Jennifer and Jessica of New Orleans, LA met at a party in February 2012. Says Jessica: “I was there by happenstance as we shared a mutual friend. Neither of us were in a place to begin a relationship, so like most great relationships, we started off as friends.” They began dating early that summer after a kiss that changed both of their lives. Says Jennifer: “Fireworks went off in that moment.”
This was Jessica’s first same-sex relationship and she has a daughter from a previous marriage. Her ex-husband did not approve of her relationship with Jennifer and fought to keep their daughter away from her. Says Jessica: “Louisiana being the conservative state that it is; it was a nearly seamless argument for my ex-husband to portray me unfit because of my sexuality.” The couple battled discrimination throughout their custody battle, including a ruling that made sure Jennifer could not be in the presence of their daughter due to the “sexual nature” of the couples’ relationship. Says Jessica: “Jennifer had to pack up and leave our home during my visitations with my daughter, which placed an extreme amount of stress on our relationship. Not to mention the emotional turmoil that I endured by having our relationship demonized during my coming out process.”
Things turned around for the couple last summer on June 26th 2015, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. Jessica has since seen a significant improvement in their local court system. She also credits her supportive family with the success of her relationship. “Without them I am not sure we would have been able to endure all that we have.”
June was a pivotal month for the couple, who knew they wanted to marry eventually but were consistently marred by legal drama and discrimination. Says Jen: “It’s kind of hard to marry the love of your life when a Judge tells you that you are basically a second class citizen because you are gay, and are unable to be in the presence of your Partner’s child, simply for that reason alone.” The ruling changed their outlook and Jennifer asked Jessica’s daughter Breanna permission to marry her mother. The two picked out a ring together and devised a plan to take Jessica to her favorite restaurant in New Orleans. On July 11th 2015 Jen popped the question in the courtyard after dinner.
Jessica says she was flooded with emotions during the proposal. “I have never felt more loved then I do by Jennifer. She is everything I could have ever imagined the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with to be. Having my daughter there with us—after everything we had all been through—beaming with the biggest smile on her face, I couldn’t have been happier.”
Several months later, when she was least expecting it, Jessica surprised Jennifer with a ring one night after dinner.
The brides are planning their dream wedding in Tulum, Mexico for April 1, 2016. They chose the date intentionally because they are both silly at heart and thought of it as a “Joke’s on you” to everyone who thought their relationship wouldn’t last. The wedding will take place on the beach at sunset with dinner and dancing to follow. It will be a small intimate affair with just close friends and family.
Say the brides:
Our love story is much like the lotus flower.
“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” -Goldie Hawn
Despite all the mud we have surpassed, our relationship has continued to grow into the beautiful flower it is today. I can unequivocally say that I am marrying my one true love, my soul mate, and my best friend.
Jen pops the question with the help of Jessica’s daughter Breanna.
Jess “counter proposes” several months later after an intimate dinner.
Ladies in love.