Once upon a time in the middle of a pandemic, Ellysa and Jaimy met on Hinge. They moved in together in 2021 and planned a quick getaway to their dream lodging, The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA. While they were there, they couldn’t stop talking about how much the place just felt like them, and even though they weren’t even engaged, spoke about how one day they would get married there!
The kitsch, dreamlike backdrop which was perfect for their May 2023 celebration which was brimming with pink hues and swan motifs. “Our wedding theme is seriously the most fabulous fantasy”, they told us. “Pink as far as the eye could see! A vivid delight; really inviting you to indulge in creative expression. We also made swans our moniker so we definitely sprinkled that in as well as our love for traveling. The wedding theme was an ode to how boundless our devotion is and how we’d be living our best swan life voyaging the ends of the world.”
There ceremony was held outside, in the secret garden. In a departure from tradition, they chose to walk themselves in from opposite sides of the venue’s pond, meeting at the entrance and then walking down the ‘aisle’ together. Their entrance song was The Swan performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Gaby Casadesus and Philippe Entremont. Additionally, they mixed up the bridal party lineup, placing their bridesmaids on the opposite side than you normally would. This way, the bridesmaids could see their receptive bride’s face during the ceremony.
“A real stand out moment during the ceremony was having a reading done by my very good friend, Anthony”, Jaimy said. “I had mentored Anthony since they were in high school as a freshman, I was a senior at the time. This was before either one of us came out as queer and we were just two weirdos in high school. I feel a very strong connection to Anthony and thought it was only fitting to ask them to read an excerpt from the summary of Obergefell v. Hodges. It was a landmark case where the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage rights as a fundamental and constitutional right. It was super important to have this moment where we all honoured the historical event that allowed us to be wedded in the first place! And Anthony was serving looks with a beautiful baby pink ensemble while doing so, with cute butterfly hair pieces to match!”
Opting out of hiring a wedding planner did save them money, but it also meant a lot of DIY was required. Ellysa explained, “I designed all the printed materials, including invitations, signage, even our vow books. I really wish I would have done more wedding planning research before I started doing it all myself. There was so much I didn’t know but I’m grateful for the time I spent learning along the way.”
The reception at the Madonna Inn’s “Gay 90’s” steakhouse was where they got to have loads of fun with the decor. Their DIY spirit shone brightly, with Ellysa designing the décor. Each table was named after destinations the couple had traveled to, and they had some of their favourite card games set up which people could play. They even had 3D printed swans that Ellysa’s younger brother made and brought all the way from North Carolina.
“As a neurodivergent person, weddings can be extremely overstimulating, overwhelming and feel very unpredictable”, Ellysa concluded. “It was really helpful for me to communicate with my therapist about how I was feeling throughout the wedding planning process and get advice on how to best work with my brain. Being a queer couple, it was also more difficult to find little things that we wanted, like a ‘Mrs + Mrs’ neon sign that wouldn’t have to be completely custom made. So straight couples, don’t take those things for granted!”
“It’s also difficult because once we found those wedding items that ARE inclusive, it was only available in one style that wasn’t necessarily the vibe of our wedding. Also, so many online articles, wedding website builders etc still only use the term ‘bride and groom’. Hopefully in the future the wedding industry will not only become more inclusive but more celebratory of couples who don’t fit the traditional mold.”