It was a calmly cool, dewy, gentle breeze kind of morning – the kind of dreamy childhood post-state awakening when you’re reminded of petrichor scents and soft sand footprints. The day I married the man I love, is one I will always remember..
Feathered friends cooed to my consciousness; seagulls’ close-by calls turned into distant echoes. A 4am morning like no other – I turned to set eyes on my soon-to-be husband, who had so responsibly coaxed me awake. As a notorious late-sleeper, who had already life-lined a 30-minute snooze, I sprung out of bed in a haste. The reminder of our wedding day and that I had so optimistically appointed myself dual makeup artist/hair stylist for the occasion was more than enough to wake up the future Mrs. Fraser.
Our bedside letters to one another graced matching nightstands and I entered the second bedroom to begin the bridal-glam transformation process. Wading between pre-sanitized, mass makeup-ordered products, my eyes drifted up to the custom ‘Jenny’ by Jenny Yoo bridal gown (White Dress By The Shore). My gaze caught the garment bag’s outer calligraphy card that read, ‘The Future Mrs. Fraser. I couldn’t help but smile. Pristinely boxed, white vintage-rocker ‘Linea Paolo’ booties waited for their moment. Nexus crystal bridal hairpins rested within magnetized gold packaging, upon fluffed and folded tissue paper.
I would have married him in my pajamas.
And so it began..
Brushes danced wistfully with blushes, bronzers and highlights; beauty blenders baked-in soft translucent powders, deep bridal rose pencils rouged soft, exfoliated lips; pencils followed shaped brows and eyelids with fluidity, pronounced with grey-mauve bridal shades and complimentary seashell whites beginning to sparkle. The setting powder locked in a masterpiece as gentle bridal curls joined the party. This 3 ½ hour morning dance was well worth the look on my patient, saint-of-a hubby’s face, as I finally opened the door – dress, boots, makeup, hair and jewelry ready.
My love was a vision in blues, no other man wears those colors quite like him. The only one I see; the only man I know who can command a room with a beret. Gold shining, dress shoes glowing. Those eyes, that smile, those dimples…whoo mama! How I love this man.
This look I like to keep forever on my heart, especially for him and I. Only my ‘memory camera’ for capture, that is a gaze I will hold dear always. We were ready to marry one another, as soon as humanly possible.
We gathered our keepsakes; @upstrokecreative vow books, wedding bands, marriage license, custom bouquet by my Mom, generational jewelry from both sides of our loving families, pre-packaged, gift-wrapped champagne from Mom & Dad, and we were off – to become husband + wife.
When I speak on our wedding, all I can say is that it felt as if the heavens kissed the earth and gazed into its vibration with warming, loving energy for the 5 hours we spent in nature; in unapologetic celebration of our love. Our guested seagull family, audience of 8, tide-rode nearby as the waves soundly met the shore; watching us say our vows, as we chased each other in the sands and loved on one another with warm embraces and gentle-mist kisses. Our souls united together in the midst of what seemed like never-ending beauty.
There was so much going on outside of us that had no place in our celebration of love; news wasn’t worthy, unrest was uninvited, anxiety took an audience seat on the park bench for our eternity. The feelings we felt enveloped everything – light, airy, in love, connected, fully and irrevocably present. This was our time and we basked in the moment.
Many of you don’t know our story, so I will tell it to you again. Our story is magic and has always been our bright light in the midst of shadows..
Thomas and I met at my cousin Frank’s New Year’s Eve party circa 2016. Tom + Frank had served overseas together in Afghanistan; bro’s for life.
At the time, Thomas and I hadn’t met one another yet. I had moved back home from New York, Tom was living in RI, and we had both had our fill of ill-suited, broken relationships; fully embracing what it would mean to live life solo.
That night, neither of us had any monumental intentions to ring in the new year. I had free tickets to attend a work-sponsored event, but after considering potential repercussions of booze-induced casino traffic, and facing the unappealing reality of attending solo, plans changed and I made the call to attend my cousin’s party instead.
My Grandparents were spending NYE celebrating with my parents, and before I left the house, my Grandmother says to me, ‘You know, you’re going to meet someone..’ I smiled to humor her, assuring that there was no reason to believe that as truth. Little did I know, I would meet my husband that night, and those words I would carry with me, resonating within my heart forever.
I remember walking through the door of my cousin’s place, nostalgic hello’s and new introductions followed; fun throwback drinking games ensued and in a quiet corner moment, Thomas and I spoke for the first time; and that was it.
