Whitney and I met in 2007 when we both transferred to Pacific University in Oregon to finish up our bachelors degrees. At the last minute, she replaced one of my other three assigned roommates. When she showed up on moving day, she and her family unloaded a plethora of pink décor that made me certain we could never possibly be friends, but over the next three months, her kind heart, open-mindedness, drive, and fun energy drew me closer to her. She made me feel at ease, and finally, after what felt like an eternity trying to make sure she had similar feelings, we embarked on an unconventional way to start a relationship: as roommates, and sharing the space with two other students.
November 10th marked ten years from our first kiss. I had planned to propose this day, but the engagement ring I ordered was still in the mail. I didn’t think Whitney remembered the significance of the day, but it turns out she did…
When we first started dating, I bought her a silicon ring out of a 25 cent machine and she wore it for years until it broke. The night of the 10th, she was really late getting home from work because she drove to three grocery stores to find a 25 cent machine to get a plastic container that holds the toys that come out of these machines. She had bought a silicon Qalo ring for me, engraved with “Heartlines,” a song by Florence and the Machine (our favorite concert we have attended together). She put that ring in that plastic container and proposed that night, catching me totally off guard! I was too excited to care that she beat me to the punch.
Whitney and I love a good craft beer, so when she threw out the idea of getting married in a brewery, I didn’t even ask her which one, I just told her that was the best idea I’d ever heard. Right Proper Brewing Co. was the only venue we visited, because their great Belgian style beers and the industrial-yet-intimate brew house provided us with the perfect wedding vibe we were looking for.
We helped one another pick out our dresses, because we wanted to make sure that whatever tones of white/ivory/cream/etc. we each chose weren’t going to clash. [Editor’s note: this is so important! If you want to maintain the surprise, send a trusted friend shopping with both of you, with a swatch.]
Our dresses were quite different and reflected our individuality.
We picked décor that fit in with the industrial brewery feel: a lot of greenery, including some hops cut from Whitney’s dad’s hops garden in Oregon. I love to build things, so I stained and constructed the wedding altar that we used in the brew house that we covered in hops shaped as thin wreaths. We used growlers instead of vases for our flowers, and scattered those throughout the space.
We wanted a relaxing and free flowing reception, and we love food trucks, so we booked two to park on the back patio of the brewery. Rocklands is one of our favorite BBQ places in Alexandria, and Red Zebra has some great wood-fired pizza. When we couldn’t pick between our favorite donut and cupcake shops in Alexandria, we decided to have both for dessert!
When I was living in Colorado, I was fortunate to meet a wonderful guy, Andy, who started a Lutheran house church that had a lot of Lutheran tradition, with a focus on service, justice, and welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. We asked him to officiate our wedding.
We wanted our ceremony to be fun and incorporate a few traditions with a fun spin. First, we opened the bar before the ceremony so everyone could have a drink for our mid-ceremony toast. For a unity ceremony, we each chose our favorite beer from Right Proper and blended them. We distributed this unity beer to all our parents and siblings before the toast with the rest of our guests.
Whitney and I each wrote our own vows. Each of these included some good laughs, and both included a reference to all that pink décor that scared me the day she moved in as my roommate.Read More