Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 39

A Candlelit Ceremony at The Redmond Treehouse in Washington

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Christina McNeill

Adrienne Browning, a product designer at Google, and environmental biologist Erin Bench met on a speed dating night at a lesbian bar—but Erin claims she doesn’t remember that encounter. They ran into each other again, while watching friends play in a queer flag football game, and hit it off.

After dating for a year, the two had what they refer to as a “Mutual Day of Love,” where they decided to elope together. “We then picked a day, went to a beautiful beach, had a picnic, and spoke about our future dreams,” Adrienne explains. “Then we each ‘proposed’ during golden hour.”

Shortly thereafter, they started planning for a New Year’s Eve wedding. The process was “a bit of a struggle at times,” Adrienne reveals. The first venue they booked was a beautiful lodge, but they ultimately discovered that it had experienced a big COVID-19 outbreak amongst the staff and then tried to hide it, so Adrienne and Erin cancelled. The next venue initially agreed to host their elopement but suddenly cancelled on them after realizing two women were marrying.

Christina McNeill, the couple’s wedding photographer, came to the rescue when she suggested The Redmond Treehouse in Washington.

To say, “I do,” Adrienne wanted something short, since they would be outside—probably in the rain—and she had her heart set on a ’60s wedding dress. But when she found a gown on Etsy with a stunning train, her sense of practicality went out the window.

“Erin, on the other hand, is not a white dress kind of gal and wanted something that felt more sleek and dark,” Adrienne explains. On a whim, Adrienne ending up ordering a dress for her fiancée, and the second Erin tried it on, they both knew it was the one. They didn’t think long and hard about their outerwear, but on the day-of, they just so happened to have a leather jacket and cropped white coat to keep them warm.

On December 31, 2020 surrounded by stars and candlelight and nestled between trees, Adrienne and Erin exchanged heartfelt words. “We each wrote our own vows, and shockingly, we each ended with the same line ‘you make sense,’” Adrienne shares. Their officiant Anna Stapley, a.k.a. Adrienne’s childhood best friend, made the whole ceremony incredibly personal, and Tanya from Busara Flora created a magical, dried flower forest with ivory and cream blooms. “The whole thing was so dreamy and exactly what we hoped it could be.”

Once officially married, the newlyweds shared a first dance to “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves and cut into their chocolate cake by Deru Catering. At the end of the night, the newlyweds found themselves reminiscing on a porch swing. “We feel so lucky,” Adrienne says. “It was exactly what we wanted, even outside of COVID times, because it was the most pure, unadulterated expression of us as a unit.”