To Have and to HOLDEN is our series where we interview real couples about their romance, weddings, and whatever else comes up along the way. Enjoy!
After both coming out only months prior, Mike and Keegan met in 2014 and immediately fell in love. Seven years later, they swapped vows surrounded by their closest friends and family. For their wedding bands, the partners chose The Beveled and The Half Column Baguette. Read on for their story (and to hear how a smashed vase was their favorite part of their wedding day).
How did you two meet and start dating?
We met in May 2014 on Tinder. Keegan had recently graduated from college at the University of Cincinnati and Mike was on summer break after his sophomore year at Bowling Green State University. Both of us had recently come out (only months prior) and so our Tinder browsing was our first attempt at a genuine relationship. The first day after Keegan downloaded the app we both “swiped right” and matched. A week of messaging back and forth (and a FaceTime call to make sure we were both who we said we were) resulted in the arrangement to meet in person for a lunch date.
After a fabulous first date, one day turned into three: we dined, shopped, went to the zoo, toured UC, and quickly realized it felt as if we had known each other for years. Weeks of bliss turned into months, and we felt unstoppable. As Keegan began looking for post-grad jobs, the perfect opportunity to work near Mike’s school (and thus move in with him) presented itself. All the pieces fell into place, and we started living our lives together. Even after only three months of dating, we proved to be compatible partners and the rest is history!
How did you get engaged?
Four years passed since our first date, encompassing college graduations, living in four different apartments together, and new jobs. We were both confident that we wanted to spend our lives together, and the idea of marriage was always on the table; in many discussions about it, getting engaged was a mutual desire. Thanks to the open communication in our relationship, neither of us felt the pressure to “be the one” to propose to the other; we like to say that our engagement was truly a mutual decision.
However, if we need to put a label on it, Mike was indeed the one to pull the trigger. He planned out a re-creation of our first date (even down to the detail of outfits). The “first date 2.0” culminated in a walk by Keegan’s former college house. Mike stopped on the sidewalk just in front of the porch, handed Keegan a letter, and explained that this was the exact spot where he first saw Keegan’s smiling face in person. The letter was filled with beautiful sentiments, heartful promises, and sweet nothings (all quite cringey, looking back on it), the end of which was the official question. There was no “down on one knee” moment or secret photographer - we were perfectly alone, standing in the spot where our lives changed forever.
What’s a moment from your wedding day that you’ll remember forever?
Not counting the delayed wedding which caused a three year engagement (0/10 would recommend), there were countless perfect moments on our wedding day that made the entire experience unforgettable. It was truly a dream come true. However, one of the more memorable moments, and perhaps the only thing to go wrong, was when a very large vase broke.
We were finishing decoration setup hours before the wedding. Most everyone who had been helping had already left to start getting prettied up for photos. Mike was holding an extra glass charger and was in the process of setting it on the table, upon which sat a flower arrangement in a large, bulbous glass vase. The charger barely grazed the side of the vase, and a 2-inch circular piece of glass popped out of the side, causing the water to spew all over the table and kitchen floor. Time seemed to stand still as we watched in horror. The ringing silence soon turned into roaring laughter, as we helplessly watch the vase empty. We gathered every kitchen towel we could find, mopped up the mess, transferred the flowers to a new vase, and destroyed the evidence before anyone found out.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things, this was one of the most inconsequential details of the day. It was really one of those silly moments you can never anticipate until you’ve got water all over your floor.
What’s some advice you have for couples planning a wedding right now?
First and foremost, as cliché as it sounds: this day is about YOU, so make every decision based on what you want as a couple, not what others expect of you.
Choose your battles. The world will not end if spray paint colors don’t exactly match.
As a couple who once dreamt of the “big party” wedding, reducing the head count was such a gift in the end. It was intimate and charming, easier to manage, and, at the end of the day, more budget-friendly.
Don’t underestimate the amount of booze you’ll need - you never want to run out!
Have fun, laugh, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
What was important to you in choosing a ring? What made you choose HOLDEN?
We had no reference in the beginning as far as rings go; neither of us are big jewelry people. After doing a cursory Google search for LGBT+-friendly wedding vendors, we came across HOLDEN and instantly fell in love. We value supporting small businesses, sustainable initiatives, and affordability. HOLDEN met these expectations and more.
As an LGBT+ couple, we were pleased to find that HOLDEN’s website features a wide range of couples and races that other popular jewelers don’t often portray - it was refreshing to say the least. We ultimately chose HOLDEN because there is no sales gimmick, the company has integrity and a commendable mission, and the ring designs are classic and gender-neutral. We love the rings we selected and had such an enjoyable experience getting them!
What does love mean to you?
Love is a storybook made up of all the little perfect moments in life. When you find a person that makes sharing those moments fulfilling and purposeful, that is when you truly know love. Love makes you happy, it’s contagious, and it fills the room. Even if things get difficult, love should bring you back to happy. It requires effort and is not always easy; sometimes the hardest rain gives way to the most brilliant rainbows.
Wedding photos courtesy of: Jasmine Tafoya Photography