T4T Couples Are Reimagining What Weddings Can Be

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Something borrowed, something old, some new, and something blue: these are the traditions many couples consider when planning their wedding day. But what about trans couples who want to forge their own traditions, particularly in a world that doesn't provide an exact blueprint for T4T weddings?

Three couples speak to how marriage equality would transform their lives beyond marriage — and potentially shift Thai culture.

Like many aspects of T4T romance, we aren't working with any cookie cutter version of what our weddings should look like. There aren't long-running magazines, inspirational Pinterest boards, and entire planning services dedicated to helping trans couples put together our special days. After all, weddings are perhaps the most quintessentially heteronormative, cisnormative affair imaginable — at least historically. That lack of a societal script can also be a beautiful opportunity to redefine what our weddings look like for ourselves, outside of the confines of heteronormativity and cisness. Instead, trans couples are creating their own traditions — from rethinking wedding attire, to redefining who counts as family, to setting ground rules for cis-het attendees to make their LGBTQ+ guests as comfortable as possible

Cherry Iocovozzi, who had their oceanside wedding in 2022, told Them they understand why many queer people may not be interested in marriage, seeing it as "an assimilation to a heteronormative trope." But they came to find beauty in their own celebration of love.

"I just think weddings are actually such an amazing thing," Iocovozzi says. "A couple deserves to have a day of having your closest friends and family really bear witness to your love and your commitment to one another."

This expression of T4T love is so sacred; For many couples, a wedding means taking the time to cherish their devotion to one another, sometimes in the company of chosen family, sometimes in front of blood relatives, and always with each other. From imaginative outfits to pronoun guides for guests to Taco Bell-catered receptions in Brooklyn apartments, trans couples are cultivating their own nuptial traditions, redefining what a wedding even means in the first place.

We spoke to six couples about how they planned their special days, their favorite wedding memories, and their love for each other.

The interviews below have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Grey (she/he/they) and Grayson (he/they)

Known to much of the queer internet as @officiallyverygay on TikTok, Grey and Grayson Prnce met online in 2020 and fell head over heels in love. The two got married outside of the Santa Barbara, California courthouse in front of a close friend on August 30, 2022.

<cite class="credit">Ma'ayan Amit</cite>
Ma'ayan Amit

When did you both know you wanted to get married?

Grey: I knew from meeting him. I was like, 'Oh yeah, that's my husband. I've seen you in my dreams before and you look exactly like the person my ancestors are showing me.'

Grayson: When we first met, I was dating a few people and was not really committing. I met Grey, and I immediately texted all of those people the next day and said, 'I am in love with this person. I'm so sorry. But I can't see anybody else.' I grew up Mormon and used to think I didn't ever want to be married. I didn’t even know if I ever wanted a partner like that. I just wanted to do my own thing. But I think we started talking about marriage probably six months into our relationship because I proposed to Grey after nine months.

How long did you have in between the proposal and when you actually got married. What y'all were thinking about throughout the planning process?

Grey: One request Grayson had — because he has anxiety and a brain that also was traumatized by Mormonism — was that we needed to time everything for it to make sense for him to feel like it was real. He said, 'I want a year later from when we get engaged to be when we get married. I just need a year to know that this was real, and it will stick around.' So, we didn't even think about planning anything. We just enjoyed being engaged.

Grayson: We decided pretty immediately that we were going to elope because all Grey's friends are in New York. At that time we were in LA. I didn't have many friends who felt like they would be a part of that. Our relationship with my parents has ebbed and flowed because they are very practicing Mormons, but they also love her. It was also not worth it to them financially to come to our wedding. Grey's family was not coming to our wedding, nor would we be inviting some of them. We decided we don't need anyone besides my friend, Ma'ayan, who came and took our photos.

Grey: It felt like two fire signs planned this because they did. We spent more time on our outfits than we did on the actual wedding itself.

“Because so many of our near and dear are LGBTQ+, we also wanted our wedding not only to be a fun time for them, but a safe time.”

Speaking of outfits, what did y'all wear?

Grayson: I had no idea what pants I was wearing until the day before. They were pants that Grey had gifted to me a year before, and they were jeans. We had so much come back at us when we shared our wedding online. People had such a problem with me wearing jeans, but they were what I felt most comfortable in and I have a lot of dysphoria. We wore what we both individually wanted to wear. We both bought ourselves a pair of tabis, and that was really where we put the most money.

