Josh Miller & Theo Edmonds tie the knot in St. James Court
By Josh Miller
Photos by Denisha McCauley
Theo proposed moments before we jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet to skydive in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in August 2019. The ring he gave me is inscribed on the inside with a line from a James Baldwin poem we love. It says, “More human dwelling place,” which is a reference to the world and life we are creating together. Heading into 2020, we planned to get married at the Frazier History Museum on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020. Little did we know what the year would hold.
In March, COVID-19 started to disrupt all facets of our lives and we had to consider what that meant for our wedding. It would have brought together almost 150 people inside, something that was no longer possible. So, we made the tough, but necessary, decision to move the bigger wedding celebration to May 2021 and to hold a very small, outdoor ceremony in November 2020.
Planning one wedding is stressful, but planning two different events and taking pandemic limitations into consideration was another story. Our wedding officiant extraordinaire, Karan Chavis, offered to host the wedding and cupcake reception outdoors in St. James Court with her husband Craig Blakely. We limited attendance, required masks, encouraged people to dress warmly and assigned people to “pods” to maintain physical distancing. We got tested for COVID-19 leading up to the ceremony, and hired someone to help live stream it since we couldn’t invite everyone we wanted to be with us, also recognizing that people at higher risk or with possible COVID-19 symptoms could not attend. As a last surprise, the baker who was supposed to do the cupcakes had to quarantine due to a possible COVID-19 exposure, so, the day before Thanksgiving and three days before the ceremony, we were searching for a new baker.
So what does one wear to an outdoor wedding amidst a pandemic? I started working with Gunnar Deatherage on my wedding outfit early in the year, creating a set of multiple interchangeable pieces that can be worn together, layered or as separates and not just for the wedding, but work, dates and more. Theo donned a plaid Brooks Brothers suit with navy flourishes. Our dear friend Hannah Drake wore an off-the-shoulder floor-length black sequin gown with a matching black sequin mask. She gifted both Theo and me with wedding presents right before the ceremony to be worn down the aisle. For me, to be my “something borrowed, something blue,” she gave a topaz ring which “coincides with the throat chakra,” Hannah said. “As he got married, Josh was speaking his truth.” For Theo, she gave him a crown-shaped pendant from All is Fair in Love and Fashion. “I wanted him to have flair, that’s Theo’s nature. His soul is rhinestones and pearls,” Hannah said.
Guests were invited to wear black, white and fall tones, and of course, masks. One attendee paired a beaded collar with a paisley print mask, another mixed textures with a leather dress and sequin mask. Other guests wore masks in floral fabrics, with leather trim or stripes, and simple masks paired with a fur or fascinator.
While walking down the aisle, Theo was joined for the ceremony by his cousin Rhonda, and friends Sabrina, Eleisha and Hannah. My brother Chad and his daughter Ada walked down the aisle, as Ada carefully dropped fall leaves along the walkway. My sisters Patsy, Anna and Meg followed them, as I walked to meet Theo at the altar, stopping to check-in on the live streamer as technology was not our best friend that day and the connection had gone down.
Karan reminded all of us why, during a pandemic, we had come together: for love. Karan said, “That thing which is most powerful, that thing that is unending, love. We see couples who commit to a life together under the ties that love brings. Today, Josh and Theo join in this journey.”
Theo pulled his vows from his jacket pocket, and talked about our marriage as a privilege, saying, “When you are by my side, I don’t consider the enormous limits of life. I know your heart for it sings loudly like my own.” My vows opened with earlier memories from our almost eight-year relationship. I said, “Mustard corduroys, paint-speckled glasses and your smile and energy that embody Dolly Parton’s words, ‘Never leave a rhinestone unturned.’ Those early moments in our relationship are forever seared into my memory. Hanna Benjamin asking, ‘Do you like him?’ and I replied, ‘Yes, I believe I do.’”
We exchanged rings and Theo’s was black titanium and inscribed with “Our corner of the sky,” a reference to our engagement, the musical he loves and what our union symbolizes. Mine was antler and titanium. After being pronounced husband and husband, we walked back to Karan and Craig’s backyard, where socially distanced “pods” were set up as small tables with their own bottles of champagne to reduce contact and where people could enjoy cupcakes. Lifting glasses of champagne and sparkling cider, we toasted the guests who made our day so magical.
It was more meaningful than we can put into words that we were joined amidst a pandemic by a small group of family and friends who we love, on a day that is such a milestone in our lives. Friends and family who tuned in for the live stream sent emails, photos of them watching from home and texts of joy. While it was not what we had initially planned, it was everything we could have dreamed of.
Ceremony Venue: St. James Court
Reception Venue: Home of Karan Chavis & Craig Blakely
Josh Attire: Custom Gunnar Deatherage with Jessica Simpson shoes for ceremony, paired with fur trimmed cape from personal collection for reception
Theo Attire: Brooks Brothers
Josh and Theo Masks: Vistaprint
Hair: Meg Miller
Makeup: Josh Miller
Cupcakes: Plehn’s Bakery
Photographer: Denisha McCauley Photography
Officiant: Karan Chavis
Rings: From the Vault
Live stream: Kyle Irvin