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.
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.”
“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.
“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 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 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!
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.
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.
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 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 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…”
The couple shared their first married kiss as loved ones (including Otto, of course!) looked on.
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.
“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.
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.
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 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 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
Spray Tan: Shimmer n Glow
Drone Photography: Michelle Hamp
Photography: Nato Tuke of Weddings by Nato