This Couple's Cultural-Meets-Pride-Inspired Color Palette Perfectly Set the Scene for Their Farmhouse Nuptials
A coffee date on New Year's Eve led to Kevin Holt and Justin England's seven-year-long relationship—and then Justin popped the question. First, he asked Kevin's parents for their blessing, to which Kevin's mom replied, "It's about time!" Next, he began hatching a plan for the ultimate romantic proposal. "Kevin and I joined my Aunt Mardi and my cousin Isabela on an Alaskan vacation in June 2018," recalls Justin, who felt the trip would make a great decoy. "I reviewed our travel itinerary and selected what seemed like the perfect time and place—an observation deck located at a hotel in Girdwood."
After feigning the need for pictures, Justin's cousin cheerfully suggested that he and Kevin pose first. "This is the moment!" Justin thought, but was so nervous, he couldn't get the ring case out of his jacket pocket. "Somehow, I muscled it out and spun around to see Kevin's shocked face." Justin revealed a ring case in the shape of a compass, which symbolized the two of them always finding their way back to each other. "Kevin isn't a jewelry guy, so I decided against a traditional ring and opted for one in the shape of a dog, along with a donation to a local animal rescue he supports."
"I don't remember everything that I said, despite rehearsing for weeks," Justin shares. "I do remember that at that moment, I felt an overwhelming rush of love and emotion, and everyone was crying. The sun miraculously came out during our joyful sobs and revealed the stunning landscape around us. We got some great pictures and ended the night with celebratory sparkling wine at the bar located atop the observation area."
As they planned their nuptials, the couple's main goal was to "include and embrace," a tenet that was evident in the signage and the colors seen on the big day. "Justin and Kevin wanted each guest to feel seen, welcomed, celebrated, and comfortable no matter their race, religion, socioeconomic background, or sexual orientation," says Rebecca Foster of Indigo Event Design, who created a vibrant ombré color palette for the party—a nod to the traditional pride rainbow. "For their wedding colors, the customary Indian wedding color burgundy blended beautifully into lighter shades of red, then into vibrant corals, pinks, and blush, then finally to yellows and white." In addition to the meaningful color scheme, the pair integrated references to Kevin's Indian heritage and traditions associated with Justin's Jewish background. The blending of the couple's cultures, family, and friends was paramount. "I very much wanted everyone to feel the love and openness we have for each other and our family, friends, and community," explains Justin.
A family farm estate, owned by Justin's Aunt Mardi, was the site of the pair's wedding, a beautiful affair that brought their loved ones together to celebrate. "It's nice to dream about what a perfect wedding would be like, but then for our wedding to turn out being even more than what we could have imagined means so much to me," says Kevin. "There was a lot of love that day and it reaffirmed how right it feels to be with Justin."
The couple's stationery suite, designed and printed by FEST Paper + Design, featured a peach-and-red watercolor wash on the main invitation, as well as the custom envelope liners; wood paper accented the back of the RSVP card. Two illustrations were created for the suite: one of the barn located on the venue, and another of a map of the property. A cheeky "Gay Agenda" card featured the timeline for the day, which was repeated on a large wooden sign at the ceremony site.
A Bespoke Suit
Justin wore a custom-tailored beige suit accented with a burgundy bow tie, a yarmulke, and suspenders. "My gold ring cuff links were passed down from my grandfather to my father, and on my wedding day he passed them to me," he adds.
Kevin wanted to wear attire that celebrated his Indian background, so he donned a traditional beige kurta with an accompanying sleeveless sherwani in deep purple.
A Timeless Venue
A classic red barn was the highlight of the couple's wedding venue—the farm estate that belongs to Justin's Aunt Mardi.
A Sparkling Wedding Party
Both grooms took an easygoing approach to their wedding party's attire, providing guidelines and then letting their attendants choose their own ensembles. "I asked my side to stick to a blush color scheme," says Justin. "For my one groomsman, I suggested that he mirror [Kevin and my] colors."
"I asked my side to wear traditional Indian attire with gold as the theme," says Kevin. "It was really wonderful to see how their attire differed and yet coordinated and complemented the entire party so well!"
The estate was filled with an assortment of unique signage created by FEST Paper + Design. Each was fashioned by hand with acrylic mounted on wood, and featured various ombré accents. The very first thing that each guest saw as they arrived to the venue was this vibrant sign, declaring the space inclusive of all backgrounds.
Aisle Full of Pride
An ombré aisle runner, crafted of rose petals, paved the way to the altar.
The two grooms wanted a ceremony space that represented both Kevin's Indian heritage and Justin's Jewish background; their altar structure—a mandap-chuppah hybrid—manifested and physicalized that wish.
The structure was made from trees that had fallen on the property itself, and featured vibrant florals and an heirloom tallit, a traditional Jewish prayer shawl.
Per Jewish tradition, a burlap sack, filled with a glass for stomping, was placed at the altar.
A Meaningful Ceremony
"For me, the wedding ceremony was an acknowledgement of the intimacy and partnership that we've cultivated for almost a decade," recalls Justin of the service. "We've grown so much together, and it was wonderful to celebrate our past, present, and future happiness with our loved ones!"
Raspberry cocktails were tagged with each guest's name.
An Imaginative Seating Chart
The seven-foot-tall seating chart featured shallow shelves stacked with ombré cards calligraphed with attendees' assignments.
Ombré Reception Tables
Bud vase centerpieces ran the lengths of exposed farm tables; blooms in an ombré color scheme continued from one table to the next, creating a cohesive flow. "One table started with burgundy flowers that subtly changed to more vibrant red flowers at the other end; the next table started with that same vibrant red and faded into pink; the next table started where the pink color left off; and so on and so on," says Rebecca of Indigo Event Design on the gradient palette Katherine Gidlow from BLUE ideated. "We wanted to make sure the continuous flow of ombré united all the tables together, culminating at the head table where all the colors were represented."
"Napkins followed the floral ombré progression from rich burgundy to cardinal red, then watermelon, soft coral, blush, daffodil yellow, butter, and ending in ivory," says Rebecca, who dyed some of the fabric by hand in order to get the correct shade. The napkins were then tied into a cascading-knot fold. "We chose the knot because it represents the unbreakable bond and eternal connection between the couple," she adds.
Unique Menu Cards
Hand-painted acrylic table menus included the logos of each food truck stationed at the event.
Justin and Kevin's modern wedding cake's exterior featured a brush-stroke design that incorporated several of the colors seen in the event design.
The couple wanted to create a fun surprise within the cake, so, while the external design and colors matched the ombré color scheme, the inside of the cake featured vibrant rainbow layers celebrating gay pride.
A Romantic First Dance
The couple’s first dance to "Oh, What a World" by Kacey Musgraves was particularly meaningful for Justin. "I'm not a dancer and thought that I wouldn't enjoy it with everyone's eyes on us," he says. "However, all my nerves seemed to melt away from the moment that I looked into Kevin's eyes and we started singing and dancing. It was almost as if it was just us in that moment, and I wanted to stretch it out for a lifetime."
Photography, Amy Kiel Photography
Event planning and design, Rebecca Foster for Indigo Event Design
Flowers, Katherine Gidlow for BLUE
Invitations, stationery, and signage: Summer Blahnik Kiener for FEST Paper + Design
Officiant, Mardi Minogue
Host and Master of Ceremonies, Pepper Pepper
Justin's makeup, Renée Jacobson
Justin's hair, Felicia Clark
Henna, Melanie Ooi, Blue Lotus Henna
Cake, Nextdoor Desserts
Lighting, Indigo Event Design