Beach wedding at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia
“Our wedding was beachy, loving and simple. Our ceremony was held on the beach at First Landing State Park at sunset. Our wedding vows came from a self-help book called How to Get Married by the School of Life, which offered a unique experience for our friends and family! We could not have asked for a more perfect day. There was a rainbow in the sky, and dolphins and pelicans made appearances. We then shared a delicious meal at the Mermaid Winery where we thanked our friends and family for coming to share our love. I would love to surprise my wife with a publication of our love story for our first wedding anniversary gift (the paper anniversary).” —from Rachel, one half of the couple
Tina and Rachel had a fall wedding on the beach at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Who proposed or did you both?
In 2017, I was living in New York City and Tina was living in Virginia Beach. I made a surprise trip to Virginia in May 2017, and I asked Tina to marry me. Tina’s answer? “A thousand times yes!” The next morning, Tina made me coffee with a side of an engagement ring, and she proposed to me! We had secretly bought rings for each other around the same time.
What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples?
Every couple is unique and wonderful, so tailor your wedding to the beauty that is you. There are no limits to love, so there are no limits to marriage ceremonies. Be creative! You fell in love by chance, but you are getting married because you made a choice: You are choosing each other. Do not lose sight of the love for your partner, in all their imperfections. Planning a wedding can be fun (I promise), and a new and interesting way to bring you closer to your partner, and also to learn more about yourself as an individual! It’s important through it all to stay connected through humility and charity.
Advice for vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples?
Have fun! Be creative. There are so many unique things about any couple, and emphasizing the remarkable beauty of that uniqueness lets the couple shine.
Who walked down the aisle and with whom? Or who (if anyone) waited at the front?
Rachel’s parents walked both Tina and Rachel to the beginning of the aisle, and then Tina and Rachel walked down the aisle, hand in hand.
What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
Luckily, we are in an area where a lot of businesses are open and loving to LGBTQ+ individuals. However, we wanted to book a big Airbnb for family members coming from out of town. There were multiple locations that stopped responding once we mentioned our lesbian wedding, and we were actually never able to book an Airbnb. We didn’t let individual bias get us down, though. We ended up booking cabins at First State Landing Park right near our wedding ceremony, which was perfect.
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
The complete and absolute support from friends, family and local businesses.
Photographer: Mariah J. Johnson
Ceremony Venue: First Landing State Park
Reception Venue: Mermaid Winery
Florist: Norfolk Wholesale Floral
Invitations: Paperless Post
Attire: David’s Bridal
Videographer and Officiant: Meghan Kirwin
Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by Heather Michele Price
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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