At the height of the pandemic during the Summer of “Shelter-in-Place 2020,” both of us were somehow put in a position to explore the possibility of putting ourselves out there to meet someone special. We both found ourselves on Tinder, matched, and began conversing.
Since the day Veronica flew into Atlanta for our first date (and subsequent weekend together), we became inseparable! We began a long-term, long-distance love affair that included various international meetups in a world made unfamiliar through the “new normal,” but our love continued to thrive.
On the surface, Bridgette, a Chinese-Jamaican Libra ambivert based in Atlanta, and Veronica, a “celesbian” LGBT influencer and lifestyle expert Leo life-of-the-party nicknamed “Wildchild” seemed initially ill-matched to outsiders, but they always maintained a healthy and happy connection based on shared values, interests and hobbies and mutual love-language.
After discussing our intentions, goals and aspirations, we agreed to take the next steps in our relationship—and so after a semi-surprise engagement in Tulum, we got engaged! (Veronica designed and decorated the affair with 50,000 imported rose petals, cold-fusion fireworks and a custom wood-teepee set up in the backyard of a villa just for the occasion.)
Having the engagement go viral on social media, Veronica (I) was extremely motivated to push myself to the limits to conceptualize and execute a wedding and honeymoon we both enjoyed, and reflected the excitement of what the future has in store for us personally, professionally and spiritually!
Our wedding was a private affair that took place in the ancient Hoodoos on Navajo land in an area of Northwestern New Mexico called “Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness,” three-hour drive outside Albuquerque. There has NEVER been a publicized wedding that occurred at this location, and if you Google the location and the effort involved to visit, it becomes immediately abundantly clear why. The area is tribal, sacred, uncharted, without cell service, and required a 30-minute off-road high-clearance pickup- truck trek through sand dunes barely illuminated by the moon followed by a 3/4-mile hike on foot with all our supplies in the cover of total darkness with equipment and supplies to arrive at the final destination. For these reasons as well as our personal preference, we limited our ceremony to “necessary team members only” aka my husband-and-wife photog/videographer team “Shutterfreek” (and our witnesses), my sister (the officiant), and we had planned for a local LGBT individual to assist us with everything but she ended up twisting her knee and being exposed to Covid the night before.
As the dawn broke, we looked around completely in awe of our surroundings, as it was almost like we had been teleported to Mars! We arrived sweating from carrying all our gear despite temperatures of 40 degrees, and began changing when we realized my still-fiancee left the vow books and rings back in the truck! (FACEPALM). It was at this time I realized I had forgotten ALL my undergarments in the truck as well. Thank goodness for my sister RUNNING 25 mins each way through the impossible terrain of loose gravel, washes and freaky sandstone structures to bring us everything we needed. She made me promise to buy her drinks and in fact crushed three White Claws before she began her beautiful and poignant ceremony (I would have cried, but it was too cold lol).
We had a short and sweet (and shivering) ceremony and moved on to the area’s most famous rock formation (“Alien Throne”) to get some amazing shots of the other-worldly landscape. Then we packed up to head back to the second part of our wedding at Tamaya Stables, a horse barn attached to the Hyatt Regency in Bernalillo, an area outside Albuquerque. On the way back to the truck, we encountered petrified tree trunks, wild horses and even a coyote!
One thing we should note was that the weeks leading up to the wedding were filled with trepidation as we watched the footage of wildfires ravaging the entire state. We were particularly concerned about the area near the stables, but it turned out to be clear, sunny and safe. We shot for an hour on two horses (I am a former internationally ranked equestrian, but I got an unruly horse who made the shoot very challenging), but my wife’s horse was super chill and cared more about the grass it kept trying to eat than our wedding photoshoot.
After we wrapped at the barn, we filed our marriage license to make it official and spent a lovely night on a farm-turned-hotel (Los Campos at Los Poblanos) for a gourmet dining experience, and headed back to Miami the next morning for our honeymoon adventure!
We had an amazing 2-and-a-half-week honeymoon in the Philippines (Cebu and El Nido) with two 20-hour layovers in Istanbul, so it was essentially a vacation within a vacation. It involved staying at a brand new two-floor treehouse overlapping a river in a rainforest, chartering private island-hopping tours and swimming through caves to enter secret lagoons, and catching E.coli at the end of the trip and coming back sick as a dog (totally worth it!).
I am especially proud to say that I did 100 percent of the sourcing of clothing, jewelry and decor, executed the set design, made my own bouquet, conceptualized the Navajo, and ethnic influences, designed the dresses and made my dress (with Bridgette’s help sewing the appliques), which didn’t arrive until the night before we left for New Mexico, by the way! I also developed the itinerary of locations and accommodations and styling for our honeymoon. This was a huge demanding undertaking for me as Bridgette and I are long-distance, but I have a very strong point of view and particular aesthetic, and I had the confidence that my vision would translate well, and I’m very proud of my work!—Veronica “Wildchild” Young
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Hotel: Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa
Stables: Tamaya Horse Rehab & Stables
Ceremony site: Ah-Shi-Sleh-Pah Wilderness
Makeup artist: Lizbeth Ruiz
Styling: Veronica “Wildchild” Young of Wildchild Society
Veronica’s dress design: Veronica “Wildchild” Young of Wildchild Society with seamstress work by Bridgette
Bridgette’s jumpsuit and dress: Designed by Veronica “Wildchild” Young of Wildchild Society
Veronica’s suit pants: Maria Queen
Floral design: Veronica “Wildchild” Young of Wildchild Society
Champagne flutes: ThoseDays
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