Vanidy and Quisha Build A Wedding That Suits Them
I rarely can bring myself to read about the plethora of court cases and voter referendums that move U.S. marriage equality one day two steps forward and the next day one step back. While I am wildly grateful to leaders, movement “soldiers” and allies fighting the good fight, this gig for gayweddings.com offers me behind the scenes access to stories unfolding in what I call PRIDE: ACT II.
As I see it, ACT I will go down as a far-ranging war and the ultimate triumph of love over hatefulness –- a sweeping movement of history that set the stage for a very different future.
In ACT II, members of our tribe have the “luxury” of turning our swords toward the demons within. No longer resigned to second-class citizenship, we will also no longer make peace with our shame. While there are many who have always known our rightful place – they have been the exceptions. I see growing evidence that we are broadly beginning to embrace the power that derives from our difference.
Exhibit One of thousands? The September 2010 wedding of Vanidy Bailey and Quisha Bailey-Broussard at the Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California. They may have gotten married in a classic ceremony that echoed back to the 1920’s, but Vanidy tells me what it intentionally did not echo back to was a “hetero ideal.”
The transgressions were slight. Vanidy saw Quisha’s dress in advance. They shooed their friends out to spend the night before their wedding together. No “lucky lady” who walked away with Quisha’s bouquet.
When vendors would ask who the groom was, they made clear that there was no groom. “We were very strong in presenting who we are each to other, “ Vanidy told me. “Ultimately it came down to us – what we didn’t need and what we wanted.
Both love fashion and threw their ideas together in what Quisha said was something like “a big pot of gumbo.” Quisha wore a white gown by BCGB with a birdcage veil and finger waves. Vanidy chose a gunpowder grey Calvin Klein tux rather than the more traditional black and white.
While Quisha may be the fashion stylist by day, she tells me that Vanidy also “knows what looks amazing on her.” When it came to finding a tux, Vanidy found Men’s Wearhouse a great option not only because the “groom” is free when six or more of a bridal party get suits there but because it was convenient for the close friends who also needed tuxes to stand with her.
(Vanidy’s experience helped me realize that rental tuxes may not only be more practical financially and logistically, but they may also be more easily customized to adapt to bodies they weren’t originally created for. The pants are adjustable at waistline and the vest has adjustable elastic on waist.)
She chose Calvin Klein because it fit the bust “nicely” going with “…my shape rather than forcing me in to another one.” She was also very intentional with the tailor at Men’s Warehouse, “I made them tailor me to a tee because even if you are masculine identified, curvy is curvy. You’ve got to know your body.”
I pictured myself pressing for detailed attention to my tailoring at Men’s Wearhouse and wondered if Vanidy had chutzpah I didn’t.
When I asked her how she managed to avoid such baggage she told me, “Having grown up in a very religious Caribbean home, I have lots of baggage. If I am going to do this, I have to do it better than man. I am already breaking so many rules about what a woman is supposed to wear, I can’t be a hot mess too.”
Quisha was just as straightforward. “If you look good, you feel good. And if you have confidence you can try to pull off a trash bag.”
But as made clear from these photos of this stunning couple, neither would recommend it.
Photo Credit: Greg Verville of GV Photography
“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.