Meighan & Christina, Part II

And now, part two of the story, this time told from Meighan’s perspective (she’s the stunning red head of the duo).

Gay Maryland Outdoor Wedding

Mostly when I think about the wedding, it’s with a sense of jaw-dropping gratitude. Complete strangers, friends and family all rallied to help make our wedding possible. Yes, a lot of things went “wrong,” and there’s still a teeny part of me that’s bummed that my wedding didn’t look how I wanted it to. But that part is a tiny unpopped kernel of sad in the marvelously abundant vat of happy kettlecorn that was our wedding. (In other news, clearly I need to hit up a state fair, if my cravings are making my metaphors this bad.) So yes, the wedding didn’t look how I wanted, but it felt how I wanted. I can remember the exact moment I let go of things being perfect, and while it was sadly about a quarter of the way through the reception, it felt amazing. I walked away from having, er, strong words with the caterer, grabbed a glass of champagne, slung an arm around my new wife’s waist, and let myself enjoy the love of everybody there. And it was gorgeous.

Gay Maryland Outdoor Wedding

I was talking to my soon-to-be-married BFF yesterday, and she’s having trouble letting other people contribute to or do things for her wedding. I told her, “If I can share nothing else about this whole experience: Let people be nice to you.” One, because you need it, and two, because people will be insanely amazing if you let them. It was kind of a revelation to me how very much people wanted to help us. Christina’s aunt (who used to do window displays for a department store) helped us make some gorgeous centerpieces and fixed my bouquet when I was about to throw it against the wall in frustration. My college little sis came up early from South Carolina and acted as “Decoratrix,” making sure the decorations were put out and making them look better than I ever could have. Everyone wanted to help, even awesome bloggers who I asked for advice. (True story, we found our first photographer on APW, but after our engagement shoot, she became really flaky and eventually stopped returning communication altogether. So, we were less than four months from the wedding, with no photographer and less our deposit, since we couldn’t even find her to ask for it back. When I emailed to Ask Alyssa for advice, Meg stepped in and used her magical interweb powers to contact some incredible photographers on our behalf. When we got an email from Kelly Prizel saying she was available, no lie, I made a noise so full of squee that only dogs could hear it. And our photos turned out better than I could ever have hoped for, just because nice people want to do nice things.) I still have some what-is-this-I-don’t-even-know moments when I think about how beautiful people were to us, and then I get kind of overwhelmed and verklempt by gratitude and I have to go lie down or something.

Gay Maryland Outdoor Wedding

I discovered that a wedding kind of takes on a life and meaning of its own. Obviously, for Christina and me it was the embarkation point for a brand new adventure. For Meg and Kelly, maybe it was an opportunity to be really excellent to some strangers just because they could.

Gay Maryland Outdoor Wedding

Another true story: after the wedding, my mom could not stop telling me about all of the friends and colleagues she never knew had gay kids or family members, who had seen her pictures on Facebook and reached out to say that this wedding was really meaningful for them. One woman whose son had recently come out to her told my mom that part of what had been so hard for her to deal with was thinking that he could never have something like this wedding, and now she knew it was possible. Y’all. Seriously, I was crying about this woman and her son, who I’d never even met.

Gay Maryland Outdoor Wedding

So, the wonderful thing about a wedding is it’s bigger than the two people getting married. It’s about building community where you didn’t even know there was one, and recognizing again just how magnificent the people are with whom you’ve filled your life, and it’s about love.

Pictures by Kelly Prizel Photography

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  • Jill

    Wow, I hoped APW has ditched that first flaky photo sponsor who left these brides high and dry! Thank goodness Meg & APW are so awesome and helped them find Kelly.

    • meg

      Um, indeed.

      • Chris Bergstrom

        Meg, I may have missed the clue that let everyone downthread know which photographer this is, but I’m getting really worried. We’re 7 weeks out and have booked a photographer that I *think* we heard about on APW but I’m not sure. I don’t want to ask you or anyone else to name names in this public forum, but if you could email me with the name of the photographer in question I would appreciate that so much. I’m

  • katieprue

    LOVE! This post just makes my little heart swell with happiness. We chose a long engagement and right now it feels like no one cares because we’re not really in go-go-go mode yet. Your BFF’s advice is so wise… Let people be nice to you. The ones who want to will, and I think they will make all the difference.

    Thank you both for sharing. :)

  • lisa

    Ok, so this is sappy. Fair warning. But reading about that woman and her son, randomly a line from an old ee. cummings poem jumped into my head.

    “hate blows a bubble of despair into hugeness…”

    and how fantastic is it when love pops it! Bravo and and thank you for sharing.

  • Lindsey

    This had me in tears at my desk at work: “One woman whose son had recently come out to her told my mom that part of what had been so hard for her to deal with was thinking that he could never have something like this wedding, and now she knew it was possible.” So powerful. (Just wait until that mom finds out about gaybies!)

    And also, I want to echo the advice of Let People Do Things For You. I found the power of that during the hardest time of my life, when my mom was dying (and after she passed away)–and my friends rallied for me in ways that were completely unexpected and welcomed. And what I learned was that people you love want to do good things for you and want to show you how much you mean to them–and when you let them know what would help you most, that’s not being bossy or needy or overbearing. It’s allowing them to have a clear idea of how best to direct their loving energies. (And there will definitely be many opportunities for me to show them how amazing and special they are to me, too!)

    And on a completely different note: Meighan, your hair is FABULOUS!!! Y’all make such a gorgeous couple!

    • It’s really amazing how a wedding is not just about you. I had a similar moment as Meigh – my mom sent pictures out to extended family and a cousin of mine came out in a lovely way to us.

    • Jane

      I am tearing at work too! Big teardrops rolling down my face. I love your wedding and your writing.

  • Caroline

    Lovely post, and I want to be a “Decoratrix” someday, because that sounds awesome.

    • McPants

      Believe, I wish I could do that for a living. Best. Job. Ever.

  • Rasheeda

    The Let People Do Nice Things For You is HUGE…it is the very thing I walked away from my wedding with. The level of gratitude almost chokes me up still (4 mos later), it the thing that makes writing my thank you’s so hard. How do you thank people for being awesome? What words do you use to express that your heart literally jumps in your throat and makes the corners of your eyes swell with tears with the thought of how they came to your aid when you needed them most? Thats the stuff weddings are made of. Your words spoke to me today…thank you!

    • Melissa of craftgasm

      I think you use exactly those words! They’d make for the best thank you note ever. :)

  • Jo

    I had the same reaction. People all around us went above and beyond in amazing ways. It is incredibly eye-opening to see how everyone in your community wants to bless you.

    (You guys are stunning, and I’m tearing up about that woman and her son).

  • amc

    Amen to being honest about your post-wedding feelings! I totally had words with our caterer too and afterwards I was disappointed that I let the situation get to me during the wedding. Part of letting “go of things being perfect” (as you so eloquently stated) is forgiving yourself for not being completely poised, authentic, or present in every single second of your wedding. Accept that it’s an emotional, stressful, wonderful, and overwhelming series of moments.

    Your wedding was gorgeous and I’m glad it felt how you wanted.

  • Ah, letting stuff go. happy sigh

    I, too, waited until the actual day of the wedding to really be able to let it all go, thankfully it was sooner rather than later, but it was such a moment of Zen.

    Sometimes I think brides & grooms alike just need to be able to get their elbows dirty in the heat of the day and go, “Oh yeah. That’s what they meant!” Sometimes we just don’t get it until we are there. Or until it starts. Or until after we say “I Do” or even after we cut the cake, swig back some booze, and remember it’s a beautiful party.

    Those of us who are hardheaded may take the longest, but I’d venture to guess have some of the best sighs of relief.

  • You two are stunning and wise. End scene.

  • I didn’t have much trouble letting things go, but I did struggle to let people do nice things for me. I feel bad when I fee like people are expending too much effort on my behalf. The advice to let people do nice things for you for your wedding is good advice though, because it’s the only way you’re going to be able to be mindfully present. And so many people DO want to do nice things for you.

  • seriously, we were *thisclose* to booking your first photographer and i’m so glad that it all worked out for you and you were able to find a substitute (read: way better than the first option) photographer to capture your beautiful day.

    beautiful wedding and lovely posts today – i love “seeing” things from both sides of the newly-wedded couple :)

    • McPants

      Omg, so glad you passed on her. I don’t know what happened to her, and I wish her the best, but I seriously don’t think she could have been more unprofessional if she tried.

      • Yeah, she disappeared and just stopped contacting us when we were close to booking (and apparently tons of other people who had her booked or had photos taken by her….people are actually apparently missing their wedding photos…I would’ve hunted and maimed if that happened to us). It’s all unfortunate, because I was all “She’s on APW, she must rock. We need to book with her. Why won’t she e-mail me back? I must not be APW cool enough for her to photograph my wedding.” Then I googled her and found several reviews that were upsetting.

        Truly glad it all worked out for you in the end!

        • I’d recommended her to a friend that had the same issue, which is what started the ball rolling for us. I am so, so grateful because otherwise we wouldn’t have discovered the issue until much closer to the wedding.

          • Chris Bergstrom

            I may have missed the clue that let everyone know which photographer we’re talking about, but I’m getting really worried. We’re 7 weeks out and have booked a photographer that I *think* we heard about on APW but I’m not sure. I don’t want to ask anyone to name names in this public forum, but if anyone could email me with the name of the photographer in question I would appreciate that so much. I’m

  • Marina

    “One woman whose son had recently come out to her told my mom that part of what had been so hard for her to deal with was thinking that he could never have something like this wedding, and now she knew it was possible.”

    Um, I am totally teary too. That is amazing… It really drives home how much weddings can affect our larger community. You are awesome.

  • Sarah McNeil Weschler

    Okay, checked in this morning to spazz out about fellow rockin’ APW-DCers, and now I’m checking in this afternoon to say that your “unpopped kernel of sadness” had me rolling on the floor. When in doubt, always reach deep for those county fair metaphors. Congrats!

  • This is so good to hear all over again. I know it, I’ve been told it, but your post really hit home for me. I have so many friends and bridesmaids who keep offering to help, and I just feel so bad. Like, I’m trying to apologize for any Bridezillas they may have encountered in the past, and just do it all myself so as not to bother anyone. Thank you for this post!

  • Beth

    As I said on part one, wonderful!

    Much happiness to both of you!

  • You two are SO beautiful, and you just glow with happiness. Plus, those dresses? A. Ma. Zing. Also, it rained at our wedding as well, so way to rock those umbrella photos.

    Take care of each other. You’re off to a spectacular start. :)

  • I love this post so much. And “let people do nice things for you” was pretty much my takeaway too when we got married!

    (P.S. You ladies are both GORGEOUS!)

  • ellobie

    LURVE!!!! :) :) :) Ditto Sharon’s comments, y’all are beautiful individuals and a beautiful couple! PLEEEEASE share your dress details! I looked (in vain) for ages for a dress like Christina’s. And Meighan, are those pockets I spy in your adorable strapless???

    • ellobie

      …and freals? The bit about the mom and her recently-out son? SOB! :S

      • McPants

        Yep, it did have pockets, which came in handy during the ceremony, actually. One was for tissues b/c I cry at *everything* and the other I crammed Christina’s watch into at the altar b/c she had forgotten to take it off until we were mid-ceremony. Ha.

  • Betty Sue Cohen

    Love the comment…
    “Just wait until that mom finds out about gaybies!”

    I can wait to meet a few myself.

  • Melissa of craftgasm

    I’m the friend mentioned who’s having trouble letting people do things for me and for some reason Meigh telling me this four hundred times in the past months hasn’t hit it home, but reading her advice here is helping. Thanks for writing it out for me, Meigh. You know I’m a visual learner.

    Also, these posts are further proof that you’re the most gorgeous couple I know, so keep up the good work in that direction, too.

  • Esme

    Who doesn’t love popcorn metaphors? Congrats to you both x

    • Yes, now I want kettle corn. :) The best I have ever had was in Roanoke, Virginia, during their downtown holiday festivities and now I totally want some of it!

  • Moz

    Yes yes yes. ALL of this. We want to help in people’s weddings, we do!

    I said it to Christina, but congratulations to you both on your marriage. I know you both from comments (I think, if it’s who I’m thinking…) so glad you guys are hitched xx