Like many before us, we met on an app. We started talking on a Tuesday, and by Sunday we were meeting at the halfway point between our two cities.
Actually, it was the exact midpoint. A hilarious small town called Walpole which had approximately two establishments, a CVS and a pub called Napper Tandy’s.
Naturally, we chose the pub, on a rainy afternoon in early January. There was no way to look super cool and smooth in a rainy, soggy setting, and upon meeting one another, we clumsily fell into a quick hug in the doorway while other patrons body-checked us upon exiting.
We sat in a corner booth, giggling like idiots. Our first date lasted for over six hours. It was amazing. After that we were inseparable. Three weeks later Jill shakily confessed to falling in love, and Alex reciprocated.
From there it was a surprisingly trying year professionally and personally. Losses and changes tested the strength of our relationship, but we didn’t waver. We moved in together after seven months, and Alex adopted Jill’s two cats.
It was early spring of 2017 when we decided to go pick out rings together. There was a brief time in 2016 where we tried to guess what the other wanted in a ring, and it turned out to be a tremendous miss. So, we went together and found the simplest, most elegant bands possible. Jill chose a white gold band, and Alex chose a slightly thinner rose gold. Simple, elegant, and thoughtful, but above all, just right for us.
The rings were scheduled to come in on a Friday. But two nights before we were relaxing on the couch, Jill was awake, and Alex was passed out at the other end. Jill looked over at Alex and knew she couldn’t wait another second. Jill had planned to ask when the rings came in. She would go pick them up, surprise Alex at home etc., but Jill looked over at her. Alex had her left arm up, her hand above her head, and her chin tucked into her right shoulder. She looked unimaginably serene and so much herself. Jill started to cry, overwhelmed at the thought of being so lucky, to have found someone who she truly wanted to spend her life with.
Jill fumbled to the floor, got on one knee at the edge of our couch, trying to clean her face up and gently started to wake Alex. At first, she kind of scared the crap out of Alex, but then when she realised what was happening, she started crying too.
Jill said. “I don’t have anything! I don’t have a ring, but watching you, all peaceful like that? I have to ask you right now— please, will you marry me?”
Alex said, “Of course! Get over here!” and pulled us into an embrace.
From there we planned an entire wedding by email! And it’s only funny now. At the time, it definitely had it’s logistically complicated moments.
We wanted to get married in a national park, and both sides of our new family would be travelling from various states anyway; so we decided on a destination wedding in the Redwoods.
We set our date and started booking: a phenomenal Airbnb for all of us to stay in (16 people total), flights, brunch, the reception, park reservations, the florist, AND our honeymoon, which started in Vancouver for a few days and would become a transcontinental train ride across Canada’s Rockies over to Toronto! Thankfully, booking the photographer was a no-brainer: we asked Jill’s longtime best friend, Brittanny Taylor, to be both our photographer and one of our guests. She shot our engagement photos, and we were truly honoured that she would lend her talents to our wedding as well. (And she was somehow able to seamlessly photograph the wedding while simultaneously being a delight of a guest!)
The Redwoods were indescribable. You go there thinking, okay, giant trees, yeah sure. But it’s like being on a different planet. It was amazing. Although the winding hairpin road you take to get there? That is an absolute death trap! We highly recommend you get a car with four-wheel drive and a low centre of gravity.
Our honeymoon was wonderful with the exception of some unforeseen motion sickness on the train ride. In the first 4 hours… that lasted 24 hours. That part was rough! But the ride was amazing. And our train was over twelve hours late to arrive so we had to book a night in Toronto, but that turned out to be a huge relief because we needed the rest. Everything about this process just seemed to work out for the best.
In short, it was a dream come true, from our soggy meeting in a dark pub to the sunny, crisp mountain air of the Redwood Forest. It seemed the perfect beginning to our future.
Photography by Brittanny Taylor