Robert Larew & Michael Lentz
Photographed by The Oberports
For Rob and Mike, family, food, music, and fun were the top priorities in planning their wedding. After 20 years as a couple, the two were engaged on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on the June 2015 day of the landmark Obergefell decision that granted nationwide marriage equality to same-sex couples. Their 16-year-old son was their best man, offering a humorous reading during the service and a heartfelt toast during the reception. The celebration took place on a beautiful autumn day on the Larew Farm, first settled by the family in 1798 and nestled in the hills alongside Hans Creek in southern West Virginia. The wedding service took place in the century-old farm church and featured Queen Anne’s lace on the altar, just as Rob’s grandmother had used at her wedding there 99 years earlier. The music was performed by old-time country band Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves, along with musicians Deborah Payne and Stephanie Jetter, from southwest Virginia and central Kentucky. The band performed several old-time standards before the grooms entered the church to create a bonding, welcoming, and fun atmosphere. The guests all sang along to “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “You Are My Sunshine.” After-wedding activities included a goat milking station and hayrides for the kids. A cousin set up his giant meat cooker to prepare a barbeque feast, with a local caterer and friend providing all the country cooking sides under a large tent decorated in a fall country theme. Autumnal pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies supplemented the traditional wedding cake. The band played a square dance later in the community hall pavilion that the family had constructed on the farm over the previous few years. Rob and Mike joined in on-stage for one number, playing their fiddles along with the band. Country squares, clogging, waltzing, and reels gave the dancers, new and old, an evening of energetic fun.