What better way to celebrate your state legalizing same-sex marriage than by receiving an all-expenses-paid wedding? That’s exactly what Jim Morgan and Dan Stackhouse were able to do thanks to a contest held by OutRVA and Say I Do!
The very day that Virginia legalized same-sex marriage, Dan knew he wanted to propose to Jim. He had made a quick detour on his way home and picked up the only makeshift ring he could think of – a Ring Pop. While he was getting ready to take their dog for a walk, he went upstairs and asked Dan if he could ask him something – he got down on one knee, and here they are.
Since the couple won the contest, which was originally a local-level celebration of how excited the community was about their state gaining marriage equality, many of the personnel decisions were made for them. They met with their assigned coordinator, designer, baker, and got to look at their venue. The couple appreciated all of the help they were given, especially since they only had 27 days after they found out they won to plan the wedding. “Why should we nitpick over small details when we can just let these people do what they do so well,” the couple said. “With a little bit of direction from us (color palate, general “feel”) this incredible team ran with the ball and knocked our socks off.”
Don’t worry, the couple was provided with complimentary outfits (socks included) so their first look at the ceremony would be memorable. They opted for cluster seating with vintage furniture over the tawdry plastic lawn chairs that plagues most weddings. “What we found so interesting,” they said “is that a good florist is like having a good tailor – she truly found our “style” in color, texture, and variety.”
Though some of the bigger decisions were made for them, Jim and Dan were able to add their own personal touches throughout. Having met 16 years ago during a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, they wanted to incorporate their theater background. The couple opened with a duet of “An Old Fashioned Wedding” from the musical, Annie Get Your Gun. “We wanted this wedding to feel a little different – much more relaxed,” they said. “The only people who knew were Lindsey, our coordinator, and our keyboardist.”
The couple was able to survive less than a month of planning for their big day, and they have advice to impart on anyone else getting ready to make such a big decision:
-Be present in the moment, not in the details. Just show up and be in love.
-Don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously. At the end of the day it’s about the two of you.
-Laugh. Please laugh.
-We planned our wedding in 27 days, including three snow storms. While a little more time might have been nice, neither of us would have wanted to spend a year or more planning. More time would have meant time to second guess, and we were able to trust our instincts. More importantly, trust the people you are working with, whether they be professionals or friends. Don’t overthink it.
-Rely on your friends. They love you and want to help you.
-Find ways to make the wedding personal. Don’t follow the rule book.
See a full list of the vendors that helped make Jim and Dan’s wedding such a gorgeous affair here.