You’re invited to the biggest, queerest wedding of the year
On August 29 at 1 p.m Eastern, I will wed my long time partner, Jodyann Morgan. While weddings happen every single day, it’s not often that they are 100 percent virtual, or that the whole world is invited.
As a plus-size, queer, interfaith couple, our story of how we fell in love and why we’re having a big virtual wedding has been an exciting journey that has not been without its challenges. It’s because of that journey that we’re inviting the world to witness our love and also appreciate which queer, POC and allied vendors are making it a reality.
We couldn’t be more different. Morgan, from Jamaica and the daughter of Pentecostal parents, and myself a daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, our relationship has stood the test of time and differences. Now, via our virtual wedding, we wish to share our joy with the community.
Our Love Story
A few days after attending the circus almost five years ago, I received a Facebook message. The most glorious masculine woman dropped a line into my inbox. It seemed she worked security at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and saw me that night at the circus. She said she found me mesmerizing and when she came across my picture in a queer Facebook group, she had to reach out.
We met for the first time at a Dunkin Donuts and then headed to her friend’s low-key birthday party. Morgan kissed me on the elevator ride up. It was truly an incredible moment I’ll never forget. At the party, when people asked how long we’d been together, we’d simultaneously chuckle and let them know it was our very first date. It just all felt so perfect.
When we moved in together a little over three months later, no one was really surprised. We were so deeply in love. We are so deeply in love. And now, nearly four-and-a-half years later, we’re getting married!
Why We’re Having a Virtual Wedding
When we got engaged almost a year ago, we were over the moon with joy and anticipation of the incredible life we were building together. This would just seal our commitment to each other. But quickly, we were hit over the head with powerful, painful emotions as we grappled with the thought of getting married without the people who brought us into this world. Our parents, for a variety of reasons, chose not to support both our relationship or our love.
So we put it off, finding reasons to avoid making those joyous yet painful decisions. Cake and flowers didn’t feel all that interesting when we couldn’t celebrate with those we loved most. As we discussed options, we considered hosting a big old queer party in NYC and inviting a bunch of strangers to dance and celebrate with us. It was a fitting way to seal our vows, the same way we lived our lives, inviting people for holidays and potlucks, clothing swaps and birthdays.
Then came COVID. So we decided to pivot. Virtual seemed like the only way to have a big fabulous wedding at the moment. Not to mention, I lost my job in April and Morgan’s job in entertainment has been in a precarious state as the virus progressed. People like us are often unseen in the media, so this made us want to share our joy with the world and offer inspiration to others in our position.
Who is Invited
You are! So are your friends, your neighbors, and all queer people everywhere. This is the best part! We’re still having a big queer party, except now it’s virtual and all of YOU are invited. The in-person portion will be essentially a micro wedding, with just the two of us. We’ll be streaming it live so you can all join us and celebrate our love and union. We need your support, love, and well wishes now more than ever. It’s going to be our big queer wedding and we, of course, are #queerentinebrides. (Yes, you should share this, tweet this, and let people know about this using this hashtag!)
Who’s Making This Day Happen
After losing my job in April and with life being so volatile given the current climate, we didn’t know how we could afford to make even a small wedding happen. Luckily for us, some incredible women-, POC- and queer-owned small businesses offered to collaborate with us and together we’re creating the most beautiful day.
Every wedding needs an officiant; this is definitely one of the more personal choices. How do we find someone who speaks to us and can create a custom ceremony and really feels like us? Queer officiant L.S. Quinn was up for the challenge. She created a custom ceremony with our input, tweaking it until it was just right.
Having a Black photographer was incredibly important to us. When my friend Joyneice recommended her friend Danielle Lawson of Natural Nerd Designs, things just clicked. She’s going to capture our day so we can document the lifelong memories we will be creating.
I didn’t think that we were going to be able to have flowers at the wedding, and it was pretty low on our list of priorities. However, Angie, a queer florist, and owner of Indigo & Birch Floral Company, was so excited to put together bouquets that spoke to our personalities, unique but different.
My biggest concern with the huge virtual wedding was that I wouldn’t be able to be present in the moment. I wanted this to be about community, but I also wanted to give my future wife my full and undivided attention. When Robin Chalmers messaged me on Instagram, the timing couldn’t have been more right. An aspiring day-of-coordinator, she was recently a plus-size bride herself and I knew she’d help make the day run as smoothly as possible.
Then of course, we had to settle on hair and makeup. Morgan has been growing her locs for almost 13 years. Creating the bridal hairstyle of her dreams takes a talented loctician and Jasmine Howard of Shear Canvas was the best woman for the job. She’s going to help us take glam to the next level with her ingenious hair designs.
I waited until nearly the last minute to confirm a makeup artist—finding a Black woman was high on our priority list. When I reached out to the founder of Aesthetic Artist Agency, she knew exactly where I was coming from. Many white makeup artists aren’t trained on Black skin and she created her entire agency to combat this problem. JaTwon Henderson is represented by the agency and truly an artist. She’s going to make sure our makeup is on point as we take our vows, exchange rings, and of course, eat cake!
While we set out on this wedding journey with the community in mind, we had no idea that the community would instead support us right back ten times over. This is truly a testament to paying it forward and how a community bands together in unison to help each other for one cause. Everyone wins and it’s all love. And that brings Morgan and I full circle in our journey to our wedding as we enter into a new chapter in our magical love affair.
We hope you will join us and see for yourself how love can be a balm and the joy from our queer wedding will bounce off the screen.
Photos: Carlos Ratti