Twenty-five years ago my better half and I told the world we loved each other. Last week we had a party to celebrate the fact that we still do.

Some milestones are worth celebrating, even if you have to do it on a shoestring budget. Emma Bistro served as the perfect venue for our party. Located next to Pinewood Social it's affordable, wheelchair accessible, and versatile in it's configuration options. It took a little more effort to find the right caterer. I turned down several because they just didn't suit my needs for the occasion. Jones Road Cuisine was the only one that offered to literally cater to my tastes and take care of everything food-related well within my budget. Chef Leeann McReynolds' tenacity won me over, and the end result was a menu so varied and delicious it yielded few leftovers.  

My outfit is a testament to shopping locally and, more importantly, to the friendships that have formed as a result. The beautiful flapper-inspired beaded dress is from Patricia Apple's wonderful nonprofit resale boutique Couture for a Cause. The lace at the neckline was hand dyed and added by tailor extraordinaire Aaron McGill at Only One Tailoring. Necklace and earrings are courtesy of Pura Vida Vintage (Krystle Ramos had the perfect tuxedo for my better half as well), and the silver filigree cuff is from Daisy Alexandria Designs. I wanted my headpiece to be inspired by my grandmother's, and Sunny Fitz came up with a modern Sunnyband that was just perfect.

My longtime friend Lani Barrett, who has been my hairstylist for many years, did all of the floral arrangements and arranged for me to have my first ever mani-pedi from Rebecca Schrader of Nails by Becca (more on that soon). Our friend and inimitable artist Arthur Kirkby honored us by officiating. He's a natural, and his narrative was very moving. Arthur and his boyfriend are engaged. Guess who gets to be his Matron of Honor? 

We said I love you, still, in ways that made us laugh and shed a few happy tears. Then we ate, toasted, danced and carried on with our wonderful friends. Right next to us sat two other couples comprised of a woman in a wheelchair and an able-bodied partner. It can, and does, happen. It can,. and does, last.

It wasn't perfect. The a/c at the venue wasn't working properly and my better half forgot to bring his shoes. But Emma made it right after the fact, and my darling friend Matthew Bretherick of The Faded Farmhouse lent Clint a pair of spiked Doc Martens which turned out to be more in line with Clint's style, anyway. In the end it was like true love, imperfect yet wonderful nonetheless.

Enduring, evolving love is a rarity nowadays, and we find ourselves at a pivotal, joyous point in history when same-sex relationships are being recognized for what they are; loving bonds between two people. Having said that, vows are not created by contracts or ceremonies. They are written from, and can only be carried out by, the heart. Love is an active verb, an everyday affirmation. 

It also has to start with a sense of loving and accepting yourself, and I will be focusing on that premise much more in this space from now on.

Linking up with Creative Mondays, Style to Inspire, Monday Mingle, Turning Heads TuesdayReasons to Dress,  Thursday Favorite Things, Top of the World Style