Looking back, I knew It then. It was like speaking to the only person who understood my heart in totality, who resonated at the exact same unique frequency; like speaking to a soul from the same planet and that planet wasn’t this one. It was like Thomas and I had lived together in all moments before this one, we just ebb and flowed so effortlessly in conversation with one another; veils stripped bare. I saw his soul and he saw mine; honestly in entirety; no pleasantries, no small talk, no facades; just real everything.
Time was irrelevant; in fact, I think a few hours passed and I had no knowledge of what time it was, how much had passed or exactly where it went off to.
Once we connected, that was it; I could see only him in a room full of people. In the midst of endless conversational magic, 12PM struck, a crescendoed blur of ‘Happy New Year’s’ rang in the air from guests, kazoo sounds slowed into distant echoes. Our lips met; and it sealed a fate I already knew to be true. This was my soul partner; this was the man I was going to marry.
Our sleepless, all-night talks drifted into a 6am morning hour sunrise; as we shared in unparalleled laughter. We were catching each other up on life’s greatest adventures; our biggest feats and deepest scars. The laughter – oh, how we laughed. I have never shared so much joy with another being in my entire life; sense of humor twinning at its finest. We spent as much time as we could together within those 24 hours, knowing that we’d have to return to our predestined realities; but we both knew then, as we do now, in a moment, the universe had united us together and like magnets, we could not stay separated for long.
We went on to spend a year and a half long-distance; filled with weekend drives between Massachusetts and Connecticut; a route we instinctively know like the back of our hands. We’d share glorious memory-filled moments each weekend; making time for adventure, inside jokes, countless new places and warm embraces. With each goodbye, tear-soaked kisses became the norm and I would miss by best friend always. Through FaceTime movie nights, long phone calls and forever texts, we refused to let go of what we’d found in one another.
And then, after a year and a half of long distance, Thomas and I moved into our apartment together with our fur child Leo. We continued learning each other, trusting each other, and growing with one another in love. We had built one heck of a foundation; one that we were both proud of. It took time, effort; transcending our fears, tackling insecurities and reforming our truths. With patience, kindness, understanding, loyalty and love, we put the work into our relationship and love graciously did the rest.
Thomas is my life’s greatest love story, a verse stated in our vows that serves as a constant reminder of how dear I hold him to my heart. I had always prayed to share life and a beautiful love with a man destined for me. To have Thomas here, by my side, as my husband and soul partner is a blessing I am forever grateful for.
Both of us have seen the dark side of romantic relationships; the depth of heartbreak, the pain of love unrequited, the shadows of ill-suited, toxic and tainted love. And yet, without having seen and experienced the full spectrum of ‘non-love’ as individuals, we would not have understood what it means to enter into the sacredness of marriage with the full intentionality that we have today. The care, the kindness, the respect, the unabounding love as a couple; that is such a treasure for us both. Our scars are deep, but our healing is powerful and our love transcendent.
Getting married amidst a global pandemic was never part of the plan. One thing many of you don’t know is the part of weddings that aren’t discussed; the absolutely f*ckery that is wedding planning.
Don’t get me wrong, I would do absolutely anything for this man; including go full bridezilla if I had to. But, I have to say that our initial experience wedding planning was a bit of a spirit killer; dressed in lace, decorated in Edison string lights, lit up in sparklers, amidst gorgeous florals inside dream venues. Elements of weddings are breathtakingly beautiful; an industry that creates magical, love-filled moments to last a lifetime.
But, to keep it real, I’m about to be unapologetically introspective with ya’ll: wedding planning was the dementor to my Harry Potter; the chili to my Kevin Malone; the Savitar to my Flash. Think of your life’s biggest arch nemesis, multiply it by 10 and give it steroids.
Let me make this clear: I loved being engaged and love being married to my best friend, lover and soul partner. Every single moment.
I did not *repeat did not* enjoy full panic attack meltdowns from the pressure of trying to figure out how to afford a $20K wedding. I did not *repeat did not* enjoy the concept of trying to fit the abundance of our love into a 4-hour, event-based industry mold.
The freakin stress.
The more I thought about a traditional wedding, the more I realized how much no venue could ever compliment, reflect or captivate our wildly free-spirited, passionate, ethereal love. The more I thought about place settings, the more I envisioned us shotgunning a rogue bottle of champagne after ‘I do’s’. The more I thought about our massive guest list, the more I daydreamed about what it would be like to be locking eyes with the man I love, fully present with one another, saying our vows intimately. The more I thought about string lights, candle votives and greenery accents, the more I thought about the glow of a morning sunrise, the whisper of the wind on our faces and sea salt breezes, with our feet in the sand.
