For their tropical elopement, Morgan (she/her) and Jackie (she/her) traveled from their home in Drums, Pennsylvania, to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The couple chose a beach theme to match the venue for their destination wedding, including native flowers in their ceremony arch, Morgan’s bouquet, and Jackie’s boutonniere, as well as pearl accents in Morgan’s dress and jewelry to pay homage to the ocean.

Their chosen wedding colors were pink, orange, green and white. The floral design featured that color palette with bright and tropical flowers, including hibiscus, roses, lillies and monstera leaves. Morgan and Jackie, who both identify as lesbian brides, got ready separately and did a first touch and first look. Their wedding ceremony took place on a beach on Friday the 13th, the anniversary of when they made their relationship official, and they celebrated after the “I dos” with an intimate dinner at a nearby beach club.

We caught up with Morgan to hear more about their love story and beach elopement.

Tell us your love story!

We met on Tinder after both going through rough breakups. We went on a date, and Jackie was so nervous that she didn’t talk much. I got nervous and filled the silence with anything I could think of, which ended up being my whole life story. I mean, she got some very intense secrets and stories for a first date. I was mortified. She tried to see me again and I friend-zoned her, hoping she would just get the hint and let me die of embarrassment in peace, but she really liked me.

We quickly became best friends and I realized I totally liked her but didn’t want to risk our friendship. I tried to just keep it at bay, but we both definitely knew there was something there. For my birthday that year, she took me to a Fletcher concert, and we had an amazing time. We were hanging out on the beach after, drunk and waiting for our Uber, and we just locked eyes in the middle of our conversation and kissed for the first time. It was magnetic. The next day, sober, we did not even acknowledge it. But we kept hanging out every day that week, until one night when we had a campfire where we both couldn’t deny it anymore. We both are incredibly glad we built a friendship before getting together. We were both in such fragile places after our breakups and weren’t ready for love again. I think the universe was looking out for us and did that on purpose.

A few weeks after that night, she asked me to be her girlfriend on Friday the 13th, and we’ve been together ever since! A year later, she proposed. Now, it’s just us and our two pups, but we plan to foster children in the next five or 10 years and have been discussing possibly having one or two ourselves. I’m so excited to see what the future brings for us!

Tell us about the proposals.

Jackie proposed first, but only because my ring came in two weeks before hers did! She proposed in the exact same way I was going to: she recreated the night we realized we really loved each other, not just as best friends as we had been. That night, we had a bonfire in her backyard, made s’mores and listened to the acoustic album “Skin&Earth” by Lights. When the song “Kicks” played, we had our first “official” kiss.

When Jackie recreated that night, she got down on one knee and proposed during the song. It was also the song that was playing when I finally got the courage to tell her I was in love with her and the song we had our first dance to at our wedding. I was so shocked when she planned to do it in the same way I had planned, but it really made me happy because it showed me how special that night felt to her, too.

What was the ceremony like?

The ceremony was outdoors at Cabeza De Toro Beach in Punta Cana, right on the ocean shore. We wrote our own vows, and it was my favorite thing about our wedding. We aren’t religious so it was a secular ceremony. Our officiant read the poem “The Art of a Good Marriage” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson. Jackie walked to the altar first and waited for me.

What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?

My entire family is unsupportive, with the exception of my brother and sister. Meanwhile, Jackie’s family is super supportive. I’m happy for her, of course, but if we had a traditional wedding and her side was filled with family while mine wasn’t, it would’ve been such a hard day. We considered making it work, but ultimately decided to elope and couldn’t be happier with that decision.

What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples or marriers planning their wedding?

Make sure your vendors are not just tolerant but excited for you. And if you’re considering eloping due to an unsupportive family, do it! We did, and our day was filled with nothing but joy.

Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?

Our vendors were amazing! More supportive than I could’ve ever imagined or hoped for. Our photographer and videographer had experience with queer couples, and though our wedding planner didn’t, she was over the moon and excited to plan her first same-sex wedding. She truly celebrated us and was so amazing to work with. The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

Two white brides, one in a dark suit and one in a white gown, kiss in front of a round altar with pink flowers on it, in front of the ocean.

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Photographer: Punta Cana Story Tellers
Videographer: Valiko
Planner: Jennifer Collado of Jennifer C Weddings & Events
Venue: Pearl Beach Club Punta Cana
Florist: Merca Flor
Morgan’s attire: David’s Bridal
Jackie’s attire: Macy’s
Rings: Littman Jewelers; Avello
Dinner: Zoho Beach Club

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