As part of our real weddings series, we catch up with Allison (she/her) and Morgan (she/her) Kowalczyk on the importance of having their close friend Emily (she/her) represent both of them on their special day. The Kowalczyks currently reside in Pensacola, but for their wedding, they decided to get married where their love originally blossomed - St Petersburg, Florida. They were married on May 24th in a modern industrial venue that once upon a time was a laundromat! We also discuss the importance of authenticity through fashion & styling on their special day.
How did you two meet each other?
We met up at college while Allison was on a tour of campus for softball. We were both young but it was love at first sight! Our relationship has developed over the past 8+ years to include two rescue dogs who complete our family. We’ve grown up together, finding our passions, finding ourselves, and developing our relationship. We love spending time outdoors and on the water together; so much so that Allison proposed while we were paddleboarding!
Where did you meet Emily and how long did you know them? What lead to choosing them to officiate your wedding?
Morgan: I met Emily my freshman year of college, roughly ten years ago! Our friendship developed mostly over the shared pain of college physics classes! We’ve always stayed in contact, no matter the states in between us. We have so much in common and have always supported each other. When Allison and I were thinking about what we wanted our wedding celebration to look like, we knew we didn’t want the stress of having a wedding party, but still wanted to give a nod to some of the most important people in our lives throughout the big day. So right away we knew we were going to have our niece be our flower girl, do our “first dance” with each of our parents, and the biggest question was what role our now mutual best friend was going to be. With an LGBT+ wedding, there’s really no rules which is fantastic, but equally challenging because of that. We didn’t want it to be lopsided and have her stand on one side of either of us and it was as if a lightbulb went off: she can be in between us and stand up for both of us! It was a no brainer!
Allison: The first time I met Emily was when I was a freshman in college and Morgan was borrowing my truck to go to Anatomy and Physiology lab that was off-campus; it was a quick hello, but nice to put a face to the name. When Morgan and I moved to Florida, I wasn’t sure if many of the people we met in college would stay in touch. Emily always did. And since we lived in Florida, it was always a good excuse for Emily to visit for a vacation. When I got into law school in Syracuse, we decided to move back to NY and with Emily living in Buffalo, we were able to see each other more. Over time, we all got to know each other more and our friendship naturally developed. Even prior to being engaged, Morgan and I would talk about who we would want in our wedding and Emily was always on the list, but we just didn’t know for who. Having her as the Officiant was the perfect compromise!
Where did you get married? How did you go about choosing that location?
We got married in St Petersburg as we consider it home for us! The beginning of our relationship really blossomed in St Pete and we lived there for several years. We ended up finding our venue on a wedding planning site and it had our same style and vibe: upscale modern industrial. We knew it was the right space right away before even seeing it; we were able to do a virtual walkthrough to confirm that we wanted to make the drive to see it in person. The venue used to be an old laundromat, so it had a unique layout which we used to our benefit; we were able to rent the whole space at a reasonable rate, and have our ceremony and celebration in one area. The venue has a beautiful outdoor area that our guests could utilize as well. The West Events also has a get ready room which was great for us personally, but sadly it turned into everyone’s locker room.
We saw a couple of pups are the wedding! What are their names?
Aspen (blonde) and Apple (black)! They are both rescues and about 7 years old. We adopted Aspen in the summer of 2015 when she was about 6 months old and Apple about a year later when she was about a year old. They met in Morgan and I’s first apartment building and were instantly best friends. A neighbor of ours adopted Apple and every time they saw each other they would run at one another and start playing. Eventually we adopted Apple to complete our little family. We were so excited to have them with us on our big day as they complete our family.
Can you tell us more about the additional styling details incorporated to you suits?
Ties & handkerchiefs: Knotty Tie Co.
Shoes: I (Allison) have actually had my dress shoes for about 8 years now from Call it Spring. Morgan and I bought them together my freshman year of college when I suddenly needed formal clothes for a presentation. For years Morgan said that she wanted me to wear them when we got married, so I had to make sure I made that happen!
Flowers: We both wanted something subtle for our wedding and we aren’t huge fans of flowers in general, but love the tropics, so we integrated a lot of greenery with white flowers. We also wanted something small for our suits, so our flower vendor came up with simple boutonnieres for us to wear.
What was the process of choosing what to wear like for each of you?
Allison: I always knew I wanted to wear a suit (instead of a dress), but I wasn’t sure what kind. I had flirted with the idea of a bespoke suit, but that wasn’t going to be in our budget. As a law student, I had a few nice suits, but I wanted something special for our wedding day. I have followed Kirrin Finch for awhile, and was even gifted a shirt by my mom a few years ago, but never had an excuse to buy a full suit. Our wedding was the perfect opportunity!
Morgan: Before I met Allison, I never thought it would be in the cards for me to be married, so I had never been a girl to have big dreams surrounding a typical white dress, thankfully (as I am not a dress person AT ALL). What I normally go for first and foremost is comfort, which I knew would probably be a fancier jumpsuit or a suit. Allison and I both looked up suits for LGBTQ+ folks and Kirrin Finch was the top option, especially when it comes to all different sized individuals. Allison told me the color she was going for, as we were wanting to do a private first look, and I wanted to do an opposite color that complimented her color scheme and the wedding decor.
Emily: When the fact sank in that I wasn’t only attending their wedding, but I was the officiant, I knew I would be wearing a Kirrin Finch suit. I don’t typically love speaking in front of large groups of people, so I knew I needed to wear something I would feel comfortable and confident in. That was a Georgie suit. As for what color, I left that up to Allison and Morgan. The date was approaching and I was impatiently waiting for one of them to tell me what they pictured me wearing. Morgan responded with, black… all black. When I thought about a Florida wedding at the end of May, my mind wasn’t thinking black. As I thought about it more, I really liked the idea. Once I was able to put the suit and dress shirt on, I was sold. Everything came together and we all looked amazing.
When you first tried on your suits how did you feel? How about throughout the wedding day?
Allison: I loved it! I have worn a variety of different women’s suits and have always been frustrated by them not fitting right in one area or another. My Kirrin Finch suit is quite the opposite, right out of the box it fit well and comfortably.
Morgan: I felt comfortable, which is a rare occurrence for me with clothes. But right away, I knew that I went the right direction with Kirrin Finch; the suit felt incredibly well made. I felt right at home, I looked incredible, and I felt like it was meant to be. Not to mention, the deep pockets are a game changer.
Emily: Confident! Fun fact, this was my first time wearing a suit. I always pictured myself wearing suits, but I could never find one that I felt my true self in. It seemed nothing fit how I wanted it to. Men’s or Women’s. The day my suit arrived at my apartment, I immediately put it on… and I kept it on until my partner got home so I could show her. Happy was an understatement. Wearing a Kirrin Finch suit gave me the confidence I needed to officiate Allison and Morgan’s special day. As the party continued that hot day in Florida, I remained very comfortable. How I felt in my suit was one of the many factors making this a truly memorable day.
Left: Morgan - wearing The Georgie Navy Suit; Center: Emily - wearing The Georgie Black Suit; Right: Allison - wearing The Georgie Gray Suit.