For their fall wedding, Sam (she/her) and Kenzie (they/them) traveled to an island off the coast in the Pacific Northwest: Vashon, Washington. The couple planned their forest wedding weekend to be cozy and full of art. Kenzie, who is a professional artist, designed their invitations, and the spouses-to-be both curated a slate of artists and musicians to feature at their reception, which would be a pop art variety show.

The guests wore bright colors to complement the warm color scheme of the floral design. Sam wore an A-line white gown with a flower crown matching her bouquet, which included orange, red and yellow flowers with green accents. Kenzie wore black trousers and a matching bowtie, along with a brown shirt, blue pocket square and suit jacket that featured a variety of illustrated flowers on ivory fabric.

The outdoor ceremony took place under a wooden barn structure with open walls, so they could see the surrounding forest as they exchanged vows. The marriers walked down the aisle together while “Poor Song” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs played. After the ceremony, the party moved to an arts center, where music, dancing and art were a central focus of the reception.

We caught up with Sam to hear more about this magical forest wedding.

Tell us about the overall vibe of the wedding.

Our wedding was a magical forest island pop art variety show. It rained the whole time, except during our ceremony. We had fondue and were very cozy. Our guests came from all over the country into Seattle, rode a ferry and spent the whole weekend together. It was like summer camp in the fall.

What advice would you give to vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ marriers?

Update all of your online forms! Please have the option for additional pronouns and titles for the marriers. Don’t assume that because we are queer that we are expecting to have a normative experience. Likewise, don’t be surprised when we want some things that are normative.

Learn how to be an LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming wedding vendor with Equally Wed Pro

What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?

Getting married created some challenges for us as the whole concept of marriage is based on a very heteronormative structure, and we definitely felt the struggle of fitting into a structure that has not been designed for us as a queer couple. Everything was very binary in the experience. It was a challenge to see ourselves represented in the wedding industry and still have quality, especially when it came to clothes. Our biggest challenge, though, was that Kenzie’s entire family chose not to attend our wedding. There was a huge feeling of loss and grief in our experience.

Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?

The people who did show up and were involved in our wedding were loving and caring beyond belief and now feel even more like family. Also, the area around our venue, Vashon Island, is a magical place. It was very surprising how unexpectedly caring complete strangers can become. The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

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Photographer: Elizabeth Zuluaga
Ceremony venue: Island Forest Center
Reception venue: Vashon Center for the Arts
Officiant: Mardi Moore
Florist: Herban Bloom
Attire: Rae Moore; BHLDN; ASOS
Jewelry: Avery Lee Design
Hair: Dani Bee
Makeup: Tahara Chapman
Nails: Fresh to Death
Invitation design: Kenzie Sitterud Art + Design
Catering: Brothers & Co.
Cake: Tiffany Mojarab
DJ: Merlin the Girl
Band: Whitney Monge; Mouths of Babes; Michael Thomas Connelly

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