Erin (she/her) and Megan (she/her) are passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, working in their personal lives and their careers as a doctor and lawyer to fight for marriage equality and justice. When they tied the knot, their summer wedding featured a nod to the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.

The Chicago brides married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in a rustic garden ceremony overlooking a lake. Their reception space featured exposed brick and warm lighting that was complemented by green and white florals. Erin and Megan selected eucalyptus, white roses and other white flowers to accompany the gold accents of their wedding decor.

After they got ready separately, the nearlyweds did a first look. The ceremony took place with live strings playing. Megan walked down the aisle first, with both of her parents, followed by the wedding party members. Lastly, Erin entered with her dad and joined Megan at a minimalist circular arch altar.

The queer brides combined their last names, Von Borstel and Klein, into a new one: Von Klein. We caught up with the Von Kleins to hear more about their summer wedding.

Tell us your love story!

We met in St. Louis, Missouri, in the spring of 2016. Megan was completing her final semester of college at Saint Louis University, and Erin was in her first year of medical school at Washington University in St. Louis. What was initially planned to be one drink turned into a four-hour first date as we bonded over a shared love of Chicago, The West Wing and Hillary Clinton. The relationship continued to grow as Megan joined Erin at Washington University in St. Louis for law school. As Erin’s father joked in his wedding speech, as a child, Erin couldn’t decide whether she wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, so she became a doctor and married a lawyer.

Megan and Erin both graduated in the spring of 2019 from law and medical school, respectively, and actively worked to advance LGBTQ+ causes while in school. Erin led the medical school chapter of LGBTQmed and was the student representative on the hospital faculty advisory board, OUTmed, and Megan was on the board of OutLaw. As co-leaders at the same time, we held cross-school mixers, including an LGBTQ+ professional women’s panel for queer women in St. Louis. Elizabeth Blackwell, an attorney, along with her wife, Dr. Kara Sternhell-Blackwell, moderated the panel. As an aspiring doctor and attorney, we gravitated toward Elizabeth and Kara as friends and mentors. Elizabeth officiated our wedding and Kara gave a reading from Obergefell v. Hodges.

Megan likes to say it was never a matter of if, but when, she would propose to Erin. Megan proposed to Erin in Forrest Park, down the street from where we first met five years earlier. Erin proposed back the next day during a hike at a favorite local spot with our dog, Granger, assisting in the proposal.

Tell us about the ceremony.

Our ceremony was largely agnostic; however, as we were both raised Catholic, we included the “Prayers of the Faithful” to acknowledge and honor our relatives who passed and couldn’t be there with us. Our officiant, Elizabeth, asked our parents for advice as we approach this next chapter, which she shared in her message and was very meaningful to us.

It was very important to both of us to acknowledge those who came before us to make it possible to marry. Elizabeth read for us, “Erin and Megan are lucky to live at a time when two women can be married in any state in the union. That has been true for only six years and one day. We take a moment now to acknowledge how far we have come, and honor those who took up the fight before us, mindful that the work is ours to continue.”

How did you personalize your wedding?

The cake was made by Erin’s best friend, and our wedding welcome sign was provided by Erin’s cousin. Erin’s veil was made by Megan’s aunt, with lace from Erin’s mom’s wedding dress. Megan’s aunt altered Megan’s top and made handkerchiefs from both moms’ dresses, plus a pocket square from Megan’s mom’s dress, so we each had “something old.” We walked down the aisle to songs that were meaningful to us: Megan entered to the West Wing theme and Erin to “Lover” by Taylor Swift ft. Canon in D.


What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples or marriers?

Know what you want, and don’t let people tell you there’s a right way to do things. And sometimes people you think are supportive may surprise you. Take strength in each other, your relationship and the queer family you’ve built.

What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?

It can be challenging to find vendors who are experienced in working with LGBTQ+ couples. For some videographers, we looked through more than a hundred videos and did not see any clearly gay or lesbian couples. It was disappointing on vendor forms to sometimes only see spaces for “bride” and “groom.” The process was very gender normative. And while this is not exclusive to LGBTQ+ couples, planning a wedding in the pandemic with all of its uncertainty was tough!

What advice would you give to vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples?

Feature LGBTQ+ couples on your website if you work with LGBTQ+ couples! But really do it; don’t just say you are LGBTQ+ friendly if you don’t regularly cater to the community. The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

RELATED: Learn how to be an LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming wedding vendor

Search our directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding vendors.

Photographer: Reminisce Photography
Videographer: Toast Wedding Films
Day-Of Coordinator: Suzanne Gooding
Ceremony Venue: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Reception Venue: Onesto
Erin’s Attire: Reddington Bridal
Megan’s Attire: Bindle & Keep
Erin’s Ring: Brilliant Earth
Megan’s Ring: Marshall Pierce & Co.
Florist: Reflections of You
Makeup: YAMI MUA; Blush by Brittany
Hair: Ulta Beauty
Cake: Patty Bakes
Signage: Karen Vaughan of Chicago Wood Designs
Ceremony Music: Nancy Maio of Elegant Music Services
Reception Band: Kaleen Dolan (of Red Head Piano Bar in Chicago)

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