A Charleston Ceremony
Tell us about the proposal!
We spent a lot of time discussing who would propose to whom (and we still do haha), as we both wanted to woo our love and ask for her hand in marriage. We’d been talking about marriage for a while, and brought it up with our families over the 2015 holidays. Sitting together on the couch one night in January 2016, we decided we were going to make our dream of marriage a reality. A couple days after our “engagement” began - no rings exchanged, no phone calls to our peeps, no posts on FB to celebrate this - we found out Marjorie would be deployed at the end of the year, so we had to start the wedding planning ASAP.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
I like to say my heart knew long before my mind that we were meant to be together, and that my heart determined that during our month in Ecuador. Marjorie says she knew (heart and mind) from the very first day in Ecuador. However, knowing we were meant for each other and acting on that knowledge are two very different things. One weekend our senior year of college, Marjorie went out of town for a school function. At the end of the miserable weekend of being apart, Marjorie confessed the depth of her feelings for me, saying we couldn't continue our friendship because it was torture for her to not be more than friends. So again we spent a couple more miserable days apart, giving me time to think about my feelings for Marjorie, and allowing us both to think about the risks we’d face in entering into a relationship bigger than friendship (neither Marjorie nor I had been in a same-sex relationship before). We were brought back together when a car wreck happened just outside our apartment complex. We just had to see each other that night, as those sort of things make you realize who you care for and how much. That night I told Marjorie “I have bad news...” and went on to share the depth of my feelings for her too, and my wish to be with her. Marjorie, obviously, did not see how this was bad news, and now we claim that night as our “anniversary.”
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We definitely knew we would have a large wedding, just based on the size of our families, and we wanted it that way. One of the reasons we know we are meant for each other is our love of family. Even if our extended family would feel uncomfortable at a same-sex wedding, we wanted them to be there (or at least be invited). We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, and that we wanted it on Kiawah Island, SC. Marjorie’s family vacationed at Kiawah for 15 years, so it was already a special place to her when she introduced me to the island during our college years. As my mom says, “Marjorie and Bridget did a lot of soul searching on Kiawah Island,” so it fit to have our wedding there.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
We were surprised by how time consuming the planning was. We both work full time jobs, so it felt like any free time we had was devoted to the planning process. This was difficult at times because it put a strain on our relationship. We were also surprised by the crazy amount of decisions to be made in wedding planning, and that the process led to more arguments than we’ve ever had. However, we learned a lot through the arguments about listening, selflessness, and reconciliation. Some decisions that you think will be easy, will be surprisingly hard. For example, Marjorie and I had our hearts set on a completely outdoor wedding venue, but ultimately decided to go with a venue where our ceremony could be outdoors with the reception indoors, because we chose to put the comfort of our guests first. The seating chart was so hard! We changed it a million times before we finally just went with it. Working with a photographer was so much easier than we anticipated. Our photographer, Leah Tribbett, made us feel so comfortable (we do not usually express our affection in front of people). We had a great time and got some fantastic pictures.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now?
Advice: Listen to one other. Not just to words, but to body language. If your partner is uneasy about a decision that you are incredibly excited about, don’t make a decision right then. Take some time to look elsewhere or at least think about your partner’s reservations. Practice compromise. There will be disagreements between your partner and your family. It is incredibly hard sometimes, but your partner is about to become your family, with an even closer bond than anyone else in your family. As best you can, learn to put your partner and their feelings first. Yes this day is your day, but keep your guests in mind. They are coming to celebrate you and many of them are the ones who formed you and taught you to love, so make them comfortable, show them gratitude, and plan for them to have fun. Apparently people love wedding cake!!! We had a small cake for Marjorie and I to cut and then take home to eat on our one year anniversary, and had petit fours for our guests. Multiple people leading up to the wedding told us how much they love wedding cake (we had to let them down by telling them there wouldn’t be wedding cake), and our biggest criticism after the reception was the lack of wedding cake. Some guests even asked the wait staff for slices of the brides’s wedding cake, so we ended up with 2 small slices to save that Marjorie’s dad secured for us. Bottom line, if you’re thinking of going with a unique dessert, reconsider a traditional wedding cake. Maybe even ask your guests for their personal preference, as they will be the ones to eat it. Don’t skimp on dessert. We offered petit fours to our guests for dessert, and slightly underestimated how many petit fours people would eat - we anticipated 1-2 per person, but talked to some guests who ate 4.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our favorite part of the wedding day was exchanging our vows and serving communion/ eucharist to all of our guests. It’s amazing to be in one place with all the people you love.