Like many couples, Gabriel Rodrigo Fries and Andrew Patrick Fields met via a dating app. It was Tinder, to be exact, and it was April of 2015.
But unlike many couples who meet online, the two became good friends and started sharing their lives from the very first day. “I remember wanting to see him and be with him every second of the day from that very first encounter on,” Gabriel says.
Andrew knew Gabriel was the man he wanted to marry when Gabriel took him to Brazil for Christmas to meet his family for the first time. Andrew, who does not speak Portuguese, says, “No matter the language barrier, they opened their arms and showed me so much love.”
The two are grateful to have found each other. “Andrew is not only a very sweet and loving person (not to mention handsome), but he also has an amazing singing voice and is an amazing baker,” Gabriel notes. “I really hit the jackpot.”
The feelings are clearly mutual. “Gabriel is so smart and handsome, and I love the fact he can speak four different languages,” Andrew adds. “He is the guy who’s going to grab my hand and say ‘Let’s go see the world together.’ I am the happiest man alive when I am next to him.”
Gabriel, 35, was born in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and is a graduate of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. He’s now an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Andrew, 32, is from Deer Park, Texas. A University of Houston Downtown graduate, he’s an accounting manager for a communications and structured cabling company.
Although they were sure of their future as a married couple, the two put off moving forward with a ceremony until Gabriel’s friends and family could come to the United States for the wedding.
Instead, they did everything but get married. They bought a house and moved in together. “All that was left was officially tying the knot,” Gabriel says. “In a way, our lives didn’t drastically change after the wedding because we had already been living as a married couple for a long time.”
But on a trip to Puerto Rico in December 2021, Gabriel finally proposed to Andrew. “It wasn’t something I planned, exactly, but I had been wanting to do it for a very long time and just realized the time was right as we were both having a great time there,” he recalls.
The two were wed on August 13, 2022, at Houston’s Municipal Courthouse, some seven years after they met. Unfortunately, getting travel visas for Gabriel’s family proved to be impossible, and Andrew was hesitant about having their wedding without both families present.
Gabriel admits he was a bit anxious about getting married in the courthouse.
“I wasn’t sure how people around us would react to seeing two men marrying each other,” he says.
But both Gabriel and Andrew agree that their courthouse wedding was far sweeter and more personal than they could have imagined. It was far from a “sign and go” affair, Gabriel adds. “Judge Robert Rosenberg made it very personal, respectful, and it was an actual sweet memory for us.”
It ended up being one of the couple’s greatest days ever, and Andrew’s family was able to join them, as were friends of the couple, to celebrate their marriage at Brasa’s Steakhouse after the courthouse ceremony. “I felt that having the reception at a Brazilian steakhouse showed [how much we] wanted a part of Brazil and Gabriel’s family to be there,” Andrew says.
One of the couple’s best friends, Raquel Hernandez, owner of El Ojo Photography, photographed the celebration.
The pair is planning a more meaningful wedding ceremony when Gabriel’s family can travel here from Brazil. “I’m sure we will look for vendors that clearly and openly claim to be LGTBQ or LGBTQ-friendly,” Gabriel says. “I think that’s a requirement for us to feel comfortable.
“We couldn’t not be married anymore, so we decided to marry now. We still want to have something small but symbolic that resembles more of a wedding, and maybe repeat our wedding vows. I need to convince Andrew. We already have two close friends who agreed to officiate.”
So this happy couple looks forward to the day when the Fries and the Fields families can all celebrate together under one roof, knowing that their extended families just got a lot bigger.