27 December, 2021 QUEER JEWISH SUMMER CAMP WEDDING
WHERE DO YOU TWO LIVE?
Hi! We’re Sarah & Jacqui! We live in the middle of nowhere. No, really though – it’s kinda crazy that we were born on opposite sides of Iowa, met smack dab in the middle in Des Moines, and then moved to Webster, Wisconsin: population 672. We love it though. Together we spend a ton of time at the new brick and mortar of our business, Crosshatch Coffee Co. We’ve spent the last year working on the demo and remodel of our new space, and we can’t wait to open! Otherwise, we both work for a Jewish summer camp year round and love being in the North Woods with our two doggos, Callie and Gimel.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE OTHER?
Sarah: We initially met online, but the first time we met in person was at a coffee shop in downtown Des Moines called Ritual. I remember when she pulled up, parked, and walked down the sidewalk – kinda bouncing in her stride. She had the biggest smile. We hugged and it was one of the Best hugs, ever. One of those hugs that isn’t a fake out or weird or half ass… Just a good, solid, warm hug.
Jacqui: Middle of the sidewalk outside Ritual Cafe in downtown Des Moines and all I could think was “damn, this girl is a great hugger”. It was just a full, great hug. SUCH a great hug. And she smelled amazing.
HOW DID THE PROPOSAL GO DOWN?
Sarah: Ugh, I was so annoyed, but she was incredible. I don’t surprise easy, and she got me. We were visiting friends in October of 2020, and they own a printing press business that we were hanging in for the afternoon while they worked on an order for a client. They asked if I wanted to print things, which I thought was weird because I would never be like, “hey, ya wanna stitch a leather bag?” if we were all to be in my studio. It’s so much pressure to not want to mess it up! This is their livelihood for goodness sake! So of course anxiety set in, and I was a mess, but I kept on going. Jacqui kept getting more and more weird… and finally I was like, “okay, what the hell is going on… why are you all being so weird?” Being assured this was supposed to be fun and that they were excited to have my help, I started printing what I thought was my design I’d just assemble on their upright peddle press. Little did I know, Adam had switched it with something they’d already designed prior to that afternoon. They were very sneaky.
The first print pulled and I found myself staring – not at one of their products, but instead a print that said “With you I want to spend my life and tell the world t hat you’re my wife” and “Ani Shyechet Lach” which is the transliteration of “I belong to you” in Hebrew. I turned around to find my person on one knee with a piece of paper in her hand. It was a picture of a beautiful ring she’d custom ordered that hadn’t yet arrived. Again, I was so annoyed and filled to the brim with anxiety from the most weird 45 minutes of my life, but I said yes and she truly was the best.
Jacqui: She was so relieved to know that she wasn’t actually designing or producing product for Adam and Tammy. It was so cute that as a fellow small business owner she was SO worried about wasting product that she couldn’t even relax and have fun fo r the time we were there.
WAS THERE A MEMORY FROM YOUR WEDDING THAT STICKS OUT MORE THAN OTHERS?
Sarah: I cried over the napkins as I was origami folding and assembling them. Twice actually. Jacqui: Oh god, the succulents. Okay, this is a memory for sure that isn’t going anywhere. So for our wedding, we were our own everything. Planner, organizer, venue set up, food, etc. Everything. So Sarah is setting up the main dining hall two days before guests arrive, and she’d doing this BEAUTIFUL origami fold napkin that will hold single succulents for every person’s place with hand written name cards. We’d grown the succulents ourselves over the last year. A few weeks prior to this, Sarah was trying to give me tasks to make me feel more important and included in the pre- planning of our wedding stuff, and watering the succulents was one of those tasks. I took it very seriously. Anywho, Sarah is transplanting them from their large platter home to their individual cup homes for napkins, and she notices that a pretty significant amount of them have died recently. Also the bottom of the platter is basically a swamp. She wonders out loud what the heck could have happened, and I respond with, ‘I don’t know, it wasn’t me! I watered them a ton every day!’… Note to self: succulents only need MINIMAL watering. Sarah assumed I knew that. I did not. Thank God we still had enough after all the casualties. OY.
Jacqui: The Mikvah was pretty memorable and special, and it definitely was a moment that was very meaningful for both of us. Sarah spent a full year in Judaism conversion study, and the seal of completion for a lot of people is meeting before a beit din (a Jewish council) and then praying and dipping in a mikvah (a ceremonial bath) to complete her conversion into Judaism. The Jewish council gives their blessing and introduces them into their new Jewish life with a new Jewish name as well. For me, what’s special about the whole thing is that Sarah brought me back closer to my Jewish identity through her conversion process and we intentionally brought that with us as we entered our married life together. Finding meaningful Jewish traditions and practices together is something I never thought I would have or want for myself, and it just clicks and makes sense.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE WEDDING VENUE/LOCATION YOU DID?
Jacqui grew up going to summer camp there, and it was always the place she described as her ‘favorite place on earth’. It was a place that felt like a perfect balance of our love for the outdoors and Judaism. The north woods of Wisconsin is also gorgeous in the fall with all of the trees and changing colors.
DID YOU RUN INTO ANY ISSUES WITH VENDORS WHO WERE NOT QUEER FRIENDLY?
We didn’t have any vendors because we did everything ourselves. That being said, we brought our families to a couple of different restaurants in the Webster/Siren area, and it really is incredible how the community embraced us. Culturally uniform would be a great way to describe the area, and we’ve really prided ourselves on connecting with as many people as possible to help shape the way people see Jewish/Gay culture. Hiccups along the way? Yep, but a smooth path is pretty boring if you ask us.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE STEPH TO DOCUMENT YOUR LGBTQ+ ELOPEMENT?
Steph’s Instagram became Sarah’s happy place for a while in 2020 – wonderful talent, beautiful people and their stories, and a human behind it who was easy to follow. This is how Jacqui was introduced to Steph’s IG, and around the same time we were trying to figure out our wedding details, including choosing a photographer. Jacqui saw a post in one of Steph’s stories that led her to filling out an inquiry form for small weddings in 2021. In addition to the obvious fact that Steph was talented, Jacqui appreciated the way in which Steph went about her work:
“My goal is to get to know your love story, and to tell it with my images.” and “My primary focus is to make you feel comfortable so that your personalities and love are captured in every wedding photograph.”
There are so many different ways people can choose to spend resources for their wed ding experience – we were saving our resources in most categories and nothing felt more right than our greatest investment being in what would allow us to relive and remember our special weekend for years to come. Jacqui decided that if Steph was available and willing to document or experience then she would surprise Sarah with the big news.