Thirty-two-year-old Racine Armstead has held many positions: Navy corpsman, police officer, firefighter, artist, and now dental assistant. But she says the most fulfilling has been her role as wife to 28-year-old accountant Tiffany Gaither Armstead.
“We met on a dating app six years ago,” Racine says. “I was working as a firefighter in St. Helena Island in South Carolina. Our first date was to a dessert café.”
“I enjoyed it so much,” Tiffany recalls. “Racine was the sweetest—no pun intended. It was nice experiencing the romantic side of her. Racine is so ambitious and outgoing. She keeps me motivated in life. Also, sharing the same sense of humor is amazing. Being with her just feels like I’m hanging out with my best friend every day.”
Racine says her favorite quote is from author Maria Robinson: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” In this case, the couple’s beginning led to a perfect ending: after years of dating, they agreed to tie the knot following Racine’s clever and spontaneous marriage proposal.
Racine, who was born in Lufkin to military parents, has a friend in Dallas who celebrates her birthday every year with a karaoke party. The very first time Racine brought Tiffany to the party, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with her.
“Tiffany just fit right in,” Racine says. “We had so much fun drinking and singing, and all my friends loved her.” After they got back to their hotel, Tiffany was taking a shower. “I just wrote a marriage proposal on the shower glass in the steam with my finger,” Racine says.
“I was completely surprised,” Tiffany says. “But it felt so right. It was so spontaneous, and I loved it.”
The couple bought their first home together in Missouri City last year, where they enjoy Creole cooking and their Chihuahua/terrier mix—two dominant breeds that combine to keep them entertained. “We call her Storm,” Racine says. “It’s short for Shit-storm.”
They were married on May 20, 2017, at the Nouveau Antique Art Venue in Houston. Racine says it was a beautiful location filled with Tiffany lamps and other art, which appealed to her creative side. Racine paints abstracts on canvas, and has shown her work in several local art galleries.
“The venue was perfect for the intimate wedding we wanted,” Tiffany says. “There were fewer than 50 guests, and my favorite part of the wedding was the first dance. It felt so wonderful to be in her arms.”
Both brides wore beautiful traditional strapless white gowns and carried white bouquets. Racine’s gown was by Galina Signature, and Tiffany’s was by Melissa Sweet. The women read their own vows.
Racine says they had “no trouble at all” finding LGBTQ-friendly vendors.
“I was a little nervous at the courthouse, but nobody raised an eyebrow,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons we moved here. I love Houston because it is so welcoming and diverse here.”
After the fairy-tale wedding, the couple honeymooned in Antigua, Barbados, a Caribbean island known for its glorious beaches and turquoise waters. Racine calls it a beautiful spot, and one to which they will likely return.
“The honeymoon was everything,” Tiffany says. “Antigua was beyond beautiful. We went on adventures, saw breathtaking sunsets, and enjoyed great food. [I hope that all] our anniversaries are just as refreshing.”
“It was her first time out of the country,” says Racine, who had traveled while she was in the Navy. “And she loved it there, so we both plan to travel a lot more. I’m always up for trying new things; that’s why I’ve had so many careers.”
And now she has a partner who will be by her side for future adventures.
This article appears in the August 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.