Celestial Art Nouveau Wedding with Afternoon Tea

Kassia J Photography

June 10, 2024

For Kim and Lexa, from Edmonton, Canada, their wedding day was all about feeling like themselves. This is a common theme for a lot of queer couples – making the day feel like a celebration of being exactly who they are because of how much strength and adversity it took to become those people and to make it there.

Kim bought two vintage dresses (one from the 1920s, the other from the 1940s) and hand-beaded her crown to match the vibe. Lexa’s dresses were a prom dress which cost under $200 with her second one from Banana Republic. Their total budget was $15,000 CAD, which they stuck to by doing a lot of DIY. Kim’s mum made all the food and they had a self-serve bar.

To further make the day feel right for them, they planned it so they could do all the things they love to do. They got ready together, walked their dog together, and after a midday ceremony and afternoon tea, they had an outfit change then went the local Fringe festival with their friends.

“From the outset, we knew we valued good food, good drinks and good company,” Lexa shared. “This theme grounded our planning and was something we referred back to whenever we reached a point of uncertainty or indecision. We also agreed that we wanted to do something earlier in the day. Neither of us have ever been big dancers or partiers. Kim is in love with anything vintage, so our décor was largely inspired by that.”

The ceremony was led by a friend Lexa went to school with, and was full of meaningful moments. “As a Sapphic couple who had been together for eight years, we felt that having our parents give us away was old-fashioned and patriarchal,” Kim said. “Instead we walked in together to Dover by the Westerlies. They are a horn quartet who make delightful atmospheric music without lyrics. We really didn’t like the idea of having a stranger as an officiant, as we felt that personal connection was important. When it came to reciting our vows, since we are both nerds, we bought a jumbo plush d20 die. When it came time for our vows, the officiant asked us to roll to figure out who would go first.”

After the 10-minute ceremony came their casual afternoon tea reception, which was designed to facilitate mingling among guests. They served sandwiches and desserts and had no assigned seating or dance floor. They created their own playlist for background music, and guests really enjoyed filling out prompt cards for their guestbook. They then headed to the beer gardens of The Edmonton Fringe Festival for the rest of the day.

“As a neuro-divergent person, having a short reception midday and then a break before another gathering was perfect,” Kim said. “It also meant we had a couple of hours alone as a couple, which was really lovely.”

Reflecting on their wedding, the couple cherished the support from loved ones – although they felt the wedding industry still has a long way to go before it’s fully inclusive. “For the longest time, I couldn’t picture myself getting married because I couldn’t picture myself as a groom”, Lexa, who is trans, explained. “Being a bride was a dream come true and incredibly affirming. It was beautiful to see all parts of my life intertwine. Despite things being way more queer-friendly these days, the industry is still very much cis-het normative. Many products still assume there is going to be a bride and a groom. We found a lot of vendors, such as photographers or venues, would say they are LGBTQ+ friendly, but do not actually have any queer weddings in their galleries. You can’t help but feel like they are just trying to appeal to the queer market, without actually putting effort in, which sucks.”

“Just do what you want to do”, Kim concluded. “I think COVID and the onslaught of micro-weddings and elopements really made people realise that they didn’t need to follow the wedding formula. If you want to get married in a forest with four friends and a party after, do that. If you want a brunch wedding, do that. Do not let tradition dictate how you need to do things.”