A Charming Bridge Ceremony
From the brides...
How we met:
Christina and I met initially through an online LGBT dating site in 2008, and met in person shortly thereafter through a series of coincidences and mutual acquaintances. We spent the day together and really hit it off, and when Christina left and we hugged, we both felt as though we fit perfectly together. It was truly love at first sight, and our fate was sealed with that hug.
We fell in love over the next few months, and it endured long distance and multiple time zones for 4 months when I studied abroad in Germany and Christina moved to Texas for a short time.
When I graduated from college in 2010 and got into graduate school at the University of Connecticut, we moved down to Connecticut and got our first place together. In 2012 we acquired our furbaby, a weimaraner named Koda, and our little family celebrated the following year when Christina proposed after 5 ½ years of being together.
On July 21st, 2013 Christina surprised me with a day at the spa (which was an extra special treat!), and told me that she wanted to meet up with me afterward for dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant nearby our apartment. I had an incredibly relaxing day while Christina was at home with Koda setting up for later (as far as I knew she was cleaning the apartment. I had no idea).
After dinner, we went back to the apartment, where she handed me a card. Inside was a cute puzzle telling me that we were going to have a wine and movie night, which is what we usually do on date nights. Then, she told me that there was a surprise in the bedroom. I walked in and she had one of our favorite songs playing (We were made for each other, by Jack's Mannequin), roses on our desk, and a line of wine glasses (which we accumulated that summer on the CT wine trail) with tea lights in them. Lined up in front of the glasses were little notecards, each with a photo of us on them and a handwritten note explaining why she loves me. Once I finished reading she asked if I wanted wine, and she handed me a bottle of wine with a label she had handmade reading: "Jennifer, will you marry me? Love, Christina". She got down on one knee, and with a shaky voice and tears in her eyes asked me to marry her. I immediately said "YES!" She had hand selected a beautiful engagement ring, and a few months later I had her grandmother's diamond set in a matching setting for her to have as an engagement ring.
When we knew:
Our JP (who we consider family) actually asked us when we knew that the other was "the one" that we wanted to spend the rest of our life with. He wanted to include our story, from each perspective, in our wedding ceremony. Neither of us knew what the other wrote until the actual ceremony. It turns out we knew at the same moment!! Here is what we wrote to him about when we knew:
Jenn: "Words cannot convey the reasons why I love Christina or why I choose to spend the rest of my life with her, and there exists no singular moment where I knew that she was "the one." Rather, these realizations are the embodiment of a multitude of experiences we have shared, for I am continuously falling in love with her each and every day and I am always finding new reasons why she is the one for me. I know that Christina is the person I want to share the rest of my life with because I cannot imagine my life without her in it, she is the person I go to with all of my excitement or sadness, my triumphs and failings, my dreams and fears. When things seem chaotic, she gives them reason; when I need a shoulder to cry on, she is always there; when I have succeeded, she is my biggest fan. We have a connection stronger than any I have experienced in my entire life, and it began the first day we met when we hugged each other - we were like pieces in a puzzle - we simply fit. After she left that first time, I could not stop thinking about her, and she left me with a smile on my face. From that moment on, I knew that she was going to be an integral part of my life. Christina is by far one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and beautiful individuals I have ever met, both inside and out. Her compassion is second to none, and I am continuously amazed at the lengths she will go to for individuals in need, in addition to those she loves. Despite all that she has been through, she is optimistic and perseverant and I respect and admire her strength and ability to overcome. Every day she inspires me, and all of her kind words and actions make my love for her stronger. I knew I would spend the rest of my life with Christina when she would drive 4 hours to Maine just to pick me up so we could spend the weekend together. I knew I wanted to be with her always when she sent me sweet notes while I was studying abroad in Germany and made it a point to always check in with me (and would even talk to me if I called very late at night because I missed her). I knew Christina was the one for me when we made the decision to become mommies to our furbaby Koda – despite often disagreeing on how to train her. I know Christina is the one for me because she puts up with all of the silly things I do, and even finds them endearing (and I can be pretty ridiculous). I know Christina is perfect for me because she is incredibly understanding and patient with me, even when I am nervous or panicked (and this was proven even during our engagement, where all of my excitement turned into a panic attack and she sat with me in the bathroom to calm me down). Christina makes me feel safe, and when I am with her I am the happiest I have ever been. Christina and I belong together because we have faced many obstacles in our 6+ years together, and we have come out of each of them stronger and more confident in our love of one another. I want to spend the rest of my life with Christina because I want her by my side for all that the future holds – all of the good and the bad – because when I am with her I feel as though there is infinite possibility.”
