Why our double proposal is a celebration of LGBTQ+ pride
Macey and I were celebrating our brand new engagement just a day after it happened when we got the first texts that asked, “Do you have a date yet?”
That question soon morphed into others: “What kind of wedding?” “Where will you have it?” “What will you wear?” We hadn’t even begun talking about the details. When people started asking Macey if she was going to buy me an engagement ring too (“I don’t know how it works,” they said), we paused. Would she?
For years, it was agreed that I would propose to Macey. I already had the perfect plan and after nearly ten years together, I asked her to marry me in the mock dedication of a book I’d written while we were on Race Point Beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We never once talked about whether we would do a double proposal.
Double proposals are common in the LGBTQ+ community. “When you identify as LGBTQ+ you are almost forced to explore different relationship styles than the ones that you most often,” explains Jor-El Caraballo, licensed therapist and the co-founder of Viva Wellness. “This may also lead to explicit conversations about roles and equity in LGBTQ+ relationships. In fact, research supports that often these kinds of relationships tend to be more equitable.”
When Macey and I talked about it, I told her that I’d love to be proposed to in return—but that I wasn’t really in love with the idea of an engagement ring. When she asked me to marry her back, she did it in Muir Woods while we were visiting California at the end of May. She read from a letter as she held out a custom rose gold heart locket by Metal Couture. The locket, which I have wanted to be given to me as an engagement present since high school, opens with a key to reveal an amethyst inside.
Macey and I made an active, consensual choice when we double proposed. It was a decision born out of love, a way for both of us to have the opportunity to share our hearts after a decade together. It took this milestone moment and made it not just about my love for Macey, but about her love for me—and our love, the relationship that we build every day by showing up with flowers when someone gets a promotion or by doing the dishes because the other had to spend their morning in line at the RMV.
There is a real vulnerability in being proposed to, in receiving love. It meant opening my heart to Macey and letting her see me for who I am. It also meant having the courage to ask for what I wanted and to be honest and tell her I wanted to be proposed to in return. We often tout surprises as the height of romance. While the details of my double proposal were a surprise, it was also something we had conversations about. It was a consensual, discussed choice, and that was more loving to me than any grand gesture that could be sprung on me.
Our double proposal was also born out of celebration and pride. When we first started dating, neither of us were out to everyone we cared about. Now we’re not only out, but we have friends and family who send us rainbow Happy Pride Month cards and who are just as excited for our September 2019 wedding as we are.
We’re honoring LGBTQ+ pride by proposing to each other; it’s one small way to queer our love story and honor a tradition that was born in the LGBTQ+ community and has primarily been adopted by queer couples. It’s given us the opportunity to be openly proud of our queer identities both as individuals and as a couple, especially as I’ve shared more about our relationship on social media and in my writing leading up to our wedding. The choice to double propose also reinforces that our relationship doesn’t have to follow anyone else’s assumed norms. Proposing is also so often a traditional, gendered occasion, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be quiet, momentous, flashy, spontaneous. It can be whatever the people involved want.
For us, it was two intimate moments telling each other how we feel, putting our love completely out there and letting ourselves be seen, on the beach at sunset and in Muir Woods surrounded by redwoods. That’s what love is: Choosing our life together every day.
Photographer: Melissa van Ruiten Photography
Locket: Metal Couture
Hair and Makeup: Blowology
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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