A Music-Filled Wedding at Whitney Houston’s Former Estate in New Jersey

Planned by the couple

Meaghan Garland and Kiyomi McCloskey were married at Whitney Houston's former estate in New Jersey.

 Photo by Nato Tuke

Music has played a big part in Meaghan Garland and Kiyomi McCloskey's relationship.

Naturally, music played a role in their engagement as well. “Kiyomi grew up in Toronto, Canada, and her family spent summers on Salerno Lake,” says Meaghan, a model, of her then-girlfriend, lead singer of the band Hunter Valentine. “In June 2017, she was asked to play an acoustic set and she arranged for both our families to spend the weekend there. Just before the last song, she asked me to join her to sing. I ran to the stage and belted out a song, not realizing Kiyomi was on one knee behind me. The crowd cheered and, after a minute of utter shock, I finally said ‘yes!’” 

For their wedding, Meaghan and Kiyomi—who starred on “The Real L Word” and VH1’s “Linda Perry: Make it or Break It”—wanted a venue that felt “upscale yet natural, minimalist yet romantic.” The couple is based in New York City so when a friend purchased Whitney Houston’s former estate in Mendham, New Jersey, and offered to host their ceremony and reception there, they knew they’d found their spot. “We loved the gorgeous greenery throughout the grounds,” says Meaghan. And, perhaps, most importantly for a couple who loves music: “There was plenty of dancing space!”

Keep reading to see Meaghan and Kiyomi’s music-filled wedding celebration, as planned by the couple and captured by Nato Tuke of Weddings by Nato.

Favor bag detail of puppy illustration
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Portrait of the couple kissing
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The brides took on the planning of their wedding themselves, setting a date for June 15, 2019. “Kiyomi has thrown many parties and events, so she created contracts and hired the big vendors and bands,” says Meaghan. “I took care of the little details, spending countless weeks on Pinterest and scoping out yard sales.”

Favors were decorated with a custom illustration of the brides’ French bulldog Otto and included a personalized guitar pick and a packet of seeds printed with the words, “Let Love Grow.” 

Meaghan wedding portrait
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Meaghan wedding portrait
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Meaghan hair accessory detail
 Photo by Nato Tuke

“I’ve modeled many wedding dresses during my career but never fell in love with any,” Meaghan admits. But, when she tried on her Mikado silk dress by Pronovias, “it became the dress of my dreams!” Meaghan completed her look with a veil, pearl drop earrings, pearl hairpins, and a diamond-and-gold necklace passed down to her by her mother. 

Portrait of the bridal party
 Photo by Nato Tuke

“We wanted the members of our bridal parties to look and feel like themselves while remaining somewhat uniform,” says Meaghan. “We gave them a choice between floor-length black dresses or black suits. But ‘lezbehonest,’ this wedding was far from traditional. One of our friends, a stylist, wore a cowboy hat and looking amazing!” 

Kiyomi getting dressed in her suit
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Bowtie detail
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Detail of custom cufflinks
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Kiyomi getting ready
 Photo by Nato Tuke

Kiyomi chose a white suit made from the same Mikado silk material as Meaghan’s dress. “It was unique, chic, and everything I’d envisioned,” she says. She completed her look with personalized cufflinks—which were a gift from Meaghan—as well as a white tuxedo shirt and a white bowtie. Her boutonniere featured plum ranunculus, heuchera leaves, and olive branch.

The brides and their dog Otto
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The brides with their dog Otto
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple first met in 2014, when Kiyomi hosted a party over Memorial Day weekend and Meaghan attended. "We instantly connected and the rest is history,” she says. On their big day, the couple had a VIP guest: their French bulldog, Otto!

Portrait of the couple
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Portrait of the couple
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple laughs together
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Portrait of the couple
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple posed for portraits throughout the property’s grounds, which inspired the wedding’s color scheme: forest green, white, black and gold, with pops of dark purple. 

Fans on display at the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Ceremony space
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Otto at the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke

Guests gathered to watch the couple exchange vows in the venue's backyard. White fans helped human friends and family keep cool, while Otto found a shady spot beneath a guest’s seat. 

Kiyomi is escorted up the aisle by her parents
Photo by Nato Tuke 
Kiyomi watches Meaghan arrive at the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Meaghan is escorted up the aisle by her parents
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Meaghan gives her dad a kiss at the altar
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The brides hug
 Photo by Nato Tuke

Both brides were escorted down the aisle by their parents. A string quartet from the Queer Urban Orchestra performed The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” as Kiyomi arrived and “Ave Maria,” for Meaghan, who carried a bouquet of white king protea, white garden roses, statice, olive branch, black knight scabiosa, and plum ranunculus. Notably, she wore her veil at the nape of her neck to show off her pretty pearl accessories.

