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Krystle + Jason, Love’s Brew

At the end of summer, Krystle and Jason exchanged vows and celebrated the formal start of their new union at Sand Castle Winery, which is situated along the banks of the Delaware River in Pennsylvania’s historic Bucks County. With the majority of Krystle’s family living in the Midwest and her parents having met her groom on only two occasions (the second of which was a funeral), she wanted “to have our story told” so their guests could have the opportunity to learn more about who they were as a couple.  For Jason, it was important that they honor their families and that their guests see how important his and Krystle’s partnership was.

Love’s Start:
“In the case of Jason and Krystle, it took about two years, a lot of prompting, prodding and fixing up attempts before love started to brew, because as Jason puts it, ‘he was a professional.' Don’t misunderstand he wasn’t blind.  He first noticed Krystle about the time she started working at National Life. Jason had swooped in to save the day and help Krystle set up the AV on a presentation she was to give.

As the months went on, he continued to pay attention when his boss Darcy suggested that Krystle sit in on a bunch of meetings with him for an on-going project. And, as a ‘professional’ in the field of ‘information’ he was absolutely invested when Krystle was interrupted in the middle of a training session and asked (kind of not professionally) if she was single?

The Professional/Personal lines can get blurry and complicated in the modern day workplace. But now that Jason knew that Krystle was single, he was ready to take action, “I called her office line and got her voicemail, so I hung up. I called back, got her voicemail, and hung up. Around this time, she had returned to her office and assumed we had broken something, so when I called back a third time and asked her to lunch, I got an excited “Sure!”

But as Jason hung up the telephone, he wasn’t sure if she understood that he had just asked her out on a date. They had been working on a long term project together, after all. Thinking that Krystle, (the real professional), might be under the impression that this was a working lunch and not a date, Jason prepared himself for the very likely event that Krystle might bring along a colleague. So when the moment of truth came for their lunch date, he was relieved that when Krystle arrived—she came alone. 

After two years of being ‘professional’ and not talking to each other, on a Wednesday afternoon over lunch at a local Italian restaurant-the conditions were finally right. Jason courageously pitched his metaphorical yeast and Love finally started to brew between this couple. And you know, there’s nothing more worthwhile in this life than sharing a plate of spaghetti and your dreams with someone.

What started with a Lady And The Tramp-style lunch, Jason and Krystle’s courtship soon involved amazing camping trips (something they both had fond memories doing when they were younger with their own families), beer festivals, visiting countless microbreweries (Jason proposed at Wisconsin’s New Glarus Brewing Company, Krystle’s favorite brewery) and a Memorial Weekend Trip to Pennsylvania to visit Jason’s family. Krystle says, “I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life after that trip…I felt like I belonged in his family and I always enjoyed traveling to new places with Jason.”

Ceremony Highlights:
For their ceremony, family and friends were treated to a touching and emotional performance as the bride and groom took turns reading a favorite passage about relativity from Albert Einstein:

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?

Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

Anyone who knows Jason, knows that he’s passionate about brewing beer and one day hopes to start his own brewing company as well as a family with Krystle.  So it would make sense that the themes of beer and partnership would be woven throughout the entire wedding.

Jason and Krystle included a Libations Box + Love Letters section in their ceremony, where they placed love letters and a bottle of lambic in a wooden box made by Jason’s father from wood provided by Krystle’s family’s lumber company. At their reception, guests were treated to a selection of beers, ales and lagers that Jason brewed just for the occasion.
And to kick off the official start of their marriage by emphasizing the importance of their partnership, Krystle and Jason chose to partake in the German tradition where a newly wed couple saws a log in half.  This act is a physical representation of their promise to overcome life’s obstacles together and is also a good reminder to appreciate how your differences can compliment your relationship. Krystle and Jason you’ll need to be equal partners in order for your tools to work and to ultimately accomplish this task.

I am happy to report that, with a little help from their friends, Krystle and Jason were successful in overcoming this first obstacle together as a married couple. May all who know and love Jason and Krystle raise a glass to their happiness!

A special thank you to Aaron Mitchell Photography for capturing so many wonderful moments at this wedding celebration. I just love Krystle’s infectious smile!

Sarah + Patrick, This Is For Real

Their Story: Although there’s always been this strong connection and tenderness between Patrick and Sarah, (they first met in Jr. high school) their relationship hasn’t always been the easiest to manage.  Different stages in life and the pursuit of their careers pulled them both in different directions—until two years ago, they had spent most of their time as a couple apart from one another. 

Their friends can testify that during those years that Sarah and Patrick were physically apart--living in different parts of the world--they were both committed to remaining connected.  Sarah says that she remembers, spending what seemed like “entire weekends on the telephone, or AOL’s instant messaging system, talking with Patrick” about their hopes and dreams for the future and making plans for their next trip to see each other. 

Both Sarah and Patrick believe that getting through the challenges of being apart has solidified their faith and trust in their partnership for the future.

Last year Patrick, an Officer with the Air Force, got a work assignment on the island of Oahu. Sarah, willing to postpone the start of her career to finally be together, moved with him to Hawaii. From the shores of the Aloha State, they started planning a Pennsylvania wedding. 

“Having friends and family present is very important to me” Sarah shares, “Because we were in a long distance relationship, our lives were so separate before, and so we spent a lot of time with our friends and family members. Having the ceremony with them present is a way to merge our independent lives and also for everyone to experience the two of us as a couple and a family rather than only as individuals.”

Patrick wanted everyone present at their wedding ceremony to leave knowing that he and Sarah “are good together and are happy together.” 