Grey: I had a dress by an African designer and it was on sale for $200. I paid to get a grill made so that I could have something blue. It was very queer and very country. My grandparents got married in jeans and T-shirts, and their 50th anniversary is this year. That's what I come from, it's normal to get married in jeans... Not everyone has thousands of dollars and daddy's money to shell out on a crazy extravaganza. My makeup, I did it myself. My hair, I did it myself. Everything was completely put together by us.

What are the traditions that you wanted to incorporate into your wedding?

Grey: It's hard to have traditions when I feel so estranged from family in that way. But one thing that we did was we tried our hardest to get things from our friends to wear and adorn ourselves with, which I feel can be traced back to many people's cultures. My veil was made by my best friend and she smudged it for me. I also smudged my dress and we did a whole cleansing ritual before we walked out the door. Because I grew up watching a lot of Southern weddings on television and movies — I'm southern — I also wanted something blue so badly which was my blue grill. I got this opal and turquoise grill, which are also culturally relevant stones for me. We had a lot of influences from a lot of people's cultures as part of our day, which I don't know if that leads into tradition or new traditions.

Anything else you want to add?

Grayson: It's so sacred and magical to be marrying somebody who gets me so entirely and so totally. I don't think a lot of other people get to experience someone understanding them so deeply and loving them so deeply, and there being so much room to be exactly who you are.

Brianna (she/her) and Sarah (she/her)

Brianna Cardoza and Sarah Jamieson got engaged in December 2019, after a session of dungeons and dragons with Bri's family. The two had been dating for a year and knew they both absolutely needed to propose, which ended up happening at the same time. The couple tied the knot in St. Louis, Missouri in front of their families and what felt like the city's entire LGBTQ+ community.

<cite class="credit">Christopher Taber</cite>
Christopher Taber

Tell me about the planning process for your wedding. What conventional wedding traditions did you two want to keep and which ones did you create for yourselves?

Brianna: I really didn't want to take any traditions into the wedding that we didn't want to take part in. I think there are a lot of great wedding traditions, and I think there are a lot that are just the way people have done things for years, and that's why they keep getting done.

Sarah: Because so many of our near and dear are LGBTQ+, we also wanted our wedding not only to be a fun time for them, but a safe time. That was the most important thing for me, second being to use as many queer-owned businesses and queer vendors that we could because we're going to be putting all of this money into it.

I'd love to circle back just on something you said earlier, which is wanting your LGBTQ+ guests to feel safe and at ease. I'm curious how you went about that?

Sarah: The thing that I wanted to make sure is that this wasn't going to be trans and LGBT 101. We were making our wedding website and coming up with FAQs, and I turned to Bri and said, "Should I put something on there about pronouns?" It became this beautiful back and forth of her and I writing and editing a couple of paragraphs that said what gender pronouns are and how the festivities are a time that we're not going to assume someone's pronouns.

It added something special to it. I realized that too few trans people — trans women — get this happy wedding day moment. I knew how important it was, and for my sake, for my friends' sake, for our trancestors' sake, I wanted to make sure that this was something that we could celebrate, because these moments are too few and far between.

<cite class="credit">Christopher Taber</cite>
Christopher Taber

Let's talk about your décor. How did you accidentally land on the trans flag colors for your wedding?

Brianna: It was semi-accidental, because Sarah said she was doing rose gold for her color. I started thinking — because originally I wanted pink as my color — I can't do pink, but what about blue? From there we started laying out the colors. Rose gold is an accent color, so there are a lot of things you can't use it for, like rose gold flowers are weird. Instead, we ended up with these bouquets where we had rose gold brooches to bring that color in, but then the flowers were pink, blue, and white. Once we figured out where we were going, we leaned into it as hard as possible.

What were your favorite parts of the day?

Brianna: I have to shout out my mom. My mom was a very talented seamstress. I knew from the start that I wanted her to make my dress. She toiled away for months making this beautiful wedding gown for me, and I got to try that on through the process of it being built. When I finally put it on, it was in a laundry room and I had my best friend in the world help zip me up and my sister helped me with my flower crown. I'll always treasure that as a moment.

Is there anything I missed that you want to add?

