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This Non-Traditional Wedding Will Hit You Right In The Feels

Justin and Simon wanted a wedding that would blend their different backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. They got all of that and more.

Meet Simon McNorton and Justin Johnson.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

Married in May of last year, they're the first to admit they're a somewhat unlikely pair.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

Their backgrounds, upbringings, and stances on things like politics and religion? Totally different.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

Simon's from the U.K.; Justin hails from North Carolina. When they first met, Simon was a grad student, while Justin was coming off tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines.

But at their wedding β€” held at the D.C. War Memorial in Washington β€” they celebrated those differences in a beautiful way.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

"It was an interesting challenge," Justin told BuzzFeed Life, of planning the big day. "But we agree on more than we disagree β€” and we certainly learned a lot from each other in the process."

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / http://www.photoguzman.com/

To start, they knew they both wanted a non-traditional wedding β€” one that blended their different styles and cultures.

Marisa Guzman Aloia / www.photoguzman.com

On their big day, Justin wore his Marine Blues, and Simon donned a traditional Indian Sherwani.

Maria Guzman-Aloia / http://www.photoguzman.com/

"I had my heart set on it the same way a bride might have [a] vision of the perfect dress," Simon told BuzzFeed Life. "Got it tailored, spent far too much money on it, but I felt like a Maharaja when I put it on. I'm still looking for excuses to wear it."

Also important to them? Incorporating their family and friends into the celebration.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

Even the ones who couldn't be there.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

When much of Simon's family wasn't able to make it over from the U.K., they Skyped them in.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

"My dad was at the front of the ceremony the entire way through holding up my smartphone to Skype with my grandmother, aunt, and two brothers back home in England. They watched the entire thing," Simon said. "Who knew you could get enough signal on the National Mall?"

Looking back on everything today, Justin and Simon β€” who now live in the U.K. β€” couldn't be more pleased with the way the day turned out.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

They say getting to that point comes down to one thing: A willingness to compromise, even when differences threaten to get in the way.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

When the pair realized they were very split over who should officiate the ceremony β€” Justin wanted a reverend; Simon wanted to keep it secular β€” they talked through every alternative, before asking a close friend to do the honors.

But ultimately, they say, any differences turned out to be a good thing. Freeing, even.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

"One of the lucky things about having a non-traditional wedding β€” a same-sex couple, one of us being non-religious, coming from two very different backgrounds β€” is that we weren't fixed down by any particular traditions or cultural norms," the couple told Washingtonian. "We were able to really do whatever we wanted."

Their advice to engaged couples facing something similar is to remember what brought you to point of wanting to get married in the first place.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / http://www.photoguzman.com/

And to remember that you both have the best intentions at heart.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / http://www.photoguzman.com/

"The biggest thing about your wedding day is the fact that everyone is there to celebrate," Justin said. "The rest is just details."

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

Congrats on celebrating a year of marriage, Justin and Simon!

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

And cheers to many, many more.

Marisa Guzman-Aloia / photoguzman.com

H/T: Washingtonian Bride & Groom