When radio personality and DJ Kevin “Special K” England and his medical-professional husband, Brian Bartlett, danced with their mothers at their beachfront wedding reception, guests delighted in Lizzo’s lyrics for her hit song “About Damn Time.” After a two-decade courtship, the couple finally tied the knot during a picture-perfect ceremony in Puerto Vallarta. Guests are still talking about that one-of-a-kind 2023 wedding that turned tradition on its head.
The couple first met back in 2001. “I was a 21-year-old DJ and spinning at what is now Blur,” England recalls. “I went out to pick up my records on a Saturday night and tried to slip in under the radar. When I was looking through the records, I saw this incredibly handsome dude out on the floor dancing. I was like, ’I don’t need to be hollering at anybody, but wow, he is very attractive.’”
As fate would have it, England found the perfect excuse to talk to Bartlett. “Turns out, he was dancing with a buddy of mine and I had him introduce us.”
Bartlett adds, “I was six months single and I wasn’t really looking for anything. I just wanted to go out and dance and have a good time.” The duo reconnected at England’s brunch gig the following day. Bartlett, a California native and a home geriatric-health professional, says the rest was history. “We met and shacked up soon after.”
Flash-forward to 2021, and England, who is originally from Delaware, decided it was time to take the plunge and propose during a trip to Puerto Vallarta, the couple’s favorite destination.
“I had no idea,” Bartlett recalls, laughing. “It was hot and I was wearing something probably less than appropriate. Kevin asked me to change. He never even looks at what I’m wearing, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll put on something else.’
Surrounded by friends, the couple made their way to the beach at sunset. Bartlett admits he was still in the dark when England started taking pictures. “He was like, ‘Let’s go take a sunset picture,’ which is also something he normally doesn’t ask to do.”
England knew the big moment had arrived for a sunset proposal on the beach. “While he had his back turned, I got down on one knee and asked him.”
The couple began wedding planning while simultaneously embarking on a home renovation. “We wanted somewhere all of our relatives could go, which [we assumed] meant doing it somewhere in the United States,” England explains. But once the cost estimates came in, the couple opted for a ceremony in their home away from home. “The amount that you get for your dollar in Puerto Vallarta was mind-blowing. I think every decision we made from that point on was impactful, yet budget-friendly,” England says. “Some of those decisions were ridiculous, like the price of laying a runway down in the middle of a pool. Totally worth it and super-impactful, but it was probably one of the most expensive things.”
“Every time that we go to Puerto Vallarta, it feels like our second home. It feels like we are included and welcomed as a gay couple,” Bartlett explains. “The community is fabulous and the locals don’t treat us any differently than they treat their other community members. That was really impactful to us.”
The couple treated their wedding guests to a plethora of fabulous activities. “The first night was a cocktail party at our favorite disco bar, and on the second day, our waiter at the beach bar set up this massive group event with 40 chairs lined up on the beach,” England describes. “The next night, we took our immediate family to Casa Kimberly, which is Elizabeth Taylor’s house. It was breathtaking.”
The trip culminated in a wedding for the ages. “We invited everyone out to a villa that we rented that looked like a damn castle,” England continues. “When you come into this villa, you go down in an elevator that drops about six stories, and you get a view of the entire villa. Bamboo chairs overlooked the sunset, and the waves were crashing up against this beach right below where we got married. People were having cocktails before the ceremony, and then our niece and nephew walked Brian and I down the aisle.
“After the ceremony was over, our officiant said, ‘Now, sashay away!’ That RuPaul command was the cue for everyone to follow the couple up the aisle in a festive procession. “We snuck away to watch our guests do their runway walks from the view above,” England recalls.
The night concluded with dancing, toasts, and a remix of “Copacabana” with original lyrics and vocals by the grooms. “At the end of the song, the frickin’ fireworks shot off behind us,” England says. “People were like, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to another wedding again!”