Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Begin at the beginning...
So here we are newlyweds packing our bags, boarding a plane headed back to Shanghai for another year.
But let's take a step back and tell you how we got here.

We took the month of July off after slaving away and saving for the past year in China to enjoy the states, see friends and family, get some great eats and of course get MARRIED!
Planning a wedding is hard enough, now try planning a wedding from the other side of the world. It's damn near impossible!
Being expats, you miss out on those exciting  wedding rites of passage like, cake tasting, trying on a number of hideous dresses with your mom and best friends as they ooh and ahhh, sitting down with your officiant, menu tasting, bridal showers with friends and scouring the city for venue locations.
All of our planning was left strictly to emails and scheduled skype dates, sprinkled with a few google voice phone calls to vendors.
It all seemed impossible. About a month out, we were scared that we'd made the wrong decision to go through with the ceremony instead of eloping. However, our families had never met, and it was important for us for our families to witness our love and commitment to one another, and most importantly for it to be a LEGAL marriage.  In spite of all of our reservations about our impending wedding, the one thing we were sure about was each other. We knew at the end of the day, rain or shine, perfect ceremony or not, we would have each other. We would legally be family. So on days when things seemed to fall apart via email, we would look to each other and say " at the end of the day we'll be married" We pulled out our Pinterest boards, scoured the web for Lesbian Wedding blogs and tried our best to mold the wedding day of our dreams from China. Ordering tote bags, signage, getting our dresses made, and even buying rings.
Meanwhile our Chinese co-workers had a million and one questions about us being lesbians and marrying each other. At first I was hesitant to share my personal life with my co workers, but  I thought hey" I'm 30 and I'm marrying this woman" no need to be shy about it. So I shared the news of my impending nuptials with my co workers and so did Graham. Surprisingly they wanted to know EVERYTHING, and even offered to help with wedding favors and such. I'm sure this situation would have turned out differently, if we were two Chinese women, but thankfully this is one time in China where being a "laowai" is an advantage. They asked about how we met, how out parents felt about it, if we planned to have kids and how, and then wanted to know every detail about the wedding. As taken aback as I was by their warm acceptance, it felt good to have a quasi community to share my wedding excitement with.
The time wound down from months to days and suddenly our wedding was a week away, and we were boarding a plane for the states. The week before our wedding was crazy and a bit chaotic. Running around New York City,  and taking care of last minute details. In addition to battling jet lag and reverse culture shock.
The wedding day arrived and we were cool as cucumbers. My soon to be wife put on her ultimate playlist, while bridesmaids ironed, got their make up/hair  done and poured mimosas. It was such a chill vibe. Friends and loved ones surrounded us that morning. It was nothing laughter and love all around.
We arrived at Bethesda Fountain Terrace, I heard the wedding singer belting John Legend's "So High". I got goosebumps and butterflies simultaneously. I could see family and friends awaiting our arrival. Everything we had planned for this past year was happening. Passers by crowded around the outside of the terrace as my mother took me by the arm and guided me through the columns. I looked across the gallery, and I could see my soon to be wife making her way through columns across the terrace with her nephew. I almost lost my breath and tears began to form in my eyes. Hold it together I told  myself. You cant lose the bet and your makeup has to look flawless for pictures. So I fought the urge to cry and tightened my grip on my mother's arm. We made it down the aisle. It was then saw my soon to be wife making her way down the aise and I gasped. She was so beautiful. As the singing stopped, and the officiant began, I took Toya's hands and looked into her eyes, the world around us faded away. In the background I barely made out declarations from the officiant. In that moment she and I are were all that existed. All that mattered. I Do's were said,vows were tearfully made, and promises sealed with the exchange of rings. Our hands were fasted to signify the binding of our love and souls. She to me and I to her. We kissed and became The Roses.
There were cheers, clapping, and even videos and pictures taken by on lookers. It was to date, the happiest moment of my life. It's hard to recall all the specifics because the day went by in such a blur. Toya and I still sit down trying to piece this amazing day together.
We are just thankful to have had such wonderful friends and family support us in our life together. We've had an amazing journey thus far and are excited about for our next steps as The Roses
Until next time...

Feel free to check out some more pictures from our wedding through the blog of our talented wedding photographer Erica Camille :


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