Okay, I’m SO excited about this Unfake Wedding! My first same-sex wedding feature! After all the Unfake Weddings, I finally have one! I am a full-on supporter of the gay marriage fight, so I’m uncommonly proud to present the wedding of Liliana and Michelle. In fact, when I opened the photographer’s email, I jumped up from the computer, did the family victory dance (think Elaine from Seinfeld) and with fists in the air, shouted at The Candyman, “I HAVE MY FIRST SAME SEX UNFAKE WEDDING!” I think he is just as proud, but wasn’t nearly as excited as he should have been. Pfft. Boys.
Please note this is a pic heavy post. I loved the photos so much, I didn’t do a very good job of editing…not that I ever do!
So with much pride, I’d like to present…
The Unfake Wedding of Liliana & Michelle!
The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?
T30SB Commentary: Sigh. So it’s not just a heterosexual thing…
Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.
Photographer Maggie Rife
DJ/Band Provided by the Venue.
Reception Venue Chicago Cruises
Flowers Angel Gardens Florist
Dress Casablanca Couture, B053 from Eva’s Bridals in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Hair/Make-Up Adriana & Lucy Carrasco from Carissima Salons
Tuxedos/Suits Michelle’s suit was custom made by a private tailor who we would NOT recommend.
Catering Harry Caray’s Catering in Chicago.
Cake Provided by Caterer.
Hair Piece Custom made on Etsy by Hanami Gallery.
Who was your favorite vendor and why?
Our favorite vendors were Maggie Rife (photog) and Adriana Carrasco (makeup). These lovely ladies were at times more emotional than we were during the wedding planning. They were truly happy to see us getting married and were so honored to have been asked to be part of our day.
Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?
Somewhat. The vendor we were most concerned with was our photographer. We wanted someone who was comfortable shooting a same-sex wedding and was not just in it for the money. We searched high and low until we found Maggie through word of mouth from other photographers who we had approached but were booked for our date (9/10/11).
Our other vendors (food, DJ) were recommended by the venue.
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
We got engaged on 10/6/10 and wedding planning beginning the day after! So about a year.
How many guests did you invite versus how many came?
We invited 60 and 50 were able to join us.
What was your budget ?
$20,000 for everything. Food, officiant, venue, DJ, liquor, photos, flowers, wedding rings, my dress, alterations, Michelle’s suit, invitations and hotel.
Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?
Just rings. We are taking a honeymoon in the summer of 2012 to Europe and we are currently saving for that!
Were you over or under budget? By how much (you can give a percentage)? We were slightly over. $21,904.72
T30SB Commentary: I simply adore these shots of the brides helping each other get ready. It’s not often you see this sort of pre-wedding intimacy!
How large was your bridal party?
Small. I had a maid of honor and so did Michelle.
Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?
We had a native American wedding vase ceremony. As part of the ceremony, the wedding vase contains a special potion that is custom blended and we both drink out of it. We used a special tea that we had blended for our personalities. We gave out samples of the tea to our guests in little packets as favors. Probably spent about $50 total.
Did you include any special family traditions?
What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?
The one thing that Michelle had stressed during our wedding planning was how important the wedding vase ceremony was to her as she is very spiritual. We had premade the tea that goes in the vase the morning of the wedding and we were supposed to bring it with us to the venue in a water bottle. We forgot it! So luckily, we had tons of tea that we were using as favors. At the venue, the catering manager quickly brewed a batch of tea from one of the favors. That was about the biggest drama of the day.
What was your biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?
The biggest planning crisis was the guest list. Most of my wife’s friends are from Michigan where she grew up and all of my friends are in Chicago. Only a few of her friends were able to come to Chicago for the wedding. The list was skewed towards most of my friends which she was not happy about. But there was nothing she could really do about it except realize that maybe the friends she thought were friends weren’t really her friends since everyone had ample notice and Michigan is only about 3 hours away. In the end, we all had a great time because through the course of our courtship my friends had also become hers.
Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?
Dealing with everyone trying to get ready in our hotel suite and worrying about not being ready on time as a result.
What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?
My dress and Michelle’s suit.
T30SB Commentary: In the above picture, look in the top left hand corner, on the bridge. There’s another bride cheering them on! How cool is that? In fact, I saw it and started blubbering on the spot. I. Am. A. Sap.
What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?
In hindsight, Michelle wishes she had gotten her suit elsewhere than where we did. It’s rather difficult to find a white pants suit for a woman who is petite.
What did you love that was also the cheapest?
I loved my hairpiece and my jewelry. The hairpiece was custom made and under $50 and I found my jewelry on eBay for under $25.
What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?
We got married outside while the boat was docked on the Chicago River. The boat was right below a main Chicago street bridge. During the ceremony, we had a whole audience of random strangers and passerby’s. After the officiant pronounced us joined in civil union and we kissed, not only did our guests cheer, but so did everyone else on the bridge above watching our ceremony! I was worried that some idiot would come by and yell hateful stuff but it was the complete opposite.
What was the funniest thing that happened?
I am in a co-ed Latino fraternity (Alpha Psi Lambda) and one of my fraternity brothers decided to stage an impromptu flippy cup tournament on the deck of the boat. It was awesome since most of us have been out of college for almost ten years now!
What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?
We each wrote our own vows and Michelle got especially emotional while I was reading my vows to her.
Did you DIY? What parts?
We made our own invitations. Each invite, including postage cost us $3.01.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We will be going to Europe for 2 weeks in 2012. Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris and London.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?
I would have liked to have spent more time with our guests. The whole night just flew by and I felt like I didn’t get to talk enough to everyone.
Congratulations to Liliana & Michelle!