Imagine being engaged for 9 years, but not being able to get married.
That’s what happened to Diona and Genevieve, a couple as love-struck as any I have ever had the privilege to photograph getting married. Sure, they had thought about running off to New York a few times for a quickie wedding.
But even more important than any Supreme Court ruling, Diona and Genevieve wanted what everyone wants: an opportunity to become a family surrounded by those they love.
The couple met over a decade ago. One evening, the lovely Diona had been working too hard and headed out to unwind. After seeing a play, she hit a local watering hole, trying to relax from her highly stressful job as a technical guru.
Sitting across the room was Genevieve, a hospitality industry partner, and the attraction was immediate. Since then, they have created a match made in heaven.
Diona asked Genevieve to marry her on Valentine’s Day in 2006. She had asked in the past, but Genevieve told her she needed her Italian family’s permission to get married. (Privately, Genevieve wasn’t sure Diona would ever work up the nerve to call her parents.)
Diona promised Genevieve she had her parents permission. This was even more surprising since Diona had called Genevieve’s parents in the middle of the Super Bowl, no less. Still, they had given their blessing.
So imagine Genevieve’s delight as Diona slipped an engagement ring onto her finger.
This year, the Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Diona and Genevieve finally had the opportunity to be legally wed. They even knew they were the 87th same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Charlotte.
Sadly, Genevieve’s parents passed away before the Supreme Court ruling. In honor of their memory, a good friend gently unraveled every stitch of the wedding dress worn by Genevieve’s mother. She then reworked it into a modern bridal style more in line with Genevieve’s tastes. “This way my parents could be a part of the wedding,” Genevieve said.
Diona chose to wear Armani. Generous friends offered to let the couple marry in their lavish back yard. Another best friend offered not only her chef-husband to do the catering, she even loaned them their beautiful daughter to serve as flower girl. Thanks to the love surrounding them, the couple and guests enjoyed a truly fantasy, storybook wedding.
For their part, the couple is over-joyed that their marriage is now legal in all 50 states. After exchanging vows, the minister even read from Judge Kennedy’s ruling sustaining their right to be married as they signed their marriage license.
Then, it was party on! Genevieve and Diona danced their first dance to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” The reception brimmed with happy families and friends long after the sun set.
What was the couple’s favorite memory from that night?
“Too many to say, but let’s go with the signing of the marriage license, reading of our vows, food, dancing, our hosts’ beautiful home, ducks in the pool, and the kids!” said Genevieve.
And I was honored to be a small part of the biggest day of their lives… so far!
Chuck Eaton is an experienced luxury wedding photojournalist based out of Charlotte, NC and shooting throughout the world. We love what we do and the clients who let us do it. We provide exclusive fine art portraiture and documentary wedding photography while having fun doing it!