A Very Dapper Wedding: Shae Archer and Alia Valentine

This is our second post in dapperQ’s Wedding Week, where we feature dapper weddings and answer all of your burning wedding questions. Feature written by Shae Archer.

Designer Shae Archer and student Aliya Valentine created the DIY wedding of their dreams. Only together three years, newly active in their community, and both creators of their respective blogs, Boi Meets Play and Les Femmes, it was important for Shae and Aliya to solidify their commitment to each other in front of their family and friends. After all, family and community are some of the key values that drew them together in the first place.

The wedding was inspired by Shae’s love of literature and Aliya’s love of the whimsical, which spawned the theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The venue was close to home, literally, as Aliya’s aunt graciously offered her gorgeous home as the site of the wedding. It was perfect for the couple as they wanted a place with familial roots that exuded warmth and love. The wedding also centered on honoring the strong women in their lives; their mothers, sisters, and Aliya’s grandmother. From the decor, to the ceremony, to the dances, their pride of these women shone through. Another special aspect was having Cole B. Cole act as officiator of their wedding. Both Shae and Aliya credit much of their success as a couple to the transformative experience Shae underwent during the Brown Boi retreat, and Cole’s continual efforts to act as mentor and support system for the couple.

Shae Archer, proud “Boi” and going against all gender stereotypes, acted as the wedding’s Event Designer, this time of course, to her most important client, her parnter, Aliya. Shae took charge of details such as locating suppliers of wholesale and unique items, selecting fabrics, and hand lettering all writing. Aliya acted as Event Coordinator, making sure vendors had all important information, coordinating dates, and payments. The last few months before the wedding, the couple came together to assemble, paint, cut, and tie pretty much everything in the wedding. In this way, the couple managed to create a very personal and fully custom wedding showcasing their tastes and personalities.


Aliya’s attire was inspired by her Middle Eastern and Hispanic heritage. In fact, her veil was custom made to look like a Spanish mantilla, mirroring a photograph she saw of her grandmother when she was young. Her bridal party attire was collectively decided on by her and her girls. Though the dresses provided uniformity, each girl was able to wear it in a way that suited her personality. The dresses fit and flattered all body types, which was the determining factor for Aliya; a huge advocate for feeling beautiful and powerful in one’s own skin. Aliya’s “garden fairies” or flower girls wore wings and donned wands, baskets and hair clips of flowers, tulle and ribbon hand-crafted by Aliya.


Shae’s and her groomsboiz’ attire reflect her love of the sleek simplicity of military styles. Shae was ecstatic to find the military style jacket she was seeking in production by transmasculine clothing line, Haute Butch. Shae didn’t want her boiz, which included both women and cis-men,  to have to buy clothes they wouldn’t wear again or rent ill-fitting tuxedos. Instead Shae had them wear pants, shoes, belts, and ties they already owned, and together, they purchased matching MK2 shirts from Express. Shae gifted them matching skull socks and a silver skull tie-pin to include in their attire.


Shae Archer and Aliya Valentine carefully documented each step of the wedding and hope to publish a blog in the near future to help other same sex couples navigate their way through the wedding process.

Currently, Aliya Valentine is working on opening online boutique, Femmeland (www.femmeland.com) and Shae Archer working as Visual Designer for Melrose Shop, Yonada (www.yonada26.com). You can follow Aliya and Shae on Facebook or through their blogs www.nous-les-femmes.blogspot.com and www.boimeetsplay.com.




Shae Archer’s Wedding Attire
Military Jacket by Haute Butch
Striped Military Shirt by Express
Black Tie by Express
Skull Tie Pin by JCrew
Photographer Pants by Express
Boots by Diesel

Aliya Valentine’s Wedding Attire
Wedding Dress by Sue Wong
Custom Veil by Adorned
Swarovski Bridal Tiara- Online Boutique
Earrings by Kate Spade
Shoes by Aldo

Flowers: Primal Flower
Photographer: Beyond Artistic
Videographer: Jose Luis Hugo
Catering: Barcelona On the Go
Officiator: Cole B. Cole, The Brown Boi Project

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