Who are Cris & Rachyl?
Cris and I both work in live theater, that’s how we met. I am the Associate Director of Patron Services for the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA and Cris is a Treasurer in the Box Office at Center Theatre Group in Downtown LA, where we used to work together. We love seeing shows and going out on the town.
We love fashion and always have fun getting dressed up for an event, so we decided to have a black-tie wedding. We also love to travel! We spent a few weeks in Germany and Prague last year, and are dying to go back.
We are both HUGE animal lovers! We live in our condo with our cat, Romeo. He is a total spoiled brat and has us wrapped around his little paw. We also love to go horseback riding and any activity that involves animals. We also both love the water. We went to Maui for our Honeymoon, and instead of laying by the beach or pool relaxing, we ended up spending the entire trip in the water, snorkeling and exploring.
We’ve been together for over four years. We met working for Center Theatre Group in Downtown LA. It is the theater company that runs the programming in the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum. Cris wooed me very persistently, and I was won over pretty quickly by her huge heart and kindness.
Tell us about the proposal.
Music has always been significant to both of us. I got my music degree in college, and still sing in music groups in Los Angeles. Cris has always been extremely passionate about music, which is one of the things that drew me to her early on. When we first met, we shared songs as we learned each other’s music tastes, and we realized we were both fans of Jessie Ware. Jessie Ware ended up becoming the soundtrack to our relationship (our first dance song was a Jessie Ware song).
So the proposal day… Jessie Ware was having a concert in LA, so of course, we got tickets to see her. Cris asked if I wanted to take the day off so we could spend the whole day together before the show. After being out and about, we got home to get ready, and a brand new Reformation dress was laid out on our bed for me. We got dressed, and she drove me to the restaurant that we had celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. We shared a fabulous dinner, and at the end of dinner, the whole restaurant stood up as they brought a plate out with my engagement ring on it. They pulled out the table and Cris got down on one knee and asked me to marry her in front of the whole restaurant.
Afterward, we went to the concert, and I cried practically the whole night. It was magical.
I am so glad we had a long engagement and didn’t plan a wedding in less than a year. It meant we got to enjoy the whole process and allowed plenty of time to make all the choices we wanted to make.
You had challenges finding wedding outfits, like many couples, talk us through that.
Finding our wedding outfits was definitely a challenge, for two very different reasons.
I am not petite, so I went to a lot of bridal salons before finding my dress. I’m too big to fit into standard sample sizes but too small for plus-sized bridal salons, so I had to try on about 40 gowns before I found the one. My best friend got her dress at Le Marriage Couture in Santa Monica, CA, and she highly recommended I go there. The salon is huge and has the biggest selection of wedding gowns in Southern California. I fell madly in love with my dress as soon as I saw it, but the sample piece was a size 8, so I couldn’t even try it on. I ended up ordering my dress based on loving it on the hanger and PRAYING I would love how it fit when I ordered it in my size. Thank goodness, I did!
Cris only wears men’s wear, so there was never a question of whether she’d wear a tuxedo for our wedding. Although she presents masculinely, she has a feminine figure and is petite, so she was very concerned about finding a high-end tuxedo that fit her well. She tried on several tuxedos, including Armani and Ted Baker, but she really wanted something special. We went to Hugo Boss, and they had an incredible satin fiber tuxedo with a shawl collar that blew us both away. Unfortunately, she was swimming in even the smallest men’s size. Our saving grace was an incredible men’s tailor who ensured us he could get the tux to fit precisely the way she wanted. Six fittings later, the tux fit like a glove, and she was thrilled and looked like a million bucks.
Although we both faced challenges, we were both over the moon with our wedding outfits on our wedding day.
Talk to us about the big day!
The day was pure magic. The Westin Pasadena was our designated wedding hotel. We had a lot of out of town guests, and most of them stayed at the Westin. We booked two suites for each of our wedding parties to get ready in. I think during the “getting ready” time was the only time Cris and I each felt anxious because it was the only time we were separated and we had so much anticipation of the day.
We rented a huge party bus that took us all across the street to Pasadena City Hall to do our first look and wedding party photos. We both cried like babies seeing each other for the first time. Pasadena City Hall is such a beautiful place, and we had a blast taking photos with all our friends and family.
After photos, the party bus took all of us to Altadena Town & Country Club. There’s a beautiful, lush green garden where our ceremony was to be. We put tremendous effort into our ceremony. We really wanted it to be meaningful and authentic to our relationship. Our officiant is a queer woman, and she did an incredible job conveying our love during the whole ceremony. One of our best friends read Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s opinion on the ruling of gay marriage. Another friend sang “Can’t Help Falling In Love” accompanied by our harpist while we completed our unity candle ceremony. And lastly, Cris and I wrote personal vows to each other. Needless to say, the ceremony was very heartfelt.
