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?
A1: Augustus: We wanted it to feel casual. We wanted everyone to feel relaxed, and we wanted to be relaxed. We wanted everything to feel like it was a genuine interaction. For me and Jeffery, the idea of the formality of weddings really detracts from what’s actually happening here, which is this really beautiful, authentic experience between two people, this really important rite of passage. I feel like the connection that is sort of fundamental to the whole thing is kinda lost in all of the formalities, because people can’t really be truthful if you’re kinda using someone else’s words, and if everyone sort of feels a bit uptight, and like they have to act a certain way; then people by and large aren’t able to just express themselves. And what we wanted is for everyone to be engaged in the wedding, which is why we got everyone to do the spell together, and it was important that it was fun for everyone, and that everyone felt they were taking part in something special together that they felt empowered by instead of stifled by, and I find formal trappings a bit stifling at times, or they can be. So I guess, in terms of the ethos of the wedding, we wanted it to feel new and fresh, and something that everyone could feel like they had a genuine connection with everyone else in the room, and it wasn’t just them watching something that they’d seen before, and it was unique.
Jeffery and I like to throw a lot of parties in our backyard, and the initial idea for the wedding was to have it in our backyard. That was our inspiration initially: for it to feel like you were at home with us. I think that engenders people towards a sense of authenticity and a sense of emotional involvement and being relaxed and able to truly express oneself. Because our guest list ballooned rapidly… we were trying to keep it around 80 people or something like that (ha fucking ha, never that was going to happen). So it ballooned to over 200 that were there in the end, so the backyard idea sort of fell away, but the idea of making feel the same way that that would have been was our idea.The color scheme was orange (more on that later), and we also drew on Indian color schemes and traditions, which I thought was a nod to the spiritual aspect and the worldliness of different cultures. And a sense of… less Judea-Christian, more universal, if you will, was the idea behind that. We had a spell during our ceremony, which was important because, again, we wanted everyone to share the experience, and we liked the ritualism of marriage. The point of marriage, I think, is yes to share your life, but also there’s an element that’s sacramental in many ways. You are codifying through some kind of ritual, a joining together. Jeffery and I share a lot of beliefs in, and prefer that kind of idea of spiritual nature of humans, a universal energy, as opposed to the more dogmatic approach through religion, which both of us feel alienated by. And so, the beauty of the spell is essentially we could make it up, and the things that we wanted in the spell were things that were important to us. Really it was about setting an intention and the shared experience for everyone, so had our friend Miguel Pinzon, who we decided was our witchiest friend, lead the spell.
We got everyone to write a wish on parchment paper as they came through, and then we got everyone to put it in their hands, send it up into the air, and then we all lit a candle and a call together, and on that call was lots of different things, some coppel, some frankincense, an orange peel. We said a nice incantation together, the entire wedding, all 200+ people together, and then released that into the air. That was our nod to the joining of souls together, as opposed to it just being “repeat after me” “say this” “I do” “you don’t”. We wanted to show that it was our special moment, our little magic moment.
Q2: Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A2: We wanted it to be indoor/outdoor, because we live in California, and it’s beautiful, and why wouldn’t you if you can. And we’re outdoorsy people in our way. Again, we wanted to sort of recreate our backyard, essentially.In terms of DIY, my brother Somerset is a very talented illustrator, so he branded our entire wedding with illustrations of our faces, which we sort of stuck on everything you could possibly stick a face on. For the cornhole, one was me and one was Jeffery. The Jenga had our names plastered all over it.We also had a load of stickers made and had them stuck on everything, we did it ourselves. The goodbye gift was a thing we invented ourselves. It was like a Bloody Mary mix for the following morning. It was a can of Bloody Mary mix, a tiny little bottle of vodka, and then it had aspirin, or Ibuprofen, and a little bottle of tabasco, and shakers that had A&J Recovery Kit written on them.
Q3: 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?
A3: The flowers were done by a friend of mine called Georgiana Johnson. Again, there were oranges on every single table (more on that later.) We had the flower petals floating on water, and they lined the floor. And then every table had baby’s breath, which is delicate, with white being more of a traditional wedding color and then orange being this vibrant, unconventional way of, in our country, doing things, and it was a nice marriage of those two ideas.
Q4: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A4: It started as a cocktail party. One of the best inventions for making people feel relaxed is alcohol, so the first thing they get when walking in, to set the tone, is a glass of whatever you want. We also had a lot of different areas of games, and instead of it being your traditional photographer going around (which as you know we had), we wanted people to also be able to use one of the many cameras that were on the table and create their own experience and show us what happened with them. That’s why we had the polaroid cameras scattered everywhere, and wigs everywhere, and dressing up boxes, and costumes and we wanted the night to ultimately be a place where people could express themselves and for us to be able to express ourselves, to be honest, selfishly, was actually what it was as well.