Ceremony Highlights

Ring Blessing In honoring the role that family and tradition play in their lives, Sarah’s wedding ring was made with the diamonds from a re-purposed family heirloom. At the start of their ceremony, Sarah and Patrick’s rings were passed through their family and friends. While holding their rings, guest were invited to add their best wishes, prayers, dreams and best intentions for the couple and their marriage, into the rings before Patrick and Sarah exchanged them later on in the service.   
"Patrick, the woman whose hands you hold loves you very much.  She’s athletic and driven, fiercely loyal and caring… She’s got it all, and you are astounded, daily, by her combination of beauty and brains."--Alisa Tongg, Celebrant 
"He’s sweet and silly, handsomely dashing, generous with his affection and seriously driven. He inspires you with his inquisitive mind and joins you on your junk food benders."--Alisa Tongg, Celebrant
Herbal Infusion One of the many things that Sarah loves about life with Patrick, is the time they spend preparing meals together. Since sharing a meal is very important to this couple, they decided to perform a symbolic herbal infusion as their unity ritual.  

They used fresh marjoram and rosemary from the beautifully cultivated gardens of the Glasbern Inn. Marjoram represents joy and happiness, which is exactly what Patrick said he felt, “sharing this celebration with all of the people" he loves. Sarah chose rosemary because it symbolizes remembrance, love, loyalty, and fidelity, she says, “these were the qualities that were important when we were physically separated and continue to be important now in our relationship being a military family.”

Sarah and Patrick on the grounds of the Glasbern Inn. Jauhien Sasnou Wedding Photography

For the future, Patrick says, "I see us living in many different places throughout the world and making the most of all of them." In addition to a lifetime living in places that they love, continuing to pursue their passions and eventually starting a family, Sarah hopes that she and Patrick, "never stop having fun together."

A special thank you to Jauhien Sasnou, a Philadelphia-based wedding photographer with a great eye and style. You can see more of his work here.

Marriage Equality Comes To The Garden State, Making The World A Better Place...

Thank you to all who came out to celebrate marriage equality in New Jersey last weekend at our Pop Up Nuptials so graciously hosted by Tony Frier and Greg Grude of 9th and Coles Tavern. And a heartfelt congratulations to Manuel + Andrew and Nikki + Sue, both couples exchanged "I dos" making their unions legal in The Garden State.

The evening started as I read an excerpt from Massachusetts Supreme Judical Court, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall's 2003 opinion on the importance of marriage in our society. 

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations....Without question, civil marriage enhances the 'welfare of the community.' It is a 'social institution of the highest importance.' ...
"Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.... Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition."
Couples Andrew + Manuel and Sue + Nikki exchange vows to be faithful partners for a lifetime. Douglas James Studios
Andrew and Manuel have been together for almost 20 years. They first met at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in NYC and in 2001 had a large commitment ceremony at Rainbow Mountain Resort in the Poconos. At that celebration, Andrew says they, "had over 80 guests with all of friends and family present - we really wanted to declare our love regardless of law at the time." Then in 2011, on their 10th wedding anniversary they made their commitment legal in a very romantic beach elopement in Cos Cob, CT. 
Manuel + Andrew with Cristina Kollet of Inclusive Ceremonies. Douglas James Studios

"We're just romantics at heart and were so thrilled to have the chance to renew our vows in our 'home' state, especially since it was a long fought right. We feel marriage is not only a lifelong commitment but the government legitimizing people as individuals with rights to personal happiness and the related privileges and responsibilities. We were overwhelmed with the kindness and support at 9C - restored our faith in a future where everyone is celebrated for being themselves."--Andrew
Sue gives Nikki a fragrant double strand pikake lei flown in from Hawaii. Douglas James Studios
Doug Nevick and Alisa Tongg. Douglas James Studios
So many people came together to show their love and support for these two couples, Doug Nevick an award-winning wedding photographer of Douglas James Studios was there to capture all of the intimate moments on this historic wedding day.
At a second (or third in the case of Andrew + Manuel) ceremony, both couples struggled to take their rings off, so they could exchange them again. Douglas James Studios
As Sue so artfully says, "No backsies." Douglas James Studios
"May each of us do everything in our power to support and strengthen Sue + Nikki as they journey together the road of life." -Alisa Tongg, Celebrant. Douglas James Studios
"May your life together be a sweet one."-Alisa Tongg, Celebrant. Douglas James Studios
Taste the Rainbow: Goehrig's Bakery in Jersey City Heights created this amazing and delicious wedding cake. Douglas James Studios.
Stephanie Jackson of Absolut Vodka commissioned a beautiful ice sculpture for the occasion. Here's Nikki discovering it's second function. Douglas James Studios
Cheers! Manuel, Andrew, Sue and Nikki congratulate each other as they share in this moment. Douglas James Studios
It's official. Alisa Tongg signing the marriage license with her sister-in-law Renee looking on. Douglas James Studio
On this occasion, I accept payment in kisses. Douglas James Studios
Participants gather and bask in the post nuptials bliss.
9th and Coles Tavern hosts for the evening, Tony Frier and Greg Grude (back center) with Andrew + Manuel, Nikki + Sue and Eddie Baez and Erik "Robocub" Smith of Gayborhood Jersey City. Douglas James Studios
A special thanks to Cris Kollet of Inclusive Ceremonies for helping and Douglas James Studios for supporting this evening and taking such beautiful pictures of Andrew + Manuel and Nikki + Sue's New Jersey weddings. 9th and Coles Tavern for generously hosting this night of weddings and for arranging the festive reception afterward featuring an Absolut Vodka ice sculpture luge and Goehrigs Bakery.