The very first thing we decided was to have a Quaker ceremony on our wedding day. Having a Quaker wedding was important to both of us, not only because Jessica was raised in the Society of Friends, but also because we feel that this type of ceremony is a really beautiful way to bring two people together. It's also the only religious option open to us as two brides and, most importantly to us, the keystone of Quakerism, Equality, means that during a Quaker Meeting for Marriage there is no minister to marry the couple and fathers don't 'give their daughters away'. Everyone in the room takes part in this ceremony of silent worship which binds us together. We were delighted to be able to come together at Jessica’s childhood Meeting. It's a beautiful building that reflects the simplicity and warmth of the occasion.
We chose Kings Weston House as our reception venue because Jessica grew up in the grounds of this elegant early 18th-century country house and it holds a special place in her heart. We also love that the Kings Weston retains much of its charm as a lived-in and well-loved family home. While the ground floor can be hired out for functions, it is actually still a private home upstairs.
As a lover of big skirts and fancy outfits, Jessica just had to have two dresses! The first was a graceful and modest silk and satin design from LouLou Bridal. However, for a girl who counts circle skirts and feathered headpieces as daywear, she felt something else was needed for the reception. Cue: a last-minute dash around the bridal shops of Brighton, where we live, looking for the perfect dress that would be ready in just five weeks! The answer came in the form of a one-of-a-kind prototype from Ocean Bridal Studio, which could be taken away that day.
Claudia wore a bespoke gown from White Leaf Boutique. It was a sleek silk dress with illusion-lace neckline. She usually has a tomboyish yet feminine sense of style, and hadn’t even thought about her future wedding dress, which meant she had no ideas for what it would look like! She actually found it while helping her engaged sister on her wedding dress hunt.
Jessica: The thing I am most proud of about our wedding day is how I managed my disabilities, while having an amazing time. I have two genetic disorders, which means I suffer from chronic fatigue and pain and occasionally need a wheelchair (they also affect my hearing, so I wear hearing aids). Claudia was the first person I went on a date with who genuinely didn’t find any of that off-putting or see it as a ‘problem to overcome’. She views my disabilities the way I do: they're just a part of me. A lot of young disabled people think they won't have a chance at romantic love. But Claudia’s love for me isn’t because or despite of my disability. It's just another part of who I am. I also want able-bodied people to know that disabilities aren't 'scary', and dating someone with one doesn't have to be a terrifying prospect that they close their minds to. For Claudia and me, it was a classic case of ‘when you know, you know’. In fact, we moved into together within a month!
Photographs by Holly Bobbins and Rachel Movitz
Be sure to check out Jessica's blog, Jessica Out Of The Closet, as well as her YouTube channel and the couple's shared Instagram account, Jessie and Claud