We wanted it to feel easy, we didn’t want there to be a formal sit down dinner. We wanted the idea of having a food truck buffet and having something that was fun. Thai food is fun, Mexican food is fun, it’s something that people associate with a fun night out, something different. We went for the street food element for both the Thai and Mexican food. We wanted it to feel like: You can go and get your food when you want it, you’re not trapped by when we’re going to tell you to go get food, or you have to sit next to this person at this time or make conversation with someone you might really not enjoy. We wanted it to feel like “Go forth. Go meet people” so the tables were dotted around everywhere to facilitate that.And then we had a Victorian candy store that we recreated next to the bathrooms, which had elicit, fun candy for those who are Californian (laughs) and just you know, good ol fashioned Swedish fish and M&Ms for those who don’t want to get high but do want to have chocolate.We also had a bunch of oversized games, which were my idea, and I had to fight for those. There were some things I was willing to compromise on, but the games were not one of them. They give a sense of fun and playfulness, and I just like pub games. They’re kinda a bigger deal in the UK, I guess. I just think it’s activities and experiences that people can share together, and it brings people together. It brings everyone back, in many ways, to their childhood, sort of on purpose, and it’s just a sense of silliness and fun and a way for people to connect, really.The cake was from a wonderful shop in WeHo in LA called Cake and Art, that’s been here since the 60s I think, and it’s an amazing bakery where they make them from scratch. They make literally whatever you want, whatever you want them to be, they will do that.
And part of our theme was nature, so there were green plants, and then there was the top layer was with magical, swirling colors, which again sort of represents the mysticism of the world, and also the LGBT community, and also just a sense of fun. Swirly colors are fun. And then at the bottom, we kinda made it a little more desert-y, which represented LA, which is the place where we met, and southern California in general, which is the place we both choose to make our home, even though we’re from different places. We like the desert, we go to the desert a lot. In fact, we went to the desert for our bachelor parties.And then also, of course, at the top of the cake, was an edible photo, a printed version of my brother’s illustrations of us, with us laughing and looking at each other, so that was again another nod to us and family in that sense.
Q5: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A5: Our suits… We basically just like Mr. Turk, it really is that simple. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do for our suits, but we knew that we wanted them to be expressive and unconventional. We didn’t want it to feel like this formal thing, but we wanted the sense of ceremony and ritual, and we wanted it to have all of the meaning but without any of the pointless trappings. Because gay marriage is two and a half years old, I feel like these traditions are not cemented in any way, this is a new thing.
I chose that jacket a) because it was amazing, it’s a beautiful, beautiful fabric, and b) because it was white, it was reminiscent of a wedding gown, I suppose, so I like that it had that little touch. The bowtie was blue, so that’s something blue. And then, in my pocket, I had something borrowed. And so it was a reinvention of tradition, in many ways. And then the orange socks symbolized an orange peel (more on that later)And then Jeffery’s outfit, incidentally, was the same color as my bowtie, to represent two people coming together and sharing life and experience together, but doing so in their own, unique way.
It’s the idea that we’re walking down the same path but we’re choosing to walk it together as opposed to being forced to, if that makes sense. It’s the idea that your partner allows you to become the best of yourself rather than a codependent situation whereby you start to get in each others’ way. The blue in the bowtie and the patterned suit… the color scheme was the same, but the texture and the fabrics were very different, which we thought represented that rather nicely.In terms of Jeffery’s suit, we just loved it. It was just a really different and fun, sort of tongue-in-cheeck, eccentric, beautiful, beautiful suit that fit him incredibly well.We saw a few different designers, but Mr. Turk was…. Mr. Turk himself did our fitting with us and tailored them and made them really pop a little more, made them extra special. He let us in the Palm Springs store, and we sort of were able to choose, go through the different collections, and that’s the one we really liked.
Q6: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A6: So, the oranges were a nod to our first date, when I took Jeffery on a hike. I took him to quite a remote hike, and we had this 4 hour date, (it was 5 hours in total, once you factor in the drive and the hike, which was 2.5 hours itself, and then get back down). By the time I dropped him off, we had spent the entire day together, which is ballsy for a first date, and it could have gone horribly wrong. But it didn’t. And we had this incredible, amazing day together, this really magic, magic, magical day, where we spoke about everything really. It was a really easy, fun connection, and we filled in the gaps with each other.And one of the things that came up, that we agreed on, was this idea of kismet, when the universe gives you signs to show that you’re doing the right thing or that you’re being truthful to yourself. One of Jeffery’s signs that creeps up for him whenever he has big decisions or whenever something is going right, it’s like a little nod from the universe… is orange peel. There’s always orange peel on the floor when big life events happen for him. So on this first date, as he was telling me this, we crested the summit of this mountain that I’d taken him up, and the top of the mountain was just covered in orange peel, it was absolutely everywhere. And there was no one up there other than us, so it was this really magical, overwhelming moment where we both sort of pretended that hadn’t just happened. And then had a lovely romantic moment.
