It always comes as a surprise.
For several years, I hadn't really had much luck with the dating scene. This was particularly frustrating living life in London. Despite being one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the world, it can feel like a lonely one — especially when you don’t have someone to share it with. Right before I moved away from the United States in 2011, I had just exited a 9 year relationship, and during the years that followed I dated a few guys but nothing came of those relationships. In some cases, they were downright negative experiences.
Fast forward to 2015. I had come to terms with single life, and wasn’t really looking for a serious relationship. And that’s when Luis entered my life. We met on a dating app — he was the one who sought me out although I’m pretty sure it was the beard 😛 — and after our first date I knew he was different. I was intrigued and wanted to find out more about him. Thankfully he was equally interested, and a summer courtship began to flourish.
By the time autumn arrived, we were completely fascinated by one another. Both of us realised that we had gone from confident single men to a beautiful, solid, mature relationship. Both experienced with long-term relationships, we knew we wanted to leverage what we had learned from our pasts and to always be honest, upfront, and communicative. The list of Luis’ attractive attributes is endless: he’s artistic and creative, articulate and intelligent, kind and thoughtful, a Theatre Designer by trade, has broad and varied music taste, is well-travelled, has a wonderfully diverse group of loyal friends, a solid and connected family, values health and fitness, a fantastic cook, an impeccable and educated sense of style, deeply romantic, conflict averse, speaks four languages, and of course ‘ticks all of the boxes’ in what physically makes a man sexy to me.
The best part of it all? Our relationship has continued to grow and be incredible ever since. He is, hands down, the most extraordinary man I’ve ever known. I feel so very fortunate and lucky that I have met the man of my dreams, especially when I didn't think it could really happen. We have shared so many exciting memories during our time together, and we have so many things to look forward to. He lifts up my days and has truly made me believe in love. And, perhaps most important, defined what love should be.
To celebrate our first Valentine’s Day together in 2016, I created a special Back to Mine soundtrack for him. If you’d like to experience this soundtrack of our love, you can enjoy it on Soundcloud, Mixcloud, or my Back to Mine podcast on iTunes, Podbean, or Spotify.
As our love evolved, Luis and I spoke about eventually getting married. This was quite an interesting thing for me to ponder, simply because I never really imagined that I'd get married to anyone. During most of my life, and growing up in America, I was under the belief that gay men don't get married simply because it wasn't legal nor socially acceptable to do so. Of course this has changed in recent years, which is still a bit of a shock to get my mind around. Ultimately though I knew in my heart that I would spend the rest of my life with Luis, and that culminated in a surprise proposal that he arranged on the weekend of my birthday in February 2017. Luis took me out for a wonderful evening of drinks and dinner. We ventured to Vertigo 42, a swanky champagne bar in central London overlooking the magnificent illuminated city. After a few cocktails, Luis proceeded to give me my birthday present — which turned out to be an extraordinary "Engagement Box Set". The box contained three components: a custom made photo book filled with pictures of us and our families and friends spelling out the words "Will you marry me?"; a box with "44" embroidered with ribbons to showcase my birthday; and then the very special "Love Wins" box that contained a set of rings made of gold, titanium, and responsibly sourced deer antler with Mark and Luis 11 February 2017 engraved on the inside. The photo inside the "Love Wins" box was taken by Luis in 2016, when he along with thousands of Londoners marched in solidarity with Orlando after the Pulse nightclub shootings. Words really can't describe this box set...let alone the flurry of excitement and emotions that rushed through me that evening when I had the realisation that I was actually getting engaged to this man I loved. Needless to say, I said yes! Here are photos of the box set experience:
Luis and I were married on 15 July 2018 in London. Needless to say, we celebrated our event of a lifetime by organising a spectacular wedding — so magnificent, that it requires its own dedicated website. If you’re interested in reliving our day with us, be sure to check out the site. A shorter summary of the magic is also available here.
Thank you, Luis, for being in my life and for all that you have done for me. My life truly is complete now that you’re in it. ♥️
Want to know more about us? Email me.