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WEDDINGS: Making The Grade

Meet newlyweds––and Houston school teachers––Robert Allen and David Martinez.

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Robert Allen (l) and David Martinez. Photos by Jorge Mercado.

High-school teacher Robert Allen, 34, met elementary-school teacher David Martinez, 35, the “digital” way (via a dating app) about five years ago.

The native Houstonians had their first date on March 11, 2014. “David had recently posted a profile without including a photo, because he didn’t want anyone to [connect with] him based only on his good looks,” shares Allen.

“I posted a silly selfie of myself in my car,” he continues, “and since David is an avid car enthusiast, he immediately recognized that I was in a Camaro and messaged me about that.” They chatted for a few days before deciding to meet at Zimm’s, their favorite wine bar in Montrose. By that time, Martinez had sent him a few photos, so it wasn’t a total blind date.

The date went smoothly, and they discovered they both have the same passion for their careers and family. Their outlook on life was also very similar—not to mention their personalities, sense of humor, and the physical attraction between them

Martinez was leaving the next day to go on a cruise with a friend, so they spent the next week texting each other. Ocean breezes (as well as absence) can make a heart grow fonder, so they were both excited to see each other again. They spent the next week hitting up some of their favorite restaurants around town, and eventually had an innocent overnight stay after a round of video games at Martinez’s place. “David’s friends—and more importantly, his dog—approved of me,” Allen brags, “so I knew I was good for a couple more dates.”

One of the romantic things Allen likes to do is keep a notepad on his phone to track all of their key happenings throughout the year—vacations, projects, fun events, and holidays. Come anniversary time, he compiles and produces a hardcover “relationship yearbook” through LoveBookOnline. “They are a combination of adorable and creative,” Allen says, “and are really fun to have out on the coffee table for our friends and family to find and flip through.”

As they got to know each other’s families, and as their circle of friends started to overlap, everything just started to fall into place for them. Allen remembers thinking to himself that you know a person is for you when you want their company even when both of you are completely bored and have nothing special to do.

Three years later, they purchased a house together, adopted a new puppy, and realized that they both wanted to make it official.

Allen had been planning to add a page at the end of that year’s yearbook that explained this was the year he proposed to Martinez. His plan was to have the ring ready as they read through the new yearbook together, and pop the question when they got to the last page. However, Martinez beat him to the punch by proposing on Christmas Eve during a card game called “Joking Hazard.” Unbeknownst to Allen, Martinez had slipped a special card out of the deck which read “Will you marry me?”

“Then David put that card inside of our Roomba vacuum cleaner, and rigged it to be full so that when I went to empty it, I would find the card. Honestly, it was really cute, totally original, and completely unexpected!” Allen remembers. “To be honest, I don’t recall the exact words he or I said, but I know that I said Yes!”

Being budget-minded schoolteachers, they opted for a destination wedding at the Costa Sur resort in Puerto Vallarta. They had visited there the year before with a group of friends, and loved the fact that it was LGBTQ-friendly. It also helped that it’s much cheaper to do a wedding in Mexico rather than Houston. And since a lot of their family members live out of state, it just made sense to have them fly to a resort instead of to Houston in June. They also lowered the cost by choosing a date in the “magic witching hour” after school was out, but before the higher summer rates kicked in. And a destination wedding allowed them to visit with their guests over three days instead of just a few whirlwind hours.

The couple hired officiant Lydia Puig, photographer Jorge Mercado, and videographer John Neri via the web, relying heavily on reviews and recommendations. “They were amazing! If given the chance, we would hire them again. While none of them were LGBTQ, all had previously worked with LGBTQ couples,” he notes.

Their wedding reflected not only their love for each other and their friends and family, but also their playful personalities. They re-cast their Roomba vacuum cleaner, which had a starring role in their Christmas Eve proposal, as their robot ring-bearer, complete with a matching bow tie. They also rang one of the bells that Robert’s much-loved (and wildly supportive) grandmother rang as she walked down the aisle when his sister married her girlfriend.

“Yes, in the gay kids department, my parents went two for two,” laughs Allen.

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds extended their stay at the Puerto Vallarta resort.

The grooms call Houston home.

Watch their wildly fun wedding video below.

This article appears in the May 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.


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Henry Thiel

Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist, a boutique public relations company which works exclusively with chefs and restauranteurs. He loves weddings.

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