Our spirits are wildly in love and our hearts are pure starlight; it just didn’t feel like the industry quite knew what to do with us.
Tom and I had originally planned the entirety of our big, traditional wedding; the rustic wood-floor barn venue, Edison chandeliers, string lights, skyline vows, greenery florals, candle votives, calligraphy invites, gold place setting accents, brick oven pizza and barbecue trucks, four-course meals, charcuterie boards, the DJ, officiant, makeup artist + stylist, photographer, hotel room blocks, transportation and a 200-person guest list. We planned the f*ck out of that wedding. Are there awards for this stuff..?
As contracts sat in the inbox waiting to be signed for finalization, we reflected on our plans. We looked at it; we sat with it; we asked ourselves within the midst of all the stress, if this was how we truly wanted to celebrate our love. Did we want to get married this way, was this the way we wanted to promise forever to each other; in this stressful, loud, high-energy, superficial chaos. Was this us?
We looked at the bill vs. what we could save to start our lives as husband + wife and the many adventures we could have together, with it. We tried to justify 20K for a 4-hour celebration; we really tried. And when we did, we briefly smiled at the idea. But smiles quickly faded when we started thinking about what it would mean giving up. We thought about what it would be like waking up each morning in our house together; with our own yard and a driveway. What it would be like hosting get-togethers, Friendsgiving’s, family nights, having morning coffee on the porch, taking dog walks on our street, going on evening jogs together, loud pillow fights, with shameless naked Sundays (yup, it’s a thing).
When we thought about all those things, weighed all of our options, we thought about the memories we could make in our first home together. It wasn’t even a question; four hours vs. forever.
We made the call, dropped the vendor contracts and began planning an adventure elopement in Colorado. We were set to say our vows amidst dreamy sunrise sandstone formations at 6,400 ft. The photographer, officiant, florist, makeup artist, hair stylist, week-long resort stay and non-refundable/round-trip flights were booked. The excursions planned, travel accommodations made, marriage license pre-filed and wedding dress good-to-go. We were ready to take off on March 19, 2020 @ 5AM out of PVD to DEN. And then it happened.
As the months approached weeks counting down to our wedding day, we excitedly celebrated our upcoming marriage plans and how seamlessly the elopement plans came together. As our excitement grew, a global pandemic spread. The fast-acting COVID-19 had approached the states; China was in full totalitarian lock-down, followed by Italy and we were next. Tom and I were clinging on to hope that everything would be fine, that things would clear up, concerns would fizzle out and our flight could be safely taken.
One week before our wedding, pandemic news worsened, and denial was strong. A ton of tears and ‘harsh-reality’ conversations later, less than a few days before our ceremony, we called it. It was too risky to fly; international travel had been banned and domestic travel strongly advised against. At the last minute, I watched friends cancel their own intricate, year-long- planned weddings, international family vacations, gorgeous honeymoons and all-inclusive cruises. And then, we too, let go of plans for our Colorado-based elopement. It was a tough break and we were devastated. But, at the heart of it, we still just wanted to get married. We weren’t giving up so easily.
Tom and I agreed, within the days leading up to our wedding, that we would do everything in our power, with whatever we had left, to keep our date and plan our elopement locally.
With just a few days to pull it all together, fate stepped in and we watched it work.
If anyone would like to know the hard, honest truth, we gave it up. We gave it to God and just said, ‘If this is meant to be for us, if this is our time, it will be. We will do everything we can to make this happen, and if it works out, great! And if it doesn’t, we just go with the flow; with acceptance, perseverance and patience that our time, to celebrate our love, will come.’
After our mutual pow wow/mantra, we joined forces stronger than ever before and went to work. I called on my Instagram network of east-coast wedding vendors, in a last-minute, hail-Mary plea to ‘bring it home’ for Tom and I. After obtaining a list of officiants from the town-hall, Tom made over 50 calls; one officiant responded, and that was the one who married us.
The vendor response was truly astonishing.
I just want to take a minute to say…there are people out there who really believe in love and it is the reason behind their passion. These are people who are happy to help create the magic, just for magic’s sake. We needed your help, and you came to us selflessly, arms open, without expectation; with abundant kindness and empathy. Tom and I are so thankful to each and every one of you who reached out to help save our day. By the same token, we are also honored that we could be a catalyst in momentary reminders for the reason behind your passion for what you do; love.
