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Real Wedding

Bay Area Backyard Wedding: Sara & Michelle

Cari Courtright Photography

Nov. 27, 2016

It all started in Burlington. Sara was getting her masters degree and Michelle was looking at the University of Vermont as a possibility for her grad program. During her first round of interview days, Michelle tried to talk to Sara, and Sara was pretty snarky and rude and they went their separate ways. A year later, Michelle and Sara found themselves in the same room at the university once again. This time, Sara got hit by Cupid’s arrow and almost dropped a sheet cake big enough to feed 100 people on the floor when she saw Michelle across the room. A hug later, Sara found her heart fluttering in her chest. Their good friend Cornell asked Sara to give Michelle a ride back to her hotel and Sara said OF COURSE!!

The next day, Sara made sure to work her schedule so that she could spend some time with Michelle. They spent three hours talking and distracting each other from their respective tasks. Distraction led to phone calls over the next few weeks which led to bus rides and car trips, weekends and weeks together. Burlington gave way to South Hadley…Michelle helped Sara move and then Sara helped Michelle move in!

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

Two years later, during a job search shortly before Michelle finished her Masters degree, Sara enlisted the help of friends and surprised Michelle with a diamond ring held by Buzz Lightyear himself! Sara asked Michelle if she would spend the rest of her life with Sara and Michelle said YES!! A couple of months later, Michelle came home and asked Sara if she was ready to go to the store, and as Sara was leaving the apartment, Michelle turned Sara around, got down on one knee and asked Sara, with a perfect ring in hand, if she would still love to spend the rest of her life with Michelle and Sara said YES!!

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

Sara and Michelle chose their ranch venue because they wanted to keep their wedding close to home. It was important to Sara for it to be connected to a place that her grandmother enjoyed and her parents’ ranch was one of those final places. They also wanted to be able to create their day from start to finish. They were able to do so many amazing things that made the day truly theirs.

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

Sara and her father were “the brains” behind the operation. Everyone was involved in bringing ideas to the table. Sarah and Michelle made sure that each piece of the day was true to who they were. Lists were made, budgets created, and priorities set. It was important for them to focus on things that were unique to them, incorporating established traditions and creating some of their own. They also wanted to make sure that they incorporated their guests in the day and implemented several things that engaged them throughout the day (post ceremony group photo with rainbow mustaches, ring blessing/passing of the rings, technology-free ceremony).

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

According to Sara and Michelle, their first look was the best moment of the day followed very closely by walking each other down the aisle. They would do the first look over and over again if they could.

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

The newlyweds shared the following advice for other couples planning same-sex weddings: “Be prepared for the microagressions. Stay true to who you two are. Do not let the pressure of the heteronormative context of getting married prevent you from thinking outside of that box and creating a day that looks beyond what is expected by others. Be willing to try new things and remember that you are in this together; that some days it is going to be challenging and it will get to you but remember to breathe and stick together as a unit. Find someone you can process with along the way, a trusted friend or family member or even a counselor/therapist. Take time off from planning and spend time with each other as you go so that you can center yourselves and refocus. And above all else, love each other, deeply. And have fun!”

Cari Courtright Photography
Cari Courtright Photography

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: Cari Courtright Photography // Floral Designer: Laura’s Floras // Cake Designer: Masse’s Pastries //Caterer: Handheld Catering // DJ: DJ Justin from JustINtertainment // Rentals: AM Party Rentals  // Dress: David’s Bridal  // Custom Suit: Saint Harridan

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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