And ever since then, there’s always been orange peel at interesting pivotal moments, and it’s just this weird kismet coincidence? Or not? Who knows? For our proposal, I took Jeffery to the same mountain where we went on our first date. He had no idea what was coming. I had planted the idea of us going back to that hike once a week casually because I wanted him to think it was his idea. Low and behold, one day he says “The weather is gonna be beautiful this weekend, let’s do that hike again”. I already had the rings (got myself one too!) but I rushed out and got a bottle of champagne and a cheese plate and a picnic and a load of oranges (because of the orange peel from when we met). The day came, I was hiking up the mountain with him carrying this very heavy back pack and mentioned I grabbed some oranges from the fridge and how refreshing that will be at the top. We get to the top to the same spot where we’d first had that magic spark and asks for the orange. As he starts to unpeel it, he looks at me funny, “There’s metal in this orange?! Wait, it’s a ring”. He looks to me and I have been pretending to do up my shoe lace down on one knee. We lock eyes and smile at each other. “OH MY GOD!” he says. “Cutie, will you marry me?” I say trying not to laugh. “Of course I will!”From Jeffery: Augie had suggested we go back on the hike from when we first started dating and I’d been putting it off because it was a LONG hike so we get up to the top I’m exhausted and he hands me an orange to eat. I peel it and there’s metal in it and I’m like ugh but then I realize it’s a ring and I turn around and he’s on one knee and had a bottle of Dom in his back pack. It was an obvious hard yes.
Q7: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A7: Our favorite part of the day was the vows. Definitely the vows. It’s ceremonial, the ritual, the spiritualism of it, and what it represents is what was important to us. We wanted the vows themselves to feel authentic and truthful and unique to us. What was most important for us is to declare ourselves in the most open, vulnerable way that we can, and really let people see, more than they ever have potentially, into our relationship and why we’re even doing this. The depth of our relationship and the connection that we have is very special, and so it was sort of important to us that we, um, (laughing) I guess explained ourselves and let people into our world. Jeffery’s family came over from Georgia, and a lot of them don’t travel very much, so that was a big trip for them, and a lot of my friends and family came from London, so that’s obviously thousands and thousands of miles, and it was two worlds that had never met, coming together. And so, I suppose, we wanted the vows (we didn’t know what each other were going to say, either), but I just wanted them to be raw and visceral and honest, just as honest and as truthful as you could possibly be, because I think that is what marriage is about. It is about letting someone into your life and to your personhood and your soul, essentially. To show that to everyone else is kinda the whole point. I don’t know if I’d ever expressed myself so honestly in front of so many people, so many of our close friends and people that we share our life with, and so I suppose that was why that was important to us and why we did it that way and why the vows were the ones that really stuck out because, I mean, that’s kinda the heart of the matter, isn’t it, really?Q8: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A8: Plan underbudget, because you will undoubtedly go overbudget. Whatever you plan, expect it to go more. Have spare money.My personal advice would be: It’s your day, and to remember that it’s your day, and as much as you want everyone to share in that, ultimately it is your day. And I think that is forgotten many times because there’s so many “Oh I have to invite them because blah blah blah.” I think when it comes to your wedding, it’s your day. So if you don’t want to do something, then don’t. You’d be shocked at how hard that is to remember sometimes, because it’s stressful. I think the thing to remember is that it’s for you, this is fun, and it’s for you. And I think it can be quite hard to remember that sometimes.
For anyone going through wedding planning stress, hell, I will say It’s absolutely worth it.It wasn’t hellish for us, but it has been for other people. I’ll tell you what was hellish is the guest list. That was honestly the most stressful part because you don’t want to exclude people, but at some point you do have to draw the line somewhere. It’s honestly very hard to know when that line needs to be drawn.
Other: Miguel Pinzon
Cinema and Video: Jake Wilson
Equipment Rentals: Town and Country Event Rents
Floral Designer: Georgiana Johnson and Alexis Di Salvo
DIY or Handmade Goods Designer: Etsy
DJ: Micah James
Caterer: Border Grill Truck
Cake Designer: Cake and Art
Officiant: Eric Gilliland
Hair Stylist: Jonathan Van Ness
Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Mr. Turk
Event Planner: Jason Mitchell Kahn and Co
Reception Venue: SmogShoppe
Photographer: David Perlman Photography