February 8th dawned clear and cold. I woke early and dressed quickly, excited to be a part of this wonderful day. Virginia and Matt picked me up from my house, and our journey to Santa Fe began. We were headed to Buffalo Thunder, a place I had never been, despite having lived in New Mexico for nearly five years. The three of us talked easily all the way there, and I found that I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. Growing up in a place where same sex marriage was considered taboo and unwelcome, I was thoroughly enthralled that I was going to be lucky enough to witness the joining of these two loving women. Alyssa Peters grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, and Louise Midwinter in Cheshire, London, England. While this relationship may seem impossibly long distance for some, Alyssa and Louise made it work for two and a half years. They met online, and in Louise’s words was “totally unexpected, but it was and is great.”
We walked through the hotel to the elevators, and I couldn’t stop staring. It was so beautiful here! The whole place was open, with warm sunlight filtering through the windows. The softly muted sound of people laughing and talking together filled my ears as we walked through the lobby to the elevators. When we reached Alyssa and Louise’s room, we knocked on their door and waited. When the door opened, we were greeted by a clearly nervous, but excited Louise. She led us into the room and introduced us to Alyssa. They were both already dressed in their gowns, and looked simply breathtaking.
The original plan was for Alyssa and Louise to get married on the balcony right outside their room, but as Matt was taking a few test pictures, he told them that he thought the space was too small to fit all of us comfortably. Luckily, Louise said that she knew of another place we could do it. Intrigued, we all followed her and Alyssa through the hotel until we came to a huge set of double doors. As soon as Alyssa threw them open, I knew it was perfect. We were standing in a rectangular courtyard, with a breathtaking view of the mountains in the distance. Fluffy clouds dotted the sky, which was a clear and flawless shade of blue. There is no roof above our heads, only crossbeams that the sun peeks through playfully as a gentle breeze whispers all around.
The ceremony begins, and I am overwhelmed by the strength of the love that is flowing through these two people. Their eyes meet, and in that moment, time stands still. There is only balmy sunlight, and the impeccable sky. When they read the vows they have written for each other, the devotion and fondness between them is palpable, and I can feel the warm sting of tears behind my own eyes. After Virginia pronounces Alyssa and Louise partners for life, they share their first kiss as a married couple. The tenderness and sweet affection that is conveyed through this one powerful gesture is awe-inspiring.
I felt so lucky to be a part of this day, to be a witness to the joining of two people who care for each other so much. I know that they will have a long and happy life together, and I wish them the very best.