Jessica + Dustin



During the first year we were dating in 2012, we took a walk after dinner one night in San Francisco near Pacific Heights. We walked by a small concrete amphitheatre. Jessie climbed up on the edge and said she had a secret to tell me. When I leaned over to her, she whispered in my ear that she loved me. This was the first time she had said this to me. Three years later, I came up with this weird excuse for us to go back to that little amphitheatre: I told her that a friend of mine was throwing a pop-up dinner party near that area and that we were invited. She was suspicious, but she agreed to go. We taxied there, hopped out, and started walking up the hill to the spot. As I was talking up the dinner party, I secretly fiddled around my jacket pocket at least a dozen times to make sure the ring was still there. When we passed by the amphitheatre, I guided her in, took a knee and asked her to marry me.

We ground each other. We also inspire each other. In sum, we’re day adventurers: our sometimes boundless wanderlust is balanced with a heavy dose of “homebodiness”. While we love going to new places, eating new foods, listening to new music, and meeting new people, we always want to crawl into our own bed at night and go to our favourite neighbourhood coffee shop the next morning.

Four years ago, loving you became inescapable. I fell in love with your integrity, your intellect, your thirst for life, your grace under pressure, and your vision for leaving this world better than you found it.

I fell in love with you because you are a good man. And, you made me a better woman. Loving you changed me. I used to think that change was your goodness rubbing off on me—and that’s probably partly true, but I also think that the very act of loving someone so fully and trusting someone so completely set me free. It allowed me to become who I was always meant to be. Thank you for giving me that freedom. Thank you for connecting me to my truth. Thank you for showing me a life of intention and authenticity. Thank you for helping me love life more.

I look at you, and I see the ocean. I see Dakota, I see lazy Sundays, I see the “in-between” moments that truly fill a life. I see home. Wherever we are, wherever we end up, you are home to me.

I don’t know how many people feel that way—I hope everyone does, but I think we are special. Marrying you is not the next step; it’s not something that I’m choosing because it’s the right time in my life. I’m marrying you because I can’t imagine not. I can’t imagine waking up one more day and not being your wife. I’m marrying you because I believe in you, and I believe in us, and I know that life next to you is better.

So, I want to make you some promises today because being your wife is the greatest privilege of my life, and it deserves my protection and my full heart.
I vow to be a true partner: to support you, to really listen to you, and to help you thrive.
I vow to make life fun. But, when it isn’t fun, when it get’s rough, I vow to never give up on us—to fight for you, always.
I vow to be honest and to be kind.
I vow to closer align my version of “clean” with your version of “clean”.
I vow to never stop trying to make you feel more alive. To remain curious. To explore. To go on spontaneous adventures. To excite you and make your life fuller.
I vow to work every day to be the best version of myself and the woman you deserve.
I vow to be a good mother to our children, to teach them by example and make sure they grow to be strong, confident and kind—just like you.
And, most of all, I vow to love you fiercely and forever.

You are bubbling over with goodness and light and kindness and beauty and love—all the best things in life.
Your dimples.
That knee-buckling smile.
Your belly button.
Your freckles.
Your voice.
Your laugh.
Your moral compass.
Your courage—you’re the most courageous person I know.
Your inability to be anything but yourself.
These things make the world a better place. These are things that you will undoubtedly pass on to our children.

Your eyes are wide open, and it’s your particular way of seeing the world that I want in my life for the remainder of my days.
We remind each other that these days are gifts—that each day on this earth is a treasure—that we are incredibly lucky to live on this planet.
But the greater gift for me is each day, each hour, each minute, each moment that I get to spend with you. And it’s that thought—that guiding principle—that I will use to steer my way through the years ahead.

I promise to always put you first.
I promise to continually work to better myself for you, our kids, and our family.
I promise to do everything in my power to make you happy.
I promise to be your partner in crime and your comrade in adventure.
I promise to communicate fully and fearlessly.
In the presence of these lovely people, these are my sacred vows to you—my best friend, my greatest love, my wings.
I love you with the totality of my being—now and forever.

