24 June, 2017 PENSACOLA BEACH LESBIAN WEDDING
After following each other on Instagram for awhile…I finally met Julie and Amber the day I flew in for their wedding! We immediately went from the airport to brunch on the beach to kick off their couples shoot! I remember laughing so hard at that brunch. I cried and wiped my tears with my napkin and got part of that napkin in my eyeball. Then we convinced an older gentleman to let us borrow his fully restored Mustang. Ahh memories. We ended their wedding night with Amber breaking out in the best worm I’ve ever seen to date and the 3 of us jumping fully clothed into the ocean at 3am. Get to know the girls below and take a look at my view from their wedding…
How long have you been together?
Where do you two live? Tell us a little bit about what you both spend a majority of your time doing.
We are both nurses living by the medical center in Houston, Texas. We are very big on spontaneous adventures, so when we aren’t working we are typically doing something outdoors. We love hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, camping, sports, and basically anything that involves being outside. We are also very big on traveling, even though Julie hates to fly (I’m slowly getting her used to it).
What is the first thing you remember about the other when you first met? Where were you?
Amber: we were both waitresses at a place called Fatburger Grill. I don’t remember specifically what I thought because our relationship did not have a typical start. Neither of us had dated women before so we didn’t meet thinking that we would end up where we are now. We started out as friends and then slowly progressed to something more.
Julie: the first thing I remember about Amber was the first time I met her. I had worked at a restaurant all summer and she was a new employee. When we were introduced I remember thinking she has some crazy hair (looking back now it wasn’t all that crazy..just very curly and very blonde).
How did the proposal go down?
As we mentioned above we both travel quite often. With that being said, it took me (Amber) about three years to secretly write out each letter of “will you marry me?” in the sand of every beach I went to. I took a picture at each location and I compiled all the letters into one picture and gave this to her. However, her reaction was in no way what I thought it would be. She thought I just printed some random picture off the internet and handed it to her. I was a little offended that she thought I would be that basic. She obviously said yes, but she was even more excited when she found out the story behind the picture. This is part of the reason why we wanted to have our ceremony on the beach.
Julie: Well originally Amber gave me three stipulations, all reasonable. 1) It had to be a surprise, 2) she wanted pictures, 3) it could not be on a holiday. Me, being the overachiever that I am and also terrible at planning surprises, I managed to not accomplish any of those things. We went and picked out our engagement rings together (so no surprise there), then I had to officially come out to my parents. I came out the day after Christmas (my parents were awesome and completely supportive, plus of course they said they knew all along). I told my parents that I would probably propose in the next week or so and they asked me if I was a chicken for waiting a week to propose. All in all, I proposed to her on New Years Eve by taking her to several graffiti walls in Houston with different messages written on them. One was a rainbow wall in Montrose area, one said I love you, and then the one I proposed at had the word love written across the entire wall. She said yes (obviously) even though it was on a holiday. I did however manage to get pictures of the proposal, my parents met us at the first graffiti wall and snapped some awesome iPhone pictures!
Was there a memory from your wedding that sticks out more than others?
My favorite memory was surprising Julie at the first look because she always has the most unexpected reactions to surprises. She had always debated on whether or not she would wear a suit/dress on our wedding day, because she absolutely hates dresses. We were all shocked that she ended up buying a dress. Well with this being said, I thought it would be hilarious to see what her reaction would be if I showed up in a suit and made her think I stole her look while she would have to suffer through a dress all night. I knew this was going to go one of two ways; she would either be extremely mad at me (until I explained it was a joke), or she would laugh it off and know right away that I wasn’t serious. Luckily for me, it was the latter and she ended up loving the outfit. After exchanging gifts I changed into my dress and we got to enjoy the first look a second time.
Julie: One of our favorites things was having most of our bridal party together in one suit at the hotel. There were so memories made that weekend and we all had such an amazing time. For instance, if anyone slept in longer than the rest of us, we would blast lion king’s “circle of life” on repeat until they woke up. We have the absolute best friends and it made all the difference having them there with us that weekend.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other couples planning their wedding?
Don’t stress on the little things. At the end of the day all that matters is that you are getting to marry the one you love.
If you could change one thing about your wedding what would it be?
The one thing we both wish we could have done is spend more time relaxing on the beach with family and friends. The weekend went by so fast that we feel we didnt get to enjoy it as much as we had hoped. We were so grateful that so many people took the time to travel to a destination wedding and we really wanted to spend more time with each and every one of them.
Why did you choose the wedding venue/location you did?
We chose Pensacola because it was the closest pretty beach that we both liked. We knew we wanted a destination wedding, but we also wanted to keep it somewhat close so that all of our family and friends would still be able to attend.
Did you run into any issues with vendors who were not gay friendly?
Luckily our wedding coordinator was “family” and gave us a list of all the specific vendors who were gay friendly. We obviously only chose those vendors because we didn’t want to run the risk of having any issues. Although, I will say that it was a little annoying to fill out questionnaires for various venues/vendors that only had a bride and groom section. I think there was only one form we filled out that actually let you choose whether it was bride/groom, bride/bride, or groom/groom.
Top 3 things that make a marriage last?
Well we are only a month in, but I think that what has made it work for us so far is having a mutual respect and love for one another. In the eight we have been together we have yet to have a major or serious fight between us. This is because any time one of us gets mad/frustrated at the other, we just don’t talk to each other and sit quietly and think on it rather than explode and say something we will regret. We have learned that 1. it gives you the opportunity to think of the situation in the other persons point of view 2. it gives you time to reflect on why you were even mad in the first place 3. it is boring as hell to sit on the couch together or ride in the car and not talk. So after a while we will both realize that whatever we were frustrated about wasn’t a big deal and we apologize if we were in the wrong. This obviously may not work for everyone, but I think the big take away is that you love the person you are married to. No matter what argument you may have, don’t stoop to the level of insults and playing the blame game. Words can be hurtful, and once they are said there is no going back.
What do you think makes it hard about planning a wedding without the support of your family?
Amber: Most of my family were supportive about the wedding but I did have a few issues with my mom. She has always loved Julie as a person but has never really been on board with the nature of our relationship. I was actually hesitant to even tell her when we got engaged because I wasnt completely sure what her reaction would be. Not that she was ever mad or hurtful, just more so that I knew her reaction would not be that of excitement. I think my mom could sense that there was a distance between us and she called me one day to ask why I wasnt including her in any of the wedding planning. I told her it was because I didnt think she wanted to be involved. We had a pretty good talk and she explained to me that while she still has certain religious views on marriage, it doesn’t change the fact that she loves me and couldn’t be more excited that I found someone as amazing as Julie to spend the rest of my life with. Things went pretty smoothly after that.
Julie: I was very fortunate and had the support from my entire family. The reason it took me so long to come out was because I grew up in a very close knit neighborhood. Lived in the same house growing up so I had so many neighborhood “moms and dads.” My biggest fear was losing any of them or having it effect my family. I can’t say enough that all the worrying I did for 7 years was all pointless. Not only did I have the support from my entire family but also my neighborhood family. Everybody was so accepting of not only me but Amber as well.
Why’d you choose Steph to document your wedding day?
We have been following along on IG for a while and absolutely loved her work. We are so glad we picked her because she made the experience fun and personable. Steph had us laughing pretty much our entire couples shoot and also during our wedding pictures.