Sarah: I've been doing drag for almost 14 years. When people from the community would talk about our wedding, I would watch people get this glow in their eyes. We jokingly were calling it the Diana of the St. Louis LGBTQ+ community because of how everyone was talking about how the community was gonna shut down for a day because we were getting married. It underscores for me how important it is to show that in our state, where currently legislators are trying to outlaw us in so many aspects, it's so vital to show that joy.

Melissa (she/her) and Colton (he/they)

Colton Nguyen was going to propose to his then-girlfriend Melissa during a romantic plane tour of the Miami skyline, but he didn't anticipate how loud the ride would be. Instead, he popped the question when the pair had their feet firmly planted on the ground again. Melissa and Colton officially wed at the home of an eccentric notary republic in Miami. They plan on celebrating with their dream pair of weddings in the next year with their family and friends, one in Vietnam and one in Colombia.

How much time did you have to plan the wedding and what went into that?

Colton: We're still going through the immigration process, so we needed to do things in a unique way that made sense to us. Our priority has always been to do things in a way that feels authentic. We're still missing the big party with all of our trans family because many of them didn’t have the money to visit us in Miami on the timeline we wanted, because we were planning everything quickly.

To sign our wedding papers, we went to this notary who was very friendly but very weird. He had the strangest clothes — and being part of the queer community, I've seen weird clothes. He had on cargo pants, a bright Las Vegas shirt, and his hair was dyed dark black. But he was really friendly, like a graphic novel character. We paid less than $100. Beforehand, we stopped in my car in front of a convenience store and I bought lottery tickets and two little wines, and we reminisced about our entire history together and cheers-ed in my car. We're still waiting for the big party, maybe in the spring, but that day was still really special to both of us.

Melissa: We'd been talking about it for months but we didn't know when the exact day would be, so when the day came I was super excited. I wanted to take pictures, film videos, like it was something sincere but he didn't want to because it wasn't a grand party. But I wanted to record the moment and have something to remember it by, and everything came out beautifully. The person who married us was super friendly, everything was nice and from there we went to a Colombian restaurant, ate lunch, cheersed one more time, and we celebrated that night.

What do you want to include in the big party you’ll eventually have?

Colton: I want to have two weddings, one in Vietnam and one in Colombia. In my country, I want fruit, fire, dragon dancers, and all of my friends. I also want to have her family there, if they can go to Vietnam. If not, we can do the same thing in Colombia. We could also contract trans people who are local to help with the wedding so we can give them money. I also want someone who can play Bad Bunny and reggaeton covers on violin, piano, or drums.

Melissa: Food from both Vietnam and Colombia would be really important to me. Also, including something traditional from my country like chirimía — which are drum groups of people dancing dressed in traditional clothes from Colombia — is something I would like to do. And obviously, having all of our most important people there to share the special day with would be the most important thing.

Annie (they/he) and Emerson (he/him)

Annie Baby Semansky and Emerson Sanderson met online at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Annie based in New York and Emerson in Montreal, the two's love bloomed over long FaceTime calls — but not even international borders and travel restrictions could stop them from being together. Annie and Emerson signed their marriage license during a whirlwind ceremony in Annie's Brooklyn apartment, in the presence of a gaggle of friends and family (both in person and over Zoom).

How did y'all propose to each other?

Annie: We didn't really have a proposal. We said, "Let's get married." Then we got married two weeks after we decided to get married.

Emerson: We met online during the pandemic. Annie is from New York, and I'm from Canada. So we couldn't meet because the border was closed. We ended up meeting 10 months into our relationship. We proposed long distance and decided to get married while I was in New York.

Annie: We did take three weeks to talk about it. It makes the whole immigration process easier, and we knew we're going to be together for a very long time. Even though we were only together for a year and a half when we got married, it didn't seem outrageous to us, because we were already planning our future 10 years ahead.

For your actual ceremony, what did you do for décor and such?

Emerson: Our wedding literally was the most white trash wedding you could imagine. We had it in Annie's apartment in New York, and we just invited a bunch of friends. We also had our family and people who couldn't come to New York on Zoom. We bought all of our decorations at Party City, and our wedding food was Taco Bell.

Annie: We bought a bunch of gender reveal stuff. Being trans people, we thought this is funny. Everything was pink and blue and cow print. Our napkins said 'It's a boy,' and we bought those novelty 'Bride' and 'Groom' cups. It was very bad.

