Fashion Our Own Narrative
For those who are terribly lucky, love begins with a sense of awe and wonder. We might long for it, but never know for sure that it will arrive. When it does, words often fail to fully convey the magic of falling.
For queers, marriage equality is kind of like that. We never knew it could happen. Frankly, we never know if it will be taken away. But in these early days, we are taking nothing for granted. Like Adrienne Rich wrote in “Twenty-One Love Poems,”
… whatever we do together is pure invention / the roadmaps they gave us were out of date by years . . .
The falling, the connection, the invention – all is conveyed in this Super 8 film of Holly and Sari who wed this summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
“When I was 22, I never imagined having a wedding day,” Holly told me. “Maybe it was my own internalized homophobia, but I couldn’t see how I would feel comfortable with that kind of public event, or even asking my family to be part of something like that.”
But as the world began to change, Holly did too. By the time she wed, “…we felt we couldn’t wait another second.” She told me, “There is no narrative that is known. We are all reinventing the wheel.”
Not surprisingly these two English professors, who met in graduate school and now both teach at a liberal arts college in the northeast, embraced the challenge of creating their own narrative. When it came to what they would wear Sari said, “We really wanted to avoid looking like we were not ourselves.”
For her, that meant a modern, floor-length gown from Amsale Bridal that she promptly cut to tea length so she could “dance and twirl.” Her shoes, which were from Christian Louboutin, had a small heel not only because Sari “never wears heels” but also because she didn’t want to “tower over” her beloved.
For an upgraded version of what Holly often wears in her professional life, she chose a traditional Navy suit and tuxedo shirt. Both were from Hickey Freeman, which has a continuous range of sizes from boys to men (and us!). French cuffs and anchor cufflinks from FineandDandyShop.com echoed the ocean setting and drove the narrative of “tying the knot” and of “being each others anchor.” To the delight of guests, Holly paired caramel women’s brogues from Cole, Rood, Hahn Co. with socks bearing pink stripes.
When asked about their shopping experience in NYC, they said they never felt “anything awkward,” but granted that encountering bias while shopping is not uncommon and that other couples might not be so lucky. Holly added, “I don’t know how many lesbian brides they see at Amsale but they oohed and aahed over Sari. I didn’t have the bridal experience, which is fine with me. My experience was good, but hers was more recognizable: the dress, the hair, the make-up.” Sari said, “Shopping in general is a lot easier if you are gender normative, but I did feel that I had a queer relationship to all those traditional wedding items.”
When I asked Holly her advice for others, she said, “Don’t try to equivocate. Once you are having a gay wedding, don’t fret over your gender expression making folks uncomfortable. You gotta claim it as your day.”
Photo Credit: Weddings by Two
P.S. Brooklyn-based Megan Hill of HelloSuper8 has shot 28 weddings across the country but says, “Sari and Holly’s is still my favorite.” When asked to explain the relative merits of digital video versus Super 8, Megan told me, “Film is more beautiful, more romantic. You don’t see tiny flaws like hyper-reality of digital. It’s also great for those with more of an artsy background because it has a more retro, hip vibe.”
“Gays who wed today are pioneering traditions that will long inform those who follow in our footsteps.” That’s according to dapperQ, a.,k.a. Susan Herr, a Brooklyn-based writer and entrepreneur who produces dapperQ.com – for those “transgressing men’s fashion.” In this exclusive with GayWeddings.com, dapperQ is gleefully expanding her portrayal of transgressive fashion to include gay wedding wear.