The excitement among the hundreds of online guests of “The Biggest, Queerest Wedding of the Year” was palpable, even through the screen, as they eagerly awaited the self-proclaimed queerantine brides to go live on Facebook. Chaya Milchtein, part of GO’s 2020 class of 100 Women We Love and The Advocate’s 28 Women of the Year 2020, was about to marry her partner of four years, Jodyann Morgan.
Though a post had said the feed would start at 12:50 p.m. and the ceremony at 1 p.m., the live video didn’t begin until 1:15 p.m. When asked about the tardiness, Michtein replied, “It’s 2020, what can I say?” The wedding was indeed a 2020 affair with zero in-person guests. Alone except for a handful of vendors including photographer Danielle Lawson and day-of coordinator Robin Chalmers, each bride walked out into a beautiful private lawn in Indianapolis alone in a long white dress, meeting in front of queer officiant L.S. Quinn. Milchtein wore a long veil and Morgan wore a crown, both rented from Laine London Company, an Atlanta-based Black-owned bridal boutique.
Revelers from all corners of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. as well as at least eleven other countries across four continents, left 950 comments during the livestream, every single one supportive and celebratory. One person said she was a “baby queer” tuning in to see her first-ever queer wedding. Many were straight allies who had LGBTQ+ family members and wanted to show support.
Quinn opened with a Prince quote and closed with a “Doctor Who” quote. Viewers could see the brides wiping away tears and hear them whispering “I love you” to each other during and after the ceremony. After the brides exited the ceremony, the feed went dark for several minutes before coming back online for the brides to share their cake and pre-recorded video toasts from friends with the online audience.
Milchtein and Morgan didn’t have the support of their parents, so many “mama bears” showed up in the comments to fill in. Viewers of all ages, including children as young as three, tuned in from living rooms and kitchens, with live viewerships topping out at 672 and remaining consistently above 620 throughout the ceremony. 48 hours after the event, views of the stream neared 10,000. Many shared a sentiment in their posts that the world could use more love right now, so they wanted to see something uplifting during this time of worldwide strife.
The couple hopes to be able to honeymoon in Europe for their first anniversary, COVID permitting. Their advice for brides? Morgan counsels, “Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.” Milchtein says not to worry about the details once you reach the day of the wedding. “What needs to happen will,” she tells GO. “What will go wrong will. At that point, the only thing you can control is how you react. Stay calm and enjoy yourself.”