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After a 50-yard-line engagement, Karen Hudson and Elaina Potts outran Trump to the altar.

By Henry V. Thiel 

As Karen Marie Hudson tells the story, she met her soulmate, Elaina Raye Potts, in October 2010. Heartbroken after an ex-girlfriend cheated on her, Hudson moved back to Houston from Dallas, and it turned out to be the best decision she ever made. It was while working at a car dealership that Hudson met the beautiful blonde, blue-eyed Potts. “She said so much with those eyes, and still does,” Hudson says.

Hudson recalls that she had to ask a coworker a few times for Potts’ name, but once she was armed with it, the flirting began. Hudson stole the small heater that kept Potts warm at her cashier station.

After the theft, Potts messaged Hudson on Facebook. Soon, it was true love. Even though Potts wasn’t out to her family, she took a chance on Hudson. “I will be forever grateful for her leap of faith,” Hudson says. “She was unlike anyone I had ever met before. She’s 10 years younger than me, but that didn’t matter. It was one of the best surprises of my life.”

The couple’s first date was watching a football game together, and Hudson, a die-hard Houston Texans fan, proposed to Potts on the field at NRG Stadium.

It was on their first date, during which they watched an LSU football game, that Hudson knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Potts. “I will always remember how she looked when she came to pick me up,” Hudson says, recalling that Potts’ hair was newly colored and she was wearing a long-sleeve Deer Park T-shirt. “When Elaina opened the front gate to my home, she absolutely took my breath away.”

Hudson, 39, is a service advisor at Advantage BMW Clear Lake, and a graduate of LSU. Potts, 29, is now a student at the Vet Technical Institute of Houston. Hudson proposed to Potts on their one-year anniversary—December 17, 2012—on the Houston Texans football field, with the help of friends and family.

Hudson arrived early at NRG Stadium, while friends from work brought a blindfolded Elaina. A die-hard Texans fan, Hudson wanted to keep the location a secret.

Unfortunately, they were not allowed to turn on the lights at the stadium, so they were rushing against a fast-setting sun.

When Potts arrived, still blindfolded, Hudson took her hand and walked her out to the 50-yard line. Hudson removed the blindfold, dropped to her knee, and asked for Potts’ hand in marriage. Touchdown! They ran hand-in-hand to the end zone and snapped a few commemorative pictures. Then the whole engagement team went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and drinks to celebrate.

The Baytown residents were married at the Harris County Courthouse on October 21, 2016. “We chose that location and time because we wanted to get married before the possibility that Trump could be president,” Hudson says.

“While President Obama had done so much to make sure our community had the same rights as any other couple, and with all of Trump’s hate speech about immigration reform and gay rights, we felt it was important to get married before his administration pushed to make changes. It does not help that Texas is such a red state, and Greg Abbott is our governor. For us to get married before Trump went into office was very empowering.”

Family and friends joined them as they said their “I do’s” in front of a judge. “The judge was so friendly,” Hudson says. “It was perfect. The moment that I looked into Elaina’s eyes while saying ‘I do’ melted my heart. I could not believe I was marrying the girl of my dreams. She is everything I could ask for, and so much more.”

Potts says she was “super nervous.” “I said ‘I do’ way too fast, and everyone laughed,” Potts recalls. “I was just so anxious and ready for her to be my wife! That was definitely the best day of my life.”

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds rented a house on the beach in Galveston. Since they were limited as to the number of guests at their ceremony, they threw a huge two-night wedding party. They built a fire on the beach the first night, and the next night they grilled. “We were both so happy that we were together with everyone who supported us through our journey,” Hudson says. Their best friend, Lorrie Gutierrez, decorated everything perfectly.

Gutierrez surprised them with prints of the photographs from the ceremony and matching shirts that said, “Bride and Bride.”

“We picked Galveston because we love the beach,” Hudson says. “It is so peaceful, and fit us both perfectly. The weather was beautiful. It just all came together like a fairy tale.”

Karen Hudson-Potts and Elaina Potts currently reside in Baytown.

This article appears in the December 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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