I see us living in a big house with lots of land. I see wild kids running around with long hair, building forts, playing in the mud, learning how to fish, learning how to climb and surf. I see us falling in love with each other over and over again as we grow older. I see us having boisterous dinner parties under the stars with our friends and family. I see us fighting to have more time to spend with each other and with our kids—and I see us winning that fight.

That future that we talked about in our vows is here. And I’m so proud of the partnership that we nurture each and every day. I think the secret sauce to our marriage is that it’s half love and half mission: keep each other honest, keep each other kind, keep questioning the world around us and what we know to be true. Keep each other young, and defy the usual cynicism that comes with age. Love hard and provide unbounded support—in the face of both failure and success. Protect our magic.

With this shared vision for our love and our life, I see so many things for us: a house full of dogs. And endlessly curious children. A little bit of chaos. A lot of love. Records spinning and silly dancing. Late night meals, games, and laughter with our closest friends. Talking about the meaning of life over a bowl of Kevin’s pho. Endless exploration and quiet comfort. I see joy.

While our wedding weekend was full of so many wonderful moments—shared meals, drunken card games, relaxing on the lake, bonfires, music, moonshine, and love—our favourite part was, to no surprise, the ceremony itself, because every aspect was so intentional. Every word was tied to who we were. And, we could feel the love surrounding us—just as they were a part of the love story that got us there, we made our guests a part of the ceremony, the commitment. We asked them to commit to support us in our life, and in our love, and in our marriage. They cheered a resounding “YES.”

We also weaved them into the ceremony through our readings. Dustin and I spent the first year-and-a-half of our relationship long distance while he was attending UVA Law School and I was working in California at Google. We wrote each other actual letters during this time. So, instead of traditional readings, our siblings and best friends stood up and read excerpts from those letters. They painted the story of our beginning. They cried and beamed. We were transported back to the day we wrote them. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

Reading one by Jonathan (Dustin’s best friend)
August of 2012, Dustin wrote:

Hemingway is my favourite storyteller, and this is one of his best stories. Both brutal and beautiful, I think “The Sun Also Rises” can be understood as Hemingway’s explication of what it’s like to live and love as a person with unseen scars.
More than anything, though, I hope this story inspires you to take the wild and slightly out of control journey from Paris to Pamplona with me. We will stay out all night, wandering the streets of Paris in a subconscious attempt to solidify memories of our fleeting youth. We will sit in a cafe in Pamplona and order a bull’s tongue for the hell of it. We will drink wine from leather skins as we count our scars and share our stories with those of the locals.”

Reading two by Rachael (Jessie’s best friend)
December 5 2012, Jessie wrote:

“When we spoke about the advice that we would hand down to our children, I mentioned that my advice to ‘have a firm handshake’ probably didn’t apply to girls, you countered with towering wisdom and unabashed fire, saying, ‘That’s not true … my daughter is going to break hands.’ I smiled and thought to myself, ‘Yes, our daughter is.’”

Reading three by Clay (Dustin’s brother)
October 11 2012, Dustin wrote:
“I’m laying it all on the line with and for you, Jessie. I’m pushing all my chips to the middle of the table, and I’m rolling the dice. For the first time in my life, I’m structuring life decisions with another person in mind. I have found someone worth fighting for—someone worth risking everything for. You mean the world to me, and I want to share my life with you.”

Reading four by Brad (Jessie’s brother)
June 18 2013, Jessie wrote:
“This weekend was Clay’s graduation. Even though I had met your parents before, this was the weekend where I saw them as my family. I fell in love with them this weekend and with that, I fell in love with you a little more. It was surprising to find out there was even more room in my heart for you. I thought you had already filled it all … maybe it’s just expanding.”

Reading five by Tyler (Dustin’s best friend)
January 24 2014, Dustin wrote:

“Sitting in front of the fire with a wool blanket draped over my shoulders and headphones in my ears, Father John Misty’s song “Oh I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” comes on and I am reminded of how much I miss you. I am also reminded of how beautiful our life is—of all the beautiful things that have not yet come to pass but will in the not so distant future. I hope you think of me when you hear this song, too. You are mine, and I am yours. I come back to you soon. Love, Dustin.”


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