Less than two months after Cristina Griffiths Danial and Megan LaNell Nesloney tied the knot, Danial was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Since then, Danial’s life has been full of chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments—but also full of love.
From the moment she received her diagnosis, Danial viewed it simply as a hurdle to be crossed, and one she is grateful to be working through with the doctors at MD Anderson, her family, and of course, her new wife, who is her number-one champion.
Danial, a 35-year-old from Syracuse, New York, and Nesloney, a 30-year-old Houston native, were married June 2, 2018—an incredibly hot but equally beautiful day—in Gruene, Texas.
Nesloney says it was Danial who proposed, in the most artful way. It happened on their first day as homeowners, when Danial unveiled a mural by local artist Kate Hopper on their bedroom wall. The mural said “Megan, will you dance with me at our wedding?” and included “yes” and “no” boxes. “I, of course, said yes and checked the ‘yes’ box,” Nesloney explains.
The two met in 2014 at Wakefield Crow bar playing pick-up sand volleyball with a group of mutual friends. “Before I even knew she was interested in me, her confidence and enthusiasm in volleyball struck me. But the seller was her excitement for good home-cooked food—particularly my cooking,” Danial says.
Nesloney says the feeling was mutual, as she felt drawn to Danial from the beginning. “The desire to be with her, to dedicate all that I am, has always just been there. I vividly remember thinking I’m going to marry this woman when I found out that she, too, did not eat fast food of any sort,” Nesloney says.
Danial, a Clarkson University graduate, is a senior project manager at GE Oil & Gas, while Nesloney, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is a technical sales specialist with Puffer Sweiven.
The two chose to be married in Gruene because they had fallen in love with the scenery and the pace of the town during a visit for a friend’s birthday. Their ceremony was officiated by Nesloney’s godmother, Sherri Luehr. “I have always viewed my aunt as a role model, and she truly is an impressive woman,” Nesloney says.
The only other high-priority decision they made was selecting the band nearly one year before the wedding. “For both our families and friends, having great dance music was paramount. The Dry Water twelve-piece band exceeded everyone’s expectations tenfold,” Danial explains.
Danial and her brother, a bridesman, co-wrote a piece about the meaning of Welsh love spoons that he read during the ceremony. Danial says it was one of the most special moments of the day. “It was important for us to pay tribute to our grandmother who emigrated from Wales in her 20s. She taught us the importance of hard work and good jokes.”
For Nesloney, standing at the altar surrounded by so much love and happiness was a feeling she will never forget. “There is something to be said about the power of having everyone you love and care about in the same place at once. Our entire wedding day was the happiest day of my life. Every moment makes me smile.”
As for wedding customs, instead of a flower girl the couple used a pair of flower boys—Danial’s two-and-a-half-year-old nephew and her maid-of-honor’s son. “They handed out flowers as they walked down the aisle, and their sweetness made you forget how hot it was for those moments.”
Pinned inside of Nesloney’s dress was a small cross that her mother wore on her wedding day. “It was her father’s,” Nasloney says. “She has made it a tradition for family brides to wear as a sort of token for a loving and long marriage. The cross is about the size of a dime. It’s not something people see, but it’s an important tradition.”
All of the vendors at the wedding had something in common. “Cristina and I are big supporters of women-owned businesses,” Nesloney explains. “It was important for us to work with vendors owned or co-owned by women. It’s empowering and inspiring to be a part of their dream and passion.”
Looking back, Danial says the “extraordinary execution in every detail was inspiring. We were both moved by the love and care our vendors displayed on the big day, [and how they all] felt like close friends.”
The couple honeymooned in London and Paris. Nesloney had never been across the pond, and Danial had not been to France. Exploring a new place together was important to them. “We both liked the idea of going to a place where we could see and experience beautiful art, history, culture, and food,” Nasloney says. “It was an amazing trip—one that neither of us will ever forget.”
Danial says she is winding down her treatments and is now “nearly cancer free.” Needless to say, the couple has already demonstrated what it means to commit to someone through it all, “in sickness and in health.”
This article appears in the December 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.