Emerson: And our ring didn't come on time, so we used $2 Hello Kitty rings from Chinatown.

I'm obsessed honestly.

Emerson: We're planning on having an actual wedding ceremony eventually. This was very much spur of the moment and made our lives easier.

Annie: Emerson is still a broke college student and I was working a full-time retail job in New York, which means I was essentially a broke college student. We spent less than $1,000 on our whole wedding with the decorations, the food, and even our honeymoon. We had no budget, we had to do it quick and as cheap as possible, and here we are two years later.

What are the special touches that made your wedding unique and what are your favorite moments from it?

Annie: We told everyone we invited to dress as slutty as possible; dress like you're going to the club, but the club is a wedding. Every other wedding I've ever been to has been frumpy, straight people wearing suits.

Emerson: We didn't have an actual photographer, but we handed out a bunch of disposable and film cameras. It was all of our friends capturing the moments that they felt were special.

Myles (he/him) and Precious (she/her)

Brought together by their work with the LGBTQ+ community of Chicago, Myles Brady-Davis and Precious Brady-Davis began their courtship in 2013. They were married on a sunny, perfect day in Chicago, Illinois at the iconic Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in the presence of friends and family from all chapters of their lives. Their ceremony was attended by a star-studded group of their chosen family and loved ones, embodying their wedding theme: Black trans excellence.

<cite class="credit">Kat Fitzgerald</cite>
Kat Fitzgerald

How did you two get engaged?

Myles: I had basically been trying to plan this for the longest, because Precious and I are both Scorpios. You don't get anything past a Scorpio, and we're very suspicious of everything. We had collaborated with the HRC and Jennifer Hudson to do this fundraiser called Turn Up for a Change at the W Hotel. That night, we bonded with Jennifer Hudson's team, so I crafted a plan to tell Precious that someone from J-Hud's team gave me the inside scoop that Beyoncé was gonna be filming something at the Bean.

Precious: I dropped everything. This is a block from my job, where the Chicago Bean is. Myles was already downstairs, so we rushed over there, and I looked around and he said, 'Do you see her?' Then I turned around, and he was on one knee, I was shocked. I felt like I literally left my body. I've never felt so much adrenaline and emotion running through my body. It was beautiful to happen at such an iconic place in Chicago.

“I think it's important to show the humanity of trans people in particular. That we are worthy of love. That we are desired. That we deserve to start families and to live long, healthy and prosperous lives.”

What went into the planning process and aesthetic choices of your wedding?

Precious: Black trans excellence was definitely the theme. We wanted it to look like a presidential state dinner. Rockefeller Chapel was a place that Miles had already picked out that I love. It was grand. We had our reception at the South Shore Cultural Center which is where President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama got married, so that was symbolic. We just wanted to show Black trans excellence. We really wanted it to be an affair that was special.

Myles: When people talk about Black excellence, they often forget about the trans part. Trans people come from a long line of community leaders and healers, so we wanted that to be part of it.

Precious: I felt like I was Cinderella. The bridesmaid dresses were blue, I wore a grand ball gown that I got from Bridals by Lori and was on Say Yes to the Dress. We wanted it to be a plated dinner. We flew in carnations from Alaska, because they don't bloom this time of year. The tablecloths were beautiful gold. Everything was just splendid and we wanted everything just to feel regal and stately.

<cite class="credit">Kat Fitzgerald</cite>
Kat Fitzgerald

You touched on something that I think is so important that I would love to tease out: Why was it important for Black trans excellence to be so on display and visible on your big and special day?

Precious: I think people have one narrative when it comes to trans people and, a lot of times, it's mostly about centering our trauma. I think it's important to show the humanity of trans people in particular. That we are worthy of love. That we are desired. That we deserve to start families and to live long, healthy and prosperous lives. Part of it is to show another level of our humanity and our existence.

Anything else you want to add?

Myles: Often, when you hear about a trans person's love story being highlighted, it's a cis person that's loving them. You also have to amplify the T4T. Being with a cis person does not have to be our goal in life, we can also find wealth within our own.

