Kaz and Jo Kansal share their multiple wedding celebrations with DIVA
BY ROXY BOURDILLON
“It was never gonna be a quiet understated do for you, was it?” Jo teases her new wife Kaz affectionately, as the couple cosy up on their sofa, PJ-clad with G&Ts in hand, all set for our Skype call about their four (yes, you read that right, four) wedding celebrations.
Before we go any further, allow me to break down this epic list of nuptials for you, because with this many big days, each one more show-stopping than the last, it can get a tad confusing.
First there was the legal ceremony in Stockport. “It was a requirement so if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna have amazing outfits for it,” says Jo, referencing their gag-worthy get-ups inspired by Kaz’s drag king alter ego Jack The Lad. Then there was the five-day shindig in the South of France, which included a fairytale ceremony attended by 36 of their nearest and dearest and, the latest must-have wedding accessory, a mariachi band.
Kaz describes the scene with glee: “We’d finished our vows, we were running up the aisle and the Mexican mariachi band came up from the horizon and started singing. All our friends and family were like, ‘What the hell?’ The looks on their faces were epic.” Next was the Indian wedding complete with a traditional Mendhi party, honouring Kaz’s Hindu heritage – “Jo’s idea!” Kaz is quick to point out.
And just when you think two people can’t possibly have the energy, imagination or inexhaustible supply of sequins to pull off yet another wedding party, they throw a decadently debauched Twisted Fairytale reception in their hometown of Manchester, paying tribute to their shared passion for drag queens and Tim Burton movies. “What is it you say?” Kaz nudges her wife. “If you’re gonna do it once you might as well do it four times.” Jo chimes in, “It was the Pringles of weddings. We got drag queens involved – it was gonna get big.”
Now if you’re wondering how they afforded all this, Kaz is keen to stress, “Let me be clear, we’re in a lot of debt. It’s not like we’re millionaires. You can always make more money. Time, you can never get back.” But their multiple weddings weren’t just about eleganza extravaganza (although a mere glance at the spectacular pics shows that all four dos were fierce AF). They were about their love bringing people from all their different worlds together, crossing divides and creating celebrations that were diverse, inclusive and shedloads of fun, which they and their guests will undoubtedly remember for the rest of their lives.
“Our friends, family and community all came together, whether it’s Indian or a little bit homophobic or straight or really, really camp,” explains Kaz. Jo is reflective about the challenges they faced during the build-up: “With any marriage there’s always gonna be people that have got an opinion, particularly when it’s a same-sex marriage. But ultimately, everybody realised the most important thing was that Kaz and I love each other, and actually, I don’t think anyone could have been any happier for us.”
Kaz was especially touched when her dad turned up to the reception. “He’s in his 70s and it was overwhelming for him to be around drag queens but he showed up last minute wearing his Aladdin outfit! Our families said everything we did was uncompromising. We did it because we wanted to make each other happy and they were glad to be a part of it.”
As Kaz and Jo melt my heart and make me hoot with laughter in equal measure, the connection between them radiates right out of my laptop screen. The pair met online and were mates for years before one drunken snog turned into a fully blown relationship culminating in their own personal “wedding season”.
Speaking of which, they were overwhelmed by the support they received from their beloved drag community. Jo describes how instrumental the gang from their regular haunt Cha Cha Boudoir were, especially but not only at their Manchester bash. Cha Cha’s DJ provided the tunes, a drag make-up artist painted their faces for the gods and a drag costumier created their sickening outfits. Drag queen pals Anna Phylactic and Cheddar Gorgeous hosted the proceedings and even choreographed their first dance. “It felt like a real drag community effort.”
Naturally they both werked hard as well to bring the extraordinary events to life, with Kaz focussing on “big picture stuff” like booking venues and Jo, a self-confessed “detail demon”, in charge of the more creative elements. “I spent about 15 hours glittering picture frames,” she admits sheepishly. Kaz fetches a meticulously sparkled photo of drag legend Jinx Monsoon and holds it up to the webcam proudly: “Look at the detail on that!” She then presents a table decoration from the Twisted Fairytale party. It’s Tinkerbell meets The Human Centipede – very artistic, slightly scary, totally on-theme. “Oh, it was lovely,” Jo sighs wistfully. “Sunday afternoon brunch, drinking Prosecco and hacking up Tinkerbell!” They both guffaw again, the shared sense of humour that’s evident in all four celebrations on full display. “Me and Jo are extra,” Kaz beams.
I ask if marriage has changed their relationship and Kaz assures me, “We still bicker, we still have a laugh, we still stay home in our slobs, but having that title makes me feel even more like i want to make sure this relationship does work.” Jo agrees: “And if we are falling out Kaz waves her wedding ring at me and says, ‘Too late now!’”
“That is correct,” Kaz confirms, grinning cheekily at her wife.
This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of DIVA – grab your digital copy right here!