We had been friends for years after meeting through mutual friends while working at Walt Disney World in 2011. Alex had to return to Canada to finish her bachelor’s degree but spent a few summers or semesters throughout that time in Orlando working for various roles at Disney World. She couldn’t stay away so decided to return to Florida in 2016 to earn her MBA. We immediately began to spend all of our free time together. The friendship quickly grew into something more. After nights out with friends, we would just stay behind and talk for hours learning about each other’s lives, interests and feelings about life and the world.

Christmas is our favorite time of year. Alex surprised me in June 2017 with reservation plans to dine in the Queen Victoria Room at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort on Saturday night, December 23. She was finishing up her MBA in the fall semester leading up to that holiday season. Our hearts actually broke in half when we learned towards the end of the semester that her request to extend her Visa to stay in the United States had been denied following her graduation. She was the person I had always been looking for, and when I fell in love with her it felt like I had finally found a missing piece of myself. I knew I couldn’t lose her because of some stupid border stipulations and planned a surprise proposal for the night of our big holiday meal. The plans for her regular Christmas gift went out the window, and I found myself shopping for a diamond ring the week before Christmas.

The meal was amazing with ten courses of the best food we’d ever had in our lives surrounded by the most opulent setting we could imagine. Following the meal, we had reservations for a horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to look at even more holiday decorations. We were tucked in under blankets in the back of the horse-drawn carriage and I told her I had a surprise for her, took a small wrapped box out of my handbag and proposed there in the back of the “sleigh.” It was so dark we had to use the light of my phone to help her see the ring.

We waited until we had members of both our families in town (her parents live in Florida for the winter, and my sister and brother-in-law are frequent visitors to Disney World), and along with two of our best friends, went to the Orlando County Courthouse in the morning on February 2, 2018 to get married.

It was a beautiful day with impromptu pictures at Lake Eola, lunch at DoveCote and the two of us happened to have Lana Del Rey tickets, but we never had the time to plan a traditional wedding or get the dresses and flowers we love. We are so excited that we got to have this special wedding shoot at the Ca d’Zan museum at the Ringling to document our love and formally announce our marriage to loved ones and friends. —Ashley, one half of the couple

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

Wedding photos at the Ca d'Zan Museum at The Ringling two brides long white dresses forest courthouse wedding

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Photographer: Cortiella Photography

Reception Venue: The Ringling Museum

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