Both Leah and I love our community that we live in and work in. Our ‘clients’ or the people we work with (we like that term better), are our people. We are both justice-oriented and are deeply committed to our neighborhood and fighting for equality. One line in our vows (that we wrote ourselves) was:
“I promise to help you always live out our commitment to bringing the world towards healing and justice, and to build a home on a foundation that is open and safe to all.”
We met through friends. I was dating her roommate’s brother at the time…awkward! Leah and I tried to date once before, and it did NOT go over well. We were both not healed from previous relationships, and because she lived with my ex’s sister, it really was messy. So we stopped all contact (we weren’t even friends – probably because we were madly in love and couldn’t handle being apart), and eventually our friends saw our love, and time had passed for people to heal, and we started dating.
We’ve been together for just over two years.
The proposal was a whole thing! I had only dated men before Leah, and was very new to queer community (Leah was the first girl I ever even liked!), so I actually didn’t even know it was a ‘thing’ that sometimes both partners propose!
Anyways, Leah told me early on that she would love to be proposed to as well.
So, we both planned our proposals and chose and ordered our rings and once they arrived we just kind of figured that one of us would propose, then we’d keep it a secret from our friends and family until the other proposed.
We decided to both propose on the same day. But, the night before that chosen day, Leah was at a work meeting late, and I just decided to catch her off guard and propose to her that night when she came home, (even though we promised to do it the next day) – I really wanted to surprise her. When she came home from work, I had our room all set up, and I did it. It was beautiful, and she was so surprised. BUT THEN…she said she couldn’t wait for tomorrow, and that she wanted to propose to me right then and there, so she made me close my eyes, while she set up our room for her proposal. IT WAS A WHOLE DRAMATIC THING, but a funny and beautiful story!
We spent nine months engaged.
When it came to wedding planning, we wanted a theme of community and inclusivity. So we ordered and framed some cool prints that each represented a different value that Leah and I hoped to bring into our marriage. We displayed them on the Card table as soon as you walked into the venue. The values were: Justice and Peace, Inclusivity, Community, Respecting the Earth, Faith (not religion, but faith, in whatever it is Leah and I believe in).
Honestly, we kept our wedding so simple. We had friends write signs/the seating chart on wooden mirrors/old windows, and our other friends built our arbor out of piping and old wood. But we went REALLY light on the decorations because the venue itself is so rugged and stunning that we didn’t want to take away from that.
Leah wanted a navy corduroy suit, so she got it made by a company that makes suits for women. I took her measurements, we sent them in online, and within a couple of weeks her suit arrived, and it fit like a glove!
For me, I had no idea what I wanted. I’m not that girl who’s dreamed of her wedding her whole life. But I got a simple two-piece dress, which was perfect because, after our first dance, I kept the top on and changed into some wide-leg white pants (people went nuts for the outfit change).
The actual wedding day was perfect. Our wedding party and Leah walked down the aisle to “The One I Love” by Ellen Kraus, which is about same-sex love, and choosing it regardless of people not approving of it (very emotional). And I walked in to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Bailey Baum.
Before the meal, a poem that Leah had written about her workplace years ago about there being a spot at the table for everyone from all walks of life, was read as a ‘grace.’ Instead of table numbers, we named each table a body of water that was significant to us (we both love water – Leah’s a surfer, and I’m a canoeer/camper). So like, the lake my cottage is on, my favorite lake in Algonquin Park, Leah’s favorite beach in California, the beach we were about to go on our honeymoon too, etc., We didn’t have a wedding cake; instead we asked our friends to bake pies and had a pie bar.
It was truly a magical day. And the BEST DAMN DANCE FLOOR EVER. We made sure to get the best DJ in town. Leah changed into a white shirt, I popped on the wide-leg pants, and we surprised everyone by putting on matching Vans that were so bright – red, yellow, blue, and green that we wore all over Mexico on our honeymoon.
Literally, my friends frequently tell me that our wedding was one of the best days of their lives. I don’t really know how to describe it; modest, authentic, FUN, and very ‘us.’
Marriage, to us, means community – loving each other, but also the people around us. Knowing that some days love is hard, and you may not feel like you’re madly in love, but it’s a choice to continue to love that person no matter what. It means leaning on the people around us when things feel rough—advocating for the queer community.
Photographer Kate Watkinson
Second Shooter Dorothy May