Bravotv.com: Tell us about the proposal! We want all the deets!
Laura Leigh Abby: Sam proposed to me in August 2012. We were on a vacation out West visiting Seattle where we rented a car and drove the Oregon coast to wine country then finished the trip in Portland. Sam planned a romantic bonfire at Cannon Beach, which was our destination after Seattle. It was chilly out so I was dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt and a jean jacket -- if I’d known I was getting proposed to I probably would have tried to look a little better. The sun set as we drank wine and roasted marshmallows. Sam pulled out her laptop and begged me to watch a video she was working on. I almost threw a tantrum. I’m always on her about putting away her devices and living in the moment and I was furious that she brought her laptop to our romantic bonfire. She said it was important and I agreed to watch under the condition that she would put her computer away for the rest of the night.
I had no idea that the camera she set up on the tripod was actually recording the whole time. She put the computer on my lap and pressed play. She’d created a cartoon about us. It was about how we met; fell in love and how we drive each other crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking; I was wondering what the hell was going on. At the end of the video she asked me to marry her. I sat there in shock and said, “Are you f---ing kidding me?” About 100 times and finally I looked at her and she was holding the diamond ring of my dreams. When I finally said, "Of course I’ll marry you!" She pulled out her Mom’s diamond ring which she’d had reset for herself and had me put it on her finger. Leave it to Sam to plan the entire thing and have both of rings! She’s such a control freak, but it was romantic and perfect and a moment I won’t ever forget.
Samantha Abby: We had a trip planned out West in August of 2012 and I thought if I could combine all of Laura's favorite things (wine, campfires, s’mores, star filled skies and the beach) into one event that would be the perfect time. We flew into Seattle for a couple days then drove down to Cannon Beach where I had organized a day full of Laura approved events with the manager. First a hike (I hate hiking, Laura loves it) fish and chips with craft beer at a local pub, happy hour and dinner back at our hotel. When we finished dinner we walked out to the beach and there was a bonfire set up with a basket, which included a blanket, a bottle of local wine, and everything to make the perfect s’more. She was so excited she just sat down with her glass of wine and stared out at the ocean and sky.
Meanwhile, I brought out our camera and told her I wanted to take a picture so I set up the self-timer and tripod and made it seem like we were posing but in fact I was filming. I sat down next to her and I was so nervous and excited. I had her ring in my hoodie pocket and I still had to propose. I made a cartoon that would tell the story of how we met and fell in love. The ending was the proposal. Leave it to Laura to be a pain in the ass and refuse to watch the video. Finally, with a little persuading, she watched and was in utter shock when I asked her to marry me. It took her a full minute before she even looked at the ring and said yes. It was an unforgettable and amazing night that was perfectly us.
Bravotv.com: What were you feeling in the days leading up to the wedding? What were you most nervous about? What were you most excited about?
LLA: I was excited to get there and let it all go. We’d planned the whole weekend down to the minute. We had everything in place and an insane team of talented vendors taking care of us, so I didn’t mind running around getting all the last minute details organized because I knew that when we got up to Cedar Lakes Estate we could breathe easy. . .although we did have to make something like 65 beds in the cabins, which I was nervous we would never be able to handle. But it all got done! I was actually scared of running out of alcohol -- ha! So ridiculous, since we ended up with way too much. I knew we had some big partiers and I wanted everyone to have the time of their lives. I was excited for all of the fun we had planned -- rehearsal toasts in wedding whites and a big bbq with bibs for our guests that featured a picture of two pigs smooching and read "It gets messy with Sam and Laura," a movie on the lawn overlooking the lake, a Saturday morning kickball game and water activities, an after-party with a bonfire and a kickass DJ -- but what I was most excited about was our ceremony. Our officiate Elizabeth Phaire custom-planned the entire thing with us and it was just so Sam and Laura. I knew that our guests would have a blast all weekend and I felt ready to gather them all and ask for their focus on why we were really here, that it wasn’t about us as individuals, it was about us a couple.
