” explains Casey. “She also dealt with vendors and invoices. I was responsible for the details, like assembling the place cards and programs, and making stickers for our take home cupcake boxes and gift bags.” Casey and Marni picked out their venue, florist, bakery, photographer and attire together. “My brother Jason is an event planner in New York City,” says Marni. “He’s an expert in his field and took care of our event. We came to Jason with some ideas of what we wanted, but allowed him to take over and make it spectacular and he truly did!”
The couple chose April 10, 2010, at the Alto Rex Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Palomar in Midtown Atlanta. “One afternoon, Casey and I went to the Hotel Palomar for drinks,” says Marni. “We were sitting on the terrace taking in the city views and realized this could be a beautiful space to have our wedding.”
“We really wanted to make the event about us, and we took a lot of time to add personal touches to everything,” says Casey.
Every facet of Marni and Casey’s wedding was hand-selected down to the finest detail, and it shows. “We tried to personalize every aspect of the night … signature drinks at cocktail hour, keeping the menu vegetarian and pescatarian,” says Casey. The place cards were hand-embossed, and the couple even designed their own programs. Cookies, modeled after Marni and Casey’s Labradors (Addie and Luke) were handed out as favors to each guest, with a pledged donation from the couple to Atlanta Lab Rescue.
“We had decided that our wedding environment needed to reflect our social practices and Hotel Palomar did,” says Marni. “It’s a socially responsible eco-chic hotel that composts on hotel grounds, recycles, uses organic local products, and is pet-friendly. We had found the perfect space to share our wedding vows in front of our family and friends.”
The self-identifying queer brides walked down the aisle arm in arm. “It was magical and magnificent,” says Marni. “Looking out at our closest family and friends, feeling the touch of one another, and knowing that we were about to take something so private, our love, and make it public.”
Both wore wedding dresses from J. Crew, catered to their individual body types, with gold accessories. For shoes, the women showcased their playful personalities with Marni in gold Chucks and Casey in gold Toms. Each bride looked effortlessly beautiful in her simply elegant and comfortable looking ensemble. Both brides carried stunning bouquets courtesy of Twelve Flowers Boutique. “We allowed our florist John to be creative,” the couple says. “We told him we like an urban-rustic-organic look, and he made it happen!” Michael Hanz was on hand to make the brides picture perfect with hair and makeup.
Marni and Casey wrote their own ceremony and asked their parents, other members of their family, and four of their friends, to speak and represent different aspects of the relationship.
Standing under a chuppah, the couple recited their vows. “I was a nervous wreck,” says Casey. “Public speaking is a phobia of mine so standing in front of family and friends, talking about feelings, which is not something I like to do anyway, was terrifying! But as soon as I got through the vows, I felt a peaceful calm come over me.”
Atlanta-based Drew Newman Photographers and Jonathan Nye of Evolution Video, captured the invaluable moments between Marni, Casey and their 95 guests throughout the day.
Post-ceremony, guests relaxed at cocktail hour sipping on signature cocktails the brides selected themselves. A lavish vegetarian and pescatarian dinner followed, catered by Hotel Palomar’s own Pacci Ristorante. Guests nibbled ahi tuna tacos, blue-cheese stuffed dates and risotto before enjoying a choice of seared halibut or roasted polenta. Dessert options were rich and varied, including banana tiramisu, a cupcake tower stacked with red velvet, chocolate and coconut cupcakes from Highland Bakery and a candy bar, featuring Twizzlers, Skittles, M&M’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Sour Patch Kids and kettle corn popcorn.
“The night was beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” says Casey. She advises engaged couples to “absolutely make the day about you. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, but at the end of the day, it’s about the couple. So be true to who you are and make the guests feel like they are a part of something special!”
After being together for five years and taking months to plan a wedding, Marni and Casey have learned a lot about their relationship and about marriage in the gay community.
“We knew this before,” says Casey, “but our wedding confirmed that marriage has little to do with the state or government—although the privileges attached to heterosexual unions are something we all deserve. Our wedding was about professing our love and commitment to one another with the support our family and friends; our community married us.”
The couple lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with their two Labradors, Addie and Luke. They will be spending their honeymoon in Vancouver this September.
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