Erik Neinstedt described his wedding to Stuart Whitfield as an amazing day and a whirlwind, with everyone from their friends and family to coworkers and even a high school teacher to support the couple and give them a sparkler sendoff.
“Our officiant, Jim, told us at the beginning of the ceremony to look around and take in the moment,” Erik said. “I can clearly remember looking around to see all our family and friends’ faces and just feeling so appreciative they were there supporting us.”
The couple met at a friend’s Christmas party in 2012. At the time, Stuart was working as the pastry sous-chef at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant.
When a mutual friend asked Erik what he thought about the desserts at the restaurant, he replied “Eh, they were okay.” The friend then introduced Stuart as the one who makes them.
“I quickly tried to back pedal and change my review while Stuart tried with all his might to keep from pushing me into the pool,” Erik said.
Erik quickly changed his mind about Stuart’s pastries, with Stuart even designing their three-flavor wedding cake, which Stuart’s sous-chef at The Glass Knife, Jade, made. Erik said cutting the cake was one of the highlights of the day.
“It’s always special to me when Stuart creates another amazing pastry or dessert and receives recognition for it,” Erik said. “It makes me very proud.”
Stuart said one of his favorite moments was walking down the aisle with his mother. While in the holding room, waiting for guests to arrive, he was nervous, but he said that changed when the ceremony began.
“At that moment, reality hit and it was finally time,” Stuart said. “But I finally felt calm when I got to the end of the aisle and could hold Erik’s hand.”
Before Erik proposed to Stuart while on a weekend trip to Seattle, he wanted to call Stuart’s mother for permission. On the day he planned to propose, Erik made the call but she didn’t answer, so he called Stuart’s sister instead, who immediately said yes.
Erik had scoped out the perfect spot in Gas Works Park on a hill that overlooked the city. On the drive to the park, Stuart’s mother tried calling Erik back, but he couldn’t answer without Stuart overhearing.
Once there, Erik had their friend Andrew stage the couple like they were going to take a picture, at which point Erik got down on one knee and popped the question.
“We both got choked up, but he quickly said yes,” Erik said. “Then we went down the street to a local brewery for a celebratory beer and so I could call his mom back!”
Erik also shared a special moment with his mother on the wedding day when he surprised her with “It’s Your Song” by Garth Brooks as the song they would be dancing together to.
“She recognized it right away and started crying,” Erik said. “And I started tearing up as I reminded her that I told her back when I was in high school that I would dance with her to that song.”
The couple were grateful to be able to have so many of their closest friends and family with them on their special day.
When everyone went outside to get ready for the sparkler sendoff, Stuart and Erik stayed behind to have a moment to themselves and reflect on how amazing their day had been.
“I just remember how it turned out to be a beautiful day,” Stuart said. “I remember hearing the sounds of the city, a nice breeze, and the setting-sun shining on us.”
Engagement Date: October 15, 2018
Wedding Date: January 19, 2020
Officiant: Jim Bowden
Venue: Dr. Phillips Center
Colors: Navy Blue / Slate Grey / Burgundy
Wedding Song/Artist: “I Am Yours” by Andy Grammer
Florist: Lee James Floral Designs
Caterer: Dr Phillips Center
Cake Flavors: There were three: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond Apricot and a Harry Potter-inspired Marshmallow Cake with Butterscotch (Butterbeer) and Stout fillings (Wizard’s Brew)
Bakery: The Glass Knife
Photographer: Olga Thompson and Ali Nasser
DJ/Entertainment: JW Jaeger, Miles DJ Productions
Planning a wedding? Check out our 2019 LGBTQ Wedding Guide to use as a great resource to find several LGBTQ wedding resources for your special day!