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Wedding Announcement: Katy Ray and E. Smith

Names: Katy Ray & E. Smith

Ages: Katy Ray, 28; E. Smith, 28

Professions: Katy is an English teacher, Erica is a Philosophy and Ethics instructor, and both write for Tagg.

City, State: Washington, D.C.

Date of Wedding: Summer 2016

The Big Day:
After attending the Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo in Washington, D.C., we have decided to have a destination wedding in the Caribbean. We don’t really buy into all the commercialism of modern-day weddings. We just want to focus on what’s most important: celebrating this life changing decision and the friends and family that matter most. Plus, we are both adventurous—a destination wedding speaks to our character and sense of adventure. We want our special day to be anything but ordinary.

The Firsts:
First meeting: We first stumbled upon one another’s profiles on OKCupid. Erica showed up in my visitor feed, but never sent me a message. I saw her picture, read about her love of people and music, and had to message her. We chatted for a few weeks, but after I left the country for a vacation in Brazil, she said she just wanted to be friends. I was looking for more, so I chalked it up to bad luck and went on my way.

A couple months later, I see this gorgeous girl standing by the pool table at Phase 1. I followed her around the pool table, paid for a few games, and eventually asked if I could add her on Facebook. She told me we already were friends and then it hit me…it was her! Since we had never met in person before, I had no idea.

It wasn’t until weeks later that she felt comfortable enough to tell me that she had actually come to Phase 1 that night to see me; that she felt drawn to me and knew I’d be there thanks to my incessant check-ins on Facebook. We have been inseparable ever since.

First date: After we met Friday at Phase 1, we met up the next day in Baltimore at Grand Central for their annual Halloween party. Unfortunately, Erica had to leave early, but made it to D.C. the next day for our first “official” date. I took her to watch my best friend play soccer, then we met up with friends at Starbucks, and went to some gay bar for a Sunday Tea party, and finally ended a very exhausting first date with a four hour dinner at Café Boheme. The day left Erica wondering if we would ever get some one-on-one time in, but Erica was patient and Katy Ray came through.

Wedding announcement: Katy Ray and Erica SansingWe didn’t kiss the first night we met, but despite Katy Ray’s red devil face and matching corset, we shared our first kiss at Grand Central’s Halloween event. Erica walked to her car looking almost as devilish as Katy’s costume.

When They Knew:
Erica: I knew before I ever met her, which is why I utilized my stalker powers to find her at Phase 1. But I suppose the moment that solidified it for me was the dinner on our first date, talking for over four hours about our lives, hopes and aspirations. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect woman to call mine.

Katy: I have always believed in fate, and I know this sounds so cliché, but when I saw her, I knew, in my soul, that that girl was something special. I knew that she was going to be the next great love of my life—I just didn’t know she’d be the last. I actually slipped up and said “I love you” four days into our relationship, which would and should scare most girls, but Erica just smiled, poking fun of me for a bit. It didn’t take her long to catch up.

The Proposal: Katy proposed to Erica on the Phase 1 float in the middle of the Capital Pride parade. Although she proposed first, Erica still proposed to Katy at the Lady Gaga concert in Atlantic City. After Gaga missed the 8 foot long banner Erica made—which asked Gaga to help her propose—Erica waited until the encore performance of “Gypsy,” got on one knee beside the piano stage, and sang the bridge of the song to Katy, who was moved to tears. Because our phone died, a lovely couple videotaped it for us.

The Ring(s): We believe in the importance of supporting LGBT-owned businesses and their allies. We went to B&C Jewelers in Alexandria to work with a fellow lady-loving friend of ours on designing the perfect rings for one another. While we recognize the romantic gesture of picking a ring blindly, we believe that when you’re spending thousands of dollars on something that lasts forever, that warrants a conversation. So we talked openly about our styles, preferences, and designs.

Erica’s ring is a round solitaire diamond suspended in a white gold custom band. Its interesting features reflect her more unique nature. Katy’s ring boasts a diamond encrusted band and halo with a round cut diamond in the center.

Honeymoon: The best thing about planning a destination wedding is that the honeymoon is already taken care of. We plan to spend about 3-4 days with friends, and then take a couple’s retreat to a separate part of the island. We both love to travel and see things, so we’re planning to snorkel, explore caves, and do a lot more than just lay on the beach in our bikinis.

Looking into the Future: One of the most important aspects to find in a partner is the ability to see and build a brighter future. We support one another in our current careers and endeavors, and we share a lot of the same interests and passions, like our passion for education. We both have our Master’s degrees and plan to pursue a doctoral degree, one at a time. As writers for Tagg, we plan to continue co-writing articles, and maybe even take that to the next level when we’re ready. We both want to build a loving, caring environment for a family. Erica will carry our first child, and we will adopt a second.

The future is indeterminable, but one thing is for sure: since we’ve met each other, our lives have only gotten better, and we plan to keep tackling life with this same level of tenacity.