WEDDINGS: Fighting for Love and Democracy
Roxanne and Kristina Werner fell for each other while working together at the Harris County Clerk’s Office.
In between their work to save democracy by making Harris County elections run smoothly, Roxanne and Kristina Werner found love. The colleagues-turned-spouses are savoring every moment of wedded bliss and proving that love can blossom in the least-expected places, and on a timeline all its own. With a drag queen, a mayoral candidate, and a top-notch taco truck featured at their wedding, the Werners truly showed their guests that “love is love.”
The pair met in 2019 while working at the Harris County Clerk’s Office, with Kristina in elections and Roxanne under County Clerk Chris Hollins, who is now running for Houston mayor. “Kristina ran—and still runs—a high-school clerk program,” Roxanne notes. “I did communications and community outreach. We always got along really well and started talking and hanging out more, and it just blossomed.”
Their dynamic at work foreshadowed how well the two would mesh romantically. “We were good [at collaborating] when we would cross work paths,” Kristina says. The married duo continues their work for Harris County with Kristina in the Elections Administrator’s Office, and Roxanne in the County Attorney’s Office.
“We started dating in 2019,” Roxanne recalls. “Kristina definitely asked me on a date first. She was really open about wanting to date! We were ‘official’ in July of 2019, but by that time we had been going on dates and spending all of our time together.”
With their high-intensity jobs, Roxanne explains that it was helpful to have someone at home to decompress with. “If you had told me before I met Kristina that I could spend this much time with a person and not want to kill them, I wouldn’t have believed you. Working in elections is stressful, and we were each able to understand what the other was going through.” Swooping in with comic relief, Kristina adds, “It’s a testament to how great I am!”
For this duo, the question wasn’t Will they get engaged? but When? “We’d looked at rings so I knew something was coming, but I didn’t know when,” Roxanne recalls. “I went to our jeweler and ordered a ring for Kristina and carried it around in my purse for almost three months. I thought if she was going to propose with a big romantic gesture, I’d propose immediately after her.”
When Kristina made reservations at Harold’s restaurant in the Heights, Roxanne knew it was go-time. “She planned a big date and I could tell by the way she was acting that she was going to propose,” Roxanne recalls. “She was freaking out because she was running late from work, so I decided to go to Harold’s early and meet her there. I asked the staff if they would bring out the ring with dessert, and they were more than happy to help out.”
“I definitely wasn’t expecting that,” Kristina admits. When the couple got home, it was Kristina’s turn to pop the question. “We went home and she had this customized old-school viewfinder,” Roxanne describes. “Each slide was a photo of us, and the last one said, ‘Will you marry me?’ When I took the viewer down from my face, she was on her knee with a ring.”
Wedding planning soon began, and the couple set their sights on a stress-free party. “It felt so good to have something to celebrate,” Roxanne says. “A huge advantage of being a queer couple is that you don’t really have to fit into the stereotypical roles.” The two agreed that tradition wasn’t their vibe if it meant added stress. “There are things people will remember, but most people won’t remember all of it,” Roxanne theorized. “If anything became stressful, we just wouldn’t do it.”
Kristina was ultra-protective of their big day. “People always say that weddings are for everyone else. I was not going to go along with that. We did a really good job of doing it our way, for us.”
Roxanne and Kristina were married on March 26, 2022. On the day of their nuptials, the brides celebrated with family and friends by creating their own traditions. “It was genuinely the best time. We had the wedding at Avant Garden in Montrose. It was officiated by Chris Hollins, and he was wonderful,” Roxanne says. “Kristina wore a custom suit and Nikes. I hand-dyed the bottom of my dress to have a pop of color, and I wore Chuck Taylors under my dress. I walked halfway down the aisle with my son, and then Kristina came out and walked the rest of the way [with us]. We had a cocktail hour, a Polaroid-photo guest book, and the venue had an incredible taco truck!” Kristina summarizes their big day saying, “It was excellent.”
“We booked a drag queen named Cyn City who was absolutely amazing!” Roxanne says excitedly as she describes the dinner entertainment. Kristina adds, “She had on giant feathered wings that made a big heart. It was so sick!”
Donning a rainbow-fringe jacket, Roxanne strolled hand-in-hand with her new bride to the rainbow crosswalk on Westheimer for a photo-op before the two danced the night away.
After returning from their honeymoon, the couple settled into their new home and life together. “I am obsessed with saying ‘my wife,’” Kristina exclaims. “At the gym today I said ‘This is my wife’s shirt’ because I can!”
“I love her more every day!” Roxanne adds, “It sounds like she’s joking when she says that, but she says stuff like that every day.” Roxanne reflects on the impact of her marriage by saying, “I came out later in life; I didn’t realize I was gay for a long time, but it was like turning on a light in a dark room. Being this most authentic version of myself and calling someone my wife means a lot to me. I feel very grateful to be able to be the most ‘me’ version of me, and to have a partner that’s so supportive.”
The self-described “gay as hell” couple is also quick to offer wedding-planning advice to fellow queer couples: “It’s okay that not everything fits the way you’ve been told it’s supposed to,” Roxanne says. “Do whatever you want to do! And don’t overbook yourself on the days leading up to the wedding. We had time to relax and spend time together. If anything popped up, we had time to handle it.” Kristina adds her own advice for the perfect celebration: “Book a drag queen for your wedding, obviously!”
And as for their secret to a successful marriage, Kristina points to the importance of good communication. “Communicate until you’re nauseated,” she jokes. Roxanne adds, “We’re such lesbians—we talk about everything!”
This article appears in the May 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.