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Bliss Life

be bold. be brave. be remembered.

Trina & Matt - Forever Friends

Apr 06, 2019 05:14PM ● By Trina McLean

Photo Credit: Kevin Nguyen, Photoquest Studio Photography

I met my husband, Matt, on my birthday in April 2000, but that is not where our love story begins…

My best friend at the time had just started dating Matt and she introduced him to me as her boyfriend. No big deal, he was nice but obviously I had no romantic interest because he was dating my best friend. I knew we were both from the same small town and we had gone to the same high school. He was one grade up from me but our paths had never crossed until then. Shortly thereafter, he introduced me to a friend of his who I began dating and would date on and off for the next six years. For the first three and a half years, Matt continued to date my best friend and the four of us spent a lot of time together. When they broke up, my boyfriend and I stayed together and eventually got engaged. I know, confusing, right?

Despite what was going on in our relationships with our mutual friends, Matt was always a constant in my life but I had never looked at him in any other way than just my best (male) friend. That being said, friends would often comment that we had amazing chemistry and they could see it in the way we looked at each other, it radiated from us. We ran in the same crowd, went to the same parties, and I would often catch him looking at me from across the room and our eyes would just lock on each other. Well, life went on, I finally realized that I wasn't in love with my fiancé anymore and I ended my engagement. Don’t feel so sorry for him though, he had monogamy issues during our entire relationship, so this ending was a long time coming. Through it all, Matt and I were just friends, as we always were.

You would think this is where our love story flourished and took off. Oh no, that would be too easy. Truth is, I did fall in love with Matt, but he was scared shitless and couldn’t commit. This threw the balance off in our friendship so we took a break from spending time together and, honestly, I thought I had lost my best friend forever. I was devastated. I was so certain that I had found my soul mate…he was “the one.” After a few months and a little help from a friend, we slowly started to rebuild the friendship we thought we had lost. It still took a few months, but this is when the kindling of the fire began to burn. The first time around, I was fresh off the broken engagement and though I thought the time was right, I still needed time to heal. Perhaps Matt sensed it and that’s what sent him running for the hills. That time to myself was therapeutic and now the timing was perfect. The time apart made us realize how much we meant to each other and now the feeling was mutual…we were ready to jump in with both feet.

We started dating and after 6 months he moved in. After three and a half years of dating, and a total of 12 years as friends, he proposed on April 21, 2012. One year later, we tied the knot in an intimate back yard wedding at his mother and step father’s house. We didn’t have a lot of money but we had a whole lotta love. We were surrounded by all of our closest friends and family as we committed ourselves to each other. Our wedding was filled with so much love and is still hands down the best day of our lives.

Since we had lived together for so long and had everything we needed for our home, we decided to register through Sandals Resorts for a honeymoon to Jamaica. And, turns out all of our wedding guests loved the idea and we had our entire honeymoon payed for!! The day after our wedding, still swooning from our most perfect day, we set out on our honeymoon for 10 relaxing, fun-filled days in Negril and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Upon our return, at the next family gathering, someone inevitably asked the next logical question…you guessed it…when are you having kids? I was 34, Matt was 35, and we knew the clock was ticking. We absolutely wanted to have kids, we knew we didn’t have a whole lot of time, but we did want to enjoy this honeymoon phase and spend some quality time together before we started a family. We had enjoyed traveling together whenever we could during the first 4 years of our relationship and our amazing trip to Jamaica only fueled our passion for seeing more of the world. So, we started planning more trips each year and with each trip we felt more torn between continuing to travel and starting a family. As we observed many of our married friends having children, we began to notice a shift in their relationships and the stress associated with starting a family. It helped us to see what kind of foundation we needed in order to sustain a happy marriage with children. We cherished our marriage, our love, and our quality time together and decided we weren't quite ready yet. So, we planned more vacations! This brought us closer to approaching 40 and we sat down for the final discussion of do we or don't we and mutually decided that we weren't going to have children. If you had asked me when we got married if we were going to have kids the answer was 100% yes. I even had my names picked out. Having children is not for everyone and we were fortunate to have the support on both sides of our family to do what was right for us and never felt pressured one way or the other. We have so many beautiful nieces and nephews who we get to enjoy and that fills our hearts. In the meantime, we strive to live our marriage full of love and admiration for one another and continue to travel as much as we can.

Trina’s Top Wedding Planning Tips

Rule #1 - Don’t sweat the small stuff! This is the best advice I was given while planning my own wedding. It’s so easy to get caught up in every single little tiny detail. Sure, those details may make your wedding space a little more beautiful or make you feel a sense of accomplishment, but if it's not your idea of "perfect" I promise no one will know the difference. Your wedding day is first and foremost about the celebration of love between you and your partner, shared with your closest family and friends.

Rule #2 – Let it go! It's ok to give up control! Take the help that is offered and allow your family and friends to help reduce the stress of the planning and details. Give them an idea of what you want or need and then let go and let them handle it.

Rule #3 – Keep it simple…specifically, when it comes to people and the roles they play in your wedding. This celebration is about you and your partner. Start there. Do you really need a huge wedding party? I’ve seen weddings with 10 bridesmaids and groomsmen on either side and usually in these cases some drama ensues. If you’re having trouble deciding who should be in your wedding party…maybe you shouldn’t have one?! Who says you have to have a maid of honor or a best man? Your friends and family can be part of all of the traditional celebrations without having to actually stand up beside you. Consider including children as your wedding party. They're a lot easier to deal with and don't have any opinions or expectations. Managing the bridal party can be just as stressful as the rest of the preparations.

Rule #4 – Enjoy! On your wedding day, enjoy every single moment with your new spouse, family, and friends. You don't get this day back. If you waste time or energy "sweating the small stuff," I guarantee you will reflect back and wish you hadn't. Carpe Diem.

An Intimate Backyard Wedding

Trina and Matt opted for a simple, intimate backyard wedding. Friends and family helped with all of the details and they wouldn't have had it any other way. The personal touches and rustic, natural charm of the handmade decorations created a casual, loving ambiance in which everyone felt relaxed and could thoroughly enjoy the celebration.

Handmade signs made from reclaimed wood directed guests and created a warm, rustic ambiance.
Engagement photos clipped to reclaimed wood and accented with wildflowers made for a whimsical way for guests to connect with the couple's love story.


Trina and Matt saved money by buying alcohol in bulk, recruiting friends and family members to take shifts as bartenders which made for fun, playful, interactive cocktailing.


A table display honoring photos of loved ones who had passed and another handmade sign added to the intimacy of the celebration. All of the accent linens and doilies were family heirlooms that Trina and Matt had inherited from grandparents.


A wish jar invited guests to leave well wishes for the happy couple.
Trina loves the classic beauty of gerbera daisies so the couple opted for gerberas as the focal flower accented by colorful wildflowers and their sister-in-law placed them throughout the yard to add natural pops of color.

Even the bees thoroughly enjoyed the natural simplicity of Trina and Matt’s intimate backyard wedding…Gerbera daisies wound with twine hung on trees in mason jars, handmade signs greeted guests and honored loved ones who had passed, a beautiful wedding cake made by Matt’s mom was more special to the happy couple and their guests than any cakery’s creation could’ve been, and Trina and Matt’s wedding party consisted of no one over 4 feet tall…and a good time was had by all. 

Photo Credits: Kevin Nguyen, Photoquest Studio Photography

Don't be afraid to use natural elements in the environment to enhance your photos! Even the bees loved this moment!
Trina loves the classic beauty of gerbera daisies so the couple opted for gerberas as the focal flower accented by colorful wildflowers and their sister-in-law placed them throughout the yard to add natural pops of color.


Trina's mother-in-law, Patty Skeie, made this beautiful homemade cake.


to avoid any drama over choosing which friends or family were "best," Trina and Matt had their nieces and nephews serve as their wedding party.


Drone photography captured group photos of all of the guests creating special memories to last a lifetime.