My name is Katie Hinchey-Wise and I’m from Cape May Court House, New Jersey. When I was 19, I met this girl named Celeste. I asked her out on a date and we, our first date, went, we went to the Vagina Monologues at Penn. We went and ate crepes afterwards. And I can remember just being so inspired and thinking that we could change the world and that we already were changing the world.
We definitely fell deep, deep in love and we wanted a future together and all those things, but it was very clear that we were not going to be those people who got married regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court legalized.
Flash forward seven years and I was really involved in the Clinton campaign in West Philly, and I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Javits Center on the night Hillary Clinton was going to be elected. And so there I was, all night long and I waited in my white dress like a suffragette. And we were so excited and she was – Celeste lives in Colorado so we were texting all the time, just saying how excited we were. But clearly the night didn’t go as planned and as the night got darker and darker, I began to feel more and more despondent.
We got back to the car after we didn’t get to hear Hillary speak. And I got the NPR notification that she had called to concede. And my first thought was Celeste.
And so I immediately texted her and said “I don’t wanna be with anyone but you. I just don’t wanna do this without you. Can we please get married?”
And she immediately was like, “Yes, absolutely. We should probably talk about this tomorrow. But absolutely.”
So we started planning. And we decided that we were going to get married before the inauguration. So we assumed that it would just be us and that would be very small and we wouldn’t tell anyone. And all I wanted was the paper. And I was convinced if I got married it would be a political statement and that I would be showing the world through protest that I still have the right to do this, and that we deserve to do this.
For Celeste, it was very much about love in that we’ve been in love for all these years. And she just wanted to be a moment where we were able to celebrate ourselves. And I remember calling her from Paris a couple weeks into our engagement and being like, “You know this is going to be a protest!” and she was like, “Katie, it’s definitely about love.” And I was like, “No this is definitely a protest!”
When Celeste and I first started dating, when she was 19 and I was 20, a month into a starting to date, my dad had a massive stroke and he lost the entire left side of his, or the entire right side of his brain and she stayed with me through all of that. So my mom, the night before our wedding, just started talking about how much Celeste meant to our family. And as much as I know she’s my family as much as she’s always been there for me, I try to not get emotional about that kind of stuff. It’s taken a long time to be okay with my dad getting so sick and she was there with me through it all. But my mom just said that she had never given up on us. And I sat there I thought about that and I thought about putting them in my vows.
But as we got closer to the wedding we sat down to finish the ceremony by ourselves and Celeste right after that made me do a sheet, and in the sheet was our – she wanted us to write down our intentions for the day. And it wasn’t until we started doing that that I was like, “Oh. No. My intention today is to, yes stand up to the world. But out of these ten first word things, nine of them are about how much I love you and how much I want to be your wife. And one of them is about like, you know, screw the new administration.”
And then the bridal woman brought the dress over. Because I didn’t get to pick out my dress – everything was donated. So I just saw the dress for the very first time that day. And she brought the dress over and she had a veil. And I thought to myself, “All I’ve ever wanted – when I was little, I dreamed about what my wedding dress would look like. When I was three, my grandmother made me a wedding dress out of our curtains, and I used to wear it around the house all the time. And she put that veil on my head, and I was like, “Oh, no. This is real. Like, I am a bride.”
They had us separated and we were about to do our first look. And there she was. She’s Hawaiian and she had this big, beautiful long lei on, and I had a flower crown in my hair with the veil. And she turned around and she looked at me. And it was like, I couldn’t think of anything else. It was like, there was no protest. There was no Donald Trump. It was just about us. And it was about us loving each other and I always wanted her to look at me that way, like I was hers.
And so we, sorry for crying. We had our first look and we took pictures and we went in and started the ceremony and I was gone. I don’t remember most of the ceremony because I just cried. And she – just this calm peace came over her. All of her anxiety was gone. She just held my hand and smiled the whole time as I just dramatically wept.
There is no one that I’d rather have by my side than Celeste. She always said, “I think you need to marry a power lesbian” when we were younger. And so after I proposed, jokingly one night I said, “You know, you always said I needed to be with a power lesbian.” And she was like, “Yeah, I mean, but now I think that it’s okay that I’m not a power lesbian because I am the one holding the extension cord.” And I was like, “Thanks. Thanks so much. Always.”