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Genna & Stephanie – A Downsized Wedding in North Carolina

Genna & Stephanie – A Downsized Wedding in North Carolina

Starling and Oak Photography North Carolina American lesbian two bride same-sex couple wedding photographer Dancing With Her directory

Genna and Stephanie had to downsize their wedding thanks to the global pandemic. However, it was a blessing in disguise, the day was more perfect than either of them could have envisioned.

Who are Genna & Stephanie?

S: Self-proclaimed dog moms, so we spend most of our time adventuring with our three pups Ruby, Sterling, and Jelly. Hiking the mountains of Colorado and reading poetry books to one another. Our foundation is deeply built-in intentional time together, and we are truly both lovers and best friends. 

She is Genna-uinely, my favorite person on the planet. We love to explore and find the best bathtubs around the country. Genna works with folks with developmental disabilities, and Stephanie is in the end-of-life veterinary industry. I am always creating something new in the kitchen, and Genna is always finding new ways to make me laugh.

And, you’re a Tinder love story, yes?

S: Since May of 2017, we have been together and met via Tinder. Where I was looking for casual, and Genna was apparently looking for a wife. Our pace was slow and steady, as Genna lived with a client, and I had a space of my own for the first time in my life. For the first two years of our relationship, our time together was limited to every other weekend and occasional weeknight dinners. We knew that taking our time was imperative to our success, and as our love grew more profound, we knew we had found the person we wanted to share the rest of our life with. When you know it’s forever; there’s no need to rush.

Tell us about the proposal. 

S: We booked a secluded treehouse yurt on a goat farm for our second anniversary. For our first anniversary, I had decorated our hotel room with all the romantic frills, and so for this trip, Genna said she’d take the lead. We were living in Florida at the time, and though talks of marriage had come up occasionally, I had pictured a big public engagement in the mountains, so was none the wiser as Genna, as usual, created an enchanted space. 

After goat happy hour, Genna recommended I lay in the downstairs hammock while she “cleaned up upstairs.” After a while, she led me back upstairs and closed my eyes. With our song “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last playing on the record player, the treehouse aglow with candles, twinkle lights, and adorned with rose petals, I opened my eyes to a sign reading “Will You Marry Me” and Genna on one knee. It was the first time in my life I was genuinely surprised, and though neither our friends nor a photographer lay secretly in wait, it was absolutely the most incredible, intimate, perfect moment. 

There were a few stresses in the leadup to the wedding day, what happened?

Other than the minor inconvenience of a global pandemic, we found out just a few short weeks before the wedding that North Carolina does not honor ceremonies officiated by celebrants who were ordained online (as our officiant was!). So without anyone knowing, two weeks before the wedding, Genna and I hiked one Saturday morning and married ourselves on a mountainside cliff. And as if the mountains were acknowledging and congratulating us, as we kissed, a bald eagle flew over our heads.

Tell us about the wedding day!

My party and I got ready at the venue. As hair and makeup were working their magic (and mimosas were also working their magic), my bridesman, Penn, ran into the room shouting the election results. The entire venue erupted in cheers, screams, and tears of joy. 

Genna and her party spent the morning at the Lakehouse we had enjoyed for the week. The day flew by, and as I kept anticipating something to go terribly wrong (as a planner, always prepared), everything continued to go incredibly right. 

We were married by my mentor, Coleen surrounded by family and friends. We danced the night away. All of us buzzing with the energy of connection and love we had been missing this year.

What were some of your favorite moments?

S: When I close my eyes and picture the day, what remains so vivid is the look on Genna’s face as we exchanged the vows we’d written and that every moment felt palpable with joyous magic. Most of our photo session was spent laughing and dancing. Our people showed up for us so tremendously, and all of their toasts stood out because while we’ve always known the rare special connection we share. It meant the world to hear others affirm how evident our love for each other is. I never imagined happiness like this would ever get to be mine. 

G: The morning of the wedding week where we woke before the rest of the house and sat on my mom’s porch. Cuddled under a blanket, sipping coffee, and watching the cardinals sing and fly from tree to tree. The serenity of that moment felt surreal and sacred. I also appreciated hearing our officiant Coleen share the answers to questions she asked us independently and how our responses meshed and fit like a puzzle; however, we hadn’t compared notes.

Do you have any wedding advice for other couples planning their wedding day?

Know what’s most important to you, not to your family, friends, neighbor- to YOU and plan around that. Delegate and ask for help from your people and let them/ trust them to show up for you!

Also, we knew who we wanted as our photographer long before we got engaged. But we were so back and forth on whether or not we wanted a videographer and could not be more grateful that we moved forward with one. Get. The. Video.


Photography by Starling and Oak Photography

Cake My Mobile Bakery
Catering Chef Corey Hooks
Celebrant
Coleen Ellis
Cinematographer
Anchor Heart Films
Entertainment
Snapdragon Entertainment
Florist
Thistle & Twig Flowers
Flower Girl Outfits JJ’s House
Gown Boutique
Ivory & Lace Bridal
Gown Designer
Morilee
H&MU AnaRie Brides, Megan Daly Makeup, Ashley Auldredge
Prop Hire
A Bushel & Peck Vintage Rental
Rings
Zales
Suit Designer
Lucciani Men’s
Venue
Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery
Wedding Party Outfits
David’s Bridal, Bedazzled

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