Christina: "I can't really pinpoint a specific moment or a concrete set of reasons that ultimately made me realize that Jenn was the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I just know that as I started to think about my future, I could not picture my life without her in it. The moment that I first met her I was incredibly intrigued by her ability to rock pink hair, colorful makeup, and a pretty unique wardrobe selection - she definitely stood out among her preppy peers at Colby College. We had an immediate connection the first day we hung out and when we hugged each other to say goodbye I'll never forget how it seemed like she fit perfectly in my arms. Over the years, our relationship endured long distances - from a four hour drive on weekends to four months apart while Jenn was abroad. We also endured being incredibly close to each other when we moved several times into small dorm rooms and eventually into a tiny one bedroom apartment together. We each have had an opportunity to grow and support each other along the way as we both worked to explore our interests, further our education, and find meaningful work.
I still can’t understand most of the words she uses to explain her research, whether it’s in English or in German, and I know that my need to listen to NPR, watch documentaries, and discuss the problems with inequalities in our society probably drives her a little bit crazy at times, but I love that we can be complete nerds together, share our interests with each other, and constantly challenge each other to ask questions and learn new things. She makes me laugh even when I don’t want to and I know she will always have my back no matter what life brings my way. There really are so many things that I love about her – her smile, her eyes, her humor, her artistic talents, her passion for learning, her ability to be herself and speak her mind and not care what anyone else thinks, her creativity, her amazing cooking skills, her ability to make friends wherever we go, her willingness to play games with me because she knows that I love playing games, her love of wine and movies, how she always finds a way to send me cards or write me little notes of love and encouragement, her awesome decorating skills, her kisses, her love of sushi and wanting to try new types of food, her beautiful voice and when she sings some of her favorite songs, her cute dance moves – I could go on forever. Mostly, I love the feeling I have when I am with her and I know that together we will continue to grow and support each other through life’s challenges and obstacles and create an incredible life full of so many adventures and many more incredible memories.”
The Wedding Day:
We got ready at Jenn's childhood home where we also had our first look, which was such an amazing experience - before heading off to the ceremony. We chose to have our ceremony outside since we wanted the beauty of late spring to surround us, and we had it on a quintessential New England covered bridge in the small town of Henniker, NH. Since it was a covered bridge, the "aisle" was the entire length of the bridge with our guests sitting on one side, and Christina and I were walked in from either side of the bridge at the same time to meet in the center. Our siblings (Christina's younger sister and my younger brother) were our Maid and Man of Honor, and we had a short, yet meaningful, ceremony. During the ceremony, we wanted to make sure to take the opportunity to document - from our perspective - the gathering of our family and friends, as it is such a rare and wonderful occasion to have everyone together in one place. We used our cell phones to take photos of our guests from where we stood (since we are known in our families to take photos to document almost everything), and it helped to give our ceremony a unique and personalized twist. Mike, our JP, read out loud our responses to his prompt (above), which was a highlight of our ceremony. After the exchange of rings and pronouncement, we sealed our handwritten vows with a kiss. Our reception was held at an Italian restaurant in downtown Manchester, NH which is in an historic mill yard with exposed brick and beams to echo the ambiance of our ceremony. We had an amazing time with all of our family and friends, and could not have asked for a more perfect day (we had on and off rain that day as well, but the sky was sunny throughout our ceremony and photographs!).
We knew we wanted to have a unique wedding that clearly represented our relationship and our personalities. Since I am a neuroscience PhD student and Christina has a degree in mathematics, we knew we wanted to include aspects of this in our day. We incorporated laboratory beakers into the centerpieces, and we used math equations for the guests to solve to find their seats. We also had a clear vision for our photographs, we wanted to remember our day; all of the details and special moments and people, and we also wanted them to be high end and artistic. We booked all of our vendors and venues almost a year and a half ahead to ensure that we were able to incorporate what we wanted and stay on budget. I even worked an extra summer teaching job to ensure that we could book the photographers that we were in love with (Little Fang Photography). We also stayed on budget by booking our venues for a Sunday evening during a long holiday. This gave us the added benefit of having our guests from out of town for an extra day to have day-after brunch! We wanted to keep everything local, so all of our vendors were local, and many were independently owned, which was important to us. I also made my own wedding jewelry, as I have my own small jewelry business on Etsy (Petite Maus) which also helped us to pay for our wedding.
- Photography By Little Fang Photo
- Ceremony Location By Covered Bridge At New England College
- Officiant By Michael Smith (Friend)
- Reception Venue By Fratellos
- Cupcakes By Queen City Cupcakes
- Florals By Apotheca Flower Shoppe
- Jenn's Dress By Uniquely Couture Bridal
- Christina's Dress By A Day To Remember
- Rings By Blue Nile
- Wedding Party Dresses By J. Crew
- Invitations By Minted
- Bridal Headpiece By Amie Noel Designs
- Bow Ties By Cyberoptix
- Bridal & Bridesmaid Jewelry By Petite Maus