Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Jennifer Warden and Traci Rodriguez

By : Aaron Drake
Comments: 0

I knew she was the one I would marry as soon as I realized I couldn’t be away from her and her son,” Jen Warden shared about her wife, Traci Rodriguez. “There was a bond that formed between us that felt so pure and happy. More importantly, my two little girls felt the same way I did.”

Warden, who originally hails from Wyandotte, Mich., is an esthetician and spa owner of JenSpa Advanced Esthetics & Blush Medical Day Spa. Rodriguez is a Tampa native, graduate of Florida State University, and works as a senior accountant.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: CJay Tauber & Steven Frost

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

I knew it,” Steven Frost says of meeting his husband CJay Tauber for the first time. “I knew it right away. It was one of those moments where you see somebody, and you don’t know why but you know you’re gonna spend the rest of your life with him.”

Frost had decided to spend his birthday in 2015 at Quench Lounge in Largo, where local favorite Tauber still bartends. “He came in and I was going back to officiate my niece’s wedding in Wisconsin,” Tauber recalls with a laugh. “So I left, but he couldn’t wait to come back and get my number.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Jamiel and Rachel Maze

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

Taking a chance on same-sex attraction ends in always-and-forever I do’s.

Jamiel Maze had never dated or been attracted to women before. That’s when she met Rachel at an end-of-year bowling party. “Jamiel randomly came up to me and challenged me to a game,” says Rachel, Jamiel’s new wife. “The entire competition seemed like flirting, but I couldn’t be sure.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: William and Ziggy Shockley

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

A whirlwind romance ends with an Eiffel Tower proposal on a surprise trip to the City of Light.

“I know it’s very cliché,” says Ziggy Shockley, “but we actually met at our local bar. I remember eyeballing this very attractive man standing against the wall.” William and Ziggy ended up chatting throughout the night. “He made my knees weak!” says Ziggy. He watched William leave and was filled with regret when he realized they hadn’t exchanged numbers. Ziggy ran outside and caught William before he got into his car. “Not only did we exchange numbers, but we kissed right then and there. It was totally unexpected, but absolutely lovely.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Austin & Philip Gustin-Helms

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

After three months, Austin and Philip made their relationship official. Almost four years later, they heard the words “I now pronounce you married.”

Mississippi native Austin Helms had just moved back to St. Petersburg after living in New York City and wasn’t sure he was ready for a relationship. Then he met Philip Gustin. “The conversation was fun and easy,” he says about their lunch date at The Avenue. “The attraction was obviously there.” Philip remembers being captivated by Austin’s piercing blue eyes. “If I hadn’t been crushing on him already from our texts, I sure was then!”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark Wedding Bells: Peter Mitchel and Tyler Turcotte

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

Theme-park aficionados Peter and Tyler started their fairy-tale ‘happily ever after’ with a little help from Chip ‘n Dale.

When Peter and Tyler met via the gay dating app Scruff, they were both getting out of long-term relationships and were focusing on getting their lives back on track. Just a year and change later, they’d be saying “I do” at a masquerade-themed Halloween wedding.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Jason Lambert and Joey Acevedo

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

Jason and Joey’s New Year’s Eve meeting has led to their happily ever after on March 3.

You’ve probably seen Jason Lambert and his fiancé, Joey, around town, since both of them are staples in Orlando’s restaurant and bar scene. Jason owns The Hammered Lamb (the moniker is derived from his last name) and they met while Jason was working on building the bar after leaving The Stardust Lounge.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Lucas and Jeremy Bourgeois-Knox

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

Destination I do’s at a Mexican all-inclusive resort were a no-brainer for Tampa couple Jeremy and Lucas.

Jeremy looked across the lobby bar at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and saw Lucas, who was in town for a conference in October of 2013. They made eye contact and started chatting. “There were instant sparks,” says Jeremy Bourgeois-Knox, a Winter Park native. “We texted on and off for several months, but the distance was a barrier.” At the time, Lucas was living in Jacksonville and Jeremy had settled in Orlando.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Rich Kuntz and Charlie Becker

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

Together for 10 years before marriage, Rich and Charlie knew tying the knot would take their relationship to a new level.

“I was going to propose at a fancy restaurant in Venice,” says Rich Kuntz, also known to many in the LGBTQ community as Gidget Galore, “but the gondola ride was just too good to pass up.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Steve Blanchard and Jay Dilley

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

It’s a tale as old as time, in the digital age, for this Disney-loving dynamic duo.

Steve and Jay first connected like many do these days, through a dating app. A relationship can’t be sustained through a data plan, so after chatting for a bit they agreed to meet.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Maria and Andrea Ruiz-Hays

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 0

The universe brought together these two women who share a passion for social justice, travel and their dogs.

When Maria saw Andrea, a tall, striking blonde, from across the ballroom at the MBA Gala, she says, “it felt like I had been hit by lightning.” The two women ended up sitting together at the gala dinner and chatted throughout the night. After the gala, they exchanged business cards.

A few weeks later, Andrea asked Maria if she would be interested in participating in an executive panel hosted by Out and Equal. Maria agreed and the pair met for dinner at the Greek Corner to discuss the details. “It was as if the universe was conspiring to bring us into each other’s orbit,” says Maria. After dinner, they walked across the street to the Lucky Lure and continued connecting. “I was mesmerized by her and found myself wanting to know everything about her,” says Andrea. “We talked all night long and shared stories, just laughing and flirting.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Carla McKnight & LaVonda Walker

By : Holly V. Kapherr
Comments: 1

Share this story:

Early in their relationship, these two classmates knew they’d trade being study partners for being life partners.

It’s not often that a mutual love of Cajun-style boiled peanuts brings two people together in holy matrimony, but here we are. Carla and LaVonda met in the fall of 2008 while they were both graduate students in a Master’s program at the University of Central Florida. LaVonda (who also goes by Von) was in her last year, and Carla had just started. “Von had been where I wanted to go, so I’d often pick her brain for insights about the classes and professors,” says Carla. One night, the two women ended up talking in the parking garage for hours, trading “relationship war stories.”

Continue Reading >>