08 September, 2023 BACKYARD QUEER MICRO WEDDING AUSTIN, TX
Hi all! Steph Grant here.
Meet Heather & Emily [both use they/them pronouns]. They met on a hot summer day on June 5, 2019 and have been together ever since. Here is a little bit of their love story…I hope you enjoy it. Give them a follow & say hi to these wonderful humans.
Tell us a little bit about YOU!
Heather: That first night we met, I stopped by Emily’s house with them for a moment and saw where they lived. It was a cute bungalow in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of Austin, TX. Their home had become run down and they had a roommate at the time … but about two years later, Emily and I moved into an apartment together while that very home would undergo heavy renovations. To say the renovations took a long time would be an understatement, but it was so fun to be involved in some of the designs along the way. We just moved into that dwelling in March of 2023. There’s a main bed & bath now that didn’t exist before. It feels symbolic of where we started to where we are today.
Emily: I’m in grad school right now, so I spend the majority of my time reading and writing, taking classes, and working my internship. It’s pretty all-consuming, so Heather and I make intentional time together wherever we can. We love to spend mornings together drinking coffee, sitting on our porch, or hiking & biking Lady Bird Lake. And of course, we have our shows … We’re currently shamelessly watching The Ultimatum: Queer Love. In my own free time, I love cooking, HIIT, yoga, and starring in my own at-home fashion shows. Heather tends to enjoy film & television, biking, and slow mornings watering plants while listening to music.
What is the first thing you remember about the other when you first met?
Heather: I remember feeling nauseous on the way to meet up with Emily for the first time. I stayed home from work just to maintain my nerves throughout the day. When I arrived at our first meetup spot, I sat in my car for a minute because I didn’t want to seem too eager. But Emily texted me soon after I had parked and told me they’d arrived early. I like to be the one settled in and waiting for my date to notice me and now the tables had turned! I … kinda liked it. When I entered the restaurant, Emily looked super stylish and was sitting with perfect posture at the bar.
Emily: We initially met up at Irene’s, but we eventually made our way to Thai Fresh for dinner since neither of us wanted the date to end. The first thing I remember about Heather is hearing their voice and thinking it was really sexy. I also remember being super nervous and wanting to impress them since I considered them to be a real adult. I have since found out that no one is a real adult.
How did the proposal go down?
Heather: I always thought I would know Emily was about to propose to me because when they’re nervous, it’s obvious. However, I was utterly clueless the day of. We’d finished family Christmas celebrations and were headed to New Orleans (NOLA) to enjoy the remainder of the year together. On the day of our flight to NOLA, Emily was more anxious than made sense, but I thought it was because we were still recovering from having missed our Thanksgiving flight the month before. I kept reassuring Emily, “The plane will be here. We’re not going to miss it.” But all that time I thought Emily was nervous about a flight, they were actually nervous about the rest of our lives together!
Emily: I was originally planning to propose to Heather at the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, but our trip wasn’t for several months, and as soon as I got the ring I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait that long. I decided to propose during our trip to New Orleans for my 30th birthday instead. This worked out in my favor, both because Heather was absolutely not expecting it and also because it was the best birthday present ever. I hired a complete stranger (shout out to Task Rabbit) to set up the backyard of our Airbnb with candles, flowers, and champagne while we were out for dinner. When we got back I put on our song and led them outside. Heather immediately started crying (like… CRYING) when I got down on one knee. It was touching and funny and sweet and joyful and it’s definitely one of my favorite memories.
Was there a memory from your wedding that sticks out more than others?
Heather: Please note: my nephew’s pronouns are he/they.
My 10-year-old nephew’s speech punched me in the gut. During his speech, he fought tears of joy and self-regulated his breathing to power through thoughtful words that, actually, I’m not sure he thought of beforehand. The words they had for us were sweet and they said they were lucky to now have Emily as their “aunt.” However, even better was their statement that “Emily is probably the luckiest person in the world right now.” (Because my nephew didn’t know this, but I am known to gush about Emily so much to others that they remind me that Emily is also lucky.) And again, I’m not sure how much of their speech was pre-planned – especially since he told us he was planning to wing it – but they somehow hit every note a wedding speech should have: sweet, joyful, and funny.
