They met on Grindr in 2012, fell in love and married in 2015. Neil and Rumen share their love story…
We met on Grindr in August 2012, had a really nice first date and started a long-distance relationship as Neil was living in Brighton at the time and Rumen in Farnborough in Hampshire. We both had an opportunity to move to New York City so decided to take the plunge and move in together in a new city and country. After 18 months living in NYC we came back to England at the beginning of 2015 to plan our wedding.
We were in Rome for a rugby Six Nations game. After a day at the Vatican, we went to the picturesque Borghese gardens where Rumen proposed to Neil by giving him a watch with ‘Marry me?’ engraved on the back.
Unfortunately, the man-made lake Rumen had in mind was emptied for the yearly maintenance but the moment was romantic nonetheless.
From the start, we wanted a ‘classic’ wedding. Gay people can finally get married in the UK so we really wanted to celebrate our love and commitment to each other. We always thought of it as our wedding, not our ‘gay wedding’. We decided to go with classic white flowers with green foliage; we also didn’t want to have a theme or a colour as we didn’t want to start obsessing over a particular shade of peach for example.
Conducting much of the initial planning while living in New York we were required to do a lot of venue research online. On a short trip back to England, we visited a couple of venues which didn’t really work for us. Rumen had to fly back to the UK once more after we stumbled upon another venue which we loved.
The Elvetham Hotel turned out to be everything we envisioned in our venue, somewhere quintessentially British, charming, with grandeur, and on a slightly less romantic note, within our budget! After showing a lot of pictures to Neil we decided to book the Elvetham about 13 months before the day.
After the move from New York City back to England, and several months of preparation and planning, the day was finally here. Being a gay couple we weren’t really pressed by tradition so being together the night before the big day wasn’t a question. On the morning of the wedding we got up and enjoyed getting ready together, with our closest friends and family. We drove to the venue together, ready to welcome our 70 guests as they arrived before the ceremony.
We each walked down the aisle accompanied by our mothers and a string quartet serenading us with Le Cygne by Saint Saens.
With two grooms we felt it was best that no one really waits for the other one at the altar, but we still both wanted to make a grand entrance. We also decided we would only have two witnesses and a few unisex ushers to help us on the day, but no ‘bridesmaids’ because… well, there was no bride.
After the ceremony and canapé and champagne reception, we had a whirlwind photoshoot in the grounds with our brilliant photographer, and before we knew it it was time for the wedding breakfast.
We had a wonderful 3-course sit-down meal, followed by speeches from both grooms, Neil’s dad and Rumen’s best friend. Coffee and petits fours followed, then it was time to hit the dancefloor with our wedding DJ, and greet our evening guests.
We decided to go for a classic white wedding cake with a few flowers and foliage prepared by our florist, and cake-cutting occurred soon after the first dance – we chose ‘Forever’ by Chris Brown, which really got everyone up and dancing.