SA: The days leading up to the wedding I was feeling the most insane adrenaline rush of my life. It was completely indescribable. I knew that in a few days, I would have the people I loved together for an entire weekend. I knew this was once in a lifetime. A weekend that Laura and I planned down to every last minute. We wanted our guests to come and have the time of their lives. How do you even manage that excitement?
I was looking forward to our ceremony the most. We have the most accepting loving family and friends who have been a part of our journey for nearly a decade, so to have them there watching us legally marry each other was just so magical. We had our entire ceremony customized, including a moment for my mom who passed away. It was perfect.
Bravotv.com: Looking back, what is your favorite memory of your wedding day?
LLA: Oh my gosh. There was no one favorite because my memories of the weekend are unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. I so wanted perfection but continually reminded myself that perfection doesn’t exist. Well, our wedding was perfect. Even the ridiculous parts and moments when things didn’t go quite as planned, all of that was still perfect. It doesn’t feel real -- how could something be so unbelievably amazing? Our life up until that point had both of us believing that our every endeavor would be kinda messy. I half expected rain storms, but the weather was unbelievable.
At the beginning of our ceremony Sam lit a candle that represented her Mom’s presence. All of our guests swear that as soon as that candle was aflame these beams of light shone through the trees and lit us up for the remainder of the ceremony. After we were pronounced Wife and Wife our band played an acoustic version of "I Kissed a Girl." That was our sign that everyone could breathe, that it was officially time to celebrate. Sam and I snuck away for a few minutes right after the ceremony concluded. We went up to the mountaintop where there’s a gorgeous view, Sam told me our photographer wanted pictures of us up there with the sun setting. When we arrived, our guitarist and vocalist from our wedding band, Tangled Vine, were performing one of my favorite tunes, "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison. Sam had arranged the whole thing and we had a secret mountaintop first dance.
Later things just got wild and totally rock and roll. Our band played lots of classic rock; we were all dancing like maniacs. My sister’s speech brought the house down, we both danced with our dads, and the night turned into the greatest party I’ve ever attended. Sam is not a drinker and we swear her Mom (who was always the life of the party) invaded Sam’s body that night. If you think seeing her plant a smooch on her childhood best friend is racy, you should have seen everyone at the after-party. It was just a no-holds-barred all-night blowout. We had the time of our lives, though I don’t think Sam remembers the end of the night. I was wondering in and out of the photo booth with a giant bottle of whipped cream vodka in my hand. With a little help Sam changed out of her dress before the after-party. I stayed in my gown until the bitter end, around 4am. I remember watching Sam run around in her Mom’s bridal headpiece, a hoodie that said, "I’m her Mrs." printed with our wedding date and a pair of jean shorts that were falling down her ass. She was a truly a masterpiece, and I thought, I married that wild thing. She’s all mine.
SA: Gosh, there’s not one memory that stands out. I’m the most OCD, control freak you’ll ever meet. I need everything completely planned and something happened that day where I just for one day let it go and said, "Whatever happens, happens. I get to marry the most incredible person on the planet and have her forever so nothing else matters." The whole day was epic from kegs and kickball to our ceremony and the wildest wedding reception on the planet. Oh, and the after-party was killer. Everyone for one night just had the most incredible time. . .even though I might not remember the end it, the whole experience was truly unforgettable.
Bravotv.com: What were you most looking forward to in married life?
LLA: Wedding planning was such excitement. We had a winter engagement party in Brooklyn, a North Fork vineyard bridal shower, bachelorette parties in Vegas for Sam and New Orleans for me, all leading up to our huge wedding weekend. I wouldn’t trade any of it, but I looked forward to that part when everything would quiet down, when it was just us enjoying our lives together. I was excited about just being a boring married couple bickering about what to watch on TV. I loved every minute of celebration, but nothing beats those real moments together when it’s just us being ourselves and it feels like nothing else in the world matters.
SA: I was looking forward to those moments where I would look across a room and see the most beautiful woman standing there and say to myself, "That’s my wife." She's mine.