Tell us about your love story. How did you meet?
We met through our mutual friend, Rachel. We had known of each other for a few years but in 2012 we had our first "date." It wasn't planned but it was perfect. We ate pizza and drank wine at Tara's parents house and stayed up laughing until 4am.
What makes you both a perfect match?
We are both even-keeled people. We make the best of life and we do it together. We value each other's opinions and viewpoints and we go to bat for one another.
How did she/you propose?
It was our closing date on our first home. The whole family was there to help move and Tara was doing her best to keep her cool. Everyone was in the know except for Nikki. Tara made sure to mention that "for closing we need to do a cute photo in front of the sold sign, lets dress up and look cute!" Nikki on the other hand, in true Nikki fashion, was in the door for four minutes before there was a ladder against the house. With drill in hand she starts removing the shutters from the front of the house. We are now ten minutes in and Nikki has a can of primer open and is ready to paint the ceilings. Tara remained calm and corralled her back in. We went outside and Tara gave Nikki a memory book. It showcased their memories and talked about the next step in their journey. Nikki, of course, assumed the journey Tara was speaking of was the new home they just purchased. Not so much. On the last page of the book was a sweet recap of their past. While Nikki read, Tara got down on one knee and flipped the book over to the back page and said will you marry me? Nikki was in shock and said "yes." We later realized that Tara forgot one important word on that last page. "You." It read - " Nikki Hollerich will marry me."
Thinking back to the day you got married, what made you laugh? Cry? What made your wedding memorable and what part was most memorable?
Laugh- we had our sisters do their bridesmaid speeches during our ceremony. Being the witty humans that they are... they definitely managed to make us both laugh and cry. And laugh until we cried. Everything was perfect and we were both smiling ear to ear the whole time.
The most memorable part of the wedding was how uniquely us it was. We tried to include traditions we loved and modified the rest. Our goal was for our guests to be entertained throughout the whole night. The most memorable part for us specifically was standing on a picnic table as fireworks went off over the Mississippi River. All of our guests were playing with two foot sparklers and our service team brought out keylime martinis for the whole group. Our favorite song was playing as we took it all in. Every time we hear our song we go back to that moment!
Did anything happen that you didn't expect or were your expectations met?
Our expectations were exceeded thanks to our wonderful friend Vicky. She not only was the host of the wedding but planned and served all of the food. She helped with our décor and made all of our flower boxes. The vision we had in mind could not have been more perfect. On the other hand, we weren't going to let expectations ruin anything. Our guests didn't know what our vision was so it didn't matter if it was perfect.
What about the details? What was your vision/theme? How did you bring it to life?
Our theme was fun and games. We started the whole entire event with a Save the Date of our cat. Those who know us understood the hilarity. Our cat is special. Our wedding invite was a usable board game. All of the playing cards were questions about us and the wedding day details... of course some laughs.
What's the best advice you can give a couple who are planning their wedding?
Do what Taylor Swift does and "Shake it off." No, but really. When you look back at your wedding you won't remember the centerpieces and the bows around the chairs. You will remember laughing, dancing and celebrating your love. Just try and remember what is actually important. In our opinion...we could have been in a corn field with some water bottles and it would have been memorable.
What's the best thing about being married?
You get to spend every day with your best friend. You have someone you can confide in. Whenever you need a support system your spouse is right by your side. You also get to show your weird, but you also get to see their weird....the side you never show anyone else. It's like your own secret with each other.
What sort of adversity have you faced together in both your engagement and marriage? With family, friends or co-workers?
Our families are both open-minded, loving and kind, so we are the lucky ones. We don't have to deal with a lot of struggle, in that sense, on a day-to-day basis. Our friends....well...they wouldn't be our friends if they didn't accept our life. We choose to let people into our lives who completely support us. As far as coworkers go, I think a lot of people who don't understand our relationship are just not exposed to gay people often. They don't understand that we are just normal people with normal families. There seems to be a cultural divide between the generations. The people from older generations will always be taken a little aback when you are a woman and say "my wife," even if they are totally accepting. Whereas, the younger generation doesn't seem phased.
It was a beautiful day when Minnesota legislators cleared the final hurdle and senators voted to legalize same-sex marriage; the freedom to marry! Can you elaborate on how this has affected your lives?
For me, Tara, it was the first day in my head I thought, "I want to be the one to propose" because I finally could. We went to the capitol together to see this happen. It was absolutely beautiful to watch all the love and celebration. Every single person had a huge smile on his or her face. Seeing our relationships normalized didn't change our relationship towards each other, but I think it helped other people understand that it's more common than they thought.
The momentum for marriage equality certainly has caught speed (finally!) but is it fast enough? In your opinion, would you say the LGBT communities feel supported in achieving legal recognition of their relationships?
The right to marriage is a wonderful achievement, but achieving equality is far from over. The right to legally marry each other is wonderful and necessary to bring our community to the lime light. It showed the world that gay people are just people who want to love. Unfortunately, there are issues that still need to be addressed very badly that are not as positive as marriage equality. We are still not a federally protected group, meaning we could be fired -legally- for being gay. For people in many states, being federally protected for things like age, gender, race and religion is critical. We love Minnesota!
There are also other very important issues among the community, like teen suicide, that still need a lot of attention. Also, for many of us, the first place we feel free to be ourselves and learn about the gay community is at a bar. We hope this changes for future generations. We hope that there are other events and places where young adults and teens can learn about that and feel comfortable with who they are without alcohol being involved.
Advice to a couple in love, looking to tie the knot?
Don't get caught up in society's idea of a perfect wedding. As a gay couple, you chance running into judgment, but there is no need to accept it. Find a venue that totally embarrasses your happiness. Just do you... kinda like Nike.