Wild child Southwest wedding at Rimrock Ranch in Pioneertown, California
How did you meet and fall in love?
We met at The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth. We were both working as Lifeline counselors at the time. A suicide hotline is certainly an unconventional place to meet your future husband! Still, it told us a lot about each other—that we shared similar passions and values.
Did your wedding have a theme? Tell us about the inspiration behind your day (the decor, the location, the color scheme, any cultural or religious traditions).
Our vibe was a mixture of flower child meets the Wild, Wild West (a perfect combination of both of us—ha!) Jared loved the idea of getting hitched in the Southwest, someplace spirited and peaceful. Matt knew he wanted an outdoor wedding with a more adventurous, camp-like feel. What we landed on was Rimrock Ranch in Pioneertown, California, just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. It’s the perfect combination of rugged and modern. We split the decor to match both of our personalities. Jared made sure the ranch was adorned with crystals and sage, and even created personalized Astrological birth-chart place holders for our guests. Matt brought the Wild West, plastering faux Wanted posters around the ranch with photos of our friends and family on them, and making sure that every gift bag included a shot of fireball whiskey.
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples?
Be true to who you are and what you want! As queer people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of people-pleasing. This was hard for us at first: We often had trouble making final decisions because we were so worried about what others would think and feel. Remember that it’s your day! Don’t sacrifice your vision because you’re worried about how others might perceive it.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our ceremony was beautiful. It took place on the ranch in between two large Joshua Trees. As east coasters, it was stunning looking out and seeing all of our loved ones together in the middle of the California desert. Our officiant did an amazing job and took time to acknowledge all of the queer people who came before us and helped make our marriage a reality. Matt’s sisters wrote and read a hilarious faux children’s story entitled A Tale of Two Princes (spoiler: the princes were us!). We also had two friends serenade us with an acoustic version of “In My Life” by the Beatles. Of course, they surprised us by mashing it with a Britney Spears song. We were all laughing and crying at the same time!
What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
There isn’t really a template for queer weddings. Traditional ceremonies and receptions are so gendered, and it’s hard to undo the heteronormative images that get ingrained in your mind about what a wedding should look and feel like. Things got easier for us when we let go of all of that and realized that we can simply make it all up on our own! Letting go of the traditional script helped us create an experience that was totally “us”—which made our day so much more special.
Venue: Rimrock Ranch
Photographer: Emma Hopp Photography
Catering: Border Grill
Party Rentals: Signature Party Rentals
Furniture Rentals: Circa Vintage Rentals
Attire: Barneys New York
Flowers: Whole Foods Market
Day-Of Coordinator: Molly Richmond
Fin Leary Lavoie
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