Truth be told, Virginia Moore and Lily Hatton should never have met. The plot reads like a beloved rom-com. Lily was out on a date, and Virginia should have been in bed, seeing as she had pneumonia. But on January 5, 2019, under a patio heater at Pearl Bar, Virginia and Lily did indeed meet, and nothing has been the same for the two of them since.
39-year-old Virginia is a risk-management specialist at BP, and Lily, 28, is a writer and digital-marketing strategist. The pair had actually seen one another at Pearl months earlier. “Although we were attracted to each other, neither of us had made a move,” Lily explains. But that night in January was different. “I just felt like I knew her. There was something so inexplicably familiar about Virginia, and she’s told me the same thing about me.” But Lily also admits that talking to Virginia made her incredibly nervous. “That kind of nervous that either makes you talk too much or renders you completely mute. I fell on both sides of that spectrum that night.” The native Texans were in constant contact from that night on.
As wild as it might seem, Lily says she knew she wanted to marry Virginia on their very first date. “Virginia and I were sitting in her Jeep, and she asked me if she could kiss me. It was just such a sweet moment.” Lily sent her friend Brittny an email the very next day that read, “I’ll be sure to send you an invite to our wedding.” And she’s not one to say things like that lightly. “Virginia is the first person I ever said ‘I love you’ to romantically.”
Crossing the finish line into marriage was not quite as spontaneous for Virginia. She had been engaged in the past, so she has a harder time trusting people. But when she met Lily, Virginia says, “I had this weird, indescribable pull—after a brief encounter with her, something told me she needs to be in my life.” In fact, on the night of their first date a friend texted Virginia, “I just need one word of how it’s going.” “I am in love” was the reply.
After Virginia found out that one of Lily’s favorite rom-coms is Sleepless in Seattle, so after only weeks of dating, Virginia fibbed about needing to fly to Boston for work over Valentine’s Day, and invited Lily along. Virginia sent a car for Lily with a package on the back seat containing a Sleepless in Seattle movie script signed by Meg Ryan, a plane ticket to New York (where they were really going), and directions to their hotel. Once Lily arrived, the desk clerk handed her a note telling Lily to meet Virginia at the top of the Empire State Building. Virginia was waiting on the observation deck holding a sign that said ‘Can we do this couple thing?’ “In that moment, I knew I wanted to marry her,” Virginia remembers.
So it was Virginia who later proposed to Lily inside their barn, where Virginia had recreated the Pearl Bar patio scene from the night the two had met—complete with a patio heater and a sound system with “Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran playing. Virginia proposed with a custom ring she’d had made to look just like the dream ring Lily had pinned on her Pinterest board. “I’ve spent every day of our relationship falling in love with her all over again,” Lily says.
The two initially planned to have a Harris County judge marry them, and then fly to Mexico for a reception. But Virginia didn’t want the wedding ceremony to be simply a “check the box” exercise. Both women are extremely sentimental, so they wanted the date and the ceremony to have special significance for them.
The two chose June 22, 2019, the week of Houston’s Pride celebrations and one year after Mary Chapin Carpenter gave a shout-out to Lily during a concert. Lily had interviewed the singer for an article, and then randomly landed in a Twitter convo with her. “Say yes. Just say yes,” Carpenter said to Lily. So she did—and so did Virginia. The ceremony was held at the Cockrell Butterfly Center in the Museum of Natural Science, with a small group of friends in attendance. The two later held a reception for more friends and family members in Gruene, Texas.
The museum ceremony was filled with magical moments, but one moment was particularly spine-tingling. Virginia’s grandmother had passed two months before their wedding, and since the two were unconditionally bonded, Virginia had decided to wear her grandmother’s ring as her wedding ring. As Lily was about to put it on Virginia’s finger, a butterfly that she had watched fly in briefly touched her shoulder. “I could feel that everything leading to this moment was exactly the way the universe planned. I just knew that butterfly was my grandma.”
Virginia is at no loss for words when it comes to talking about how much she adores Lily, whom she describes as “talented as hell” and “naturally good at everything.” But more than that, Virginia says she is awed by Lily’s commitment to family values. “Her desire to create traditions is far more than I could have ever wished for in a marriage. Even our two sides of the family mesh well.”
The feeling is obviously mutual. Lily describes Virginia as the most genuine and sincere person she knows. “She sees the good in people, and she wants to be the good for people. She’s always saying, ‘Everyone has a story.’ She’s my constant silver lining. We haven’t fought a day in the entirety of our relationship and marriage. Not once.”
So, maybe those rom-com plots aren’t just impossible fairy tales after all.
This article appears in the January 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.