By Diana Bizjak
Photography by Nikki Hancock
Catering: Emerald Farms, Maxwell | Dessert: Tin Roof Bakery, Chico, and Upper Crust, Chico | DJ: Magik Entertainment, Chico | Lighting: Tolar AVL, Chico | Florist and Wedding Planner: Phillip Rice, Folsom | Officiant: Rev. Lynell Walker, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Sacramento | Linens and Chairs: All Star Rentals, Chico
HOW THEY MET: A mutual friend put together a rafting trip down the American River, with all the participants meeting outside of Safeway first. Andrew and Leon were both eating sandwiches in the parking lot and hit it off immediately. HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED: On a trip to Napa, after the couple had enjoyed a romantic seven-course dinner, Leon presented Andrew with a ring. HARVEST FESTIVAL: Leon is a farmer, so everything other than the catered dinner was from his farm. “I can’t even tell you how many pumpkins we had. We grew every kind of heirloom and standard pumpkin imaginable!” Leon says. “And it wasn’t just pumpkins.” The downside was that the wedding came right after the harvest, so the couple had to juggle both the business and the planning. Even so, they were both up for the challenge. “We live on a farm and this is our life, so it all just made sense to us.”
TECH CONNECT: Getting everybody in a wedding party on the same page is no easy feat, but Andrew and Leon found what they think is the best way to communicate. The couple had two Facebook pages, one for guests and one for the wedding party. While the wedding party could plan on their page, the guests’ page was the spot where Leon and Andrew posted information about the party, including what kind of shoes to wear and how to catch the bus. RAIN AND SHINE: While most of the wedding went smoothly, the guys were a little startled when it started to rain during the reception. Fortunately, the little sprinkling wasn’t too much for the guests to handle. Many of the guests just held their menus above their heads and carried on. “Several people said it was a testament to the great energy of the event that everyone rolled with it when it rained,” Andrew says.
INTIMATE DETAILS: The most memorable moment of the event for the couple were the minutes right after the ceremony. Their photographer had whisked them off to take several pictures of just the two of them. “It was kinda overwhelming,” Andrew says. “There was this rush of emotions and we stopped and looked at each other and hugged and were like, ‘We’re married.’ And then we just started bawling.” The couple didn’t even notice the photographer was there anymore, snapping photos. When they finally saw the pictures of their intimate moment, their first reaction was that it was intrusive. “But then we realized it was a really beautiful thing.”
PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION: While their officiant was very supportive of lesbian and gay rights, as a member of the church, she had to take out all the references to “marriage” and use the word “union.” Andrew and Leon aren’t people of devout faith, so the religious part didn’t much matter to them. Still, they’re eager to see things change in the future. “The state has caught up with society on gay marriage, but our churches haven’t caught up, which is really sad,” says Andrew. “It’s frustrating that the church refuses to recognize our marriage, but perspectives are changing fast.”