Doug and Brent Munster knew their wedding ceremony would have some spontaneous moments since their 2-year-old son Sawyer was part of the festivities, and that was perfectly fine with them. “We wanted to include Sawyer in the ceremony, so he walked down the aisle as the ring-bearer with Doug’s sister Kara,” says Brent. “But he didn’t want to sit … he had to be in the middle of it all, so he was in our arms for almost the entire ceremony. He even provided some comic relief by grabbing my boutonniere and ripping it apart.”
If you combine the toddler factor with an 80% chance of rain forecast for the day of their outdoor wedding, it might sound like a stressful time, but this tropical getaway ceremony was all about keeping it loose and fun (spoiler alert: the rain stayed away). The couple ended the night dancing with family and friends, ecstatic about sharing this special day in a peaceful oceanside setting.
“Our goal was always to make sure our friends and family didn’t have to worry about anything and could just enjoy the wedding, and we achieved that,” says Doug. “And I would advise anyone getting married to always just breathe and know that no one will notice the small little details that might go wrong.”
The Atlanta couple chose the five-star Paradisus resort because it met several criteria: easy access from the Cancun airport, with multiple flights a day for guests to choose from, and its dual identity with an adults-only side and a family side, to please all the guests. “Overall, the resort made the wedding planning very easy,” says Brent. “They essentially give you a book of options and you just flip through and choose the items you want, which is exactly what we needed.”
Flash back 10 years ago to a friend’s pool party where the romance began. As Doug recalled, he was sporting an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt, while Brent had an unfortunate hairdo with a big blonde swoop in front. “I was 32 at the time, and Brent was 25; he gave me a hard time about someone in their 30s wearing A&F attire,” says Doug. “But I came back with an attitude and could hold my own with a little mockery. We ended up having a great conversation all night.” A first date at a restaurant in Virginia-Highland even included the sensitive subject of children. (Both wanted children, and each had a specific timetable in mind: Doug wanted a child before turning 40, but Brent wanted to be over 30, leaving a relatively small window of time.) After a year of dating, they moved in together and exchanged rings as a commitment to each other. In 2014, they began the process of adopting a child, eventually connecting with a birthmother early in her pregnancy. Eight months later, Sawyer was born — coming into the world just barely before Doug turned 40. Doug has since become active in the organization Gift of Adoption to help other families.
They were thrilled when the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal, but since they had just adopted Sawyer, the couple had their hands too full with family life to immediately plan a wedding. At Sawyer’s 1-year-old birthday party, however, Doug surprised the 60 guests by proposing to Brent. “At the time, Sawyer was in my arms, and when Doug asked the question, Sawyer immediately started clapping,” recalls Brent. “It was as if Sawyer knew what was going on and could not have been happier that his parents were making their family legal.”
Last spring, they were celebrating in style on the coast of Mexico, and even the weather seemed symbolic of good things to come. “We could see the dark rain clouds in the distance during the ceremony, but the rain never came over us,” says Doug. “In fact, after the ceremony was done, to the left was the most beautiful rainbow.”
We wish the happy family a lifetime of love and joy!
Read about more inspiring Southern nuptials in our “Weddings” section.