Here at The St Vrain we have the pleasure of helping so many couples celebrate one of the biggest days of their lives! Each one so unique. Each family so beautifully different! And almost every wedding has that “relative” …too much fun! This week, we are delighted to introduce to you two of the finest humans you will every meet!
Meet Tirzah + Lauren! They were married at The St Vrain, November 8, 2019 and we’re still talking about how their wedding day was such a beautiful reflection of the two of them! Lauren is a Veteran who served as a Marine and is now a social worker working with homeless veterans. Tirzah works as the director of activities at a living facility for the elderly. They are self proclaimed empaths and activists who describe their dinner conversations as anything but dull and often focused around advocacy for those who live on the margins.
So here we are at the end of June 2020. We’ve all traveled through a global pandemic for months and experienced a global uprising after the death of George Floyd, a man we had never heard of. We can’t help wonder if one of the big lessons here is WE ARE CONNECTED and when one or some of us suffer, we all suffer.
Lauren + Tirzah are a queer female couple and they happen to also be black + white. We thought what better couple to catch up with during this time in history when PRIDE is celebrated and social justice surrounding racism is the issue we are collectively trying to walk through. Plus, we just think the world of these two compassionate and courageous women and knew they would have something to teach us!
Me (Annie Danielson, Co Owner of TSV): Lauren + Tirzah, thanks for taking the time to chat with me about your gorgeous wedding day , your lives as a queer female couple from very different cultures! I hope I can capture a bit of who you are and give our readers a glimpse into what it is like to be you.
Let’s start by talking about your beautiful wedding day that had so much meaning woven into the details of the day! Tell me about some of your favorite, most meaningful moments.
Tirzah: We come from such different backgrounds and we really wanted our day to reflect who we each are, as well as who we are as a couple! We wanted our guests to feel the intentionality and the emotions surrounding such a big day in our lives. From my Jewish background, we had our four parents form the four pillars of the chuppah each of them giving us a blessing. We also took the tradition of the Seven Circles. I walked around Lauren three times. Then she walked around me three times and finally, we walked around each other once symbolizing completion and protection of each other.
Lauren: For me, being from the South, I loved having my traditions expressed through food and music. I mean who doesn’t love a bite sized appetizer of chicken and waffles?! Our First Look is also one of my favorite moments. It was so beautiful and grounding. Having served in the military as a Marine, being married on Veterans weekend and cutting the cake with my NCO sword to “Game Of Thrones” theme song was pretty sweet!
Tirzah: Oh my gosh! And looking at everyone holding hands, standing in a circle as the blessing before dinner was given was incredible! Just seeing all the people who love and support us together couldn’t have been any better. AND THEN, there were the rainbow smoke bombs that truly represented us and our community.!! AMAZING! We couldn’t stop laughing! It was just so much fun! Our photographer Catherine Lea captured it perfectly!
Tell me a little bit about your decor. It was so clean, elegant and modern!
Lauren: Well one thing we love is how clean, elegant and modern The St Vrain is! We knew it was us right away and the beauty is that we didn’t have to do much to have a gorgeous wedding day!
Tirzah: We loved incorporating the freshness of greenery with modern geometric shapes – keeping it clean and modern. The rose petals on the floor where we stood and exchanged vows was the brilliant idea of Rachel from A Florae! It was so fragrant and added so much to my memory of our ceremony! At the reception, the succulents on the tables were just the perfect guest gift and piece of decor! And the calligraphy from Dotting the I was just so beautiful!
It sounds like you had the day you were hoping for! Your smiles really said it all for those of us there that day!
Let’s switch channels for a bit. I’d love to know why you refer to yourselves as a female queer couple and not a lesbian couple?
Tirzah: The word “Queer” has been reclaimed within the LGBTQIA+ community. We identify with the Q because it is an all-encompassing and inclusive term that allows for fluidity. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are on a spectrum. Like many folks in our community, we do not want to label ourselves our one another. Breaking free from the heteronormative binary is so important.
Lauren, I’d love to know how you are processing this extraordinary time we are in as a black queer woman?
Lauren: I feel hopeful that people are finally taking recent events as a call to action. It also requires people that hold privilege, to be a part of demanding change. Systemic racism is not new, it has just become more visible. It is amazing to see the incremental changes that have been made in such a short time when people collectively come together. Those small changes have a great impact. My mom grew up in a segregated south. That’s not that long ago! And it has taken this long for people to recognize that something is inherently wrong with our society in the mistreatment of people of color. We celebrate the wins, but we still have a long way to go!
I humorously call myself a “triple threat” As a Queer Black woman, I was taught not to take up too much space, to work twice as hard for half as much and be resilient.
One of the things I love about Tirzah is that she sees me, and we respect our different experiences as a black and white woman. We know we can come together to have hard and meaningful conversations about how race shows up in the world, our family, and our relationship.
Tirzah, how are you processing this moment in history?
Tirzah: I grew up in a very privileged, mostly white community and I am continuously unpacking my whiteness and my unearned privilege. White privilege in its essence is being able to wake up every day and not have to think or talk about race. It is like being able to take off a pair of uncomfortable pants whenever you want and having the privilege to decide when and if ever you put them back on. Black people never get to take off the pants.
So what is the way forward from your perspectives?
Tirzah: We can’t change something without owning it. White people need to acknowledge and take accountability for the many ways we have, and continue to benefit from white supremacy. The system is strategic. It has oppressed black people since the beginning of our history, and is only evolving. As white people, we must deconstruct our beliefs about black people on a deep level by examining and challenging our implicit bias. We need to know history…not white washed history.. Go back to school and reeducate ourselves. “The New Jim Crow”, by Michelle Alexander is a must-read . We need to LISTEN to Black communities without being defensive, deflecting our rejecting their experiences and fight for their lives. We have to take accountability and action without relying on black people to teach us how. It does feel like a shift is taking place in the consciousness of white folks. But we have to remember we are never done in the fight for racial justice. We have to carry the burden of dismantling white supremacy. We have to do the work! Silence equals compliance!
I really appreciate your candor, your points of view and most of all, your generosity of spirit in taking the time to have this conversation! One last question, circling back around to weddings, what can the wedding industry do better for couples like you?
Tirzah: Well everyone wants to be seen and accepted, right? Planning our wedding was sometimes scary, not knowing if a vendor would accept us. We were completely mis-gendered multiple times when inquiring about services. So, take the time to be aware of who you are talking to. We chose Collective by Sachs as our wedding planner because Lindsey was intentional and took the time to see use We also saw ourselves on her website. Seeing diversity on vendors websites is important in helping us feel comfortable and like you might be a good fit!
Me: Thanks again, you two for taking the time to help me (and our readers) hear about life through your experiences and your lenses! And please, don’t be strangers!
PS Watch for an amazing product to come from Tirzah and her sister Grace that will help couples navigate through planning a wedding that intentionally and beautifully represents them! It will not only help you make some important decisions about your day, it will help your relationship become deeper in the process! More to come!