We met nearly four years ago at a continuing education course in Durham, North Carolina and immediately became close friends. We were sharing pizza, wine, and long talks and couldn’t believe that we had found our best friend – the one where the depths of the conversation go on endlessly. Dancing and singing our hearts out in the living room is a typical Tuesday evening, and the belly laughs are out of this world. It took both of us sometime before realizing that we completed each other, that we had found our forever person, our twin flame.
Our proposal was on October 5, 2018. Full disclosure: the proposal did not go as Jenna planned.
Jenna envisioned asking Rebeca to share the remainder of her days, exploring the various avenues of life with each other hand-in-hand, following a beautifully written monologue describing her love for Rebeca.
This is what actually happened.
We were in Austin, Texas, for the annual ACL music festival. Rebeca had never been to a music festival unless you count a few of the small, local concerts we had been to together. She was beyond excited to hear her favorite band, Odesza, towards the end of the evening. Unfortunately, though, she had no idea the extent to which crowds cause her anxiety. During the third song of Odesza’s set, Jenna pulls Rebeca in towards her so she can begin to recite her “devotion of love monologue” into Rebeca’s ear. Rebeca can barely hear a thing and catches maybe every other sentence. After hearing a line or two, she would pull away and start dancing. Thinking that Jenna was just saying some sweet little nothing’s in her ear. After this went on for about twenty minutes, Jenna finally pulls Rebeca in and whispers in her ear – “Rebeca. Luisa. Bermudez.” Rebeca freezes and looks Jenna straight in the eyes as if saying, “Ok, why did you just say my full name?” – “Will you marry me?”
Jenna then places the hand-made leather bracelet onto Rebeca’s wrist. Rebeca made it very clear from the beginning that she had no desire for an engagement ring but instead wanted something simple. Such as a leather bracelet.
Black Balsam holds an extraordinary place in our hearts. We hiked it multiple times in the past, but it is part of the Art Loeb trail, a strenuous thirty-two-mile hike that we had hoped to complete over two days last summer. This meant that we spent countless weekends along Black Balsam during our training hikes. The vastness and beauty of this area of North Carolina takes our breath away every time we see it. We knew that this place was where our forever story should begin.
Our elopement was a vintage travel theme. We love traveling and often spend our days planning the next adventure that awaits us. Each table had the name of the places we had traveled together with pictures of us during that trip. As our guestbook, we had a golden globe for guests to either write us a message, share with us where they had gone or places they thought we should travel to in the future.
When we initially planned our wedding outfits, we planned to order something online to save money yet still look beautiful. We were, sadly, disappointed with the options we had chosen. It wasn’t until a friend of Jenna’s mentioned that we should just go to David’s Bridal and try on some dresses. We took her advice, and we both found our wedding dress that day, at the same store!
As time pressed on, we realized that the elopement may not be the beautiful, sunny weather we had always envisioned. So, the weekend before the wedding, we decide that we need back-up outfits. That’s right, one week before the wedding. We stopped in at White House Black Market about twenty minutes before they close, explaining our situation. We obviously looked desperate, and they were very willing to help. Jenna found a jumpsuit that looked absolutely stunning but was in all-black.
The stylist assured us that they could order it in all-white. Naturally, we both fell in love with it and convinced ourselves that ordering the same jumpsuit is entirely acceptable.
We chose to have Rebeca wear the jumpsuit for the elopement in the morning, and Jenna to wear it at the reception that evening. Jenna always dreamt of being married out in nature in her wedding dress with the train flowing onto the grass. Rebeca always dreamt of wearing her wedding dress in front of friends and family to show off that, yes, she too, can dress up.
Once the jumpsuits arrived (Monday, in the evening, four days before the wedding). Jenna wanted to try it on with the earrings and jewelry she was planning to wear to the reception to make sure the entire outfit would look nice together. As luck would have it, Jenna’s earring hook (we later learned this part is called the “earwire”) broke. Jenna then contacted the Etsy owner Crystal Avenue where she had purchased the earrings. Sue was amazing and was able to ship new ear wires to Jenna the next day. Arriving just in time on Thursday, the day before the wedding. We realize that these are minor stressors in the grand scheme of things. But we will admit that, at the moment, we felt as though they were the most pressing of issues.
The wedding day was truly magical and still feels like a dream.
We had been hoping for a beautiful, sunny ceremony atop Black Balsam Knob. However, the universe said, “Nah, not today.” We had a very intimate elopement, with only two of our best friends. One, our friend Joey who became ordained to wed us, and Andrea, whom Jenna has known since they were toddlers. We arrive at the base of the climb with the wind, rain, and chilling weather in the forties.
Not quite what we had envisioned.
We decide to hold the ceremony in the woods at the mountain base, where it was quiet and calm.
Escorted arm-in-arm and blindfolded by Jenna’s childhood friend, Andrea. We chose to be blindfolded as a symbol that “Love is Blind,” that love sees no gender, age, race, etc. That love will prevail through all obstacles.
We are both very spiritual. Our minister, and very close friend, Joey Marion, incorporated sage burning before our ceremony to cleanse the area of any negative energy and generate wisdom and clarity.
We had hoped to climb to the top afterward, but the rain and cold would not surrender. As we were driving back towards town, the sun began to shine, and the rain ended. We pulled over along the Blue Ridge Parkway for an impromptu photo shoot, which ended up holding some of our favorite photos and memories. Such as nearly getting hit by multiple cars and trying to act as though we were not just on the side of the road.
We then rushed back to the hotel we stayed in Asheville, the Windsor Boutique, to shower, grab a quick bite, and practice our dance one more time. One thing you should know about Rebeca – she wanted this dance to be perfect. She had choreographed the entire thing.
Our reception began at 6 pm with close friends and family, with only a little over fifty guests were present. We decided to have an “entrance” rather than an “exit” since it was everyone’s first time seeing us as Mrs and Mrs Segraves. Everyone lined up on the side of the street and blew bubbles (out of mini-champagne bottles, might we add). We could not stop smiling and dancing the entire night. The first dance was perfect – despite messing up once or twice, no one knew, and the laughter we shared that moment will never be forgotten.
The entire evening was filled with love and support. We could not have asked for a better day.
Marriage is a beautifully difficult thing. Not only are you marrying your best friend, your lifetime partner. But you are also marrying their family, their beliefs, their traditions and values, and every piece of baggage they carry.
To us, marriage shows our commitment, not only to ourselves but to everyone around us. Unfortunately, we have had the misfortune of losing multiple friends and family members due to “our lifestyle.” It has been a difficult road for both of us. Yet, we have been there for one another every step of the way. To have found your best friend, your forever person, and the one worth fighting for makes it easy for us to make the everlasting commitment to one another. Our lives have not come without very steep climbs, bumpy paths, and the worse traffic you can think of. But nothing is easier for us than to love one another.
Photography by Three Region Photography
Bridal Boutique David’s Bridal
Cake Short Street Cake
Cake Topper Thistle and Lace Shop
Catering & Reception Venue Celine & Company
Ceremony Venue Black Balsam
Entertainment High Impact Entertainment
Florist Merrimon Florists
H&MU Jeanne’s Hair Design & Studio, Salon Roche
Jumpsuits White House Black Market
Wedding Rings Jewels That Dance