I first saw Emily across Parc Jean-Drapeau during the summer at Osheaga 2015. They had on a cut-off Corona Light tank top and was giving off big queer frat boy energy, which was equally confusing and attractive.
When we went back to college at UVM in the fall, our paths crossed again.
We found ourselves as the only queer people enrolled in a course called LGBTQ+ Health Disparities and were instantly bonded. We started “hanging out to do homework” and going to drag shows and concerts around town.
We started officially dating on Emily’s family vacation to Puerto Rico…because, of course, you invite a friend of three months to spend New Year with your family on a tropical island.
At the end of the schoolyear, we moved to Colorado for the adventure of a lifetime and fell deeper in love with each other, our community, and our earth each day.
We started traveling to national parks and decided we wanted to visit all of them together before we die. At our tenth park, at the top of Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree, Emily proposed with their great-grandfather’s diamond in a custom setting.
When we returned to Denver later that week, Em surprised me with an engagement party with all our friends and family from around the country.
Music and travel will always be integral to our relationship and our lives, which is why we chose to have our parks-inspired wedding at Fort Adams State Park, the site of our favorite annual event, the Newport Folk Festival.
We wanted our wedding to reflect our own values and traditions and not necessarily those of the wedding industry.
On the sixth anniversary of gay marriage legalization in the US, we were married and fired six shots from a cannon in celebration. The ceremony ended up being our, and most of our guests’, favorite part. We stood in front of a hexagon arbor that was handmade by Emily and my father. Behind us, fifty feet above the fort, flew a pride flag just for us. Our best friend from college officiated, Emily’s mom read out the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision, a friend from Colorado read Good Light by Andrea Gibson, and my grandfather closed the ceremony with a family blessing half in Italian and half in English.
It was a true celebration of who we are and how we love.
At cocktail hour, every person we greeted had smeared mascara and wet collars. A friend from high school brought her very straight boyfriend who we had never met and was sure to tell us that he cried the entire time.
The reception was a labor of love. Each centerpiece represented a national park that we have been to and featured carved and wood-burned slabs of spalted maple from a tree in Emily’s mom’s front yard. Emily, their brother, and I spent the week prior turning the wood into art, which we now use as serving pieces in our home. Each place setting had a jar of Grammy’s homemade blueberry jam and, at the end of the night, each table got a platter of traditional Italian cookies made by Grammy and my great-aunties.
There was no “father-daughter” dance, bouquet toss, or whatever it is that happens with the garter. Instead, we had a “family dance” to The Highwomen’s “Crowded Table,” where we traded dance partners around and included our parents, grandparents, and brothers.
Everything down to the gender-neutral bathrooms was perfectly us.
We poured our love, creativity, and family traditions into it and threw the best party Newport has seen since Dylan went electric in 1965.
Photography by Tara Beth Photography
Cake Ellie’s Providence
Catering Blackstone Caterers
Officiant Reed Hausser
Dress Boutique Anna Bé Colorado
Dress Designer Katherine Tash
Entertainment Ella Harp & DJ VU
Florist Sweet Talk Floral
Food Cart Ellie’s Providence
Hair Erin O’Connor at Rebel Rose
Makeup Jordan Sawyer
Photobooth DJ VU
Rings Trice Jewelers
Suit Bindle & Keep
Venue Fort Adams State Park