Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do for work and fun?
Jack is a nonprofit fundraising consultant, and Renee is a school psychologist. We both derive value from what we do, and we aim to make a difference. By no means are we saving the world, but we hope to make an incremental impact.
Jack is a pop-culture wiz, or at least Renee thinks so. Jack collects records, pours over new music, and dissects the latest media craze. Renee mothers dozens of plants and is always trying to redecorate to enhance our loving apartment. She also has a knack for singing impromptu parody songs to our two cats. We are both sarcastic and goof around at home a lot.
We’ve been together a little over three years. We met like two passing ships in the night. Quite literally, at “Ships in the Night,” a monthly queer dance party in Oakland. That evening, thanks to a mutual friend and teammate (Renee played roller derby at the time), our love extravaganza began. After we parted ways, Renee boldly took advantage of our recent “match” through “Tinder” (commence eye roll) to reach out for our first date.
Tell us about the planning process for the proposal?
An engagement was something we had openly discussed. It was no secret that we were committed to each other and this relationship. Both of us were planning to propose around the same time and were working on custom rings with different jewelers, all while trying not to give away our secret plans to woo one another. It was stressful and a bit hectic but also exciting and full of new possibilities.
Any stories from the lead up to the proposal, stressful or funny?
Oh boy. Well, a few months before our trip, Renee set her mind to proposing first. Once she became concerned, Jack was going to propose she decided to stage a “commitment meltdown” in which she became emotional and proclaimed she didn’t want to get engaged. Okay, yes, that wasn’t the nicest thing she’s ever done, but the purpose was to deter Jack from proposing and throw them off the scent. It was important to Renee that she proposed first because she wanted Jack to know they were loved authentically and not out of the obligation of reciprocation.
What lead you to the destination of the proposal?
The proposal happened during our first trip out of the country together. We met up with some of Renee’s old teammates in Germany for Oktoberfest. Before heading to Munich, we decided to hit up one of the gayest cities (second only to San Francisco), Berlin! Renee had the ring and not much of a proposal plan, but that changed once she realized Berlin is scattered with photo booths! We both love photobooths from childhood, so it seemed like the perfect place. It could be intimate, didn’t require a selfie, and didn’t depend on a caring stranger to document your supremely special moment.
One night after several wrong turns and a few hours wasted, we made it to THE photo booth. After the first burst of light, Renee proposed, catching Jack entirely off guard. The timing was impeccable, and each moment was captured perfectly!
Tell us about the engagement ring experience.
Renee was dedicated to finding a ring that captured Jack’s spirit and gender expression. Many rings are either too masculine or feminine, and she really needed a golden ratio that could match their queerness. Renee was wildly inspired by Alexis Russell’s Cut-Out Wedding Band, which features a triangular notch in the ring. Alexis crafted a trillion diamond ring nestled seamlessly into the cut-out band- a perfect blend of masculine and feminine, all represented by a traditionally queer symbol, the triangle.
Renee’s engagement ring idea came to Jack after lots of stressful and anxious contemplation. Renee has a unique style and edge to her that Jack wanted to come out in the ring- but it was also important that the jewelry remained classic and wearable for the rest of Renee’s life.
Jack chose a yellow gold ring with an Asscher cut salt and pepper diamond in a bezel setting surrounded by hand-pressed embellishments. The ring looks both feminine and fierce, calming and captivating- very much like Renee herself.
What does your engagement mean to you both, has anything changed?
From the beginning, we were both open and vocal about our commitment. I would love to say that nothing has changed, but engagement has been stressful. We’ve worked to savor the moments, but planning, finances, and the political climate have definitely put a damper on things. Reading blogs, talking to others, and, most of all, talking to one another has been the most helpful.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be?
Well, our wedding wasn’t exactly how we planned. Like many couples, we poured over contracts, exhausted ourselves over meticulous details, and fought over what to do DIY and what not to. We realized a lot about ourselves and our relationship. Unfortunately, Coronavirus had other ideas for our wedding, and we had to postpone it.
On the day we were supposed to get married, when all hope was lost a delivery arrived at our front door from a neighbor. A confetti cake with “Yay Love!” etched in pink icing. This sweet was lovingly made by Jack’s best friend Zach and his partner York. We were so moved by this gesture that we begged Zach, who was ordained for a previous wedding, to fulfill our special day. Within just hours, we were all dressed up with family and friends on Zoom, and Zach performed the ceremony from outside of our window Montague style.
How are you going about choosing your key vendors?
During the planning process, we bickered most about the details.
As a couple, we realized that we have a vibe and aesthetic that was really important for us to blend that into our special day.
We’ve scoured blogs, search engines, and even spoke to real-life humans (gasp) to find our vendors. A lot of our decision-making process comes down to a few main criteria:
● Does this vendor have the style that fits what we’re looking for?
● Do we feel we can trust them to represent us and our values?
● In hiring them, would we be supporting a woman/queer/POC-owned business?
Where do you find inspiration for your wedding planning?
Much of our inspiration came from our apartment. We love our home immensely and have spent a lot of time creating it together. We carried that same creativity and warmth to planning and molding our venue into our weekend home away from home, but without our cats. Even if we can’t bring them, I’m sure their hair will travel there even if they don’t.
When and where will your wedding be?
Because of COVID-19, we’ve had to become very flexible about our wedding date. It’s now scheduled for one year after the original date: March 27, 2021, at the Amphitheatre of the Redwoods at Pema Osel Ling. We can’t wait!
Photography by Zoe Larkin Photography