When Ty & Tere told me what they had planned for their Chicago wedding at The Lytle House, I knew it was going to be right up our alley. Outfit changes for both to showcase their masculine and feminine sides? An all-female mariachi band? Their loved ones officiating the ceremony and performing as part of the evening’s entertainment? Nary a traditional element in sight? YES, YES, YES, BRING IT!
Tere & Ty’s intimate wedding with around fifty guests was a beautiful celebration of queer love and community – and it was perfectly timed into that little summer 2021 window of the pandemic where it was actually safe to hang out unmasked for a bit. We had to move the ceremony indoors due to rain, but we didn’t let it stop us from partying!
I asked them to share some of their wedding memories with all of you and here’s what they had to say:
How did the two of you meet? What was your engagement like? Who proposed and how?
We met on Tinder. Tere sent Ty a GIF of an enticing bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), and asked if Ty would be interesting in getting some over a conversation about the injustices of the legal system. It took Ty about two weeks to respond, but how could they say no? We got engaged at the beginning of the pandemic, and proposed individually on two separate occasions to each other. Both proposals occurred at the home we purchased at the end of 2019. Nothing major. Just the two of us. No photographers, families, or friends. It felt right for us.
What was your favorite part of wedding planning?
The tastings with multiple potential caterers was enjoyable! Also, the anticipation of getting to gather with friends and family we hadn’t seen in awhile or didn’t get to see on a regular basis.
What was the hardest/most stressful part of wedding planning?
Trying to find vendors that checked off all our boxes (POC, LGBTQ+ Friendly, pro-BLM, etc.) We had to compromise, and there were trade-offs for everything. Having to pay for everything for ourselves was difficult, but ultimately for the best. We didn’t want much influence or input from anyone else. Deciding who to invite/not invite was also very difficult. We had different philosophies on who we wanted to invite/not invite.
What made you decide that you needed or wanted to hire a wedding planner? Why did you think Aisle Less Traveled was the right choice?
We both had demanding full-time jobs, and did not want to be additionally stressed on the day of. We wanted to spend as much time enjoying the day with our guests as possible without having to communicate and work out logistics with vendors. We chose Aisle Less Traveled because of Cindy’s organization. The spreadsheets were super helpful, as well as all the other resources offered including podcast episodes, articles, and Zoom meetings.
How did you pick your wedding location and venue? What were you looking for when you started searching? Did you find it?
Cost was a factor we considered. We also wanted a location somewhere in the city, that had more of a fancy backyard vibe. We never wanted a huge wedding, and wanted it to be intimate. It was also important to us to have both an indoor-outdoor space, especially during the pandemic. We knew we didn’t want the typical restaurant or ballroom wedding. We liked that The Lytle House had a laid-back summer backyard vibe, but all the amenities that we would have otherwise had to have rented if we were to host it in our own backyard.
What were some of your favorite moments of your wedding day?
The performances and speeches were very memorable! We loved hearing from the people we deeply care about.
What are some of your favorite wedding details?
We loved the all-female mariachi band and the decor was set up beautifully.
Tell us about the music you chose for the important moments of your day.
We chose to have a mariachi band play music during the ceremony to highlight Tere’s Mexican culture.
If you were planning your wedding and getting married all over again, is there anything you’d do differently?
Yes, we would have opted for a more experienced DJ who catered more to the music we wanted played, and not the music they felt the guests would most enjoy. I think we’d also get different wedding favors, or skip wedding favors entirely (Ty would, at least.) And maybe have had a rehearsal and been more insistent that people arrive early/on time!
What was the best or most valuable thing you spent money on for your wedding?
For us, it was definitely our outfits. We had two. We both wore dresses during the ceremony and changed into suits during the reception. We wanted to showcase both our feminine and masculine traits. I don’t think we initially cared as much, but it turned out to be very worth it. It was so much more comfortable being in suits for the majority of the night, and we got lots of compliments on how good we looked.
Tell us about your wedding budget. How did you plan for and prioritize your spending?
We definitely wanted to spend as little as possible. We were thinking $10k at first, but then found out that on average, people spend 5-6x that amount in the city. After we got more realistic about it, our budget was $30k at the most. We ended up staying pretty close to our budget.
Is there anything you’d skip or spend less on, knowing what you do now?
Yes, wedding favors.
What makes your wedding an Aisle Less Traveled wedding?
We’re both queer and consider ourselves feminist. It was a celebration of queer love. There were some traditional elements we cared to keep, and others we didn’t.
And now, let me tell you about one thing they did that I absolutely loved! (Besides the little touches of rainbows throughout the day.) As an alternative to a traditional bouquet toss, they each threw a stuffed animal into the crowd. The guests who caught them are said to be the next ones to adopt a pet! Great way to take a kinda weird, super gendered, not particularly inclusive tradition and make it so much fun that everybody – regardless of relationship status or gender – was squeezing onto the dance floor for a chance to win!!
Meet the Wedding Pros
Every great wedding is backed by a team of incredible wedding professionals. We can do our best work when we’re working with the best people. Here are the ones who helped us make this wedding happen:
Wedding Venue: The Lytle House
Photography: Amanda Summerlin Photography
Videography: Kraze Videography
Florist: Fasan Florist
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Mariachi Sirenas
Catering: Amazing Edibles
Dessert: Chiu Quon Bakery
Officiant: Jorge Mujica
DJ: DJ Manolo
Wedding Planner: Aisle Less Traveled, of course! (Learn how we can plan together here.)