Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love, Marriage, and Activism

Two years ago, Cori and I became increasingly active in the fight for marriage equality and human rights. During the “whirlwind” stage of our relationship, we found ourselves floating on a pink cloud, in which we never fully thought about the lack of freedom that we would have because we were in a same-sex relationship. Like most couples, we dreamt about getting married and eventually having children, but we barely realized that these simple freedoms could be unattainable or unnecessarily difficult to acquire. This wasn’t a heartbreaking realization for us; instead, we added this fight as a chapter in our love story because every epic love story always has a battle that needs to be conquered.

Our first efforts began when I stumbled across a Facebook post that requested same-sex couples, who were living in the NYC are, to take part in a PSA video. Without a second thought, I replied to the message and told Cori about the incredible opportunity. The name of the campaign is Freedom to Marry and its goal is to win marriage nationwide. 


At the 3 second mark of this video, you can see Cori and me holding hands, and then the camera pans to our faces. Our role was minor, but the message we helped to portray was beyond significant. In following, Cori and I also participated in the NOH8 Campaign. We are actively writing letters to legislators and helping to educate other individuals about the oppression of the LGBT community. Activism became a colossal part of who we are as individuals and as a couple. We will proudly fight for ourselves, our relationship, and for everyone else who wishes to live out their personal fairy tales or who wishes to live a life without having to face hate, discrimination, and prejudice.

NOH8 Photo

The United States is making strides in the battle for marriage equality, but we still have a long way to go. As of current, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and most recently, New York. A proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State is expected to passed by the Senate and the House. Additionally, lawmakers in New Jersey and Maryland are expected to debate same-sex marriage this year, and Maine is working towards developing a same-sex marriage proposal for the upcoming November ballot. Work still needs to be done in other areas, especially in the area of bullying and hate crimes. One could only hope that in this lifetime, or in lifetimes to come,we will be able to lay our armor down and celebrate a well-deserved victory.

Other inspiring LGBT organizations:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Adventures in Wedding Planning

There are 267 days until our wedding date and we are making strides!! Ever since Cori and I proposed to each other in February of last year, we’ve been meeting with vendors and booking favorites. From the beginning, Cori and I always planned on marrying in New York City. I’m from New York and she’s from Connecticut, but New York City has always been our place, our city. Of course, when we made the decision to marry in New York, gay marriage was not legalized. Our original plan was to obtain a marriage license in Connecticut and have the ceremony in New York. It would have been a headache, but we weren’t about to let legalities get in the way of making our dream wedding become a reality. Nevertheless, as luck would have it, gay marriage became legal in the state of New York July 24, 2011, thanks in large part to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
 
Rainbow Empire State Building, NYC Pride

Our first order of business was to book a venue. During the spring of 2011, we visited a dozen venues before picking the one that suite our needs the best. We knew we wanted the venue to be located in either Brooklyn or Manhattan and we knew we did not want a "cookie-cutter" wedding. We scoped out half a dozen venues and fell in love with a venue located in Midtown Manhattan. The space was perfect for the reception and the terrace, with its breathtaking views of the city, was perfect for the ceremony. The venue provided us with an all-encompassing view of the Manhattan skyline and the Empire State Building, as well as a doorman, event manager, red carpet, and in-house furniture. The venue is also perfect because it is pet friendly, which means our boxer, Madison, will be able to be a part of our special day. After our initial tour of the venue, Cori and I, without hesitation, booked the venue for October 13, 2012.

Bridal Suite

Venue's NYC View

Once we had the venue booked, Cori and I met with a potential caterer, Chef Rossi of The Raging Skillet, in June of 2011. Cori and I are both vegetarians and supporters of animal rights, which meant that we wanted a cruelty free wedding. Chef Rossi is able to create a delicious vegan/vegetarian menu for our cocktail hour and reception. More importantly, she is able to create a menu that shouldn’t leave our meat-loving guests feel as if they are going hungry. Further into the summer, Cori and I booked our photographer, Erica Camille, as well as our DJ, Colleen Crumbcake. Erica Camille is a brilliant photojournalist who takes authentically beautiful photos. Cori and I knew that we wanted traditional posing photos, but we also wanted someone who would be able to take candid photos and really capture the essence and raw emotion. Colleen Crumbcake is part of Popshop! DJs and her specialty is providing music that isn’t clich├ęd. We were completely sold on her willingness to work with us to create a music playlist that reflects our personalities and also accommodates the musical taste of our guests, as well as her dedication for preserving the elegance of our wedding.

One thing that Cori and I were on the fence about was up-lighting. We planned on placing candles throughout the reception hall, but we weren’t sure if purchasing up-lighting would be pointless or a good investment. While doing some research, most couples stated that there are three things that should be a splurge: catering, lighting, and photography. We decided to follow this formula and we hired someone to provide us with fairy lights for the dance floor and amber up-lighting for around the reception hall. Last, but definitely not least, Cori and I recently met with a wedding officiant who’s name is April. I remember seeing April perform my cousin’s wedding a few years ago and I fell in love with her style. I showed Corrine a sample of April’s work and Cori was sold. April is customizing our entire ceremony and performing a hand-fasting after we say our vows. Even more, April is an unwavering supporter of marriage equality, which we found to be absolutely inspiring.

