26 Apr THE COLONY HOUSE LESBIAN WEDDING // Orange County, CA
GET TO KNOW NIKKI & JEN!!
How long have you been together?
2717 days, but who’s counting. ( about 7.5 years)
Where do you two live? Tell us a little bit about what you both spend a majority of your time doing.
We live in Signal Hill, CA which is basically a little city surrounded by the big city of Long Beach. On one side, we have an amazing view of the Port of Long Beach, the Queen Mary and the surrounding beaches and on the other, a view of Downtown LA, the Hollywood sign (if you look closely), the mountains, and Long Beach Airport. We love it here!
Now that we’re not in school or planning a wedding, we have started organizing our house and resuming home improvement projects that had been put on hold. We enjoy traveling, staying active, cooking, hanging with friends and family and our two cats Meeko and Kai. When we’re not at home, we’re out exploring new places or new things to do in Long Beach. We’re working on that work/life balance thing and enjoying all that we’re lucky to have and experience.
What is the first thing you remember about the other when you first met?
N: Our first date is a blur, but from what I can remember, I was struck with how open and honest she was. Coming from similar relationships prior to meeting, we ended up having a lot in common which wasn’t typical for someone our age. The connection was exhilarating, in many ways, and I was instantly head over heels for her. We had been talking for a few weeks before meeting in person, had our first date on a Wednesday, and spent every remaining night that week going on dates together. 2717 days later, still head over heels.
J: When I met Nikki what drew me to her was her confidence, I joke that she walked as though she owned the ground beneath her. Over the course of the date I realized that she was actually nervous and shy. I took it upon myself to make the first move to pull her out of her shell, which is hilarious because when one thinks “Nikki” the last thing they probably think is “shell.” She picked it up from there and we spent an obnoxious number of hours out together. Those hours turned into days, months, and years, and here we are! My nervous first date turned out to be an assertive, resourceful, extreme extrovert, and the all around best-friend-you-could-ever-ask-for.
How did the proposal go down?
N: We had a group trip to Maui, Hawaii planned with our best friends and I knew I wanted to propose on the trip. Nothing with us is ordinary, and I didn’t necessarily want to do a typical beach proposal. Watching the sunrise from the top of Haleakala was on the itinerary, and what better way to bring in this new chapter of our lives, than with a sunrise at almost 10,000 ft elevation.
We went the first day of the trip, woke up at 2 am, although I hardly slept the night before, to make the trek across the island to the top of Haleakala. We froze ( it was so cold up there!) , took selfies, watched the sun come up through the clouds with our best friends, took more photos, and then walked to another viewpoint on the top. My friends helped me put this video together with photos of all of our greatest memories… 8 minutes worth! Which was loaded up on an iPad to show Jennifer.
I handed her the iPad, and we all stood around for the longest 8 minutes of my entire life. After she was done watching, I dropped down onto one knee and asked her to marry me, although not much came out! I’m such a softie, I could barely keep it together. Here’s a clip of that.
The week of the trip I actually spent hours every evening at the boys’ house, working on this video. Jennifer thought I was trying to evade the inevitable packing crisis for a 10 day trip, but really we were tediously putting together this video. It was everything I wanted it to be.
J: Maui is like heaven on earth and the proposal was more than I could’ve EVER imagined, much like our lives together. I still pinch myself in disbelief.
Was there a memory from your wedding that sticks out more than others?
N: Our first dance was my favorite part of the evening. We had kept our first dance song a complete secret from everyone and took secret dance lessons with a local instructor to come up with choreography for it. The song was “Stand by me” by Florence and the Machine. I was the most nervous about messing it up, but once the song came on, the crowd disappeared and it was just my wife and me.
J: I was so proud of Nikki for leading us through our first dance. After 10 months of lessons and me learning more and more to follow her lead. It was amazing and a real analogy for our marriage itself. The practice for the two of us to move in synchronicity.
The funniest moment for me was getting to the thank you speech and realizing we didn’t prepare anything which is SO not us. With lights and cameras on me I felt like a deer in the headlights. Ha! I thanked our guests, kinda shrugged and said “Life is great. For me anyway.” and told our guests to find me on the dance floor. It’s true. Our wedding was a dream come true. LIFE IS GREAT and what better way to celebrate than to DANCE.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other couples planning their wedding?
N: They say hindsight is 20/20 and when you’re in the beginning stages, it feels like you have either all the time in the world, or no time at all. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but take your time to make everything your own. We utilized Etsy to add some personal touches, and only included things that felt like “us”. It’s easy to get lost in the internet searching for that perfect thing, but at the end of the night, nobody is going to realize you spent weeks scrutinizing font styles or florals, they’ll remember how care-free and happy you both were on your big day.
J: I kept reminding Nikki through the process it’s whatever WE want it to be. Don’t feel obligated to make decisions based on the desires of others. You WILL go off schedule so don’t feel guilty about it, don’t rush through photos, the professionals likely utilized buffer time and really at the end of the day it’s about YOU and YOUR PARTNER. The guests can wait. And for goodness sake, by all means greet your guests, but make time for yourself to relish in it, AND DANCE. It’s over in the blink of an eye!
Did you run into any issues with vendors who were not gay friendly?
We didn’t run into any issues with vendors, but we’re lucky to live in a big city where there are many LGBT inclusive businesses and vendors. If i was unsure, I would start off with ” we’re a same sex couple” just to give them the heads up, but we had no issues with any interactions.
Top 3 things that make a marriage last?
J: Whew! I don’t know that I’m an expert just yet but like we said in our vows:
2. Encouragement to grow as individuals
3. Patience with yourself and the other
N: Patience, consideration, and wanting to actually be in love.
Why’d you choose Steph to document your wedding day?
Personality, editing style and her ability to make you feel comfortable with a giant camera pointing at you.
Wedding Planner: Moxie Bright Events / @moxiebrightevents
Venue: The Colony House / @thecolonyhouse
Catering & Bar: 24 Carrots Catering & Events / @24carrotscatering
Photography: Steph Grant Studios / @imsteph
Videography: Viken Productions / @vikenproductions
DJ: DJ Keelez / @djkeelez
Florals: Florals by Jenny / @floralsbyjenny
Chuppah Rental: My Chuppah / #mychuppah
Photobooth: Snap Cam / @snapcamphotobooth
Officiant: Joann Lane / @ceremoniesdevie
Cake: Samantha Cakes N Bakes / @samanthacakesnbakes
Hair & Makeup: Face It Sugar / @faceitsugar
Nikki’s Attire: Sharpe Suiting / @sharpesuiting
Jennifer’s Attire: David’s Bridal / @davidsbridal
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