Rachel + Kristen

Wedding Colors: yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, gold

Wedding Location: The Halyard, Greenport, NY

Wedding Season: winter

Brides Kristen and Rachel joked that they’d never have a rainbow themed wedding. They love that rainbows symbolize inclusivity and pride, but, for them, they needed a more personal connection to the symbol before they would decide to integrate it into their wedding day. Then Kristen met Rachel, and during a time when Rachel’s nephew was battling a rare childhood cancer. Rainbows became the family’s symbol for hope while sweet Paxton battled this terrible disease. This symbol became a deep connector for Kristen and Rachel during these difficult times and would become a point of inspiration for their wedding day. Also to be as a sign of remembrance for their sweet nephew.

When it came to the wedding, it was a beautifully serene winter week in Greenport, NY and the 3-day affair was everything they hoped for and more. It was held at the Soundview Inn – the historic hotel that is made up of several restaurants, bars and gift shops as well as The Halyard, which houses the hotel’s guest rooms and venue.

The “marital marathon” kicked off with a welcome party of signature drinks, taco and slider stations and Black and White cookies. (One of Kristen’s favorites as a surprise from Rachel.) Wedding guests were also given “Wedding Welcome Survival” bags filled with all the weekend wedding necessities.

The next morning, the BIG day, it was a beautiful, cloudless day. The perfect backdrop for their wedding. Rachel wore a classic satin A-line ball gown with capped sleeves and a slit exposing her fuchsia and blue patterned heels. Kristen, a boho-chic beaded fit and flare dress with beautiful handmade mesh sleeves and a braided warrior princess faux-hawk ponytail.

With the wintery, muted tones of the Long Island Sound just outside the Soundview Inn, the venue space was an explosion of jewel-toned wild flowers and greenery. During the ceremony Kristen explained in her vows that Rachael “brought color to her world.” A perfect comparison to the warmth the flora-blasted woodland theme brought to the winter backdrop right outside, just behind them.

As the reception heated up, drag star and Colorado “Entertainer of the Year” winner, Jessica L’Whor, got the crowd on their feet with fiery renditions of “This is Me”, “River Deep – Mountain High”, and Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”

The couple danced the night away with their family and friends. They then closed out their wedding week ringing in the New Year in New York City with their core wedding party. An amazing way to start their new year as newlyweds.

Scroll beyond the photos to see the couple’s Q&A answers!

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

We met in Denver, CO. A city where neither of us actually lived. Rachel from New York and myself from Wyoming. We met during a down-pouring of fate with a sprinkle of help from everyone’s favorite matchmaker, Mrs. Tinder.

Rachel was in Denver for a long-term family emergency, and I happened to be there on a fun weekend trip with friends. We dated long distance until I moved to NY.

Rachel was the quickest on the draw and proposed on Christmas Eve 2019 after getting back to Denver from attending a “make-a wish” trip to Disney World. I waited a few weeks after to present Rachel with her ring. On New Year’s day 2020, after we made it across the country to our now home in NY, I surprised Rachel with a proposal.

Tell us about your wedding!

Only 2 months after finally getting settled in our NY home, COVID locked us all down. During this time, we spent a lot of time planning our wedding. We ended up having to reschedule two different times due to the pandemic. With all the changes we kept positive attitudes and a flexible outlook. We had to downsize drastically, change venues, and mold to different government and private venue COVID policies. We kept our eye on the prize and knew our wedding wouldn’t be what we envisioned unless everyone was (and felt) safe, healthy, and happy.

Our wedding was held at The Halyard at The Sound View Inn in Greenport, NY on December 29, 2021. Our theme was giving back love to all of our most important people that were finally (after the COVID lockdown) in the same room together, most for the very first time. Family and friends came from all over the country to attend. A mid-week, mid-winter celebration took place where we were finally able to share our love and gratitude with everyone. This party was FILLED with love and well overdue. It held up to the hype, proving to make up for the lack of gatherings and time apart.

Let’s talk wedding decor.

This is where JP, from Amplified Weddings & Events, got to really let their talent shine! They created the most beautiful version of our vision and magically brought it to life in only the way experienced event gurus could. Plus Kristen’s creative mind and basic lesbian knowledge of power tools allowed her to craft a wedding arch where the couple would exchange their own vows. Our style was simple and colorful. We wanted the room to feel like a thoughtful, cheerful smile. I’m glad you’re asking about the florals next, because THEY made the mood.

What were the florals like in your wedding?

The florals and the color scheme were the basis of the wedding design. Elegant, boho, mid-winters day infused with THE MOST COLOR! After all, it is a gay wedding. The bouquets and table/room florals were hand selected AND crafted by JP himself and stunned even the most picky guests! Phone calls and emails were received for weeks after the event with guests who were still gushing over how gorgeous the florals were.

Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

There were many personal and sentimental touches to our wedding. We tried to combine New York and Wyoming aesthetics – even in the signature cocktail, which we named “ the mermaid cowboy”, fusing the ocean to the wild west.

Our most favorite moment?! When our favorite drag queen, whom we flew in from Denver, CO, interrupted our first dance with the first of 5 AMAZING performances. Including a flash mob to “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. This choreographed number was rehearsed by select friends/family from all over the country. They never got to practice together but instead learned the routine via a top secret instructional video made by our incredible friend Tim Edwards. The first time everyone performed it together was at the reception and it did NOT disappoint. (We have video proof!)

Give us all the details about the proposal!

BOTH proposals were surprises! Rachel utilized a home video of Rachel’s niece (Kensi, 5) and nephew (Paxton, 3) that was filmed before Paxton’s passing (hence the 9 month emergency that had her in Denver). Rachel showed the video to me on their balcony at Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver at sunset. I watched the video of both Kensi and Paxton saying “Aunt Kristen, will you marry Aunt Rachel?” as Rachel held a custom ring designed by her cousin (Meg C Jewelry, KY) in her shaking fingers waiting for my response. After I said yes, we went out in the city to celebrate, called family and friends to share the good news and spent the Christmas holiday in Colorado and Wyoming before setting off on a cross country roadtrip to NY.

We made it to NY on New Year’s eve at 11:50 PM where we taped our eyelids open to watch the ball drop before going to sleep. I had designed Rachel’s ring and had it custom made by a boutique jeweler in Tel Aviv (Artemer) the previous fall. The morning of New Year’s Day I surprised Rachel with a cup of much needed coffee and a private proposal. Rachel said yes back…whew.

Let’s talk wedding fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

We both chose our dresses separately, with our moms, sisters and a few friends. The first time we saw each other was our first look! Which was private, outside of our venue, right on the wintery beach.

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

We were excited mostly for the little touches that we put thoughtfulness, personality, and energy into! One of those was our game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that we played in front of our guests which decided who would walk down the aisle first (so many extra choices being a same-sex couple). Others included our first look, the flash mob, and our surprise drag queen. If you’ve never tricked people into coming to a drag show by having a wedding, then you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

Make it a point to figure out a way to share the best parts of your love with your guests, then make the day of the wedding about each other and being together with everyone. CELEBRATE LOVE. Oh, and have a best friend who is a wedding planner. That helps the most! (Wink)

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Photographer: Tara Beth Photography
Wedding Planner: Amplified Weddings & Events
Venue: The Halyard