Mark and David are some of the most fun, real, and loving men we’ve ever met. Their wedding was truly one of a kind. From their dapper suites with personal promises embroidered on the inside of the jackets, their quick wit humor, to their beautifully expressive hearts. From some of the most beautiful poetry, we’ve heard to the majesty of Mt. Hood behind them. Tears and laughter filled the day. Their ceremony was wonderfully interactive. The gracious way they walked in greeting guests, inviting children to carry flowers up in honor of those who couldn’t be there, inviting guests to connect, to their extremely thoughtful personal vows. From the depth of their hearts to the joy of their playfulness this day was a full spectrum of emotions. Wiggle dancing splits in the grass (and a few headstands!), to being thrown high into the pink sky by friends and family! And did we mention the EPIC food, WOW… the absolute best farm to table food we’ve ever seen at a wedding! We had a blast shooting this same-sex wedding and are over the top thrilled for them!
Their story is something to be heard. It truly defies chance, they were almost like two ships passing in the night while both living in New York City.
Gary Thrill writes it best in his article about the two of them for Oregon United for Marriage, a must-read:
“Sometimes when two people are destined to be together, even an event that moves heaven and earth can’t keep them apart. In many ways, that’s the story of David Kahl and Mark Holloway, who celebrated their engagement with a house party beneﬁting Oregon United for Marriage. At the time, the two were still living in New York City. They had met nine months earlier at an upscale club. Neither was into the club scene — ‘Too noisy,” David says. But both were there because they had friends in town and were trying to show them a good time. ‘What I could tell immediately about Mark was that he had a big heart,’ recalls David. ‘It was one of those things you could just feel. I don’t know if there’s another way to describe it other than there’s this connection that says, ‘Oh, this guy is special.’ After talking a little while longer they realized they shared another connection: ‘He tried to impress with me with, ‘I’m not from here, I’m from Louisiana.’ And I was like, ‘Big deal! I’m from Louisiana, too,” laughs Mark, 42, who’s quick to smile and often serves as comic relief for the couple.
But the connection they felt went deeper than geography. ‘New York is a difficult place to have meaningful connections with other people,’ says David, who at 46 still looks boyish despite his gray hair. ‘I was really needing to ﬁnd someone to have that human connection with.’ Adds Mark, ‘New York had taken its toll on him.’ Little did the two know that Mother Nature had a much bigger test in store: Hurricane Katrina. When it hit, the two were hunkered down at David’s apartment tracking the progress of the category 5 storm. Mark’s family was further inland and less affected, but David’s wasn’t so lucky. “His family was right in the path of it,” remembers Mark. ‘It was very dramatic.’ About three hours before the monster storm made landfall, all contact was lost. ‘We were completely in the dark,’ David says. ‘The last thing we heard was my sister on the phone screaming, ‘I gotta go! I gotta go!’
David knew what he had to do. His family needed him. Flights were out, so he’d have to drive to Louisiana. Mark had just started a new job and wasn’t sure he could go. But he knew one thing: David needed him. ‘He didn’t know if his family was alive at that point. He was really panicked and I wanted to be there to support him,’ Mark says. “It was a moment where we came together. ‘Fortunately, David’s family had made it to safety. But that initial sense of relief was replaced by the harsh reality of what the storm had wrought. One mark of the destruction was the loss of electricity, which didn’t come back on until Thanksgiving, nearly three months later. In the interim, David made a pivotal decision — one that put his relationship with Mark to the test. ‘There are certain things in your life that just shake you,’ David says. ‘9/11 was one, and this was one.’
David decided to move back down to Louisiana for himself and his family. He stayed in contact with Mark, who remained in New York, but the relationship was anything but certain. ‘Neither one of use knew if it was going to last,’ recalls David. ‘I knew I loved Mark, and I wanted to stay in touch and see what happened. But I knew for me to be the best person I could be, that would mean not going back to New York City.’ So David put together a list of places he thought he might want to live, and when his family has settled again, he began exploring. As soon as he arrived in Portland, David knew his search was over. Now the only question was, would Mark join him?
‘When he called and said, Portland, the ﬁrst thing I thought was, ‘Am I willing to move for this guy?’,’ says Mark, smiling across the table at David. ‘I was still enjoying New York. But I didn’t think we’d gotten to the end of what was possible for us.” Turns out, they hadn’t — not by a long shot. Since coming to Portland, David has taken the ergonomics business he started in his upstairs bedroom, from a ﬂedgling company to a $6 million business. Mark, who also started as a “one-man show” with Social Venture Partners Portland, has since helped grow the venture philanthropy nonproﬁt into a thriving organization that includes a staff of 10. ‘We’ve gone from a philanthropy club to an impact hub,’ he says proudly.
Like their careers, their relationship has thrived in Oregon. And nine years later, the two are engaged to be married. Sure, they could go across the river and tie the knot in Washington. But for David and Mark, it’s not just a question of marriage, it’s a matter of being recognized in a state and a community they see as integral to who they’ve become as people — and as a couple.
‘Portland and Oregon have been an essential part of our relationship,’ David says. ‘The compassionate nature of the city and state has helped bring out our compassionate sides. Moving here has really helped renew my faith in humanity. That’s also why they decided to make their engagement more than just a personal celebration. To help ensure that their dream of getting married in Oregon becomes a reality, the two turned their announcement into a house party fundraiser for Oregon United for Marriage.
For David and Mark that freedom can’t come soon enough. ‘We couldn’t have done this anywhere else,’ David says. ‘That’s why the opportunity to get married in Oregon is so important.'”
Photographers: Jos & Tree | Venue: Mt. Hood Organic Farms
Wedding Coordination: Kristin w/ Soiree Special Event Planning
& Cassandra Cass w/ Mt. Hood Organic Farms
Suites: Duchess Clothier | Flowers: Geranium Lake
Cake: Papa Haydn | Catering: Cultivate Catering w/ Ginger Power
Junebug Weddings gave lots of love to this wedding on their blog under What Junebug Loves.
Fearless Photographers loved the image of Mark and David flying high above their friends and awarded it with a Fearless Award. It was also awarded in the ISPWP Winter 2014 category for Movement and Motion.