Tracy Le Capitaine laid her eyes on Kristy Wydeven (who would later take Tracy’s name), and the Twin Cities’ longest-running monthly lesbian night, Twilight (also now-defunct), would be the perfect excuse for a first date the following month at Dinkytown’s Kitty Cat Klub.”I would love to say the day I met her I knew I wanted to marry her,” Kristy says. “I was in awe of her beauty, but realistically it was infatuation. Our first year was just getting to know each other, second year was working through major kinks and by year three I knew that I could be with her the rest of my life!”
But marriage would have to wait, as both women wanted the union to be legal and weren’t interested in doing a symbolic or out-of-state ceremony.
“Marriage wasn’t a big part of my dreams for my life, growing up or as an adult,” Tracy admits, “so I was in no rush to think about it. Kristy and I moved in together after about a year and a half of dating. And for the next few years we focused on buying a house, renovating our home, and started to plan having a child together.”
The pair got involved in the fight for equal marriage here in Minnesota and, Tracy says, were somewhat shocked when it then became legal in their home state of Wisconsin, and then nationwide.
She says, “We had both imagined that a legal marriage wouldn’t be possible for many years, but suddenly it was possible! It caught us both a bit off-guard, and we then began to think, Wow, I guess we’ll have to figure out how we want to get married! Then we began to talk about what we’d like for our wedding. At this point, we’d already been together for quite a few years and were the ‘old married couple’ among our friends.”
Eventually, Tracy says they almost considered themselves engaged essentially. “But when I’d say we could just be engaged, Kristy would protest and say, ‘No, I want to do it right.’ She asked my mother in January of 2013 if she could propose to me, and my mom happily gave her permission.”
In October 2013, they went shopping together for a vintage ring for Tracy. And then nothing. But secretly, Kristy had a big plan in action. Initially, Kristy wanted to pull something off that, as she says, would take an entire movie production team to pull off.
“I was lucky to have a reality check brunch with my buddies who brought me down to earth and helped direct my idea in a more simple, yet still dramatic once-in-a-lifetime proposal,” she says. “After Team Brunch, I had the plan and then it was just a matter of getting everything in order.”
Kristy had made “Marry Me?” signs for her friends to hold up, got confetti bombs and the ring all set. January 11, 2014 started as a typical night out at Grrrl Scout. Just when Tracy might have started catching on since both her best friend and sister (visiting from Green Bay) came to Grrrl Scout that night, Kristy pretended to be a little too tipsy to throw Tracy off. “I figured she would assume there is no way I would propose drunk, and of course that is true,” Kristy notes.
Soon the dance competition began on the stage. As one of the Grrrl Scout photographers, Tracy was urged up on stage to get a different perspective, which is when Kristy escaped to change out of her jeans and T-shirt combo into something proposal-worthy.
“As soon as the competition was done is when my nerves take over,” Kristy gushes, who returned, slowly walking in to “Somebody to Love” by Queen.
Tracy remembers, “After a few measures, lettered signs raised high at the back of the room, spelling out Marry Me? I looked to my left, to the side of the stage, to see Kristy climbing up, dressed all snazzy, and clearly quite sober. She grabbed the microphone and brought out that vintage ring, and proposed. And suddenly, all in front of the stage were many of our closest friends and neighbors that had been hiding from me until that point.” Then it was confetti poppers and champagne as the couple finished the night celebrating with all their friends at Grrrl Scout.
But, as it turns out, their son, Vincent, would throw a wrench in their wedding plans. Initially, Tracy and Kristy planned for a Green Bay wedding in a 1920s hotel undergoing renovations, closer to their supportive families. “We didn’t want to exclude any of them from our celebration by making any of them travel far,” Tracy says. “We could be the very first couple in decades to get married at the hotel. Our friends traveling in could stay at the hotel, and everything could be all together at this amazing venue. But it was a long way from being done, and at that point, we were in no hurry to get hitched.”
Through much of 2014, like the couple years before, the couple was trying to get pregnant. And, as luck would have it, that September Tracy was pregnant. And that changed everything. Improvements on their fixer-upper home to prepare for a baby took time and money, and as the months went by it seemed more and more impossible to pull together a large out-of-state wedding before the baby was born.
“We weren’t sure how we should do it,” Tracy adds. “We never figured out a good plan, and, as we entered the last month of my pregnancy, we still weren’t married. The baby had some problems during the pregnancy, which was really scary for Kristy. We have friends who went through the trauma of not having legal rights to each other and their child when they had medical problems during the birth. We didn’t want that to happen to us, especially when we could easily avoid that by just finally getting married.”
Finally, 10 days before Vincent’s scheduled delivery, in the late evening of May 22, Tracy and Kristy called their best friends and planned to meet at Minnehaha Park the next evening to exchange vows. With an officiant and a photographer among their friends, the stage was set to be legally wed.
On June 1, Vincent arrived as planned and the next few months were a blur. Months went by and the thought of having a large wedding seemed daunting, Tracy says. “No one can imagine how their life will get swallowed up by their first child. I had hoped to have a reception in the fall, but with a newborn, I didn’t know how we could pull that together.”
Eventually, with the help of Tracy’s cousin, the couple decided on a year after they said their vows as the perfect time to hold a reception, calling it a “wedding celebration” and thinking of it as a kind of renewal. Unfortunately, the hotel they were initially eyeing wasn’t even close to being done, yet the vision of a 1920s deco-style was still in their heads.
Tracy went looking for other historic venues in downtown Green Bay, and she didn’t have to look far to find the beautiful historic theater she’s always loved (and, coincidentally, was where her mother had her first job). For the reception, a brewery just across the river from the theater that had recently expanded into an old cannery building (where her grandmother had worked, adding yet another family connection) made a perfect space to house their 150 guests. With Kristy’s original “Marry Me?” signs as a backdrop behind the head table, the wedding celebration had come full circle.
“I mainly gave Tracy free reign and I gave my two cents where I wanted it,” Kristy chimes in. “She showed me pictures of her ideas and I saw her vision and knew it would be perfect. My favorite part of showing myself [in the big day] was having a mini saw to cut the cake; I am a general contractor and I really wanted something different and fun.”
The vendors chosen to bring their celebration to fruition played a big part in the day’s success and making the couple feel comfortable. “Not a single one of our vendors had a flicker of doubt or weirdness in being involved in our same-sex wedding,” Tracy shares. “If they had, we would have found someone else. But not one treated us any differently.”
With the wedding (both legal and celebration) behind them, Tracy and Kristy plan to have one more kid, finish updates on their house, and “go through this thing called Life together.” Kristy says, “I work very hard running my general contracting company, GreenLight, and Tracy works hard raising our son. I just wish we had more time with each other. We do make sure we have a date night once a week which I think all couples should. We go on vacation once a year to let loose and spend quality time with each other. Later in life we plan to retire someplace warm together like Puerto Rico, we love it there.”
Legal Wedding: May 23, 2015
Photographer: Bridget Knight Photography
Wedding Celebration: June 11, 2016
Photography: Kasey and Ben Photography
Ceremony: The Meyer Theater, Green Bay
Reception: Titletown Brewery, Green Bay
Florist: Alycia Seymour from Arts & Flowers Design Studio
Rings: Primitive Precision Metalcraft and Gloria’s Jewelers
Tracy’s Gown: Jenny Packham
Attendant Dresses: David’s Bridal
Kristy’s Suit: Calvin Klein
Attendant Suits: Mens Warehouse
Officiant: Cade Finn
Vegan Cake: Danielle Hille at Kavarna Coffeehouse