It all started with a “WOOF,” and the rest is a memorable, romantic history for Chess Britt and Michael Leon! Britt, a Georgia native, and Leon, a California native, connected one day via the popular gay dating app, SCRUFF. For both, it was evident their love was more than just a weekend fling, so they took the next step in committing their lives to one another. While they’ve still yet to tie the knot, we caught up with the engaged couple, now living in Atlanta, about their journey to the big day!
Have you always dreamt of a big wedding? And if so why?
Chess: Growing up I would have to say no. I haven’t always wanted a big wedding or even really thought I would ever get married at all. I was living somewhat of a chaotic life, and it wasn’t until I made some life changes and found sobriety that I wanted a partner and family.
Michael: YES!!! I have always dreamed of having a big wedding surrounded by all my family and friends. Being a Cuban man, everything we do in our family is BIG! There was a time not long ago that I thought this would be impossible for one man to marry another, but luckily times have changed and we together as a community have come so far. I love celebrating LOVE and family. I am so blessed to have found my one and only.
What has it been like planning your wedding? Has everything gone as planned? Strict budget? Wedding guest list kept to an exact number?
Does anything ever go as planned?! Planning a wedding can be very stressful. There are so many decisions to make and details to go over. One of us is very relaxed about the details, and the other is extremely detail oriented. This has been both a blessing and a curse trying to make so many final decisions. We did know this going in, so we had the pleasure of working with one of Atlanta’s top wedding planners, Molly McKinley Designs, who has walked us through every step gracefully. Without her and her staff, who knows what would be happening?! We highly recommend a wedding planner as there are so many things you don’t even think of.
Has planning the wedding brought you two closer together? There are some stresses when planning something special and ceremonial because you want it to be perfect. How do you two manage saying it’s ok if something doesn’t work out as planned?
Yes, this whole process has brought us even closer than we were as we have had to work together through the challenges that planning can bring. We make a great team, and we have become very well versed in the art of compromise. I think the first thing is to understand nothing is perfect but will be perfectly imperfect. At the end of the day you need to not focus on the small picture of just one weekend but the excitement of the rest of your lives together.
When is the big day for you two? What are you looking forward to the most?
Our wedding is on April 13th, 2019, at Serenbe Farms here in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides the obvious of marrying the man of my dreams, we are so excited about sharing a beautiful weekend together surrounded by the people who love and support us the most. It’s been quite a journey to get to this place; We can’t wait to celebrate love and equality.
Tell me a little about how you two met and got engaged. Was it love at first sight? Who proposed to whom and how did it all happen?
Chess: Michael and I met on a little app you might have heard of called SCRUFF. We were living in two different cities in California about two hours away so we spent a month chatting online after I WOOF’ed him before we decided to meet up. We ended up spending the whole weekend together in Palm Springs where everything was just so easy and effortless. It wasn’t long after that when I knew this is who I wanted to share my life with, and it was very clear he felt the same. So, let’s just say it was love at first WOOF!
Michael: It was my birthday weekend, and Chess had surprised me with a trip to NYC, where I had been dying to go. We spent several days and nights running around the city and being goofy as we like to do. It was on one of the nights there on our way out that I turned around to find Chess on one knee, in the middle of the room asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was in complete shock as I always thought I would be the one to ask him. Obviously, I said OF COURSE!!
Has the process of planning the wedding got you ready for the big day?
We are beyond ready for our big day! However, I don’t think it was the planning that has us emotionally ready. If anything, the planning has distracted us from emotional excitement. We are three weeks out now and it’s all gone by so fast! We will say, all the planning has helped us learn more ourselves and each other. We are just so excited about what the future holds.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for any LGBTQ couple looking to tie the knot and take that next step in their commitment to one another?
I never understood or believed the expression that “you know when you know” until you actually know. Then you really get that expression. So I would suggest if you don’t know then maybe it’s not the one. But if you do know and you are planning a larger wedding, I can’t express how much a planner helps. There are so many details I would never have thought of and so many deadlines to meet on choices that they keep you on top of! They are such lifesavers. Also, make choices together. Don’t just rely on one person to make all the choices. It’s definitely a relationship building experience. And lastly, make the experience as fun as possible! Laugh off the stress of planning and just enjoy the experience.