Coming Out as a Lesbian to a Conservative Christian Indian Family

Aveena kept her sexuality a secret from a lot of the people around her, until her proposal. As a lesbian Indian woman with a conservative Christian family, she knew that not everyone would accept her, and the incredible love she’d found with Alissa. Despite the challenges, it’s all been worth it.

Falling in Love

We met on Bumble in October 2017. Alissa took great care in writing her profile description; Aveena didn’t write anything and later revealed she didn’t even read Alissa’s profile.

Luckily Aveena messaged Alissa as soon as they matched and wasted no time in asking her out.

Our first date was a dinner that lasted 3.5 hours; we were both amazed by how easily the conversation flowed and that our interests, values, and humor aligned so well.

The next day Alissa told her boss, “Natalie, I met someone. I didn’t expect to like her, and I know it’s crazy, but” – and her boss stopped her. “Alissa, this happens all the time. You end a long-term relationship, and suddenly you just meet the right person.”

Alissa was grateful to Natalie for a very long time for the permission to get genuinely excited about Aveena early on.

Planning a proposal before moving in together

We’d discussed getting engaged for months before the proposal, but Aveena did a great job hiding it from Alissa.

Having lived with girlfriends before, Alissa told Aveena she didn’t want to move in with another partner unless they were engaged, which Aveena supported.

But then we found an apartment in January 2018 and had to move quickly on it. Aveena had a very serious conversation with Alissa about how it looked like they would have to move in together before being officially engaged. Alissa was disappointed but understanding, not wanting to rush it. All along, Aveena planned on proposing before we moved in together, making the proposal a complete shock to Alissa.

Aveena proposed to Alissa on January 18th, in Tacoma, Washington, at Chamber’s Bay Park.

A tender embrace between the two brides on a modern balcony, one dressed in a classic white gown and the other in a golden lehenga, showcases the love and connection they share.
Alissa and Aveena are married now, and decided to inject both their American and Indian cultures into a beautiful and emotional wedding ceremony in Seattle.

Photography by Carley Jayne Photography

The stresses of overplanning a proposal

True to her pragmatic, careful type, Aveena had three separate plans for the proposal – all of which fell through. She ended up choosing Chambers Bay Park in Tacoma. Where Aveena had taken Alissa over the summer to put a lock with their initials on a bridge (kind of like the lock bridge in Paris). 

The night of the proposal, Aveena was overly stressed -the traffic was terrible, so they were two hours late. Aveena said they were going for dinner, so both of us were hungry. Plus, it was dark, cold, and pouring rain. Aveena was apologetic, but Alissa thought the proposal was perfect. It doesn’t get more romantic than someone expressing her eternal love while getting soaked by rain in Seattle!

Aveena read a personalized book sharing reasons she loves Alissa [perfect for that bookworm], then got down on one knee to propose. Our friends took pictures in the background and joined us after Alissa said ‘YES’ to pop the champagne and start celebrating.

For Aveena, the proposal was the scariest but happiest moment of her life. She calls it “the moment you realize there is someone else in the world who will always love and care for you.”

Asking permission from parents to marry

What stands out the most to Alissa was that Aveena asked for Alissa’s parents’ permission to propose more than six months before we got engaged. It wasn’t that we were rushing to get married, but we were so confident we had met our person. Our joy in each other’s presence was evident to everyone. Including Alissa’s parents, both of whom cried while happily giving Aveena their blessing.

A custom designed engagement ring

Aveena designed and bought Alissa’s ring from La More Design in NYC. Alissa showed Aveena a bunch of different ideas, but the final ring was a surprise (and even prettier than expected). Aveena doesn’t care much for rings and instead tattooed her ring finger with Alissa’s initials. On our wedding day, Alissa will give Aveena a ring that she can wear on occasion.

On finding acceptance as a queer person with a Christian family (that came out after the proposal)

Alissa was engaged once before [though not married], and although she knew that that wouldn’t detract from appreciating this relationship, she’s noticed the contrast between engagements. It was affirming to see that she’s with the right person this time around.

Aveena grew up in a conservative Christian family and didn’t come out until we were engaged. Unfortunately, many people have rejected Aveena because of her identity as a gay woman, which means our engagement season has included many heartaches. Aveena has been incredibly resilient, and we are weathering the intolerance together; without allowing it to interfere with how strongly we love one another and our commitment to getting married.

Planning a lesbian wedding as an Indian woman

We want our wedding to represent Aveena’s Indian culture as much as possible, even without a ton of family support. Aveena’s sister is co-owner of an event planning business, Bright Events. So much of the planning has been happening long-distance between Seattle and Minneapolis. The wedding week will be a mix of Indian and Western traditions. We’ll also host a Mehndi party two days before the wedding. Our friends and family can get henna done along with us, eat Indian food, and listen to traditional music. For the wedding itself, Aveena and her bridal party will be wearing traditional Indian wear, like Lenghas and Saris.

The best advice we’ve gotten about wedding planning is to make the day all about our love. This means hoping the guests enjoy themselves but being damn sure we do!

Photography by Carley Jayne Photography

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