As a fourth generation Arizonan, Jill is a Real Estate agent with a passion for selling and flipping homes in her home town, playing tennis and watching the San Diego Padres. Jill was an all-star athlete in tennis and played all over the world on the professional circuit before becoming a collegiate athlete. I have spent the last 20 years working in the pharmaceutical industry managing clinical trials. I love being on the cutting edge of medical research and helping patients get access to medications that could improve the lives of millions of others. I am a die-hard Denver Broncos fan but since meeting Jill, I have also become a San Diego Padre fan.
For the past 13 years, we have traveled to San Diego to play in the annual "Over the Line" softball tournament which is a beach version of softball. We enjoying traveling, going to baseball games, dining out, and having drinks with good friends. Most of all, we love our 4-legged kids, 2 Golden Retrievers and 1 mini Australian Shepard.
Jill and I were introduced by mutual friends. At the time, Jill was living in San Diego and I was living in Phoenix. I traveled quite frequently to San Diego on business and our friends thought that since we both shared a lot of the same interests, we might enjoy each others company and could hang out when I was in San Diego. Our friends gave me Jill's email address so I decided to email her when I was planning my next trip to San Diego.
We decided to meet for coffee once I got into town. Jill was going to pick me up at my hotel and we were heading down to Seaport Village. Once we met and were having coffee getting to know one another, little did I know that Jill had actually planned for a longer date. She took me over to Coronardo by Water Taxi and then arranged for a bike taxi to take us to the Hotel Del. We got to the hotel before sunset so we walked along the beach for a while and settled in to watch the sun set.
Afterwards, we took a bike taxi back and had a nice romantic dinner on the water. We took the water taxi back to Seaport Village and finished our night with a hot chocolate and a walk along the boardwalk. We decided to meet up again after my business meeting and before my flight home. Jill picked me up and took me to the tide pools at Point Loma where we shared our first kiss. We have been together ever since!
Our proposal was not really a proposal as much as it was finding our perfect rings. We stopped by our favorite jewelry store and the owner of the store, who knew us all to well, rushed up to us and said he had just gotten some new pieces in and had to show us. The rings he showed us were from a new collection from designer Sandra Biachi. Both rings had a solitaire diamond and each ring came with additional interchangeable colored diamond rings. As he showed the rings, Jill and I looked at each other and knew! These rings would be our wedding rings! Once we bought the rings, we started to plan our wedding. We both knew right away what day we wanted to get married on but Oct. 14, 2014 was a Tuesday so we settled on the closest reasonable date which was Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.
We got married around the time that the Supreme Court was reviewing the marriage laws but had not yet made their ruling and we didn't know when a ruling we be made. So we decided to get married in San Diego which is where we first met 11 years earlier. Part of the reason for getting married in San Diego was also that Arizona did not allow same-sex marriage. We decided that we were not going to wait any longer, after 11 years, it was time, and we would either be dead or too old before Arizona would ever allow same-sex marriage. Little did we know, a week later, marriage equality was now the law of the land, yes, even in Arizona. While this ruling did not impact our decision, we were pleased that our marriage would be recognized in Arizona.
Our wedding was set to begin at 7pm on Saturday, October 11th, 2014. The day began early that morning as we had to pick up all our flower arrangements and deliver them to the yacht. We then had to head back to the hotel to meet with our hair/makeup artist and our photographer. Our hotel suite was quite busy with family coming in and out, helping us get dressed while Derek of Derek Chad Photography was snapping pictures. We decided to take some pre-wedding pictures in our hotel lobby with the grand staircase as our backdrop. After a few hours of pictures, we arranged for a private SUV to take us to the pier around 5pm in time to allow for all our guest to board the yacht and finally set sail at 7pm. We had an open bar and we featured our favorite martinis, Lemon Drop and Cosmo, served coconut-dipped shrimp prawns and tomato basil bruschetta as hors d'oeuvres and had a popcorn and candy bar. The ceremony began at sunset with the captain of the yacht officiating. After the ceremony, Derek took some additional post-wedding pictures prior to our dinner service. Dinner was a choice of a grilled filet mignon or broiled escalope of salmon accompanied by assorted baby greens, roasted red creamer potatoes and sauté of green beans. We had a 2-tier square wedding cake. The bottom layer was blackberry and banana-walnut and the top layer was passion fruit. After dinner, we had our first dance to John Legend's song, All of Me. The rest of the evening was devoted to dancing and observing the skyline of San Diego as we cruised around the harbor. After 4 hours, our cruise came to an end and we were taken back to our hotel to share our first night as wife and wife.
We maintained most wedding traditions as we both chose to wear white wedding gowns. We did not have a wedding party and we chose to walk down the isle alone as my father had passed away a few years prior and I did not want anyone else to "give me away" to Jill. The best moment of our wedding came as Jill was walking down the isle. As we are both big baseball fans, we decided that we were going to select a song to walk down the isle, just as batters have songs when they walk up to the plate. Everyone in attendance knew that Jill's favorite player was Trevor Hoffman, closing pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Each time Trevor entered a game, the bells from AC/DC's Hell's Bells was played so Jill walked down the isle to the bells from Hell's Bells. As the bells started to play, laughter and applause erupted as no other song was more fitting for Jill and everyone knew it as soon as they heard the bells. I was already standing at the alter so I got to see everyone's reaction which was absolutely priceless to me. The most memorable moment for us was as we arrived at the pier and stepped out of our limousine, a huge cheer erupted. We both looked up and saw that one of the other Harbor Cruise ships, the largest ship in Hornblower's fleet was getting ready to sail and the passengers of the ship were cheering for us, we both felt like rock stars as we walked onto our yacht. One of the more surprising moments came during our pre-wedding photo shoot at our hotel. The hotel we stayed at had a grand staircase in the center of the lobby so we had our photos centered around the staircase. As we were taking our photos, we noticed a rather large gathering on hotel guests, not a part of our wedding party, watched our shoot and took pictures as well. Afterwards had many of them come up to us and congratulated us well and told us how beautiful we both were.
We honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We delayed our honeymoon by a couple of weeks as Jill was going to officiate our closest friends wedding the following month and we both chose Puerto Vallarta as our destination. We stayed in the Romantic Zone of the area which has a very strong LGBT community.
There is nothing we would change, the ceremony took place as the sun was setting and the alter was on the top deck of the yacht which also provided us with an amazing open air dance floor for the rest of the cruise and the weather could have not been anymore enjoyable. All in all, our wedding day was perfect
It was very important to us to support our community so we selected all LGBT-friendly vendors. Having our wedding in San Diego, we had no issues with our vendors and were very pleased with the services provided.
At the time of the wedding, we did not change our names; however, we have decided that I will take Jill's last name. Living in Arizona, Jill is a fourth generation Arizonan and her family is well-known and established in the history of Chandler.
No matter how detailed your planning is, expect the unexpected and know that little mistakes will happen. Remember to laugh, it is your wedding day after all!