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By Henry V. Thiel
Anna Latham and Jennie Meyer were both born and raised in Galveston and are proud to be BOIs (Born On the Island). Even after Hurricane Ike inundated their home, they chose to stay and rebuild.
Latham and Meyer met in Ms. Wolf’s 10th-grade biology class at Ball High School. “I still remember what Jennie was wearing that day,” whispers Latham. “She was wearing a purple Oxford shirt, khaki pants, and brown boots!”
“Even though we are total opposites of each other—Jennie is outspoken, where I am quiet—I just knew,” says Latham. “If you don’t believe in love at first sight, I can prove you wrong.
“I knew very early on that I was gay, even if I didn’t know the word for it,” says Latham, a 49-year-old registered nurse manager. “I realized I would not be able to get married, so I never had the same dreams other young girls have about their wedding day. One thing I did know was that I wanted to share my life with Jennie. Truth be told, I always knew she was the one since the day we met in that biology class.”
“Jennie and I had planned an Alaskan cruise,” shares Latham. “She had kidded around forever about not being engaged, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to surprise her. I enlisted the help of a friend (who was the manager of John Ford Jewelers, a very well-known BOI and LGBT-friendly jewelry store) and our daughter.
“Now, I have never been good at keeping secrets, but I was able to get the ring made, purchased, on the plane, then onto the ship without Jennie knowing,” adds Latham.
“Anna proposed to me on our 30th anniversary at the Mendenhall Glacier Waterfall in Alaska,” beams Meyer, a 49-year-old integration specialist. “Anna had pre-booked a helicopter tour to a glacier where she planned to propose. However, that morning the tour was canceled due to weather, so we ended up going by bus,” she says. “She waited until we got out to the waterfall at the glacier before she got down on one knee in front of everyone and asked me to marry her.” The glee is obvious in her voice as she describes the moment.
“My only regret is that we did not get pictures of any of it, or video. But it was worth every minute,” shares Meyer.
“For years, Jennie and I would say to each other ‘Have I told you lately how much I love you?’ Over the years, this became ‘Have I told you lately . . .,’ and we would pretty much fill in the blank with: How lucky I am to have you in my life? What a great mother you are to our kids? etc. To prepare for the proposal that I read to Jennie, I wrote her a letter stating at the top in big, bold letters, Have I told you lately . . . and then listed below were all the things we would usually say to each other, ending with I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?”
They do have one photo souvenir.
“I had told the kids what I was going to do, and that I would let them know once I popped the question. I had printed out a sign to hold up that had, She Said Yes! We had someone take our picture with me holding the sign, and I texted it to the kids. As a backup plan, on the other side of the sign, I had written, Ring for Sale,” laughs Latham.
“The only stipulation I put on the engagement was that we would not get married until it was legal in Texas,” Latham points out. “Jennie agreed, and [we] had to wait another three years, but it was important to both of us to get married where we grew up, with our family and friends who have supported our relationship.”
Latham and Meyer were married on May 21, 2016, at The Bryan Museum in Galveston, with Jeff Grieder (aka Jessica Van Shelton) officiating. They are now Jennie and Anna Latham.
Together they visited many venues and attended several bridal shows before selecting The Bryan Museum for their wedding venue. “We loved the space so much that we booked the Conservatory before it was even built,” Meyer notes.
“For our wedding, we had planned on a candle ceremony to include all attendees so that we could all unite as a ‘family.’ Everyone had their candles, but Mother Nature had other plans,” laughs Latham. “We had just enough light rain to wash away the past and let us start anew!
“When we set the date, I told Jennie I wanted to do something special for the first dance,” explains Latham. “I didn’t want us to just stand there and sway back and forth. So we asked Gregory Gudz to choreograph a dance for us, and we practiced a lot at Carolyn Ehman Dance Academy. While Jennie is a very good dancer, I, on the other hand, am terrible. I practiced a lot by myself because I really wanted the dance to be an expression of what this day meant to us.”
For floral arrangements, they used Downtown Blooms of Galveston and Scott Marasckin with Taylor Wholesale Floral. For event planning, they used the conservatory’s own Peter Ochoa and Richard Farnsworth. Rebecca Rivera and Dayaselly Gracia at Total Technique Salon did their hair and makeup.
And since they became engaged on a cruise, the brides took another cruise for their honeymoon.
“Actually, we were invited on the cruise before we had set the wedding date. So we decided to get married the Saturday before the cruise and use the cruise as our honeymoon,” says Meyer. “We took a seven-day cruise with a group of 12 friends to Key West, Florida, with two stops in the Bahamas. It was perfect!”
The Lathams have two adult children, four grandchildren, and three dogs.
Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist. He’s a sweetheart.