When George Lucas created the Star Wars film franchise, he had no way of knowing that the galaxy far, far away would create fans that would eventually use “the force” as a launching pad for their happily ever after.
Laura and Rachel Rice have now been married five months, but three years before they said their vows, Laura was dating a friend of Rachel’s when they met. That same friend would later set them up.
“We instantly knew it was a good sign when we realized we both had Star Wars tattoos!” Laura says.
The two bonded over the sci-fi saga and their mutual love of cats, in “typical lesbian fashion,” as Rachel describes it. “We both were at a place where we were ready and looking for something long-term,” Laura says, describing their first date as being like magic.
Although the two seriously began talking about marriage six months into the relationship, after meeting each other’s families, Rachel admits the topic initially came up much sooner. “Three months into our relationship, Laura looked at me one day and said, ‘I’m gonna marry you someday.’ Part of me was like, uh….RUN.” Laura interrupts, defending herself by saying she was quoting Johnny Cash before Rachel continues, “But a bigger part of me got so giddy I couldn’t ever remember being so happy and satisfied in a relationship. I knew it was the real deal.”
At first, Rachel wanted to be the one to propose. Laura told her that she needed to go big or go home — she wanted an audience! “She got so nervous about it that I told her I would take the reigns,” Laura says.
Laura ended up having a play written that was based on their first date, with a couple based on them, and entered it into the MN Fringe Festival. Rachel was cast in one of the roles, and her family flew in from North Carolina to see the performance. Still, Rachel had no idea what was coming (“I just thought they wanted to see the show!”). Laura had been nervous all day, which Rachel attributed to anxiety over their parents finally meeting.
“Laura had this speech that she gave after every show about how thankful she was that when she wanted to propose, she finally could,” Rachel says. “On the last night she followed her speech with ‘and if I can take a few more moments of your time I would like to do that now.’ I was completely flabbergasted.”
To top off Rachel’s surprise, Laura had a videographer capture the whole experience following the closing performance, with both of their families and countless friends in the audience there to watch.
Once Rachel regained her composure, the time eventually came to start planning for the big day, which came with some extensive research on the part of the couple. “We read a lot of reviews, and some idea of what we wanted going into it.” Laura says.
Rachel pokes at Laura, chiming in, “By ‘we’ Laura means ‘she.’ Laura came up with a list of places and I came up with a list of places. She didn’t really like my list,” Rachel laughs. “In the end, Laura and I chose a beautiful small park in St. Paul for the ceremony and the hugely popular Science Museum for the reception. It was a blast!”
Thinking of vendors, Rachel knew a DJ while Laura knew a videographer, but photographers were the most important choice for Laura and came with extensive research before the couple decided on Melissa Hesse with Rivets and Roses. But not every vendor was a joy to work with.
In a cautionary tale, Laura reminds why it’s important to vet everyone you’re working with. She says, “We had a hard time with the flowers when our original vendor dropped off the planet with our deposit and we had to find someone with not even two months notice.”
But the flower crisis was solved and the women were able to create a meaningful ceremony that reflected their relationship. “We both wanted our wedding to be beautiful, memorable, and magical, while incorporating our nerdiness and sense of humor,” Laura says.
References to how the two initially bonded and other interests were spread throughout the day. “It was perfect,” Rachel says. “R2-D2 and C-3PO cake toppers, golden dinosaurs in the centerpieces, lightsabers and wand props in the photo booth.”
“Laura had initially wanted us to see each other’s dresses so that they wouldn’t clash,” Rachel says. “I made a big stink about wanting to see her in the dress for the first time on our wedding day. She finally agreed, so we had my sister and a few of her friends coordinate and make sure they complemented each other.”
In fact, Rachel chose her dress first; having out-of-state family meant dress-shopping opportunities were limited. She sent a picture of her dress to Laura’s bridesfriends (their loving term for a mixed-gender bridal party) to ensure the dresses wouldn’t clash (or match) too much.
The brides describe their 150-guest wedding as being a perfect union between the two, without focusing on whether they were both represented and honored in the wedding. “This was a non-issue for us,” Rachel says. “The point of getting married is a unification. It wasn’t about Laura. It wasn’t about me. It was about us.”
Though the guest list grew to be much larger than either had anticipated, the venues proved to be exactly what they wanted. Rachel had her heart set on an outdoor ceremony with plants and flowers surrounding the couple, while Laura wanted a reception hall to match their fun personalities. They found the perfect mix of both with the ceremony at Irvine Park and the reception one block away at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Laura agrees, adding, “We had to go with the Science Museum’s specific caterer, which kind of allowed them to rack up the prices on food and booze. But I think it was worth it; we got a ton of compliments on the food and the reception ran like a well-oiled machine.”
With a wedding behind them and Rachel about to graduate from veterinary school at the University of Minnesota, the couple is looking toward the future. This summer, they will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina for new careers.
“We both have lots of family on the East Coast and in the South,” Laura says. “We plan on starting a family in the next three to five years. Rachel says three, I say five.”
Rachel laughs before adding, “It will probably be more like two.”
Venue (Ceremony): Irvine Park
Venue (Reception): Science Museum of Minnesota
Wedding Planner: Laura Rice
Photography: Melissa Hesse, Rivets and Roses
Florist: Fleur De Lis, St. Paul
Rachel’s Dress: Classic Bride, Cornelius, NC
Rachel’s Jewelry: Chloe and Isabel
Laura’s Dress: Maggie Sottero from The Wedding Shoppe, St. Paul
Laura’s Jewelry: Etsy
Invitations/Stationery: Designed by Jeremy McClellen, ordered through Vistaprint
Food, Drink, Linens/Tableware: Lancer Catering