Ewelina & Michelle – A Family Uniting Ceremony With Four Children

The story of us is beautiful. It is patient, kind, and full of honesty, and most importantly, without judgment or assumption. It starts more than ten years ago in a busy Emergency Department while working as a doctor and a nurse. We were friends and colleagues, full of respect for one another and happy to see each other at work, knowing that the day would run smoothly.

We were very much invested in our own separate lives, and eventually, one of us left to pursue a career opportunity. Still, we managed to stay connected – at least for the important things, like having our babies and other significant events. Fast forward several years, and we both found ourselves going through painful divorces. We supported each other with trustworthy friendship and understanding, especially when divorce’s relentless trauma wore us both down. We both saw ourselves as strong, independent, capable women, but the persistent conflict, worry, and uncertainty associated with divorce took a toll on us both. During this time, we leaned hard on each other. It was a relief to have someone reliable, kind and present who knew what the other was going through that was only a phone call away.

One of us was divorcing a man, while the other would never cross unwanted boundaries, and our clearly platonic support made for the sweetest, most nurturing friendship on a level neither of us had ever had before. Part of our individual divorce processes involved taking a hard look at where we went wrong.

While the process required sitting in some level of discomfort, we did not shy away from tackling our own struggles and opportunities for improvement. Instead, we talked about those things, the ugliest, most difficult things, because we had each other to help us in our most vulnerable time of need. We supported each other through tears, misplaced shame, and brutal honesty but as tricky as those moments were, they only brought us closer. In time, the dust settled from the chaos around us, and we were able to see past our old lives.

Our friendship began to evolve into something more significant during a weekend away in Lake Placid, NY. The trip was intended for one of us to compete in the 140.6-mile Ironman race (swim, bike, run!). While the other was there as a supportive fan. The weekend was filled with invigorating excitement for dedicated triathletes to take on one of the world’s most challenging races. Yet again, the supportive nature of our friendship magnified the intensity and excitement of the experience.

The 13-hour race ended with fatigue and sore muscles but was sealed by a finish line kiss initiated by the girl who used to be married to the boy. The significance of that kiss was uncertain to us both in the moment as the shared experience of this milestone race was intense. But the ease in which our lips connected was not like that of friends. We started to wonder if we had developed a mutual attraction for one another. And, if so, what that would mean.

Since our friendship’s foundation was that of pure, unadulterated love and was not confounded by any secondary layers, the thought of evolving into a relationship felt very risky. Neither one of us wanted to lose a best friend if things did not work out. And we questioned if the risk was worth the benefit. Only one of us had ever imagined a future with a woman. While the other was an immigrant brought up with rigid rules around family and tradition. How did we know if more was even possible for us together? If it was, we knew that our relationship would be met with strict disapproval from close family and that it would pose a significant burden on us both.

We contemplated all of our concerns independently then discussed our apprehensions with each other. We tried to understand our own feelings. Be honest about potential barriers, decide on what we were willing to live with and decide what we could not live without. Even this process, so complex with emotions and social constraints, was blanketed by the selfless love and support that had become our norm. In time there was no denying that we had gradually but wholly fallen in love. Our love was now topped with attraction.

What else could we want? We continued to evaluate all aspects of a potential relationship and decided that we undoubtedly knew that it would work.

We dated for the next two years and got married in September 2020 during a beautiful, intimate rooftop wedding in Washington, D.C. The day was filled with happiness, joy, and an unexpectedly supportive audience as we took photos in the National Mall. We were overwhelmed by the amount of positivity we felt from strangers enjoying a beautiful sunny day sight-seeing the national monuments and memorials.

Despite their own plans for the day, many took a moment to recognize the importance of our celebration. One little boy said, “Look, mom, it’s a princess! No, it’s two princesses! I like your dresses!” While another man asked to take our photo for his Instagram, stating, “This is the best thing to happen in D.C. in a long time, and we really need it!”. During the ceremony, the exchange of vows was just as sweet as the events that led up to our marriage. The night ended with a COVID friendly celebration that included our closest friends from C.T. and Washington, D.C.

A month later, we hosted a family uniting ceremony to symbolize our family’s combining, which consists of four children. We stated words of commitment to our children and exchanged infinity bracelets that represent togetherness and love. The presence of our family and friends, food trucks, cupcake trucks, beer tasting, and dancing made for an excellent celebration.

The best part of our relationship is that we work every day to make ourselves and each other better. When we make mistakes, we own it, and when we are sorry, we apologize. When we argue, we figure out how to do it better the next time. We entered our marriage already knowing the worst parts of each other, both strengths and our weaknesses. We listen to each other, knowing that both of us have each other’s best interests at heart. There is no challenge that we cannot conquer because we came into our marriage with the tools already in hand, and now we have the love to motivate a successful future. We get to experience the best of all worlds – marriage to a best friend and everlasting love. We are so lucky.

Wedding Photography by Denis Largeron
Family Uniting Ceremony Photography by Kelly F. Peterson

Cake Georgetown Cupcake
Engagement Rings Gold and Diamond Exchange
Gown Designer Chantel LaurenAllison Webb
H&MU Georgetown BrideTranscendent Makeup
Lighting & Sound Hire Justin Cheesman, Stephen Zepecki
Officiant Rev. Kiana Hebron

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