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So I did a thing. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ipo. I rarely pop on the blog, but today I wanted to talk about a new thing that I started doing in the summer of 2020. I started officiating weddings!

Here’s the thing – Officiating does not come second nature to me. It’s something I have to work on intentionally and put time into. I have never been taught by a pastor or traditional officiant, I was ordained on a website in about 45 seconds, and the only example I have of a really good wedding performer is from the officiant on my wedding day. We had our pastor at the time perform our ceremony. It had some traditions that were important to Zabrina and I, but we made sure that majority of the ceremony was pretty non traditional and queered up!

My wife and I are queer and we made the intentional decision to be married by another queer womxn of color. She represented us in more ways than one. Not only in our identities, but our new found beliefs of decolonizing and deconstructing our Christian faith.

I realized from performing a few weddings that non-traditional is the lane I am comfortable in. But what does that mean and look like? It means constantly queer-ing the lines of the hetero-normative boxes that weddings and marriage traditionally fall into. I build my ceremony timeline by getting to know the couple and their love story. I hop on a call (or two) and ask questions to learn and relate to the couple. The more connections I can make, the easier and more fun it becomes to write. I look at each time I get to officiate a ceremony as an honor and responsibility that I don’t take lightly.

In addition to speaking on the couple’s love story, I also figure out if there are any traditions they would like to add, especially cultural traditions. I’ve performed traditional Hawaiian traditions, Mexican traditions, and a whole lot of new “traditions” that have impactful meanings to the couple. We see a lot of queer and non-queer couples without family, support, or participation and instead have chosen families step in, whether that’s during the ceremony or reception. Having special people come to the front to share a reading or two, and community vows have been new and beautiful traditions that I enjoy incorporating into a ceremony.

Photography: Kenzie Kate Photo

So why is this even important? I think being queer myself, I know first-hand it is pretty difficult to find an officiant to perform your cermony. We, i.e. queer folks, are still in the beginning phases of feeling fully accepted in the wedding and marriage industries. So, when queer couples choose to enter this space, the pickings are small for officiants who fully understand the gravity of their relationship. I wanted to be there for the folks who don’t have anyone to represent who THEY are as a couple. Our queer love stories are important and full,

and colorful,

and reconciling,

and healing,

and magic,

and deserve representation. We deserve to have someone speak on our love with respect and the fullness that it is. Breaking traditions that only represent the hetero boxes is what I want to help couples navigate, whether queer or straight. Because any and all couples can also help break these boxes and traditions as well. At the end of the day it is about the couple and making them feel like their ceremony is a representation of them, their love, and the commitment they make to one another.

Shameless plug, I’ve started an IG and would love it if you followed! Reach out and let’s talk more about these topics, and if you know any queer couples looking for an officiant, you can send them my way! @themahukahu

Photography: Dearest Jane Photo

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