Lastly, one silly yet touching moment of the wedding for me was when I almost walked down the aisle with a paper towel around my neck AND a handkerchief wrapped on top of that. I tend to get hotter & sweatier than others, so I had been doing all I could to stay moderately cool before being out in the warm weather for the ceremony. So, just as the ceremony music started, Emily looked at me with love but then shock. The next thing I knew, things were being taken and thrown from my neck with swift action. I saw the paper towel and extra handkerchief thrown to the side and we immediately started walking!
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other couples planning their wedding?
Hire a day of wedding coordinator! We (specifically Emily) did a lot of our own planning, but there became a point where we realized, “Wait … who is going to handle the vendors and set up the day of?” We found an amazing coordinator – Amber of Hazel Lyn Events – who helped keep us from freaking out about last-minute details and vendor communications (and negotiations!).
If you could change one thing about your wedding what would it be?
You mean if we had magical powers? The heat! Somehow our wedding date ended up being one of the earlier hottest day in May 2023.
Why did you choose the wedding location you did?
We chose our home, our backyard. We chose it because we wanted an intimate gathering with close family & friends. We had just moved in, too, so the wedding doubled as a housewarming.
Did you run into any issues with vendors who were not gay friendly?
Heather: We chose vendors we knew and loved from either our inner friend circles and communities. For example, Steph – of course, we go back many, many years. We also hired DJ Sober who I have known for a long time and even used to ride bikes with in Dallas. The only thing that was a challenge for us emotionally was vendors and guests saying our pronouns wrong all day & night. One thing again about my nephew’s speech was, although he got my pronouns wrong a lot, he was really nervous and he even corrected himself once. I hope that caught some people off-guard in an educational way.
Top 3 things that make a marriage last?
Communication, forgiveness, and freedom.
How supportive was your family about your wedding?
100% ALL GOOD
What do you think makes it hard about planning a wedding without the support of your family?
We’re fortunate to have support from our families regarding us being queer, nonbinary, and marrying one another. I suppose the hard part was that we had to plan the wedding ourselves (well, let’s be honest, Emily did a lot of it). Seeing the wedding happen was surreal due to all the hard work we’d put into planning it. Thankfully, again, we had emotional support from our parents and other close relatives & friends, so we didn’t have to stress about that part.
3 songs that remind you of each other:
Heather: I am a huge music fan, so when I met Emily, I made them a playlist titled “God Dammit.” I titled it that because I’d made my handful of playlists for partners over the years, and I couldn’t believe I was making *another* one. On that list went a song titled “Mango Freestyle” by Orion Sun. That track ended up being our main ceremony song. We also recently realized that I’d sent Emily “Mango Freestyle” in one of our earlier text exchanges *before* we met! They had told me they were really into the track. Two other hits for us from the early days are “I Don’t Even Smoke Weed” by Empress Of and “I Want a House” by Mr. Twin Sister.
Why’d you choose Steph to document your wedding day?
Heather: Steph is a longtime friend of mine, but also an extremely talented photographer. I admire her editing style, but what I admire most is how she works in the moment. Steph has made me feel comfortable on the other side of the lens (I am generally the photographer myself), and that isn’t easy to achieve! I knew Steph could help me be at ease because I’d seen her help other couples numerous times on their wedding day. Steph is passionate and empathetic, so I knew she would get every shot, keep me from sweating as much as possible, and respect my needs. Before I met Emily and still today, I share Steph’s blog (portfolio) with everyone from strangers to colleagues!
A few months back I was contacted by Out in the Vineyard, a radio...
GUESS WHAT! I have been holding on to a secret for a month and I ...
Asher looks for ways to talk and educate those a part of medical ...