Cori and I wanted to create a wedding, from scratch, that showcased who we are as a couple. Being two females in love and planning a wedding is already a step away from traditional wedding values. We took this as an opportunity to create our own traditions and customs. It’s both stressful and exciting. Sometimes we think that we should’ve planned something simpler, but when we think about it on a broader spectrum, why not be creative? We still have so much more to plan, but it is such a relief to have all of our major vendors booked!  Additionally, I’ve already ordered my Ivy and Aster wedding dress from Lovely Brides and Cori ordered her dream dress from David’s Bridal. The dresses for our bridal parties have also been chosen and placed on order. Our advice for any engaged couple planning a wedding… plan early, HAVE FUN, do your research, don’t settle, and really decide what you need, want, and can do without.
 
NYC Pride

Resource and Vendor Sites:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Save The Dates!

Created by Natalie P.

Cori and I officially sent out our save the dates! It was such a rush placing the stamps on each individual envelope and sending them out to our friends and family. Making these with the help of Cori's sister, also her Maid of Honor, was a lot of fun too!

Save The Dates - The Outtakes:

Outtake 1 - Stephorrine Lily
Outtake 2 - Madison Lily
Outtake3 - Stephorrine Lily

Outtake 4 - Madison Lily

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Multiple Anniversary Celebration

Cori and I have four anniversary dates. I know we identify as bisexual, but we definitely have more lesbian tendencies, which include having multiple anniversary dates.
  • January 31, 2005 - We became best friends
  • January 17, 2008 - We became girlfriend and girlfriend
  • February 13, 2011 - Cori proposed to Stephy
  • February 26, 2011 - Stephy proposed to Cori 
Once we are married on October 13, 2012, we will be adding a 5th anniversary date, naturally.

To celebrate all four dates, we treated each other to a Broadway play. We saw Darren Criss in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and it was brilliant!!

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

The night was simple and romantic. We walked the streets of New York, hand-in-hand, in the pouring rain, stealing kisses whenever we had the chance. After seven years of friendship, four years of romance, and one year of being engaged, it's amazing to know that we are more in love than ever before.

Brooklyn Engagement

Regardless if you are gay, straight, bi, or trans, you should be able to publicly celebrate your love. It is a human right and too beautiful not to share. Love is love.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome!

Hello Lovelies! 

I’m Stephanie, one half of “Stephorrine”. The other half is my penguin, Corrine. We decided to create this blog to share our adventures in love, marriage, and travel as we face the world together. It’s a new year, which means a lot of epic changes for us and we would love nothing more than to share our journey with anyone willing to follow. Maybe we can even inspire others to become fearless in their personal journeys through life and love, as well as encourage anyone who reads this blog to follow their hearts.
 
Brooklyn Engagment

Let us start from the beginning…

Cori and I met in college during the second semester of our freshman year. She was a nurse major from Connecticut and I was a journalism major, who later switched to a psychology and human services major, from New York. The date was January 31, 2005, in which Cori states that her first memory of me was listening to a recording that my roommate took of me ranting to my mom about our ridiculous dorm rules. We lived in separate suites, which were right next door to each other. Our first verbal encounter was at the school’s gym. We bonded over working-out and we quickly became intrigued with each other, and before we knew it, we were best friends.
 
College Cross Country

Cori and I have always dated boys and the idea of dating girls was never a thought in mind. One day, around the summer of 2007, I began to think about life with Cori as just my best friend and that image made me feel uneasy. I didn’t like thinking about her being the Maid of Honor at my wedding and vice versa because I wanted to be the one to marry her. The summer of 2007 was when I realized that I was bisexual and in love with my best friend. Cori, on the other hand, didn’t come to this realization as quickly as I did. I told her how I felt and she broke my heart. We maintained our close friendship and nothing changed. During the beginning of the New Year (2008), I decided to go on a date with my next door neighbor, who happened to be a boy, as a failed attempt to move forward from the heartbreak. I told Cori about my date and she became increasingly upset over the notion of me dating. Finally, Cori realized that she was bisexual as well and in love with her best friend. On January 17, 2008, we became official.
 
NYC Subway Adventures

Fast forward…

After I graduated with my MS in psychology and addictions in the summer of 2010, Cori and I embarked on a two week voyage to Italy. Upon our return to the states, Cori and I decided that we did not want to live apart anymore. On October 1, 2010, Cori and I moved into our first apartment in Stamford, CT with our boxer puppy, Madison Lily. It was the perfect location because it was settled in Connecticut and not too far from New York. As of current, Cori is working as a trauma/neurology nurse and I am working as an addictions/mental health therapist.

Madison Lily in Our First Apartment

Once the New Year came around (2011) Cori and I made the decision to get engaged. Cori proposed to me on February 13, 2011 and I proposed to her on February 26, 2011. We both proposed with beautiful sapphire and diamond rings from Brilliant Earth. During the summer of 2011, we ventured to Paris to celebrate our engagement. Our wedding is dated for October 13, 2012.
 
NYC Pride

Now that you’re up-to-date, we would like to cordially invite you to continue to follow our lives as we plan our wedding and our future, which includes moving to the west coast (hopefully) and traveling the world. Our blog title, Waking Up With Her, denotes that it doesn’t matter where we end up in life, as long as we are waking up next to each other.
 
Orvieto, Italy

Stephorrine Lily xoxo