A few weeks back, an email popped up in my inbox reading “INVITE: Jennifer Hudson – Dallas Wedding Singer?” Curious and confused, I clicked on the bolded banner to realize that Addison had forwarded me the email from the SMUStyle account, and what followed was an invite to cover the incredible event that took place last Wednesday, July 8. The email didn’t include many details, but generally explained that W Hotels had teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign to celebrate the courts ruling on same-sex marriage. The two came together to throw a wedding for an anonymous gay couple in Dallas, and would be flying Jennifer Hudson out to surprise and perform for the grooms after the ceremony. Being the only SMUStylist (is that a thing?) currently in the Dirty D and the one whose most influenced by the gay rights movement, it was obvious that I would be in attendance.
After entering the W, I was directed to a line that fed into a room of elevators, stocked with exited guests and buoyant chatter. The 33rd floor welcomed the wedding attendants into an open space decorated with white draping and endless bouquets, while hues of purple and blue danced along with the music. The balcony encapsulated the Dallas skyline and echoed the songs from inside. The fashion scene—killer. Pretty much Joan River’s angel was refusing the unworthy at the door. The energy continued to build, emulating a sense of celebration I had never witnessed before. It was really gay—seriously, everyone was so happy. Champagne and appetizers circled around the venue while Lady Bunny stood in a DJ booth paying homage to the gay-club anthems. After while, everyone gathered towards the stage and awaited the ceremony to begin.
Scott and Chris Lindsey entered the room from a distant corner and marched to the wedding song, preceded by their four kids. At that point I didn’t even know the couple’s names, but my sense of pride and happiness for them became overwhelming. The pure joy present in the room seemed to unite the guests, as if we were celebrating the long-awaited success of two heroes. The ceremony told the story of two men, both with two children each, who fell in love fourteen years ago and are finally able to be legally recognized as treated as a single familial unit. When the men read each other their vows, it was obvious that love was not restricted to any combination of gender, but rather an inexplicable connection between two individuals.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a TV rolled out and projected a video of Jennifer Hudson congratulating the couple, but at the end of the clip she added that she had one more surprise. The curtain behind the couple dropped and revealed a stage on which JHud belted her song, “I Still Love You” as the attendants watched in awe.
After the wedding I was able to talk to the couple and find out how this all came about. It turns out that W Hotels started this movement #TURNITUPFORCHANGE, a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign that supports gay rights and celebrates love equality. Chris (an SMU alum) and Scott both work for HRC and when the ruling was announced it only made sense that the Lindsey’s would be the recipients of such an incredible celebration. The men were so thankful that their four kids were able to be at the wedding, and you could tell the kids felt the same way about being there. They told me all about where they were when they found out the court decision and how phenomenal that day was. So thankful to have been apart of such a special day, congratulations Chris and Scott! Sending thanks to the Human Rights Campaign and W Hotels!