When Edward Domingue and Rudy Villarreal exchanged vows in January, the ceremony was beautiful enough to make angels sing. And sing they did.
For both men, the music was what made their special day.
Villarreal, a retired music teacher, says 10 of his former students, ages 35 to 47, came in from all over the country to sing at the couple’s ceremony.
“While they only had one day to practice together, the beautiful sound that they were able to create was amazing,” he says.
The strains of “Pachelbel’s Canon” resonated in the sanctuary at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church (RMCC) as the couple looked on. Both Rev. Troy Treash and Rev. Michael Diaz officiated the nuptials, and the entire congregation of 150 guests broke out in applause as Domingue and Villarreal were pronounced husband and husband.
But there was still more music in store for the happy couple.
“My nephew and his family surprised me with a gift of the mariachis,” Villarreal says. “I did not know they were going to be a part of the reception at the Sam Houston Hotel. When we walked into the dining room and they introduced us for the first time as a couple, the mariachis started up. I actually started to cry. The mariachis reminded me so much of my deceased grandmother who raised me. It was as if she was there.”
The grooms’ parents are also deceased, so Villarreal’s sister gave him away. Domingue’s aunt did the honors for him, and his brother served as his best man.
After the rehearsal on the night before the wedding, family and friends were having nibbles at the couple’s home when they got a big surprise.
“All ten of the girls who sang at the wedding were straight,” Villarreal says. “We asked everybody to give us $20, and we gave them back twenty ones. Then we loaded everybody onto a bus that took us to Hamburger Mary’s. But we parked in back and went in that way so the guests still didn’t know where they were—until they got inside and saw the drag queens. It was hilarious, and they loved the surprise.”
Villarreal says the wedding party and the four drag performers probably wound up making about $1,000 each.
The gorgeous wedding took a year and a half to plan, but the romance has been going for almost 12 years. Back in 2006, Domingue walked into a party at Villarreal’s apartment, and the host was instantly smitten. Their first date involved Villarreal betting Domingue that he could cook dinner using whatever was in Domingue’s refrigerator and pantry that evening. It was a bet that Villarreal lost.
“Eddie said there was no way I could make a meal with what was in his refrigerator,” Villarreal recalls. “I assured him that I could make a meal out of anything. Eddie proceeded to bet me that I could not. Then I opened his refrigerator and pantry and realized I had lost the bet. Beer and breadsticks does not make a meal.”
Subsequent home-cooked meals have gone better.
Once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, the couple began talking about tying the knot. Villarreal popped the question at a friend’s house in New Orleans, dressed only in his birthday suit and holding out a Tiffany box. It was a proposal Domingue couldn’t refuse. He started crying before he could say yes. In addition to the ring, Villarreal says, “He also got lucky that night.”
They chose RMCC for the wedding venue since both are members there, and Domingue has been on the church’s board for seven years. They were very lucky that the church had just reopened after the devastating Harvey floods. None of their vendors were LGBTQ-specific, but they report that everyone they worked with seemed excited about a gay wedding, including The Cake Lady Bakery. They did use a wedding planner for the big day so that they could focus on the festivities, but they also had an elaborate spreadsheet for the planner to follow.
Early the next morning, the pair left for seven sun-filled days in Maui where they explored the island and their new marriage. Back home in the Heights, Villarreal still teaches music lessons and Domingue plays in the Montrose Softball League Association. The couple enjoys dining out at Backstreet Cafe and Américas—a big improvement over the beer and breadsticks from their first date. They are so proud of their marriage that they framed their license and have it hanging in the home they have shared for the last four years with their fur-baby Vido, a miniature Goldendoodle. (And yes, Vido was in the wedding. He was the ring bearer.)
The couple is planning a big party for their first anniversary, and Vido will certainly have a part in that, too.
This article appears in the November 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.