After the ceremony, we had a fantastic party! We loved dancing with all our friends and family, the amazing speeches given by our parents and best friends. The inside of the ballroom has two-story windows overlooking the mountains, making for such a romantic, picturesque setting.
Tell us a little about some of your favorite moments?
My favorite moment was hearing Cris read her vows to me. She was so anxious and worried about it for so long that I had no idea what to expect. She BLEW ME AWAY!! One line that took my breath away was, “I want so badly to express all the love I have for you; however, love is a word that is much too soft and used far too often to ever describe the fierce, infinite, emblazing passion that I have in my heart for you.” Insert picture of me ugly crying here.
Getting into the room to sit for dinner, looking around and having the realization that every single person in this room is here because they love and support us also hit me like a ton of bricks. I gave our couples toast, and I was concerned about making any sort of political statement, but I didn’t want to let the moment go by, so I said “I want to take a moment to recognize how far we’ve come so Cris and I can stand before you and be married today. Many people had to fight against judgment and hate for a long time so that we could experience acceptance and love today. As you all know, I grew up with two incredible mothers, and with everything that’s changed over the past couple of decades, our experience has already been vastly different than theirs was. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our fight, we are eternally grateful.”
Did you incorporate any family or religious traditions into the day?
Neither one of us is religious, so we specifically had a non-religious ceremony, but we did ask our officiant to allow a minute of silence to enable guests to bless us in whatever way felt authentic to them.
Cris is Brazilian, and her mom speaks little to no English. Our officiant, Julie, asked our moms to write some words of support for our marriage that she could read during our ceremony. Because Cris’s mom, Tereza, wrote her words in Portuguese, Julie felt it was very important to their sentiment that she read them in Portuguese, so she learned to say Tereza’s words in Portuguese. It was one of the most special moments for all the Brazilian family at the wedding.
Do you have a stand out vendor?
Without a doubt, our favorite vendor was our photographer! Sergio is incredibly talented, makes the experience so fun, and ultimately gets us as a couple. Cris and I were very picky about the style of photography we were looking for. We are not big fans of the blown-out, airy looking wedding photos. We knew early on it would be a challenge to find the right photographer, so we interviewed a number of them well before the wedding. We decided to do our engagement photos with Sergio to ensure we loved his work before committing to asking him to shoot our wedding. The engagement photos far exceeded our expectations, so we felt very confident asking Sergio to shoot our wedding. He did not disappoint!
Any advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Over the past few years, Cris and I have been to so many weddings, and all our friends gave us plenty of advice and helped as we planned our wedding. People kept saying to me, “something will go wrong, it’s inevitable,” so I kept waiting for something to go wrong all day and NOTHING WENT WRONG! Everything went off so smoothly and perfectly. I think it’s because we are both very type-A personalities and serious planners, so I think it paid off on our wedding day.
Our advice is to enjoy the entire process! Of course, the day will be magical and the best day of your life, but it goes by so quickly, so enjoy the whole planning process. Anytime you feel stressed or worried about something, remember this is your wedding, it’s supposed to be fun!
What does marriage mean to you?
We strongly believe marriage is a choice. Not knowing what each other wrote in our vows until our wedding day, we both wrote, “I vow to choose you every single day.”
Marriage is not perfect, and it’s not easy, but it IS worth it! Choosing to be with someone that makes you the best version of yourself. Making you accountable to more than just yourself pushes you to be a better person every single day.
As a queer, interracial couple, we know we lead exceedingly blessed lives to live in a place where we rarely experience judgment or hate and are surrounded by a fabric of humans that support our love and marriage. We hate that there are still many places in this world people like us don’t feel loved and supported, so we want to share our story for anyone living in fear or in hiding to do our part to continue the fight.
Photographer Sergio Montanez, The I Do Photography Company
Accessories Neil Lane earrings
Bridal Boutique Le Marriage Couture
Cake Pastries By Nancy
Catering, Ceremony & Reception Venue Altadena Town & Country Club
Cinematographer Yatin Parkhani
Cufflinks Hugo Boss
Entertainment LA Harpist, DJ Jack Farmer
Engagement & Wedding Rings Icing On The Ring
Florist Sacred Romance Floral
Gown Designer Maggie Sottero
H&MU Something Blue Stylists
Photo Booth LX Pix
Planner & Stylist La Bella Dia
Socks Ted Baker
Stationery & Signage Simply Stated Stationery
Suit Designer Hugo Boss
Wedding Favors Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets