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A Wine Country Wedding

Happy Lee and Doug Smith met during a memorable business trip.

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Happy Lee (l) and Doug Smith (photos by Apollo Fotografie)

If you think the concept of successfully sliding into someone’s DMs is only a reality in a Lizzo song, think again. Not only is it as serious as the summer heat in Houston, it can also be just as steamy. It certainly was for Doug and Happy Lee Smith. 

Doug is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the founder and CEO of Hawthorne Capital. Happy is a graduate of National Louis University in Chicago, and a marketing strategist at Health IQ. The couple currently resides in the Montrose area near River Oaks.

Doug, a Lubbock native, messaged Happy on a dating app during a Chicago business trip in 2018. “After Happy had time to Google things like ‘Is it safe to give a stranger my number?’ we met up for a drink at a neighborhood brewery-restaurant called The Forbidden Root,” Doug recalls. 

It was Happy’s beautiful smile and infectious laugh that pulled at Doug’s heartstrings right from the start. “And after a few minutes of talking (and tickling), I wondered if we might be a perfect match. A few minutes later, I was certain he was—and even joked about us spending our lives together,” Doug says, noting that he is even more sure that Happy is “the one” now that they are married.  

And as for Happy’s thoughts on their love match? The native of Malaysia says Doug makes him want to be married to him every day.  

On November 2, 2019, Doug proposed to Happy in the middle of The Forbidden Root, where they met. “We ordered a flight of beers,” Happy explains. “Little did I know, he had coordinated with the staff a few months prior to place a red rose along with a ring in the middle glass. And written on the glass was ‘Will you marry me?’ As soon as I saw that, he got down on one knee and proposed to me. At first, I was fairly clueless and even stunned. But then I got my bearings and was able to take in the moment. And of course, I said Yes!” 

Then Doug slipped the ring on Happy’s finger as restaurant-goers delightedly cheered them on. “It couldn’t have been any more special,” Doug says. “A few minutes later, Happy’s Chicago friends made a surprise entrance and we slipped off to the back room for a private celebration. It just so happened that there was a time change that night, and we got an extra hour of partying out of it. The universe was very much rooting for our gay engagement celebration.” 

The couple was married on May 15, 2021, in California’s Napa Valley at Auberge du Soleil. “We were most interested in having a cozy and intimate wedding, and were fortunately able to find a venue that accommodated small groups. The theme of the venue was natural, rustic, outdoor, wooden, and elegant, which ended up being perfect for us,” Happy explains. 

Doug says he’ll never forget watching Happy enter and walk down the aisle. “His beauty—and those high heels—radiated. His personal wedding vows touched my heart at times, and at others had me cracking up,” Doug says. 

The French tradition of sabering was also a highlight of their wedding day. “I wasn’t familiar with it before, but they trained me to open a bottle of sparkling wine with a saber.” And they didn’t even realize it until after the fact, but they failed to include rice tossing in their festivities. “We weren’t too concerned about it because the wedding was already so full of special moments,” Doug adds. “We also quite enjoyed not getting rice in our hair and down our shirts.”

The couple also made sure to remember those who couldn’t be there in person for the celebration. “We printed out pictures of our dogs and the people we wished could have been in attendance. It was special to have them there in spirit,” Happy says.

The couple chose to support the San Francisco LGBTQ community by hiring Apollo Fotografie, a gay-owned business, to take their wedding photos. “We were thrilled that our photographer was gay, since they made us feel totally at ease and fantastic on our wedding day,” Happy says. 

After the wedding, the couple spent a few days relaxing in Napa Valley and exploring San Francisco. “The real honeymoon, however, will be taking place over the coming months. Top contenders are Hawaii and Japan, but we’re certainly open to suggestions,” Doug says. 

The relationship may have started with something as simple as a quick DM on a dating app, but it has turned into a joyful, lifelong love. “Happy is probably the kindest, most loving, and even the funniest person I’ve ever met,” Doug concludes. 

“And Doug is irreplaceable,” Happy adds. I love him for who he is.”

This article appears in the August 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Jenny Block

Jenny Block is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from New York Times to Huffington Post to Playboy and is the author of four books, including “Be That Unicorn: Find your Magic. Live your Truth. Share your Shine." She has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs from Nightline to BBC Radio to Great Day Houston and has performed and spoken at bookstores, events, conferences, and resorts in the US and Mexico, as well as on Holland America Cruise ships.
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