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Alex & Alex

Alex & Alex

South African Chinese-American biracial lesbian same-sex couple wedding Dancing With Her magazine
Who are Alex & Alex, and how did your proposal/s come about?

We’ve been together for three and a half years, but we were friends for two years before that. We met online when Alex L read Alex T’s discourse about a TV show we both liked. Alex L contacted her, and we became friends. At the time, Alex T taught English in a small Korean village, and Alex L got the chance to visit. We hit it off in person, started talking every day, and became really close friends. We were able to travel to Shanghai together and see each other in New York and Los Angeles. After Alex L took a vacation to Cape Town, Alex T’s hometown, we realized we had feelings for each other and got together – literally days before the 2016 election. It was a whirlwind.

We had two proposals – why not! We both knew from the beginning of the relationship that we would get eventually get married. It just felt perfect. Alex T proposed first. Eleven months after we got together.

Alex L had been on a weekend trip with her best friend (who was in on the proposal) and came home to a surprise romantic dinner. Alex T popped the question in our bedroom.

A few weeks later, Alex L surprised Alex T at home with a living room fort, candles, and homemade Crème Brulee (Alex T’s favorite). It sounds boring, but our apartment is our happy place!

How was the wedding planning for you both?

When we were still looking at wedding venues, Alex T emailed a few to ask about dates. One of them replied to her, saying they didn’t host same-sex weddings because it was against their religion. 

Discrimination of this sort is illegal in South Africa. She posted about it on her Facebook, and it actually went viral. It was wild! There was a whole investigation into the business and everything. But we also have to thank the place because we would’ve never found our fantastic photographer Michelle otherwise. She messaged Alex T during the chaos in support. 

Unfortunately, we found out a few weeks ago that the same venue has discriminated against another lesbian couple, and it’s again all over the news. They never learn, it seems. 

Otherwise, our wedding planning was relatively drama-free, especially considering that half of our guests flew in from America, and we were planning everything from across the ocean. We even had to send Alex T’s family to our cake tastings.

We knew we wanted to get married in South Africa. It was both cheaper and more convenient for Alex T’s family. And we knew we wanted something forest-y and rustic. Alex T’s best friend had attended a wedding at De Uijlenes before, so the two of them and Alex T’s sisters road-tripped two hours out of Cape Town to visit the venue. As soon as Alex T saw it, she knew it was the perfect place. She barely even consulted Alex L. Luckily, Alex L agreed. She did get to visit eventually, a few months before the wedding.

Talk to us about finding your perfect wedding outfits.  

It wasn’t that harrowing! Alex T found her wedding dress while browsing during Black Friday sales. It was perfect and insanely underpriced – all it needed were a few alterations by a tailor. Her shoes were official Converse high-tops.

Alex L found her tweed vest, tie, shoes on Amazon, and her jeans at Old Navy. We bought her wedding shirt at a department store in South Africa. We also got her items tailored a little, but our outfits were easy to find.

You mentioned a forestry like theme. How did you bring that to life?

We decided on woodland animals as a very loose theme for the wedding. Early on in our relationship (well, late in our friendship when everything was getting confusing!), Alex L had written Alex T a little story about a bear and otter, which are best friends and fall in love. Alex T loved it but played it cool because she wanted to get the story bound and illustrated. 

She asked one of our good friends, who’s a phenomenal artist, to do the pictures. When we got engaged, Alex L asked the same friend to draw the bear and otter getting engaged. We’ve loved the aesthetic of this little story and the artwork. So that’s what we decided to do for the wedding.

Alex L also spent a few weeks before the wedding making handbound notebooks as gifts for our bridal party as bookbinding is an interest. We loved giving our favorite people meaningful presents to thank them for participating in our big day. She also made our guest book and painted our ring box. Alex T’s family all pitched in to help with our wedding favors, which were little sachets of rooibos tea and jars of fynbos honey (both local to the Cape Town area).

What are your favorite moments?

We loved seeing our families come together, especially since they hadn’t met before the trip. Getting-to-know-you dinner a few days before the wedding, but they really bonded when we were at the venue.

We performed a traditional Chinese tea ceremony to honor Alex L’s parents and Alex T’s mother and grandmother during our ceremony. Though traditionally done with Chinese tea, we used rooibos to signify our cultures’ mixing, and this was a beautiful moment to share!

And it was so special being able to share our love with our nearest and dearest in that beautiful forest. It meant so much to us that they came – some of them traveling thousands of miles – to celebrate with us.

That sounds so beautiful! What were the songs that brought it all alive?

We walked down the aisle together to Alex L’s godsisters singing an acoustic version of New York by BOY, which was also the recessional song. We didn’t have the first dance, but Taylor Swift’s album “Lover” had just dropped the night before, so we did jam out to Paper Rings.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Don’t worry about the weather – the day will be perfect no matter what. And savor everything. The day goes by so fast. Try not to worry and enjoy the moment. But if you have a chance to eat, do it! We’re both so sad we never got to try the delicious harvest table of goodies we had post-ceremony.

We’re also really happy that we kept our guest list small. Our wedding was intimate and beautiful, and we don’t have any regrets.

Lastly, what does marriage mean to you? 

It’s cheesy, but marriage is this awesome thing where you get to hang out with your best friend all the time, every day. It’s also still such a cool thing to be able to slip the words “my wife” into casual conversation, especially since it’s only been legal for such a short amount of time. Open expression of queer love still feels radical, particularly in our current political climate, and it’s an amazing privilege to be able to celebrate it. We both love being married.

Photography by Michelle Lategan

Cake Wade’s Cakes
Cake Topper Rawkrft
Catering De Uijlenes
Ceremony & Reception Venue De Uijlenes 
Florist Husband Wife Team
Gown Designer Jenny Yoo 
H&MU Django Sangare
Place Setting Cards Sydney Adams
Shoes Converse
Wedding Favors Merrypak

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