Shared Stories (4)
We met at the University of Mississippi and at first, we were just friends both in separate relationships. It wasn't until a few months after those relationships ended that we began to explore a relationship together. Because we were friends for so long, it was easy to realize very quickly how much we loved each other as a couple. It was only two months after dating for me (Madison) to know she was my soulmate.
Have you picked a Wedding Date? How did you make the choice??
We actually just got married! We were married on May 14, 2022, on the beautiful Sand Key Beach in Florida. We had been together for 9 years and decided we did not want to wait any longer.
Tell us the story of your engagement! Details, details!!
I wanted to surprise Maddie with the engagement, so I knew I had to make the day as normal as possible (she is impossible to surprise). I knew that everything I planned had to in some way include our normal weekend routine: brunch, walk around, drinks, home (in that order). I let her choose a brunch spot in Winter Park on the Avenue. After brunch, I told her I wanted to check out this beautiful building on the Avenue called Casa Feliz. Throughout the morning, some of our friends were setting up the house for an engagement party while others were setting up a champagne picnic at Casa Feliz. Once we walked through the archway and around the back to the courtyard, she saw the picnic and turned to me saying "Awe this is a cute little set up babe" (she still had no idea). It wasn't until we got closer that she noticed the "Mrs" sign hanging from the champagne bottle. She then noticed our friends hiding behind a stone wall who were there to record the proposal and take pictures. After she asked me "Is this really happening right now?" I totally froze. I had my entire speech completely perfect in my head, but I said none of it. She could see how nervous I was and could tell I had frozen, so she put her hand on her hip and said "you should get on one knee now and then I'll say yes". I got down on one knee, slipped the ring on her finger and the rest is history.
What are some of your favorite qualities about each other?
Maddie is so loyal to those she loves and her integrity has taught me to be true to myself and to others. She balances me so well and keeps me grounded.
Madison's empathy is my favorite thing about her. Her kindness and compassion for others are such beautiful things.
What type of wedding did you plan? Did you include particular rituals or traditions? Any particular theme? Did you write your own vows?
We planned our wedding pretty quickly. We were married on Sand Key Beach in Clearwater Beach, FL with our family and a few close friends. My cousin was our wedding officiant and she did such an amazing job capturing our relationship and making the ceremony lighthearted and fun. One fun thing we did after exchanging the rings and before the kiss was inviting everyone to take a unity shot with us. Maddie and I love bourbon, so we wanted to incorporate something we loved into the ceremony.
I can’t believe that you made me write my own vows and had me stand in front of people to read them, but for you, I would do anything just to see you smile. The past nine years with you have been some of the best of my life and something I wouldn’t trade for the world. We have had our ups and downs but we have always managed to make it through and it has only made us that much stronger.
Our story isn’t the most traditional but anyone who knows us knows that we are far from the traditional couple, and I’m not just saying that because we are gay! I mean who else would wait eight years to get engaged and then throw a wedding together in two months? All jokes aside, life with you is something I will forever cherish and wouldn’t trade for the world.
We both know I am not the most decisive person and not romantic in the slightest, but one thing I know with complete certainty is that you are the person I want to spend my life with. As for the romance…I will leave that up to you!
Although today marks the start of the rest of our lives, I know it will not be enough time with you. I promise to not take our time together for granted. And because words cannot do it, I promise to show you, for the rest of my life, how much I love you. I promise to encourage you to follow your dreams. I promise to always be there for you, even during sickness because we all know you are never short of those. Today, I take all of you for exactly who you are, and for always.
If someone would have told me ten years ago that I would be standing here, on a beach about to marry Maddie Cunningham I would have thought they were absolutely crazy. I think back to when we first started exploring the idea of progressing our friendship into a relationship and how frustratingly indecisive you were about taking that leap with me. There was a letter I wrote to you before we started dating that you saved and I want to quote a small part of it now “I know you’re scared to take this chance, but I promise you we are worth the leap.”
Today, I want to thank you for taking that chance on me and I hope that I have kept that promise to you. Because of that chance you took on me, you have given me a life and a love I could have never imagined for myself. Your fierce loyalty and integrity have taught me to be true to myself and to others. You challenge me, support me and love me in everything I do. You have shown me that love does not come to us when we find the perfect person, it comes to us by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. You are the only person I have ever met who sees me perfectly.
