As you know, I love helping my couples break tradition and plan the wedding of their dreams. But what if what you want most is a traditional wedding? Rachel and Colette faced their fair share of obstacles leading up to their wedding day, but they were able to pull off a beautiful Scottish Catholic ceremony right here in Chattanooga! Rich with important traditions and thoughtful details. If you’re planning an LGBTQ+ wedding in Chattanooga, read on!
PLANNING AN LGBTQ+ CATHOLIC WEDDING IN CHATTANOOGA
I first met Rachel over ten years ago at a house party, and I was immediately drawn to her magnetic, friendly personality. When I finally met Colette, I knew Rachel had found her perfect match! These two are such a loving, genuine pair, and I was honored to shoot their engagement and wedding photos.
The wedding planning process for Rachel and Colette was fraught with challenges. Colette is from Scotland, and she wanted a traditional Scottish Catholic wedding. Unfortunately, it’s still hard to find a Catholic priest willing to marry a lesbian couple. (Get with the times, y’all!) But I promised Rachel and Colette they would be able to find the right balance of a traditional catholic ceremony and bring their wedding dreams to life.
In the end, they made it happen! We found a local priest who was happy to marry Rachel and Colette, booked The Turnbull (a woman-owned and operated, LGBTQ+ friendly local venue), and got ready for the day!
A SCOTTISH CATHOLIC WEDDING CEREMONY IN CHATTANOOGA
Although their union is anything but “traditional” Catholic, it was important to Rachel and Colette to have a traditional wedding ceremony. They both wore white, their fathers walked them down the aisle, and they even hired a bagpiper to play leading into the ceremony. The brides walked down the aisle one at a time, and they shared their first look at the altar.
As with the rest of their day, Rachel and Colette added their own personal touch to the ceremony. Colette’s dad wore a traditional Scottish outfit, and their ceremony table (Catholic masses are long, y’all) featured tiny bottles of scotch. They drank the scotch out of a small silver bowl engraved with their names called the Quaich. The Quaich, a two-handled loving cup, is an ancient Scottish tradition that seals the bond of two people, and marks the blending of two families. It symbolizes the love and trust implied by the bond, as the new couple shares the first drink of their marriage together. They were married beneath this massive greenery installation by Fox & Fern, another local women-owned LGBTQA+ friendly vendor. I absolutely adored all the greenery through the wedding, and the little touches of lavender called back to Colette’s Scottish roots. And most importantly, their pup got to run free during the ceremony. It was precious.
The brides exchanged vows, signed their wedding documents (which I love as part of the ceremony!), and shared their first kiss as wives in front of their nearest and dearest. The ceremony was classic and beautiful, and it set the tone for an emotional, intimate wedding day.
BRIDAL PORTRAITS IN THE CHATTANOOGA HILLS
Because their venue was right in the middle of downtown Chattanooga, we had tons of options for bridal portraits. I snuck the new brides away for about half an hour to take photos and – more importantly – give them a moment to bask in that post-ceremony glow. If you’re working on your wedding day schedule, be sure to squeeze in some time after the ceremony to enjoy one another, unwind, and snap a few photos.
I loaded the brides into my car, drove up to the nearby hills, and found a gorgeous overlook for their photos. Since their ceremony was very Scotland-themed, I made a point to highlight Chattanooga – the place they fell in love, moved in together, and got married – in some of their photos. This spot offered the perfect view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
AN EMOTIONAL LGBTQ+ WEDDING RECEPTION
After a few photos, we headed back down to the reception space, which was also at The Turnbull. I snapped a few more photos in the alleyway outside, and then Rachel and Colette headed back in to see their families.
Of course, there were tons of Scottish details in the reception, too! Each table was labelled with one of their favorite places in Scotland and decorated with tartan. They arranged their close family members and wedding party at a long banquet-style table. It made for a really intimate, sweet dinner. And because they’re a super outdoorsy, adventurous couple, they had a trail mix bar instead of a cake. Cute!
As the reception got started, Rachel and Colette gave a welcome speech. Let me tell you, there was not a dry eye in the room. After struggling to make their wedding happen, worrying that no one would show up, and finally getting to say “I do,” they expressed how thankful they were for everyone who’d supported them along the way.
As we all dried our eyes, Rachel and Colette shared a first dance. Then, their guests flooded the dance floor and danced the night away.
I’m so grateful to have been able to witness Rachel and Colette’s day and help them capture their love – both for each other and for their families. It was a wedding I’ll never forget.
LOOKING FOR AN LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER IN CHATTANOOGA?
Look no further! I’m proud to have captured plenty of same-sex weddings across the Chattanooga area. Head over to my contact page, shoot me a message, and let’s plan the perfect ceremony for you and your partner.
For more LGBTQ+ wedding and engagement inspiration, visit the blog!