Cory + Chris by Chellise Michael Photography

We met at a beach bar about 20 minutes before last call. Chris wandered up to a spot at the bar next to Cory, who started the conversation. 

Chris had moved to Washington DC to start graduate school after two years as a ski bum. Cory had moved back to the east coast after a stint in San Francisco and was trying to figure out what was next. We had been together for almost eight years by the time of the proposal. We were roadtripping down the California coast in Big Sur. Chris nervously carried his backpack everywhere with him, from grabbing morning coffee to hiking and even into the bathroom, so Cory knew that Chris was going to propose the entire day. But the moment it finally happened — on a cliff overlooking the Pacific with no one around but a mother and baby cow — was a fantastic, magical blur.

We knew from the beginning that it was going to be a big party. We had no interest in a traditional wedding that was about us as a couple or celebrating each other as individuals. We wanted a full weekend that celebrated the beautifully strange and eclectic community we’ve built together. We had people join us from New York, Florida, California, even from Portugal, Israel and Australia. 

We had a very specific vision in mind. The first email we sent to Gather Greene read: “Imagine a young Frida Kahlo attending summer camp in the Catskills in 1972, making out with Sam Shakusky of Moonrise Kingdom, on the set of Wet Hot American Summer.” We worked with Oxford Pennant to create giant banners that we hung from the rafters. Two featured our beloved cats, Monsieur Gustave and Trashcan Judy. They framed a long banner that read “Growing Strong, Growing Strange,” a line from one of our favourite movies and a testament to how we try to navigate life. The Hudson Botanica team created a primordial forest, straight from the depths of our deepest dreams. (Cory sobbed when she had to leave them.) 

In a field, a bit removed from the Pavilion, we set up what we lovingly referred to as our “Memory Tent”, filled with photos, artwork, books, flowers and special mementos. An aunt hand-made glass beads which held the names of family members who are no longer with us. Once the sun went down, we lit a lantern and filled the inside with tea lights so it shimmered in the distance, our own little shrine. One of our friends ended up sleeping in it! After the reception, we had an after-party by the pond with a bonfire, s’mores, late night pizza and mozzarella sticks our friends still talk about. We had a movie projector rolling, unplugged live music and a bounce house, If you want to laugh like you’ve never laughed in your life, watch your friends and family climb into a giant inflatable castle after a full day of drinking. It’s a miracle no one got seriously injured. 

For a long time, we really didn’t think we’d actually get married. We felt so steadfast and content in our relationship. As the years went by, we realized that, just like everything else, the only constant is change. Married life isn’t much different but we do feel more united than ever, and we’ve been pushing towards protecting time to celebrate the little things.

photography @chellisemichaelphotography / bride’s gown @michaellosordo / groom’s suit @commonwealthproper / flora @hudsonbotanica / styling & planning @magdalena_events / bride’s ring @catbirdnyc / bride’s headpiece & earrings @verbenamadrid / bride’s cuffs @studebakermetals / bride’s makeup @elizabethlermanmakeup / bride’s hair @cherylfazio / ceremony venue @gathergreene / signage & pennant stands @rockridge_table_co / lighting @bearfly_designs / furniture @rentpatina and @northcountryvintage / catering @crispcatering / beverages @thecaskandrasher / groom’s ring & tie bar @studebakermetals