After they both found themselves forming a friendship supporting one another through unhappy relationships, their chemistry became undeniable.
Who are Kelly & Mariangela – and how did the relationship begin?
We love enjoying life to the fullest and making memories together. We enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, breweries, and wineries, spending time with our dogs, and staying active. Kelly is an avid golfer (4x Mercer Oaks Club Champion), and Mari enjoys reading.
We have been together for about 2.5 years. We are both paralegals – we met while working together in the legal department for an automobile insurance company. We became fast friends while discovering numerous similarities shared between us, including our unhappiness in our relationships. Mari was married to a man, and Kelly was in a long-term relationship with a woman. We became the support and courage we both desperately needed to leave broken relationships and start fresh through our friendship.
As we grew closer while rebuilding our lives, it became clear there was much more to our relationship than just a friendship. Mari was never in a same-sex relationship before Kelly, so we took it slow at first. However, our chemistry was undeniable and like no other love we’ve felt before.
While most people would hate working with and spending so much time with their significant other, we truly enjoyed every moment! Since we are both in the same profession, we can empathize with each other, which allows for a unique closeness. Now that we no longer work together, we really value our quality time together.
How did you know that a marriage was the next step?
We were both genuinely shocked that we found each other. The love we found between us is so rare that we didn’t believe it to exist before us. We knew pretty early on (in true lesbian fashion) that we wanted to commit our lives to each other legally. We spoke openly about our proposal and what we both wanted. It was important to Kelly to propose to Mari with an engagement ring. Kelly isn’t as glitzy as Mari and did not want a ring or proposal.
Tell us about the proposal.
Kelly’s parents were in town for the holidays, so we decided to schedule family portraits with her family. Together, we decided to take them to Washington Crossing Historical Park in Pennsylvania. It’s close to home, we enjoy spending time in that area, and love the look of the old, historic buildings. Kelly decided it was the perfect opportunity for our proposal– to have our family there and a camera to capture the moment.
We recently took our engagement portraits in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with Casey from Fourteen Acres Photography. We decided on Asbury Park because it is a place we truly enjoy. Delicious restaurants and bars, beautiful beach, outdoor music, and very dog and gay friendly!
The engagement ring experience was sentimental, why?
The center stone in Mari’s engagement ring is from her late father’s wedding band. We went to a jeweler together to custom make Mari’s ring with her late father’s diamond. Kelly is not flashy but also wanted a ring to symbolize her commitment to Mari, so she wears a silver or silicone band. For our wedding, we will take diamonds that belonged to Mari’s late mother to create a custom wedding band for Kelly. Kelly, unfortunately, was unable to meet Mari’s parents since they have both long passed, so it is important to us to have a piece of them with us, always.
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
My engagement ring means everything to us. Not only was it custom-made to be exactly what we wanted, but it includes Mari’s late father’s diamond. Mari’s father passed away unexpectedly in October 2012. Kelly’s wedding band will also be a sentimental piece because it will include Mari’s late mother’s diamonds. Mari’s mother passed away after a long battle with breast cancer in 2003. So it is extremely important for us to have a piece of them with us. We always say how we have Mari’s parents to thank for bringing us to each other. The road to finding each other wasn’t easy, but we appreciate every step that brought us together.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be like?
Wedding planning is going great! Due to the pandemic, we decided to book all of our major vendors well before our 9/4/22 wedding. This has allowed us to choose exactly who we want and budget for the wedding we truly want. We were both previously married and had big, expensive weddings. While we don’t want that this time around, we still wanted to celebrate our love with our family and friends. We are paying for our wedding 100% ourselves, so we want the day and focus on being on us and our marriage. For that reason, we are not having a bridal party. We hope that our wedding will be the modern, rustic, romantic wedding of our dreams. Either way, we get to marry our person, and that is enough for us.
How are you going about choosing your key vendors?
We have mostly been choosing our key vendors by word of mouth. Finding a photographer was probably the most difficult because different photographers have different artistic styles. Finally, we found Casey from Fourteen Acres Photography and fell in love with her work- as well as her as a person.
Videography is also very important to us because it is important for Mari to ensure Kelly has a video memento of her parents enjoying themselves on the happiest day of her life. Mari wishes she had that of her parents and knows Kelly will appreciate it one day. It was also important to choose someone close to us to marry us, to make our ceremony more intimate and special. That’s why we asked Kelly’s brother-in-law! He was there for the entire evolution of our relationship, from co-workers to friends, to girlfriends, and now wives-to-be.
Photography by Fourteen Acres Photography