Once upon a time, when marriage equality was still a new and shiny thing in New York state, Autostraddle's Robin Roemer offered a giveaway of a wedding photography package to celebrate. The contest was narrowed down to five finalist couples, which all of you voted on to decide who would receive:
+ A professional photography package that includes wedding coverage, image editing, an online gallery and a DVD of high-resolution images.
+ A personalized wedding ceremony valued at $850-$1,000.
+ A signed copy of the book, The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget by Kate L. Harrison.
+ A gift certificate for a $250 shopping spree to Green Bride Guide’s Green Wedding Registry.
+ Their wedding featured on Autostraddle.
When the votes were all tallied, the winners were the super-cute and head-over-heels-in-love Abby and Lani!
When Lani and Abby applied to the contest, we were in shock and awe over how adorable they seem and how fantastic their relationship sounds:
"My favorite moments together are the times that seem most like ordinary life. Curling into the crook of her arm and watching reality TV cooking shows. Slicing vegetables and making hummus to put into our salads each day for lunch. Lani always gives me her seat on the subway, and stands in front of me holding my hand. I give her extra greens in her salad and I always keep extra almonds in my bag in case she gets hungry. Our love, to me, is daily, hourly, moment-to-moment thoughtfulness. It's a diligent love, kind of like Elizabeth Gilbert's "diligent joy" in Eat Pray Love. She will always save me the crispiest french fries. I will always keep her peanut butter stocked so she has a 2 AM snack."
"We love deeply, and passionately- but it's when we're quiet and calm that I can really feel how powerful and full our commitment is. I cannot wait for romantic vacations, road trips, and wild adventures, but I also can't wait for marriage. Pushing our toddler on a swing. Waking up when the monsters are in the closet, and singing lullabies together to help our baby back to sleep. What means the most to me is that we will truly have a lifetime of love together. And the day we commit our lives to each other, legally and in front of all of our family and friends- I want that day to live with us and in us always. I want to open a book, and point to a wall, and say, "We did that. We made vows that we are keeping every day." If ever there was a couple who would appreciate your gift and share it with everyone around us, it is us."
After finding out that they had won the giveaway, Abby and Lani changed their wedding plans somewhat:
This has really been an amazing journey for us. We still can't believe we WON! A huge thank you to every one of the Autostraddle readers who voted for us. And an ENORMOUS thank you to all of our friends and family, who were bombarded every day on facebook and email, each day with more compelling pleas to vote. We had friends passing the link around to their offices, their families... It was really how you dream these contests would turn into - everyone played a part and shared the love.
When we entered this UNREAL competition, our plans were to have a hometown wedding in NH. Well, we turned that idea on its head once we realized that we really wanted a lot of quality time with our loved ones. Like, DAYS. Enter the destination wedding! We planned an amazing 4 day/3 night event through the 4 star, all-inclusive Palace Resorts / Hard Rock Hotel and invited along 35 of our closest friends and family.
Thank you Autostraddle and Robin Roemer for this amazing gift!
So Robin flew out to Paradise, also known as Cancun, and spent days capturing just how beautiful Abby and Lani's relationship is.
It's hard to describe Abby and Lani’s dynamic because you sort of have to see it to understand. Hopefully the images I’ve chosen give you a glimpse into how incredibly enamored these two are with each other. Every time I saw either one of them, they just looked like they were the happiest they could possibly be. It was so lovely to meet both supportive and loving families and their super fun friends who travelled to Mexico from all over the country to be there for the couple. I’m so incredibly grateful I was able to give this gift to such a deserving and lovely couple. From the bottom of my heart, I wish them all the happiness in the world.
And now some words from Abby and Lani:
A lot has happened in the past year for us as a couple. Lani handed in her dissertation to receive her doctorate from Yale (two weeks before the wedding!). Abby got a really fantastic new job and has been spoiled rotten by amazing coworkers and corporate benefits. And we've grown a lot together. We had a pretty fast engagement, so the past 18 months have been really essential for our growth as a couple. Learning how to face conflict, problem solving with someone else next to you, being present when you want to run to your room... It's hard and amazing and we are just so happy to be where we are: side by side, for always.
Congratulations to Abby and Lani from everyone at Autostraddle! To see all 50 photos from Abby and Lani's wedding, check them out on Robin's website!