hi! My name is barbara and be with weddings is my happy place
Love is a precious and hard won gift. Queer love, even more so.
Owning and celebrating my own queerness and queer love has been one of the most transformative and positive experiences of my life. It’s also been one of the hardest.
On your wedding day, I want us to celebrate your love with an unspeakable joy that fills the rosters.
Let’s make it happen!
How I got here
I knew I wanted to be a pastor by the time I was a teenager - in all seriousness. I loved the idea of getting to be with others in understanding and living into the greatest mysteries of life - making meaning of love, spirituality, grief, liberation and all that makes up our lives in community. However, coming out in the church was brutal. I experienced discrimination and lost more community and friends than I thought possible.
My love of the work kept me tethered. I stuck it out for years pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral care and working in liberal churches. I made it work until one day I couldn’t.
By the time I walked away, becoming ordained would not only have meant teaching things I no longer believed in, but it would also mean marrying straight folks on command while not being able to get married in my own church.
Over the next six years, I wrote a play about the experience, re-trained in psychotherapy and coaching, and began a successful business supporting other people in taking care of themselves and connecting to their own truth.
I loved building a business and showering love on my clients, but there was always something missing.
Just underneath the surface, my calling rumbled.
In the years between when I left the church and now, the world changed around me. Marriage equality has gained traction, trans and genderqueer folks have started to experience more recognition and acceptance, and the church I once worked at now marries queer couples regularly.
I’ve changed too. My spirituality has widened and deepened, helping me find healing and make meaning of a loving universe, a stark contrast to the homophobic religious teachings that harmed me.
The thing that has stayed the same is my calling - a deep unshakable desire to be with people and their communities. To make meaning of the moments in our lives that change us forever.
This, more than anything is a return. A return to myself, my path and my calling.
This is my story, and I’m honoured to share it with you.
I’m deeply passionate about seeing queer folks and our partnerships thrive. Here’s what I know - a thriving relationship takes intention, attention and lots of support, and that’s what Be With Weddings is here to offer.
My practice is informed by emotionally focused therapy, attachment theory, Gestalt psychotherapy, and the work of Rob Bell, Brené Brown, Kristin Neff, Sue Johnson, Melody Beattie and Margaret Blair Johnstone. Integrity is one of my core values, and I do my best to work in an anti-oppressive, intersectional, feminist, sex positive, fat positive, poly & kink positive, non-ableist, inclusive way.
Right now, while you’re reading this, it’s likely I’m listening to Maggie Rogers (Dog Years was our wedding song), drinking my fourth cup of herbal tea for the day, eating chocolate and daydreaming about making IRL plans to see my people. My lovely spouse Tanya is either at a coffee shop writing poetry in one of their spiral bound notebooks, or working at a community centre organizing leadership training for queer and trans youth who are changing the world. Thatcher, our cat is sleeping, likely on one or both of our pillows.
It’s a nice life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our weDDING Story
Our romance began on a NYE living room dance floor in 2011 when Tanya spun me into their arms. We had just met, but in that moment I felt completely at home. We fell in love geeking out on spoken word poetry, community, spiritual practice and intentional living. Our shared values became the foundation for our relationship, and five years later the heart around which we planned our wedding
We were married during a magnificent wedding weekend in 2017, on the side of a lake, up on a mountain surrounded by love, chosen family and so many friends. Despite the homophobia and heartbreaking family conflict that arose during our wedding planning, our wedding was a rocking party full of love, laughter and community.
Our wedding became a kind of blueprint for our marriage - an example of what’s possible when we dream big, work together, and invite the support of those we love.
Our goal at Be With Weddings is help you make the most of this precious, but often stressful time. Let’s make sure your wedding is a celebration of who you are and that it sets you up for a lifetime of love.
The official on the officiant
Officiant, Pre-Marital Coach & Wedding Doula
My work is all about love. I’ve spent the last thirteen years offering emotional and spiritual support through coaching, pastoring, retreats, teaching, storytelling and community building. My commitment to crafting rituals and bringing people together comes from a deep love and celebration of being alive. I’ve supported hundreds of people through my coaching business, Be With, as well as through leadership roles in churches, community organizations and non-profits. I’m currently completing my studies towards being ordained and licensed as an inter-faith minister in October 2019, and am elated to be merging my interests in intentional living, relationships, spirituality and storytelling through Be With Weddings.
the official on the officiant’s wife
Performance Poet & MC
Tanya supports Be With Weddings by offering custom performance poetry and emceeing services to bring extra creativity and humour to your celebration. Tanya is a poet and emcee with a deep commitment to community building and meaning making. Their work in performance poetry has connected them with thousands of people over the last 10 + years, and allowed them to tell stories across North America. Tanya has coached poets, writers and everyday people on speaking their truth in front of an audience. Supporting other queer folks is central to Tanya’s work in the world and they would be honoured to help you share your love story and have a gay old time!