The Wedding issue
S tandard wedding expos occur in convention centers, and bring with them a mound of unpleasantries, what with all the salesy-warehouse vibes, and the short-pile gray carpeting, and the errant doilies, and the fluorescent-white lights that come to embody the shine of hell. Too many booths advertise too many services, but all are so heavily generic, and "if you're deviating from a mainstream commercialized template, it can be hard to find what you're looking for, let alone if you're queer or trans or polyamorous," says Ariel Meadow Stallings, a Seattle writer and the publisher of Offbeat Bride. She's also coproducing the Lovesick wedding expo, happening Sunday, January 26, and you should go.
Lovesick will take place at Axis in Pioneer Square, the former Elliott Bay Book Company space, so lots of brick archways and creaky wood floors and antiquatedness everywhere. There'll be balancing acrobats and burlesque performances, too. "The expo is intentionally designed not to be overwhelming, and even if you have a partner who is less engaged, they can go off and watch some hot men stand on their hands, or watch some hot women wag their boobs around, so it's kind of fun for the whole family," says Stallings. And there's a bar: "Booze helps."
As far as the goods, "In some ways, it's the same old shit. You need the cake, you need the rings, you need something to wear," says Stallings. Lovesick's vendors were chosen for their alt-friendliness just as much as their quality products, and there are plenty of locally produced items. Haute Under the Collar, for instance, sells rhinestone-encrusted satin bow ties, the ultimate signifier of eternal love. The People's Cake carries a menu with fresh ingredients and vegan options and a big range of styles—with everything from sculptural cakes in the shape of a cactus or a giant Twinkie, because why not, to the classic tiered version, its layers festooned with ribbons, and so many intricate sugar flowers tumbling down, just a-tumblin'. Wai-Ching sells silk wedding gowns in nontraditional styles, which are made to measure, then hand-dyed in squillions of colors. (Full disclosure: I work here as a seamstress.) With These Rings teaches clients how to fabricate or cast their own rings, which is a nice alternative to brand-name jewelers housed in a mall with a Juan 'n' Only's Tex-Mex buffet in its food court.
There's more, and that's because "non-gross people get married and non-gross people need to find non-gross photographers," says Stallings. Lovesick's selection includes Carly Bish, Jay Lee, and Jonas Seaman. (Find their gorgeous pictures at carlybish.com, jayleephotography.net, and jonas-seaman.com.) As for the latter, Seaman says his images contain very few deliberate poses, bringing a photo-documentary effect, and he uses fine-art elements to enhance his work. (Also worth noting: When Seaman was a youngster, he played a culted-out farmhand in 1984's freaky-deaky Children of the Corn. "I go running through the cornfields to get away, and then I get macheted in the neck, and then I get run over by a car. It's a pretty memorable part," he says.)