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Madison and Krystal O’Brien honored LGBTQ pioneers at their wedding— then honeymooned at the National Equality March.

By Henry Thiel 

Madison and Krystal O’Brien met in 2013 in College Station, through a mutual friend who’d been trying to set them up for more than two years. “He finally convinced us to join him at the movies,” Madison says. “I remember asking him if I could wear sweatpants. He said Krystal was getting dressed up, so I put on something a little nicer and my camo rain boots—I had to draw the line somewhere—and off we went to see The Great Gatsby.”

The next day, when Krystal graduated from Texas A&M University, she and Madison texted throughout the ceremony. A few days later, Krystal asked Madison out for a date. “Of course I said yes,” recalls Madison, who’s also an Aggie alum. “And the rest is history.”

“I don’t think there was a specific moment that I knew Madison was the one, but a whole summer,” Krystal says. “When Madison and I first met, we spent a whole summer together. We both knew that at the end of the summer we were probably going to live in different places, so from the beginning it was made clear that our relationship had a strong chance of not lasting. But that summer we spent every single free minute we had with each other, and at the end of it, I knew that we would get married and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.”

Krystal proposed to Madison on a camping trip in March 2015. “I knew back in November [2014] that I was going to buy Madison a ring, but my lovely wife had a very specific ring in mind,” Krystal explains. “It took me a few months to get the ring made. From the beginning, I had stressed to Madison that I wanted to see at least one sunset on our camping trip, and she needed to make it happen.”

As they hiked and kayaked, Krystal missed a lot of beautiful places where she could have proposed. When they arrived back at their campsite an hour before sunset, Krystal was stressing as Madison began making a dinner that included grilled corn on the cob. At around 7:30, Madison realized that if they were going to see the sun set, they needed to go. So they grabbed some ears of corn, lathered them in butter, and headed out.

“This was possibly the most pathetic, anti-climactic sunset we both have ever seen in our entire lives,” Krystal says. “It was awful. There was some random guy in a canoe while Madison slurped up the butter on her corn on the cob. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t propose here,’ so we turned to walk away.”

Even though this wasn’t what she’d planned, Krystal realized she couldn’t wait any longer—especially with her friend Eric standing nearby and egging her on. “Also, having the ring for three months was way too hard for me,” she says. “I am the worst at keeping secrets.” Suddenly, Krystal’s friend Eric took Madison’s corn and threw it in the tall grass.

“I turned and put my arms around her, and told her nothing that I had rehearsed,” Krystal says. “But she thought the whole thing was very romantic and perfect and I asked her to marry me.

“Madison was completely shocked, and she cried, and of course she said yes,” Krystal adds. “We laugh about the story now, and love telling it because it’s not a perfect proposal, but it was a memorable one. And it was perfect for us.”

On April 15, 2017, Krystal and Madison got married in Houston at Shirley Acres, with Mike Sampson officiating. “We chose [Shirley Acres] because it allowed us to have a beautiful outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception at the same location,” Krystal says. “It was all-inclusive, which made it cost-effective for us.”

Madison says the best moment of the day came as the ceremony was about to begin. “We were minutes from starting the ceremony, and chaos was everywhere when Krystal and I had our first touch,” shares Madison.

“Since I wasn’t allowed to see her before the ceremony, we stood in a corner and held hands,” Madison says. “This moment of calm and unfiltered love allowed all the chaos to fade away and reminded me that I was marrying the love of my life. Who cared if everything wasn’t perfect?  That moment was truly magical—almost as magical as seeing her walk down the aisle.”

The couple chose not to walk down the center aisle, but instead came in at the same time from the front aisles on either side so they were walking toward each other for their “first look.”

“We also chose to not light a unity candle,” Madison says. “However, at the entrance to the ceremony, we lit a rainbow candle with this tribute sitting beside it: ‘This candle burns in loving memory of all those that have fought, died, or sacrificed for us to have the right to be joined in marriage and the pride to share a life together. We give you thanks.’”

For their pre-honeymoon trip, the brides attended the Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington in June. They reside in Corpus Christi.

This article appears in the September 2017 edition of OutSmart Magazine. 

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Henry Thiel

Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist, a boutique public relations company which works exclusively with chefs and restauranteurs. He loves weddings.
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