The couple exchanges vows
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple exchanges vows
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple stood beneath a floral arch designed by Colly Flowers. It was accented with peonies, majolica spray rose, flowering smoke bush, smoke bush foliage, olive branch, white garden roses, and statice. Originally, they’d planned for an aisle runner, “but we ended up ditching it at the last minute due to muddy heels,” says Meaghan. 

The couple exchange vows
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Kiyomi reads her vows
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Kiyomi reads her vows
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple wrote their own vows with Meaghan’s including a piece about how their relationship symbolized the Yin/Yang relationship. She said: "Similar to the yin-yang, though opposite in nature, it’s components are complementary: neither is superior, and one cannot exist without the other. The key to this existence & to our marriage is balanced energy. Together you and I will live in harmony because we have found each other. You’re the yin to my yang. Let us always remember, we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole. We will have long, hard days but we will never have them alone…”

Otto saying hello during the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple exchange wedding rings
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple finish their ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple share a kiss
Photo by Nato Tuke 

The couple shared their first married kiss as loved ones (including Otto, of course!) looked on.

The couple head back down the aisle
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple recessed down the aisle
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple leaves the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple leaves the ceremony
 Photo by Nato Tuke

Following the ceremony, guests sipped on three signature cocktails: a "Spicy Marg" (for Meaghan), the "Bourbon Bandwagon" (for Kiyomi), and the "Frenchie Fizz" (for Otto). There were also freshly shucked oysters from Flexmussels, where Kiyomi worked for seven years whenever she was back home in New York City after touring with her rock band. 

The couple's welcome sign
Photo by Nato Tuke 
A memory ladder
 Photo by Nato Tuke
Floral hoop with table assignments
Photo by Nato Tuke 

“Creating all the unique moments to reflect us as a couple was the most important part of our vision,” says Meaghan. Among their favorite was a personalized sign that read, “Welcome to our wedding. Rules of the wedding: Don’t talk politics, All Religion is Welcome, Love is Love.” They also included a ladder that held photos in memory of loved ones and a floral hoop where guests found their table assignments on cards hung with clothespins. 

Reception table
Photo by Nato Tuke 
Menu detail
 Photo by Nato Tuke

Guests enjoyed a family-style dinner of roasted chicken, beef tenderloin, and pappardelle, served with summer vegetables. Tables were decorated with greenery runners, gold candlesticks, and black taper candles

Kiyomi laughs as the couple dances
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple dances
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple with the Whitney Houston drag queen
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple performed their first dance to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” They also had several musical surprises for guests. “The best part of the night was when the Whitney Houston drag queen came out onto the dance floor just as everyone was finishing dinner,” says Meaghan. “Every single person ended up on the dance floor belting out ‘How Will I Know?’” 

The couple kiss during the cake cutting
 Photo by Nato Tuke
The couple surprise guests with a brass band
 Photo by Nato Tuke

The couple cut their four-tiered, semi-naked chocolate cake with white chocolate cream frosting, then joined everyone on the dance floor until the brides snuck off for a secret outfit change. “We marched back onto the dance floor with a hip-hop brass band!” says Meaghan. Two after-parties followed—one by the property’s swimming pool and the after-after-party in Whitney’s recording studio. “We sang until 5 a.m.," Meaghan admits. "No one wanted the party to end!” 

Wedding Team

Wedding Venue: Private Venue

Officiant: Love & Light Wedding Officiants

Meaghan’s Dress: Pronovias, purchased at Designer Loft, NYC

Meaghan’s Accessories: Majorca (earrings); Kate Spade (shoes)

Kiyomi’s Suit: Suit Supply

Kiyomi’s Personalized Cufflinks: The Blue Agave Studio

Hair & Makeup: Metamorphosis New York

Engagement & Wedding Rings: Lolo Jewels

Floral Design: Colly Flowers

Invitations & Paper Products: Minted

Menus: Sophia Saunders via Dribbble

Music: Queer Urban Orchestra (ceremony); Breakdown Brass (reception); DJ Monstar (reception); DJLivv (reception)

Entertainment: Davon Chance/Miz Jade

Catering: The Fruited Plain; Flex Mussels

Wedding Cake: Sweet Cake Society

Favors: Lindsay Tatis (dog illustration); A Day to Remember Studio (seed packets)

Transportation: Toyota USA

Alcohol: Smirnoff

Spray Tan: Shimmer n Glow

Drone Photography: Michelle Hamp

Photography: Nato Tuke of Weddings by Nato

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