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WEDDINGS: Fire and Iceland

Tim and Shaun Young’s Nordic nuptials.

Tim Gonzalez (l) and Shaun Young (Photos by Kristín María)


Tim and Shaun Young’s love story cannot be told in one place. Whether you start the story in Los Angeles (where they met), New York City (where they were engaged), or Iceland (where they were wed), their love is of global proportions.

A West Coast Meeting

“We met at the GLAAD fundraising event in L.A., and there was an instant attraction, but not much was said. I met Shaun again with friends for after-brunch drinks at the rooftop of Perch, where we actually had a chance to talk. He offered to give me a tour of his Los Angeles. The rest is history,” Tim recalls.

Tim (formerly Gonzalez), 45, was raised in Houston, where he attended the Glassell School of Art. Shaun, 42, was born in California and was living in Los Angeles when he met Tim that day at Perch.

“I saw Tim walk in and was struck instantly,” says Shaun of their first meeting. “I was pretty much smitten from the moment I laid eyes on Tim, but as we got to know one another, I fell hard. I was attracted to his creativity, his authenticity, his intelligence, and his world views.”

Both men describe themselves and their respective lifestyles as being “nomadic.” This is due in large part to their careers in creative industries related to filmmaking. Although they now consider Los Angeles as their home base, both relate to the fact that home is usually wherever work takes them and where they are together.

An East Coast Engagement

In 2017, the couple found themselves in New York City where Tim had planned a surprise engagement with a few traditional touches—and an abrupt change of plans. 

“I proposed in New York at the Hotel Americano,” Tim explains. “Originally it was supposed to be on the rooftop, but Mother Nature decided otherwise and baptized us with a torrential downpour. We ended up in their restaurant, which happened to be closed but they served us anyway. I was so nervous I don’t quite remember what I said. I stumbled with anecdotes of us meeting and seeing a future with him. I know I opened the ring box and felt like Forrest Gump with a speech impediment. Shaun said yes, and had the biggest, sexiest smile on his face. Maybe he thought I was having a stroke and felt sorry for me—who knows. After the rain stopped, we enjoyed a short sunset walk to the McKittrick Hotel. Once we went up the elevator to the rooftop, Shaun was surprised to see his bigger-than-life Long Island family welcome both of us with hugs and sloppy kisses. It was the happiest of beginnings.”

Shaun says the engagement was one of the most romantic moments in their cross-country romance, and he appreciated Tim’s attention to his family.

“Tim had called my dad and asked permission to marry me. It was so gentlemanly and traditional—I loved it,” says Shaun. “The moment he pulled out the ring box, my stomach dropped. I started to sweat. I knew what was coming! But I wasn’t nervous about his asking, I was anxious because he threw a wrench in my plans—I had been planning a proposal of my own! But he beat me to the punch, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

A Nordic Elopement

Initially, the couple was planning on a wedding in New Orleans. However, as the planning intensified, they both realized that a large-scale event wasn’t really their style.

“Several of our closest friends had recently married, and I asked them for their advice,” Shaun recalls. “Each of them said Elope!

And elope is exactly what they did. In true fashion, the couple decided on an even more exotic location—Reykjanes, Iceland. Their officiant was a Nordic chieftain named Hilmar Örn Himarsson, who asked them to say “I do” on a cliffside peninsula on August 2, 2018.

“Our connection to Icelandic music—particularly Björk, Gus Gus, and Sigur Rós—is what brought us to Iceland. Shaun had been there once before for the Airwaves Festival. Knowing that Iceland was on my bucket list, we went for New Year’s and I immediately fell in love. The people there are welcoming and liberal. It immediately felt like home,” says Tim.

“I called to tell my dad of our plans, and he said, ‘You can do what you want, just know I’m going to crash the party.’ With that, our elopement became a very small, intimate wedding with our nearest and dearest—those who had supported us from the beginning,” says Shaun.

The couple still resides in Los Angeles, but their lives continue to take them on the road. While they may spend much of their time catching planes to distant places, they don’t have to worry about catching each other any longer.

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


Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at www.medium.com/@ryan_leach.
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