Virginia Backyard: Paigh & Kristen
Paigh & Kristen got married in their Virginia backyard on Aug. 17, 2013. “We wanted to celebrate in a place that we could visit often. Our back yard is somewhere we can go every day!” Kristen said. “The intimacy and comfort we felt getting ready in our own home was really special.” Their legal marriage took place earlier in Washington, D.C.
“The ceremony and the place we said our vows was under two trees we can see clearly from the kitchen window over our sink,” Kristen explained. “We wanted to be constantly reminded of one of the most memorable, important, and amazing days of our lives. It was also nice because the money we spent ‘fixing up the back yard’ was an investment in our home.”
The brides hosted about 75 guests. “There was a brief period of time in the wedding planning that I was hurt, badly, by family members who refused to come due to religious or moral objections,” Kristen said. “However, on our wedding day, the enormity of the love cast by those who were there largely overshadowed any feelings of disappointment that could have been felt on behalf of those who did not attend. Important people we’d met at different periods of our lives were able to attend. Paigh’s military buddies came, my old college teammates, roommates, high school friends, local friends, and family members.”
Their officiant was their dear friend, Rosa, who is an ordained Reiki Master, the brides’ spiritual guide, and ‘cosmic mother.’ Rosa is 89 years old and simply vibrates with healing and positive energy, the brides said. She is a Cuban woman who worked most of her life as a social worker and retired as a Professor of Social Work. “When you are with Rosa, you can’t help but feel calm,” Kristen said. “Over the past few years, she has counseled us as partners and individuals. She has challenged us to consider the lesson we are in this life to learn and helps us identify with core aspects of ourselves.”
At their reception, they served tacos from Don’t Look Back RVA, and cupcakes a good friend of Kristen’s had made. Adding to the charm, they had a campfire and s’mores kits. As soon as they served dessert, a summer shower hit and moved the party indoors. “Which, considering we have neighbors, may have been for the best in hindsight, “Kristen said. “We had a microphone in our living room and a sound system set-up. While we did not have speeches, we did have karaoke and many dedicated songs. A LOT of dancing took place in our living room!”
Kristen offers this heartwarming advice to newly engaged couples: Bask in the excitement, but don’t get stressed! Your wedding is one (amazing) day in the rest of your lives together. Stay focused on what a wedding means to you and let the details fall into place. When possible, create a ‘win, win’ when it comes to elements of the wedding. Find something you can both agree on, rather than letting one spouse pick one thing and you pick another thing. For example, you may love seafood and your spouse may love steak, but you both LOVE tacos. Well, why not go with tacos? If some people are unwilling or unable to attend your big day, then shame on them. Live your life. I promise, the focus will be on you and the people that are there when your big day rolls around. Don’t sweat what you cannot control. This can be applied to more than weddings…I am learning.
Denise Oliveira is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City and is the founder of Prequels, where she interviews engaged couples to create wedding invitations and favors that incorporate their love story.