Silver (he/him) and Cherry (he/him)

Silver Iocovozzi put a ring on layaway immediately after he and his now-husband Cherish (Cherry) Iocovozzi’s first official date in 2019. While he didn't propose until 2021, he knew that Cherry was the one just a few weeks into their relationship. On June 10, 2022, they were married on Tybee Island, North Carolina, surrounded by friends and family in a beachside ceremony. Their reception party featured a string quartet, family-style food platters, and plenty of first dances.

<cite class="credit">Simon Bonneau</cite>
Simon Bonneau

Walk me through your proposal story.

Silver: We decided to go on a hike to this waterfall called Rainbow Falls with our friend, Devyn, who had been visiting — this is our mutual best friend who is also the reason why we met. It's really slippery. The mist of the waterfall is billowing onto the rocks that we’re walking onto, and I'm thinking 'How am I gonna get Cherry to turn around?’ Then I just say, 'Cherry, where's Devy?' And Cherry turns around for just enough time for me to shove my knee into the mud. He turns back around, and I have the ring box open, and Cherry covers his mouth and starts crying. I didn't say anything for five minutes — I was enjoying Cherry’s reaction so much. And then I asked, 'Will you marry me?' I didn't say anything besides that. Cherry said yes, and we kissed 10 times. We have it recorded and it's really beautiful, and sometimes if I'm having a bad day, I look at that video because it's so sweet.

What went into the planning process of your wedding? What are the traditions you wanted to incorporate?

Cherry: We did have something new, something borrowed, because it's also fun and silly to be able to engage with those sorts of things. We're both superstitious in a way. Silver's always the person when people are cheersing who says we all have to look each other in the eyes. More luck is good luck.

Silver: We had a string quartet playing La Vie En Rose. It was the best moment of my life. It always sounds so corny when you're thinking about when people ideate their ideal wedding. Then there's these moments that you're hoping will be magical. All of these things that you're planning, and then when you're in the moment — and I was just standing watching Cherry walk towards me with his parents — I thought, this feels so special. I feel like a butterfly. There's nothing else to describe that accountability and having people bear witness to this commitment, regardless of how long it could possibly last.

<cite class="credit">Simon Bonneau</cite>
Simon Bonneau

What was your process for picking your outfits?

Cherry: I wanted to wear a dress and I wanted to find a way to make that fit within my perception of my own masculinity. Should it have tailored elements? Should I wear a suit top and a skirt bottom? Should I try to pull traditional understandings of masculinity into the aesthetics of it? The last garment that I tried on on the second day of shopping — I had a visceral reaction to it. It was this incredibly simple Jil Sander dress that was white, kind of see-through, had a high neckline, long sleeves, and just below the knee. It was an extremely simple garment that felt almost monastic. It felt like a religious piece of clothing and not necessarily a women's dress.

Silver: I knew that I wanted to wear a traditional barong, which is a Filipino dress shirt when you get married. I grew up seeing all these pictures of my parents getting married, but my dad's a white guy marrying a Filipino woman and I thought it was funny and so sweet. I was so excited to wear a barong but I didn't want to buy one. There's this designer, his name is Carl Jan Cruz and he's based out of Manila. Carl took my inspiration and spun it into this beautiful look and made pants and a barong and had this bib-like train that I could lift up. It was all made from pineapple silk, which is called piña-silk. Then he also at the very end of the train had these little pearls sewn into it. The stitching was just so beautiful and reminded me a lot of the tablescapes in the Philippines. I felt really connected to the outfit.

A lot of this piece is showcasing what it means to celebrate T4T love so thank you for sharing all of that.

Cherry: A lot of our wedding was our friends and chosen family, but we had our blood relatives there as well. Not all of them, but a handful. We had a lot of commentary from the blood relatives, who were hetero people, that this was the most beautiful wedding they'd ever seen in their lives. It just wasn't your cookie cutter, run of the mill ceremony like how there is a structure to cishet weddings, where you have your vows and you say these certain things that have been said in perpetuity for so long. We wrote our own vows, and my best friend officiated our wedding, and we had a friend bless our rings, and she read a James Baldwin piece, and she spoke her own words and read another poem. It was really sweet to be validated by those people who would never have otherwise been to a queer wedding but probably go to weddings all the time because straight people are constantly fucking going to weddings. They saw that our ceremony was different. They were so moved by it and brought to tears by the way that we expressed our love and commitment to one another.

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Originally Appeared on them.