Weddings of Our Own: Bob & Kevin

Austin

NAMES Bob Schmidt & Kevin Koch.
LIVE IN French Place, Austin.
OCCUPATIONS Bob is a lawyer and artist; Kevin is a preservation architect.
HOW THEY MET In an elevator at a state office building near the Texas Capitol.
HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED After having been together eight years, neither felt too strongly about getting married—bitter grapes after years of exclusion, and LGBT couples being forced to leave Texas to marry legally. The morning of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, however, their attitudes toward marriage changed.
REHEARSAL DINNER  Their wedding was very DIY. Their closest friends and out-of-town guests came over to their house the night before to visit, drink cocktails, eat pizza, chop paella and fruit salad ingredients, seed pomegranates, and prepare sangria.
WEDDING DAY WEATHER Balmy, warm, and clear.
NUMBER OF GUESTS 160
WEDDING COLORS Rainbow on white-gray.

The Travis County courthouse was full of flowers, love, and well-wishers. There was a line—we were number 73. The room cheered every time a couple’s name was called. Friends let us know immediately that we had to have a real ceremony, and we wanted 6/29/15 on our certificate, so we had 90 days to put together a wedding for 160 people. The planning was stressful, but it was all worth it in the end.

THEME The venue, the Museum of Human Achievement, provided the inspiration: an East Austin arts collective/gallery/studio space in a warehouse with a gravel lot on the rail tracks. Rough around the edges, laid-back, fun, and filled with creative energy and colorful artwork, including paintings by Sebastian Turner Scott and lightboxes by Kaya Halil Sümer. The couple encouraged everyone to dress as they pleased—their favorite ironic T-shirt and shorts or dressed up—and they got a mix of everything.  People enjoyed showing their individuality.
FLOWERS Single roses in wine bottles.
DIY ELEMENTS Old fashioned–style Christmas lights and colored, battery-powered LED Japanese paper lanterns hung from rafters to give a “barn dance” feel. Centuries-old, hand-carved stone bowls filled with water, rose petals, and homemade ice sculptures—balls of ice made into balloons. Serving ware came from the grooms’ eclectic collection. Artists with studios at the venue put a show together in the dining area. Incense and burners were placed outside, wafting fragrant smoke throughout the venue. Words spelled with rocks arranged like letters rounded out table centerpieces. The sign-in book was a blank artist’s sketchbook with pastels, charcoals, and colored pencils available for people to get creative. The tuxedos were vintage ‘70s, purchased at a neighborhood garage sale, along with shorts and Birkenstocks. It was warm, and the gallery wasn’t air-conditioned.
THE MENU A salad with pancetta, pears, and honey vinaigrette, spicy homemade pickles, rainbow-layered fruit salad, red pepper dip and hummus, vegetarian paella, giant Spanish tortillas. Notable beverages included Moscow mules, sangria, vinho verde and Champagne.
DESSERT Cakes baked by a friend—one carrot and one chocolate topped with bobbleheads of the couple (from bobbleheads.com), and one white wedding cake so that they could use the gay wedding cake topper they had serendipitously bought at a neighborhood garage sale weeks before the decision. Mexican wedding cookies and cajeta empanadas from Mi Tradición Bakery.

MUSIC Bob built a pre-wedding playlist, presenting it with a slide show of the couple’s life together. It culminated with a video of the wedding fanfare number from the The Muppets Take Manhattan: “Somebody’s Getting Married,” from Kermit and Miss Piggy’s wedding—ending with a picture of Bert and Ernie, and the couple’s intro song, “How Glad I Am,” a jazz-soul ’60s love song by Nancy Wilson. At the end of the ceremony, they kicked off the party with “Got to be Real.” Their big splurge was on live music, a rollicking, Austin jazz-swing band, the Jitterbug Vipers.
IF THEY COULD HAVE SPENT THEIR WEDDING DOLLARS DIFFERENTLY Wanting to invite all their friends, the couple selected a large space and avoided services that charge by the guest. They think that was the right choice, but say that a wedding planner would have been a good investment to save them the stress of planning portion sizes, keeping vendors in line, and coordinating the day of the event.
FAVORITE DETAILS Incense bar, pomegranate seeds in the hummus, and the live band.
UNIQUE ELEMENT OF THE DAY Entering the room at the end of the Muppets video, which created so much energy. “People stood and clapped and screamed and cheered as we entered,” Kevin says. “It was an unforgettable moment walking like rock stars into that room hand-in-hand—very different from the usual traditional wedding entrance.”
UNEXPECTED EVENT How emotional and important the vows were to write and then recite. And the support of family, who have mixed views about marriage equality.
HOW YOUR WEDDING DAY WAS DIFFERENT THAN YOU IMAGINED That it happened at all—especially in Texas! They never imagined it could happen in their lifetimes.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS Do it! It’s a very important day in your life, and one you’ll cherish and never forget, and it strengthens your community and your relationship.
THE DAY IN THREE WORDS Joyful, fun, heartwarming.

Vendor List

CEREMONY AND RECEPTION
Museum of Human Achievement, Austin

CATERING
Mostly friends, plus Mi Tradición Bakery

Rentals
Musical Chairs

OFFICIANT
US District Judge Robert L. Pitman,
Western District

PHOTOGRAPHY
Christina De Los Reyes and Jason Flenniken

FLOWERS
Central Market

MUSIC
The Jitterbug Vipers

HONEYMOON
Casa Pina in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico