Intimate West Virginia Lesbian Wedding
I’m a sucker for backroads and taking the long way home. After a few gorgeous beach weddings… I was craving a good road trip in the mountains. A hot cup of coffee and no set plans. I love pulling over and getting lost, meeting new people and learning about small towns. Added bonus if there’s crisp air to breathe in and a love story waiting to be told when I arrive at my destination. Meet Claire and Lauren! I met them and their whole family when I got to their cabin in Davis, West Virginia. I was greeted with hugs, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade peach cobbler and porch talks in the rain! Yep…a dream. That night we set up their backyard with details for the big day and then went out in town with their friends. I’ve never met a couple who pulled off planning their entire wedding with such attention to detail…the decor was incredible. Straight out of a magazine I tell ya. Everything they did was so intentional. From preparing a scavenger hunt for me to welcoming me with awesome souvenirs from their town!! Enjoy my view from their wedding below XO.
How long have you been together?
2 long distance filled years but have known each other for 13.
Where do you two live? Tell us a little bit about what you both spend a majority of your time doing.
We live in a small hippie town in the mountains of West Virginia next to ski resorts and a great river for kayaking. We spend a lot of our time hiking trails with the boys (our dogs: Remy the the dude bro pit/lab mix and Riley our sensitive little Buddy the boxer). If we aren’t in the woods somewhere we are drinking coffee on the back porch or making something creative.
What is the first thing you remember about the other when you first met?
Lauren: “I’ve seen Claire a lot of times over the years, but I guess the first time I really SAW her was the summer I graduated college and was living at my mom’s house. I remember Claire pulling up in her little black Focus with her I don’t give a shit attitude, listening to Ani DiFranco, smoking cigarettes. She had great lips and great hair, and maybe was the coolest person I’d ever known, even though she just graduated from high school. I feel silly saying that… I’m such a lesbian cliche, but it’s true”.
Claire: “The first time I really got to know Lauren was the summer she stayed with her mom after college. Her little sister was my best friend, but Lauren and I quickly realized we had a lot in common. In the small town we grew up in, there’s a gazebo by the river. Lauren and I called it the Gay’sBo and we would sneak off and meet there to talk for hours, smoking cigarettes and drinking Yoo-hoo. I couldn’t believe this hot older girl wanted to hang out with me”.
How did the proposal go down?
Claire was in visiting from Abu Dhabi for Spring Break. We had just been spending time together and visiting family, no real plans. I told Claire to pack a bag, I had a surprise for the weekend. We got in the car and started driving. Claire had no idea where we were going. We drove East for a few hours until she realized we were headed to D.C. We checked in to our hotel in Alexandria, got ready, and hopped the subway in to Georgetown. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant for some queso and beers. I was a nervous wreck because I had finally, successfully kept a secret from Claire. I frantically checked my watch, making sure we weren’t going to be late until finally the time had come. We rounded the corner and there was a book store. Claire said, “Is that where we’re going, baby?” because of my obsession with books. I laughed and said no… I was lying. We went in the book store and Claire noticed Augusten Burrough’s new book sitting around everywhere (he’s her favorite author). A few minutes later a man came and got us and sat us in the front of the room, right next to Augusten. Claire was so excited. His newest book is called “Lust & Wonder,” about falling in love with someone that had been right in front of your nose the whole time. At the end of the reading there was a book signing. Claire was freaking out because no one gave her a post-it to write her name down on. When we got to the counter Augusten pretended to write in a book and handed it to Claire. She was so excited she didn’t even look at the book, just tucked it under her arm. Finally I got her to open the cover, “Baby, make sure your name’s spelled right while we’re up here”. Inside the cover it said, “It’s only those who truly cherish each other, that make it to the end. Claire will you do the honors of marrying Lauren? Love- Augusten Burroughs”. She dramatically threw her hand in the air, like she always does, and said. “Yes!!!”. Everyone started clapping, we got our pictures with Augusten, and I gave Claire her ring.
Was there a memory from your wedding that sticks out more than others?
Lauren: Out of all of the moments, I loved standing out on the rocks ledge with Claire. We were supposed to be doing our vows but we decided to just spend a moment in peace together. We just looked at our beautiful surroundings, listened to the wind and the water in the canyon, and discretely said our “I Love You’s”.
Claire: I think one of my favorite memories is when I grabbed Lauren’s butt while we were having our first dance. I didn’t mean to, my hands just naturally are drawn to it. Lauren was embarrassed and said, “Oh my God, Claire!” and moved my hands up. Everyone started laughing and I made some silly “oops” face. I love how Lauren says my name when she’s playfully agitated with me, it’s my favorite.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other couples planning their wedding?
ELOPE… just kidding, having a wedding was a really fun experience. We had our wedding at our house, which was at times very stressful, but perfect in the end.
As corny as it sounds, our honest advice is to just enjoy the day together. No one will notice the little things that aren’t how you imagined them. Just have fun, it goes by so quickly.
If you could change one thing about your wedding what would it be?
We wish the boys (our dogs) were better behaved so we could have had them with us at the wedding, or at least for pictures.
Why did you choose the wedding venue/location you did?
Claire moved in to a house I’ve lived in for a few years. Having our wedding at our house allowed us to create major memories here and to help make the house feel like our home together.
Did you run into any issues with vendors who were not gay friendly?
Not at all. Surprisingly enough, small town West Virginia had no problems with our same- sex wedding.
Why’d you choose Steph to document your wedding day?
We both have appreciated Steph’s work as an artist for a long time. She was super low key and did things the way we imagined them. We wanted an artist, not an event photographer and she was just that.
Top 3 things that make a marriage last?
1. Honesty. Even when it seems like its maybe not a good idea, only truths is the way to go.
2. Have fun together. Don’t fall in to a routine and forget how much fun you can have.
3. Support the individualities within the couple. You’re a unit and each other’s support system, but you fell in love with each other as individuals. Encourage the other to stick with their passions and continue to grow separately but together.
CAKES: Almost Heaven Desserts
DRESS: Aida Coronado
WEDDING RINGS:Dagmara Costello & Angeline Crowder Boyer
WEDDING BANDS: Made by the bride
FLOWERS: Chris Hoke at Rising Moon Farm Middlebourne, WV arranged by brides.
CATERING: White Grass Touring Center
EVENT RENTALS: Ella & Company
HAIR- George & Michael Lenz- Lujano
ACOUSTIC MUSIC: Rebecca Wudarski