Story By: Shelbi LeMeilleur
Photos by Janet Ni
With Fourth of July fireworks blazing across the sky, Kat Miller asked Hallie Gammon to marry her. Two years later, Hallie and Kat tied the knot in front of their closest family and friends at Downtown 202 in Historic Downtown Bryan.
A two-year engagement may seem long, but for Hallie and Kat, it was worth the wait. “We didn’t plan a wedding right away because of the time we got engaged,” Hallie explains. “It was not yet legal [for same-sex couples] to get married here in Texas. I was pretty ideologically committed to waiting until it was legal here.”
The couple met in the spring of 2013 at a birthday party for a mutual friend. After dating a little more than a year, Kat proposed. They had a “Big Date Night” tradition with one person planning the date and inviting the other with a card that usually contained special instructions. When Kat had a whole weekend free for the Fourth of July, she planned an extra special big date night.
“I gave Hallie her invitation, and I picked her up and we went to La Riviera for dinner,” Kat says. “And at La Riviera, I gave her a little present, which wasn’t that weird for us to give each other gifts on big date night. It was a Kodak camera. … All night long we were taking pictures. … Then we went to downtown Bryan and had some drinks and we walked by the little courtyard [behind Carnegie Library] and that’s where I proposed to Hallie. … She said yes, and then we went and watched the fireworks at Reed [Arena at Texas A&M]. Then we went to Messina Hof. I had packed her a bag and had it all at the room already, so it was an instant getaway.”
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage would be legal in all 50 states. The decision meant Hallie and Kat could start planning their wedding; it was also a historic day for them and many other couples. “I saved the newspaper from the day after same-sex marriage became legal,” Kat says. “I thought it would be a neat thing to save and give to our children.”
Once wedding planning began, it was pretty straightforward. Both Kat and Hallie agreed the planning process was laid back, largely thanks to the help of their wedding planner from Ashley & Company.
“I think we were pretty relaxed as a couple,” Hallie says. “If anything we were too relaxed,” Kat adds. “We definitely got a lot of direction from the wedding planner, which was great,” Hallie continues. “Part of it too was that there are all these traditions for heterosexual marriages about who does what and who pays for what and a lot of that just didn’t apply.”
In fact, the biggest obstacles the couple faced was deciding on a last name. “I think that was the only thing we fought over. We put that off almost as long as possible,” Hallie says. “I felt like it was very heteronormative for one of us to take the other person’s name, but Kat was very settled on us having a single family name and very anti-hyphen.”
In the end, it was a suggestion from one of Kat’s friends that helped make the decision. “She said, ‘What if you just make your last name – your maiden name – into your middle name and you take Gammon. Then Hallie can make Miller her middle name. Then you have both names there and no hyphen,’” Kat says.
The night before the wedding, brides spent quality time at the La Salle Hotel with their respective bridal parties. “We sat in our hotel room paying Pokémon Go and singing Disney songs at the top of our lungs,” Kat says. “We scrapbooked,” Hallie adds.
The day of the wedding was practically perfect. Hallie and Kat walked down the aisle to the string quartet version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” The bridesmaids had the option between a dress and pants. Each of Kat’s bridesmaids wore a boutonniere made from an Avenger comic bookpage. They shared their first dance to “This Will Be” by Natalie Cole. They wanted the reception to be a big party and for all the guests to just enjoy themselves. One of their favorite parts was when their maids of honor did the “Maiwwage” speech from “The Princess Bride,” a favorite movie of both. “It was really good,” says Hallie. “That was one of my favorite movies growing up, so that was really cool.” Kat adds, “And of course, Hallie’s parents are both writers so they made us cry [with their toast].”
Both Kat and Hallie praised their wedding planner and encourage future brides to consider hiring one, at least for the day of. “Having the wedding planner on the day of felt like being temporarily a celebrity,” Hallie says. “I could just mention a wish for something to the air, and it would get done.” Kat reiterates this saying, “Even if you don’t want to do the big thing, like we did, get someone to just handle everything the day of the wedding. That way you can actually enjoy the wedding. You can enjoy it, and not have to deal with the caterer and the set up and the take down and all that kind of stuff. Then you can just enjoy the day without being even more stressed than you already are.”
“It all just worked out,” Hallie says. “It was very serendipitous.”
Venue Downtown 202
Photographer Janet Ni
Wedding Coordinator Ashley & Company
Cake Crumbs Cake Bakery
Flowers Post Oak Florist
Wedding Bands David Gardner’s Jewelers
DJ Missee Mora with Firehouse Karaoke
Catering Chef Tai Lee, Veritas Wine & Bistro
Drinks Luke’s Bartending
Hallie’s Dress J. Crew Online; Tailoring by A&M Alterations
Kat’s Suit, Suit Tailoring, Bridesmaids’ Vests & Ties Jos. A. Bank
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Alfred Angelo
Officiant Dan De Leon of Friends Church in College Station
Invitations Vista Print
Guestbook Poster Peachwich