Words by Emily
Trigger Warning: This post speaks about the suicide of a family member.
We have been together for thirteen years. We met at our sorority in college!
Funnily enough, it happens a lot, and love our time at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and Pi Beta Phi.
We had talked about getting married for a while, but I honestly thought I’d be the one to ask. In Maui watching the sunset one day, I turned around, and Alleah had the ring out. I was so surprised, even after ten years. It was an easy answer, of course.
We got married in Alleah’s parent’s backyard. We decided pretty early on that we wanted to do that because we didn’t want to have to follow someone else’s timelines, rules, etc. It was so fun hosting a brunch the next day with our florals etc. still up so we could continue to soak it all in. Now it’s even more special to be at the house; it’s full of so many fun memories from that weekend.
Full disclosure, we did not save much money having it in the backyard.
It was essential for us to have something intimate, elegant, and fun. Our wedding planner, Skyla, doubled as our florist and absolutely killed it. We decided very early on that our wedding wouldn’t have a DIY approach! One of our closest friends hand-poured all of the candles for our favors, and we put the dust covers on them. That was the extent of the DIY’ing we did!
Alleah took the reigns on finding the dresses because I hate to shop. We just wanted to find dresses that complimented each other and fit each of our own styles. The two of us went to BHDLN in downtown Portland, tried on a couple of dresses, but both of us bought the ones we knew we were going to get before we even went. It quite literally took an hour, and we were set.
Our wedding was more like a wedding weekend. On Thursday afternoon, we went to a spring training Cubs game [Emily’s family is from Chicago and are huge fans] and followed that up with a BBQ. On Friday night, we had everyone over at Emily’s sister’s house, where we rented a taco truck for the rehearsal dinner/Emily’s Mom’s 60th birthday party.
We had the wedding on Saturday and then finished up the weekend with brunch at Alleah’s parent’s house, where we just relaxed, ate, drank, and socialized with everyone all day. We then left for our Mexican honeymoon on Monday morning.
On our actual wedding day, we loved getting ready together. We just got to relax, be with each other and our siblings, Moms, and best friends. Everything went absolutely flawless, and if it didn’t, we never caught wind of it because Skyla [the wedding planner] is a rockstar.
Our ceremony was short and lovely. The rest of the night was just a big party filled with happiness, dancing, socializing, and love. The entire day was a total dream.
Emily’s great uncle Joe married us. It was a non-religious ceremony. He is a very inspirational, kind man who has married many of Emily’s family members in the past. He wore this tunic that he has married many people in over 50 years, which we thought was really cool.
We also hired all women vendors – our planner/florist, photographer, caterer, and DJ were all women. It was so fun working with so many passionate, badass women.
We’re glad we kept the guest list small. It’s so easy to spiral when you start putting your list together. Having a smaller crowd made it feel more special. Only the people who had a positive impact on our lives were invited, it was great.
We lost my little brother to suicide less than six months before our wedding. I’m not going to lie; there was a lot of pain and grief leading up to our wedding. I could not have gotten through that time without Alleah and her family. Her mother, Wendy, was such a tremendous emotional support for me in the days following his death.
It’s hard to talk about our wedding and my brother’s death for this, but it really was a massive part of our planning and healing process.
Processing our intense grief and planning, the wedding went hand in hand. It was complicated and lovely at the same time. Incorporating little details for my brother meant a lot to us. A lot of the music that played during our reception were songs that we would listen to together.
The blue beads in our bouquets were from his set of worry beads that he had clipped to his backpack. His initials were monogrammed on the pocket squares – Robbie was his name. His ashes were in the front row.
Before all that heartbreak, I don’t think I realized how huge it was to officially join our families in marriage and celebrate life and love. It was truly the most challenging time of our family’s lives and a testament to our love and commitment to one another. The wedding felt like a milestone, an event to celebrate both my brother and our families joining.
It still makes my head reel that we got through it, together – in one solid piece.
A short, much simpler response to why marriage means so much to us is: being able to call each other “wife.”
There is so much security and permanence behind that word, which after being together for so long, didn’t seem like it would make a difference – but it does.
DWH Preferred Vendor
Photography by Suzy Goodrick
Catering Fresh From the Kitchen
Desserts Whole Foods
Event Planner, Stylist & Florals Skyla Brooke
Lighting | Sound Hire Got You Covered Music
Planning & Florals Moonchild Floral Co
Rings Brilliant Earth
Wedding Favours Standard Wax