For the last nine years, you have been my best friend, my constant, my travel partner and so much more. Today, I promise to share my life in its entirety with you, to cherish your straight-up weirdness, to be faithful and honest, to make you laugh, to hold your hand during both good and bad times, and to love you with all of me.
From this day forward, like I promised you then and I promise you now, you will never be alone and that is my vow to you.
Are you going on a honeymoon? How did you pick the destination?
We will be going on our honeymoon next year (2023). Because we decided to do a small wedding, we wanted to still have a celebration with our friends and extended family. In May 2023, to celebrate our one-year anniversary we are going to be throwing a marriage celebration (similar to an after wedding reception) as a send-off to our honeymoon. We plan to go to Ubud, Indonesia to explore the beautiful jungles and culture there.
How did you meet? Was it love at first sight? What were some of the qualities that attracted you to each other, and made you realize that he/she/they were 'the one'? We met at a C-town supermarket in uptown NYC Manhattan, He saw me at the cash register as he walked in, wide eyed... stood two feet from me and said out loud, " I never knew there even was such a handsome man on earth - I am so dazed and in need and want to talk/meet you." That was 6 years ago this last April.
Do you have a wedding date set? How'd you choose the date? Due to the pandemic plans have been put on hold for 2 years now.
What are some of the fun details about planning your wedding? What are some ways you've found most helpful to de-stress during the planning process? (if you're already married... please share anything you'd like about the planning of Your Special Day) Being with family and dressing up and fancy music
What are your Wedding Colors? What are some of the ways you'll include the colors in your ceremony and reception? (apparel, florals, decor...) Any thoughts of including a Rainbow Theme? That is one of the fun parts of planning is getting to try many things to find what looks and fits best for us.
Are your families supportive of your relationship? Will family members participate in your Wedding Ceremony? We hope so.
Any other details about your Wedding/Reception/Honeymoon Plans that you'd like to share? We love reading all the wonderful nuances and exciting ideas, so tell us as much as you like! We have a small dog we need to have included in whatever our plans may be, he even travels with us all the time.
Why are marriage rights important to you? What is your advice to others in a committed relationship, as they consider whether or not to have a wedding of their own? If you're true to yourself and to your partner you will be so much more comfortable with each other and life itself.
His- "Say what I mean & I do as I say"
Mine- "Kill your enemies with kindness"
Our Story starts back in the spring of 2016. Samantha, an ambitious woman, was promoted to Assistant General Manager at a very young age, requiring her to relocate to a Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Las Colinas, Tx. During her first week of training, she met the local staff, and one person caught her attention, unintentionally. This young woman was Denise. Sam was immediately drawn to Denise's fun and charismatic nature.
For those of you who don't know, Sam runs a tight ship. Her employees are held to a high standard and they feel the wrath of her glare if not up to par. Soon after Sam's transfer, Denise was in constant trouble with the new boss. Whether it was being yelled at for drinking with customers, closing too early, or not cleaning to Samantha's standards, Denise found herself getting a lot of uninvited attention and was unsure why. Little did she know, the feeling of constantly wanting to impress and get the approval of Sam, was going to be a lifelong mission.
Within the first few months of meeting, Sam began to help Denise wash her glassware voluntarily. She also made it a point to have her manager lunch in front of Denise’s Bar every Friday. Denise, thinking she was a bad employee, was nervous and on high alert every time her new boss came around, not realizing that Sam was using it as an excuse to spend time with her. In fact, Denise had no idea that Sam was even interested, she assumed all of the special attention was just Sam’s way of running her store. It wasn't until after a big May 5th celebration that Sam had slipped up and Denise began taking the hint.
You see, being a Taco shop, Fuzzy’s threw a huge Cinco De Mayo party every year. The place gets overrun with patrons, live music, and cocktail servers running around with trays of tequila shots. Denise, being the absentminded person she is, left her backpack with a week's worth of tips in the bar during the party. As you may have guessed, the backpack was gone the next day. Devastated, Denise turned to Sam for the video feed. Sam used her whole shift to watch the feed of the party to get a clue as to who grabbed it. The next day Denise came in defeated, but Sam had good news. When she explained that she found who took the backpack, Denise grabbed and hugged her with excitement! It was their very FIRST physical interaction. Sam immediately felt the butterflies soaring through her body as Denise excitedly wrapped her arms around her. The hug lasted a bit longer than normal and when Denise let go, she caught Sam's eyes checking her out.
