📸: Melissa Stimpson Photography // @melissastimpson
We’re teary-eyed over this New York love story of persistence. After meeting in NYC, Leisa and Beau hit it off, but little did she know this was her dream man. The couple wed on Aug. 18, 2022, in a private ceremony aboard the Aquidneck Schooner through Sightsailing of Newport.
How We Met
I am originally from a small town in Ohio and Beau grew up on Long Island, but we met in New York City. Beau was living in NYC and I had moved there to pursue my passion for dance and arts management. While working professionally as a dancer and arts administrator, it was necessary that I supported myself with supplemental jobs in order to pay rent. One of these side jobs entailed hostessing at a local restaurant on the Upper East Side, which was coincidentally located at the corner of Beau’s street. He walked in one night with a friend and the rest is history!
The proposal was perfect — intimate and so us! In the city, with life moving so quickly, my favorite type of nights used to be our “no limits cheat day”, when we had very little to no plans and could just spend the day doing whatever we wanted — strolling the city, exploring new restaurants, stores, exhibits, the park, etc. These ideal days concluded with a pizza from our favorite spot followed by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dessert while we watched a movie snuggled on the couch.
The night of the proposal, Beau hid the engagement ring in our pizza box and asked me to be his wife. It was truly one of the most perfect nights — nothing and everything like a fairytale, all at once. In fact, it was absolutely opposite of what I had imagined, yet everything I wanted, slow dancing with him to Alexa playing Frank Sinatra in my comfiest pajamas — an Ohio State sweatshirt shriveling at the collar from being worn far past its obvious expiration date — and a bare face, clean after my nightly scrubbing of all the day’s makeup residue. I was unpolished, unmanicured, and completely over the moon with excitement to start calling my parents and sister, text our entire families to make the announcement. I remember reaching for my phone and him gently grabbing my hand, insisting on one more dance to internalize, revel in the moment. He said, “Once we start calling, it’s everyone’s moment. So let’s just wait, one more song? Maybe a glass of champagne? Let’s just be together to keep this moment ours.”
I’ve always adored this about him, the way he stays present. We spent the next hour or so dancing in our tiny apartment in NYC, sipping on champagne, enjoying our favorite pizza and one another while the world bustled along. I remember leaning my head on his shoulder, thinking about how much he knew me and exactly what made me happy, and feeling overwhelmingly grateful for the beautiful life I had been given, with him.
The Engagement Session
Our engagement photo session was perhaps one of the most romantic days of my life. It was remarkably special to walk amongst the mansions and the charming Newport cliffs together in celebration of our love, to play on the beach and kiss in the sun, to be us … just all dressed up in better clothes! We’ve come so far…
Our original wedding date was Aug. 18, 2019. In late July of 2019, I was abruptly diagnosed with a brain tumor. I spent the entire month of August recovering from a craniotomy. A small section of the tumor could not be removed, as its elimination would risk additional damage/harm, and thus, the whole month of September was devoted to rehabilitating with therapy, as well as overall healing.
As I started to make significant progress and show positive signs of returning to the person I once knew myself to be, Beau and I began to again become excited for our new wedding date: May 10, 2020. Our second attempt at a wedding was, again, suddenly halted, this time due to a global pandemic. Subjecting our loved ones to COVID and jeopardizing the health of our families and friends felt trivial in the grand scheme of things, and associating our special day with that surmount sense of fear was just not an option. So, again, we waited.
In December 2021, when we discovered that the small, leftover percentage of my tumor was growing, we again postponed our wedding in favor of combating the tumor. I was scheduled for radiation treatment in January 2022. Due to the unsettling uncertainty, not really knowing how my body would react to the treatment, we decided to use our wedding deposit with beloved photographer Melissa Stimpson to take engagement photos, and I opted to wear my veil for a few photos in the event that I lost my hair before our actual wedding.
Beau and I were officially married on Aug. 18, 2022, reclaiming our initial 2019 date with a small wedding ceremony — just our immediate families and the two of us. I was absolutely flooded with gratitude for the moment to finally utter “I do” without a single breath of hesitation, simple and easy, knowing with certainty in my heart that I am with the man I have always dreamed of, and am living a life perhaps even more beautiful than the one I imagined — a life of tender, strong, tangible love.
A wedding, in so many ways, is presented like a fairytale. Yet, the truth is, the celebration comes and just as easily dissolves. The wedding itself can’t last.
But marriage can. Love can.
Your soulmate, your person — a gift of love in its deepest, most abundant form — can remain right beside you, through it all.
Our love has taught me, unknowingly, purely by example, that the real magic lives in our everyday life, in the beauty staring directly at us at all times, often in the crevices of routine normalcy, in plain sight; in the small, conjunctive moments that weave each of these minutes into sequence that, when noticed and appreciated, make us feel complete, full, and whole — happy. Simple moments like snuggling on the couch or hearing his laugh that make the ordinary extraordinary; that make nothing everything.
And that, this, us, right here and now, is the realest fairytale I could have ever imagined.
The Sail-Away Wedding
Other than our talented photographer Melissa Stimpson and her amazing assistant Olya Myers, we actually did not work with any “wedding” vendors. Melissa was truly our only “must” to capture the fleeting moments of our day, as after waiting years to officially get married, we genuinely did not feel an ounce of obligation to decorate our love beyond our vows. It was strangely important to me to look like me for our wedding — my own makeup, my natural hair (completely tangled in the wind), a simple white dress, and barefoot as we appreciated the incredible boat, the gorgeous Newport scenery, and sharing our special day with the people we hold most dear. I knew I could trust Melissa to capture the candid, vulnerable moments of happiness — the real us — as she had done so beautifully in the past for our engagement photos. Her work is phenomenal and she certainly exceeded every one of our expectations!
My incredibly talented mom made my flawless bouquet and Beau’s handsome boutonniere, and we simply bought wine, champagne, and last minute charcuterie snacks to sip/munch on during the sail, followed by a wonderful dinner at The Mooring near Bowen’s Wharf.
The Aquidneck and Sightsailing of Newport staff was extraordinarily accommodating. They expressed great excitement for our big day, allowed us to play music from our iPhones for our first dances during the sail, directed us to the best local places for wine and snacks, and even afforded Beau the magical opportunity to steer us back to dock. They truly made our day so easy and stress-free, flooded with joy, adventure, and, most significantly, full of love.