When it comes to planning your wedding, follow your heart, don’t listen to those around you and do what is right for you. That’s how Christina and Alicia Wilk of Clinton Township said they were able to enjoy their wedding-for-two this year on June 21.
“For us, we didn’t have any challenges because we just made it happen,” Christina said. “We focused on our love and our excitement and the fact that there was no stress.”
A carefree relationship came easy for the couple when they met in August 2014, both exhausted by previous emotionally draining relationships.
Who knew a matchmaking game called “Find Alicia a real girlfriend” on social media would bring the best kind of love together, their forever love.
“It isn’t your typical love story, or is it? We met through a Facebook post. You may be thinking, ‘really?'” Christina said. Just 24 hours after Alicia’s online plea, and several replies from eager friends, the connection was made.
“I hate talking on the phone and Alicia loves it. Somehow, someway, she got me to stay up for five hours at a time listening to her story, her listening to mine, us laughing about our music guilty pleasures…Justin Bieber is always on and we are always singing along…and bonding over our experience going to the same cosmetology school, but five years apart. I didn’t ever want to get off the phone with her, she was like a magnet. I went to bed talking to her until she was trying to wake me up to say goodnight with the phone to my ear and I woke up waiting for a text from her. And she never let me down because she was always thinking about me too,” she said.
A week passed before Alicia picked Christina up for their first date at Pronto! in Royal Oak.
“I think of that as our go-to spot because it brings back so many amazing memories of our first few months together and how shy we both were with each other and all the butterflies, although I still get butterflies every time I think about her…unless I know the laundry isn’t done or the house isn’t clean,” Christina said.
A year and five months later, it was time. One of Christina’s best friends, Carolann, and her wife, Jackee, hosted a surprise birthday dinner for Alicia. After Christina had fallen asleep, Alicia told Carolann she had already bought a ring and was planning to propose the following weekend on their trip to Chicago. Carolann was adamant that Alicia pop the question that night.
“She wanted to witness the moment because she loved us together and couldn’t bear to not see it happen so Carolann woke me up at 4 a.m. out of a dead sleep and said they needed to show me something,” Christina said.
At the time, Alicia said she thought two things. “One, she’s going to be so mad about me waking her up. Two, I don’t want to wait another minute.”
When Christina walked around the corner in her PJ’s, hair a mess, there was Alicia on one knee.
“It all happened so fast because I was so nervous. I don’t even remember what I said. What I do remember is I looked down and the ring wasn’t in the box anymore. She had already snatched it out of the box,” Alicia said.
“I don’t even remember if I said yes because I was half asleep, but I grabbed the ring myself and put it on my own finger, deadweight hugged her and said ‘can I go back to sleep now?” Christina said.
The next day Alicia asked Christina if she could actually put the ring on her finger. “Now, it’s an ongoing joke that I like to randomly put the ring on her finger since I didn’t get to when I asked,” Alicia said.
“We will forever be able to laugh about the proposal and we wouldn’t have it any other way because every day is full of laughter with us,” Christina said.
For months, they tried so hard to organize a wedding. At one point, their guest list was up to 250 people.
“We were using all the wedding tools and realized so many didn’t offer same-sex labels and same-sex specific vendors. I had to preface every inquiry with ‘we are a same-sex couple so we would like to know if you support our love before we give you our money,” Christina said. “It was almost like coming out all over again and all those emotions of fear, sadness, and hurtfulness rushing back again.”
Beyond the heartache of that process, they came to the realization that finances would prevent them from moving forward as originally planned.
“Alicia has Crohn’s disease and because of multiple surgeries and lots of doctor’s visits, we have a few thousands of dollars in medical debt. We would have put ourselves in even more debt by throwing what we thought would be the wedding of our dreams because we were paying for it on our own,” Christina said, adding that their families are not financially stable and able to help, and part of her family does not accept her relationship with Alicia.
With the hope of buying a home soon and starting a family, a large wedding no longer felt like a good fit. They made a choice to plan the wedding for themselves and their future. Not to accommodate friends and family who Christina said, “should be happy for you either way if they love and support you.”
The couple realized that focusing on what they wanted with their financial situation in mind was the most important to avoid stress and set themselves up for success.
“Because it’s about both people. Listen to each other’s wants and compromise,” Christina said.
A loving and supportive friend, Crissi, who lives in California was willing to get ordained to perform their ceremony. They had already booked a vacation to visit Alicia’s sister and walk in the San Francisco Pride parade, so they made their wedding a part of the celebratory trip.
“We did have fear in our hearts and minds as we boarded the plane for our trip. It was a few weeks after Orlando and a week after the Los Angeles Pride threat. We didn’t let what happened to our brothers and sisters discourage us. We let it empower us to still go, to celebrate our love and the love of all the lost,” Christina said.
Upon arrival, they went straight to the clerk’s office to get their marriage license then enjoyed the rest of their day including a night out in West Hollywood for an impromptu bachelorette party. The following day they relaxed and got ready. Christina wore a dress designed and handmade by a friend. Alicia chose an outfit she knew she would be comfortable wearing on a beach.
Later, they all hopped in the car to drive down Highway 1 from Santa Monica and found the quiet Redondo Beach.
“Then we got out, started to take pictures and said let’s get married right here. So we did,” Christina said. Another close friend, Cat, who also lives in California witnessed and helped capture their moment by taking photos during the ceremony.
“At the end we walked along the beach as the sun set. It was perfectly romantic,” Christina said. “We laughed and cried. We were so engulfed in each other that we didn’t pay attention to what was going on around us. It was perfect for us.”