Love without Borders: Alissa and Aveena
In Alissa, Aveena found not just her soulmate, but love, acceptance, and most importantly, the strength to be her own person and proudly display her true self to her family and the world. Their beautiful multicultural wedding was a victory of love over all else. Here are a few glimpses.
How They Met
Native to Seattle, Alissa had recenty moved back from Boston where she was working as a mental-health therapist, while Aveena had moved to Seattle from Minneapolis and was working in data analytics. Both of them had recently gotten out of long-term relationships, when they found each other on Bumble in October 2017.
Aveena shares, “The day we matched on Bumble, I wasted no time in giving my number to Alissa. A couple of weeks of incessant texting later, we went on our very first date which lasted a little over three hours! One date turned into two, and pretty soon we were inseparable. Two years later, we tied the knot at the location of our first date.”
Falling in Love
“Having just come out of long-term relationships, we both had a clear vision of what we wanted in our future partner, as we both wanted this new leap to be the final one. Despite coming from different cultures, we connected on every level. Interestingly, I had not come out to my friends and family, and as my love for Alissa grew, I knew I had to come clean about my sexuality and who I wanted to spend my life with.”
Meeting Family and Friends
“I met Alissa’s family pretty early on in the relationship, and from the moment I met them, I felt instantly welcomed and loved. Since my loved ones were not aware of Alissa or even that I am gay, the support and acceptance that Alissa’s family showed meant the world to me. I came out to my friends and family a couple of days after I proposed to Alissa. Growing up in a conservative Christian family, I had always had qualms about coming out, and true to my expectation, revealing my identity as a gay woman was met with varying degrees of disappointment.”
“From the get go, after her previous experiences, Alissa had sworn that she would not live with a partner unless she was engaged to them. However, when we found a beautiful apartment in Jan 2019, we had to move quickly on it, much to Alissa’s disappointment as she did not want to rush. She had no clue that I had been planning on proposing to her before the move all along. After three of my original plans fell through, I popped the question with a customized ring from New York’s La More Design, at Chamber’s Bay Park in Tacoma, Washington. Despite my stress over the pouring rain, getting stuck in traffic and both of us being hungry, Alissa was completely swept off her feet with the proposal. After all, what could be more romantic than a proclamation of love in the Seattle rain! Our friends captured the moment and then joined us for dinner to celebrate.”
What moved Alissa the most was that Aveena had sought permission almost six months earlier from her parents before going down on one knee. Aveena, who doesn’t care much for rings, got Alissa’s initials tattooed on her ring finger, and was additionally gifted a ring by Alissa for special occasions.
“We wanted our wedding to be modern and romantic, with a blend of both of our cultures. Incorporating Indian traditions was important to me, as with many of my family members not attending, I wanted to feel as close to my roots as possible. My sister, who is the co-owner of Bright Events, planned all of the festivities. For our mehndi party, we as well as our guests wore Indian outfits and had a gala time getting our hands painted with henna, eating Indian food, dancing and much more.”
“For the wedding, I wore a golden lehenga that I fell in love with at an Indian shop in Minneapolis, while the rest of my bridal party donned Indian ensembles as well. Alissa wore a lacy white fitted gown with a low back and a train from Lovely Bride boutique in Seattle. The venue was an industrial-inspired space with wood textures and high, exposed beam ceilings, to which we added plenty of flowers and candles for an intimate yet contemporary ambience.”
“Alissa was so nervous walking down the aisle that she could barely look at me and was afraid she would burst into tears. All the same, when we did lock eyes, it was such an intense, intimate feeling despite being surrounded by so many people. My favorite moment was when our officiant pronounced us married, and we kissed as wives with everyone cheering. It was moment of victory of resilience in the wake of all the oppression I felt growing up as an LGBTQ+ person in a conservative community. As the judgment and homophobia from people in our lives only intensified leading up to our wedding, it was wonderful to feel like that fight was over, and we could celebrate our new family with joy.”
“We both are active in extending our support across the desi / POC LGBTQ community. Since Aveena has experienced what it is like growing up and feeling lonely as a gay Indian woman, she makes it a point to get involved in helping, educating and spreading love and acceptance in the queer desi community as much as she can.”
Advice for LGBTQ+ Couples
“Be sure to surround yourselves with people who are affirming and love you, whether it’s family or friends. Despite the stress, trust that you will enjoy the day and savor the joy of being with those who showed up, rather than be disheartened by those who didn’t. And lastly, remember to make your wedding your own, and only do things that make you happy.”
The Wedding Makers
Alissa’s Outfit: Lovely Bride, Seattle
Photography and Videography: CarleyJayne Photography