Nikki and Sue’s beautiful HI wedding

Last summer, on August 22, 2013, Nikki Tongg and Sue Bavineau joined together with their closest friends and family members to declare their commitment in a gorgeous pasture in Maui, Hawaii, the state where Nikki was raised. The women, who live and own two businesses in North Plainfield, NJ - including a dog-walking, pet-sitting business and a holistic pet shop - were thrilled to have the chance to exchange vows and promise their commitment to each other after 11 happy years together. 

When they declared their love for each other in their beautiful ceremony, however, neither Hawaii nor their home state of New Jersey extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. 

Just six months later - a testament to the amazing momentum for marriage in the United States - both states allow same-sex couples to marry.

This month, Nikki and Sue shared their wedding video - a gorgeous look at their ceremony, and a perfect celebration of the love and commitment behind it all - with Freedom to Marry. 

At the time, Nikki explained the feelings of frustration about having a beautiful ceremony that legally wasn't tied to any of the protections or responsibilities of marriage. 

"After eleven years together, we knew that we wanted to have a wedding for us, even though our marriage could not be legal in Hawaii or New Jersey," she explained. "But we feel married and take our vows seriously. We cannot wait until the day that we can be legally recognized for our marriage - and in the meantime, it's frustrating to be stuck in this limbo of being married-but-legally-not."

Now, their commitment is respected in their home state - they got a marriage license in New Jersey shortly after the freedom to marry took effect - and they couldn't be happier.

"We are so thankful that both of the places we consider home do recognize our marriage now," Nikki said.

Read their story - and their vows - from last year