Aeri & Elizabeth

"LGBT Elopement at the United States Library of Congress"

Chris Ferenzi Photography
Casual Weddings, Pandemic Weddings
City Hall Weddings, Historical Venue, Museum, Urban Weddings

Our Love Story

Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

A: We always knew it was going to be a small and intimate affair. We saw that what we wanted was something called a “micro wedding” and some would categorize it as an elopement, but we had plans to shape it just as we wanted it. Getting married meant something to us many might not understand. It was well after college when the US government legalized LGBTQ marriages, legalized our love and union. The first detail we knew before anything else was the date— March14, Pi Day. Between the two of us you had a baking enthusiast and an engineer, so Pi was something special to us. And you know, Pi is forever. After that all the details fell into place. Scouring the internet for articles, there were some first steps that would make the entire planning process easier, securing certain details like color themes, cake, wedding attire, location, vendors etc. We looked at museums we liked for a location but finally decided to get married on the steps of the Library of Congress, with our love of books and the picturesque surroundings (the Capitol building sitting in the background), it made the most sense for us. We put miniature lemons and roses in our boutonnières and pins for our small entourage of guests, donned our blue and turquoise suits, and carried our rainbow flag with us.  What happened next made the day feel even more historic. The afternoon before, DC began to close down due to the spread of COVID-19. We woke up very early that Saturday morning and drove into an empty DC. Our friends had kept referring to our special day as “Love in the Time of Corona” (but with a happier ending). One even attended wearing a Renaissance inspired plague doctor mask. Few to no people were around the area except for a roving journalist or two and us. We stood on the terrace of the Library of Congress and began. Our ceremony was brief, but we wanted to share that moment with all of our friends across the world or who couldn’t be there. We had a Live Stream running of our ceremony, when a loud siren began blaring all around us. An emergency PSA sounded in the middle of our vows and we paused, laughed, and waited. The whole thing felt very dystopian, significant, and looking at each other, hands joined, it was perfect. Afterwards, we took photos around the emptied city, waving our rainbow flag between us in front of the Capitol. We had a small luncheon with no more than 10 friends, our matriarch we call them, at one’s home. She made us our wedding cake topped with fresh delicate roses. Sitting there with them I realized that almost 80 years later I was having a wedding much like my grandmother did. A small and intimate gathering of our closest friends and found family in someone’s home during a historic time. My grandmother died the year before at 101 years old. I think we would have admired and laughed over the similarities between between our weddings. Our friend’s home was borrowed, our suits were blue, my grandmother’s love was old, and mine was new.

Q: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

A: It was very simple and much of it was DIY. I made our boutonnières and pins with roses and lemons tied who with a little rainbow bow. Glass jars with a rainbow ribbon, filled with a pack of flower seeds, corked test tubes of sakura green tea, and heart shaped tea strainers were our favors to guests and friends. Our table was covered in a floral cloth and lace covering, large glass drink dispensers, and a simple almond sponge cake with powdered sugar and fresh roses. We had tea and homemade foods from our friends, and took photos sword fighting in the front yard. (It was obligatory I was a fencer.) Pinterest is a useful tool to keep track of what you like. Otherwise at the initial ceremony, the Library of Congress and Capitol building and our rainbow flag were our “decorations”.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

A: We used cream colored roses on our boutonnières and barely pink roses on the cake. Guests wore shades of light greens, while we wore blue and turquoise suits. Although my suit lining was leafy patterned fabric, which technically is greenery of some kind.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

A: The whole experience was personalized, but my favorite ceremony moment was our vows. There were emergency PSA sirens blaring, but it never stopped us. I also loved our wedding cake made by a dear friend, the same one who hosted our luncheon reception in her home. The photos of use waving our rainbow flag in front of the Capitol is a good memory too.

Q: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

A: We wanted to not spare an expense here and had our suits made special for us by the Tailory in NYC. They specialize in queer fashion and suits. We chose special details for them, like my leafy plant suit lining and 3.14.2020 embroidered inside of the jackets. My partner’s suit was a navy blue with lavender lining details (their favorite colors) and mine a darker turquoise with the leafy lining details.

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

A: We are two nonbinary lesbians who met through long time friends and a social circle of overlapping interests, but I lived in Boston and my partner in Maryland. When we finally met in person it was at the Logan International Airport in Boston. Our first kiss was in front of their arrival gate. After many visits back and forth I moved back to the Maryland/DC area to join them. Our proposal took place over a vacation. We took a series of Amtrak trains across the country to the west coast and back. It was truly an adventure. In the Forest Park in Portland, Oregon we hiked with our friend, a photographer, in tow. Walking out of the forest, we were engaged.

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

A: Isn’t it always the moments that are unplanned that are most special? Our photos by Chris are phenomenal. Our live stream allows us to share it with everyone. Our small wedding entourage were decked out in the finest, including a plague doctor mask and rose petals to be tossed. What was most special was that we COULD get married, that it was legalized. We love each other and that’s all we want to be able to do. People forget that when they get wrapped up in politics. At the end of the day, think of the people who just want to live peacefully and happily. That’s all we want.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

A: There’s plenty of advice out there on how to plan a wedding. My advice— It’s your day. Make it about you and your love. And don’t forget you can keep celebrating every day after that. We planned to have parties and gatherings  months after our ceremony, but things became a little complicated with the pandemic.

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Museum:U. S. Library of Congress//Photographer: Chris Ferenzi Photography//