Surprised by this, she disregarded the incident, but began noticing her desire for Sam’s attention grow. Denise began learning Sam's schedule, and staying late on the shifts they worked together. She no longer felt imperfect when Sam scolded her, but started looking for a reason to get Sam inside of her bar. It took a few days of mutual flirting, but Denise eventually summoned the confidence to invite Sam out for drinks after their shift. Sam agreed, and showed up to the bar out of uniform which caught Denise off guard. It was the first time Denise had seen Sam out of her normal purple polo and queso stained jeans, and she was instantly captivated. The woman she has been searching for was near her all along. Fuzzy Monday soon became a weekly night out for the staff of that little taco shop. When Sam started joining, Denise knew that these nights would be her chance to get Sam alone.
On May 16th, 2016 the staff went out for drinks as usual. Denise had a final exam due online, but did not want to miss her chance of getting Sam alone, so she took her laptop with her to their favorite bar, The Grand. Denise sat in the back corner of the noisy bar with her laptop out, and Sam curiously approached, and sat next to her. Sam, having a little bit of liquid courage, placed her hand on Denise’s knee shooting bolts of electricity through Denise’s entire body. Denise, finding it hard to concentrate on school, raced to finish her exam to address the much wanted hand placement on her knee. It took a few shots of tequila, but Denise eventually mustered courage to ask Sam to join her in getting a round of shots for the group. This was her chance. She knew it was now or never. As they walked towards the bar, Denise took hold of Samantha’s hand and pulled her to a secret corner of the pool hall. There they had their first kiss. At that moment, the couple felt the chemistry between them, and knew they were both in major trouble.
They had both unknowingly found their soulmate. ….and well…6 years later....they will be tying the knot officially on May 14th, 2022.
Are you engaged? What's your proposal story? How long had you been dating before deciding to get married? We started out as best friends and decided to start dating July 2016. Fast forward to May 9th Mothers Day she proposed to me. I was sick as a dog however she did her best to cheer me up by allowing me to stay in bed all day just for her and my son to get on one knee and propose. She didn’t want to wait so we went to the courthouse July 23rd and we were legally married. However that wasn’t what we dreamed of so here we are now planning a huge wedding to take place July 23,2023
Have you picked a Wedding Date? How did you make the choice?? July 23, 2023. We picked this date because we got married on the 23rd and started dating in July of 2016. We love the number pattern of 07-23-23
How did your family and friends react to the engagement? Any insights, thoughts or feelings you'd like to share? They were very shocked but happy. We didn’t necessarily get the support we imagined & had obstacles along the way but we kept it pushing and we will have a beautiful wedding regardless.
What has ceremony planning been like? Stressful but rewarding lol. A wonderful moment was selecting the venue! I imagined walking down the aisle the day being beautiful!
Any planning tips you have for others who are just starting to think about marriage? Tips for marriage alone: never stop dating one another, keep your business between you and your partner, and always communicate even when it hurts. As for planning tips? Always do what YOU and YOUR partner wants to do. Don’t allow anyone to restrict or detour you away from wedding plans just because they don’t like it. Don’t get discouraged at lack of support and focus on the support you do have.
What type of wedding are you envisioning? Ceremony colors? Any theme? Are you planning to include particular rituals or traditions? Are you including any Rainbow themed items? Our theme is Classy-rustic. Colors are Navy, Champagne & Salmon pink. Lots of flowers lol. We love glad but both are from the country Texas and Mississippi so we love rustic themes!
What do you think will be the highlight of your Wedding Day? The highlight will be remembering every obstacle We’ve gone through to reach this point. We’re looking forward to celebrating with people who actually support us and genuinely want to see us happy.
Any other details about your Wedding/Reception/Honeymoon Plans that you'd like to share? As for our reception we love to dance! We love blues so we plan on dancing the night away! Honeymoon plans are to be on someone’s beach overseas! Mercedes is looking forward to dance classes so she can keep up during the reception lol.
What is it about your future together that is most exciting for you? Our future is exciting because we’re planning IVF. We definitely want another child. We already have a 13 year old son and we’re really wanting two more. Diving deeper into our careers while always loving each other more every day. Knowing that we made the right decision getting legally married first and planning a wedding second shows us everyday how much we’re committed to the marriage and not getting married for the sake of having a wedding.
Favorite Quote you'd like to share? Any one can have a wedding but always be committed to the actual marriage.