A plethora of east-coast photographers reached out to Tom and I, excitedly offering to be part of our special day. We just want to say to all of these amazing artists: thank you, thank you, thank you! Your readiness to help us during our time of need, in celebration of our love was absolutely breathtaking. My jaw hit the floor reading all of your messages, and from the bottom of our hearts, although we could not work with each of you, we are honored that you offered a rescuing hand to help capture the magic of our wedding day!
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! @kaybrookephotography, @abigailreneephotography, @micheleiljaziphotography, @megan.niger, @photographyct, @devolveimagingphotography, @xclusive_weddings, @awildflowermama, @kaylasimonphotos, @sarahnoelephotography, @krussophoto, @bleedingheartshots, @arielgrondinphoto, @victoriaveneziano
And a special thank you to all those who shared our story, spread the word, offered to their services, remained available throughout the decision process and provided kind words of love, support and encouragement!
To all the vendors + incredible people who will always have such a special place in our hearts (whether it was big-wedding plans, west-coast elopement dreams or stepping in to save the day last minute) we love + thank all of you! I highly recommend any of these absolutely outstanding professionals: @whitedressbytheshore @demelisatelier @calleeolivia @upstrokecreative @deannaelysemua @hairartistrybyjamiep @angelicaglobeauty_ @simplyeloped @allenhillfarm @onthespotcatering @thewildgyp @creevictoria_beauty @themanewave @glambygee @alightphotog @harpergracephoto @boulderblooms @ggresortandclub @forestandivoryfilms @kierstinjones @olikingfilm @allieatkissonimaging @sgprodj @thefirepizzacompany
I will be forever grateful to our incredibly loving families and friends who have supported Tom and I’s journey together in understanding our choice on how we wanted to get married – with empathy, grace, love and kindness. We are really blessed with an incredible support system of beautiful souls and are lucky to have each and every one of you in our lives. You guys were there for us every step of the way, helping to make it magical throughout and we are so thankful for you. Having family on both sides who supported and understood our choices, is more than we could have ever hoped to ask for. Hope ya’ll are ready for the home-warming/house party/backyard wedding celebration (coming soon – date TBD!)
On Friday, March 20, 2020 with the help of our CT community of amazing souls + loving families, Thomas Charles Fraser and I said our vows of ‘I do’ intimately, uniting together as one on our journey through life together. In the presence of our generous officiant, and with the loving lense of our incredible photographer, Kaylee Cardoso (@kaybrookephotography); on the beach sand near the waves where Tom proposed, we became husband and wife, for the first time (in this lifetime) ever, Mr. & Mrs. Fraser.
I want to give a special shout-out to our wedding photographer, Kaylee Cardoso, who was an absolute joy + blessing to meet/work with! Her energy was truly magnetic, and she immediately felt like family. Her work stands alone as one-of-a-kind; she laughed with us, celebrated with us, adventured with us, cried with us, and took the time to let us be ever-present in our love together. The positive things I have to say about this human being are endless. I believe that Tom and I were truly blessed to have Kaylee with us on our wedding day and having her capture our love was such an unforgettable experience.
These past few months have been nothing short of incredible. Tom and I have explored so much of ourselves and it has forced us to ask ourselves who we are as people, as a couple, to define what we truly want and to have the power and strength of our love tested. On countless occasions, of one thing I am always certain; our love always triumphs.
Life is beautiful; beautifully flawed, unpredictable, breathtaking, unforgettable and full in moments of pure magic and miracles. I am so thankful, so blessed for everything we’ve learned, especially within the past year, as it has truly brought us closer together.
This beautiful life, will always have its moments that test us, but we will always have the choice to choose perception. As I look at life through the eyes of love, with the man I’ve always prayed for, I know that this life is good.
We grow, and it hurts sometimes – many times in ways that we can’t yet understand or comprehend. But with everything we’ve endured and triumphed through, not only as individuals, but as a couple thus far, I’m here to tell you that for all the hard times and tough lessons you endure, there are miracles waiting for you in the midst.
Be still, be calm, and know that when the time is right your soul will claim your miracles. And it will be right, and it will be good. Have patience, have faith; for your love Is strong and your life, in and of itself, is a miracle to behold.
To the man I love, you changed my stars the night we met. I am so proud to be your wife.