The Road To The Altar

From Miami to Atlanta to Northwestern New Mexico, power couple Veronica Paige and Bridgette Young pull off the perfect wedding.

“I’m very nurturing,” Veronica Paige told me, during one of our many exchanges over text and voice. And that’s an understatement: when I finally met the Miamian and one of GO’s 2021 Women We Love, she wasted no time taking this sun-starved Mid- western bisexual under her wing.

I learned over mojitos and a variety of delicious small plates she’d ordered for the table on the eve of her bachelorette weekend that the celesbian also known as “Wildchild”—a nickname coined by her father when Veronica was an inquisitive youngster—is warm- hearted, extroverted, and vibrant. She takes care of her people and her community, whether that’s by producing spectacular events through her company Wildchild Society, helping marginalized LGBTQ+ individuals find personal and professional success through her Spectrum Wellness 360 endeavor, hosting lesbian events nationwide or making sure I had a bottle of water at the end of the night because “you need to hydrate.” It’s easy to see why Bridgette Young fell in love with her.
On May 24, the power couple tied the knot in a private DIY ceremony outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, before embarking on a glamorous honeymoon to the Philippines after a stop in Istanbul. Both the ceremony and honeymoon celebrated the powerful connection Veronica and Bridgette have nurtured for almost two years — on their own terms in every single way.

A LESBIAN LOVE STORY FOR THE AGES

“Our love story is definitely unique,” Veronica said as we sat in her South Beach apartment that Saturday before part one of the bachelorette weekend —a pool party hosted by one of Veronica’s many friends at Miami’s Moxy Hotel, which boasts a view that can only be described as stunning. “We have a very unconventional living arrangement and it works for us… and I want to share that and be positive for the community.”

“We’re very different,” Bridgette Young laughed. “Like, she’s more outgoing, very charismatic. Not that I’m not, but I love being home. I’m a little bit more mellow, super in my head.”

(L-R): BRIDGETTE STRIKES A POSE; MARRIAGE IN A LANDSCAPE THAT WOULD HAVE INSPIRED GEORGIA O’KEEFFE Photo by Shutterfreek

Effervescent Veronica is an East Coast native and Princeton alum who speaks six languages and is the first on any dance floor. Bridgette, more reserved but with a wide smile that lights up a room, is a trained chef who grew up in Jamaica and worked in Michelin-starred establishments in Europe and Seattle, and prefers a quiet stroll on the beach. Together, they are ridiculously beautiful, physically and otherwise, and complement each other perfectly.

They also share a devotion to their families: Veronica excitedly showed me a photo album of her twin nieces, the daughters of her sister Alyson, who officiated the wedding ceremony. Bridgette raved about her own relatives, and how Veronica met many of them this past February in New Orleans. Bridgette’s mother even wrote the couple a letter with her blessing for their marriage, which they each regarded as an extremely touching gesture. (Bridgette was waiting to read the letter until after the ceremony.)

BRIDGETTE AND VERONICA CELEBRATE WITH VERONICA’S SISTER ALYSON (C) Photo by Shutterfreek

Besides the strong family connections, both share the same fundamental tastes, including in excellent food. “We always were inclined to like the same type of things,” Bridgette said while Veronica bustled around her apartment, gathering wedding supplies and outfits to show me—the brides had two looks each for the big day. “For ex- ample, finding a venue for dinner. I am 100 percent fine with Veronica choosing because I know I’ll love it. We like quality in anything we’re doing.”

With that mutual impeccable taste comes support in every aspect of life, Bridgette said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been with someone that supports me like Veronica does. In my job, she’ll be like ‘Baby, you can do this!’ and follow up like, ‘You got this.’ She just pushes me to be better, probably without even realizing.”

Of Bridgette, Veronica said, “She teaches me, believe it or not, restraint!”

FALLING IN LOVE LONG-DISTANCE

Even on the verge of getting married, Bridgette and Veronica didn’t live in the same home, or even the same state. While Veronica and her businesses are based in Miami, Bridgette currently lives in Atlanta, where she’s a capital operations specialist at Flexport, a global trade company. This is what Veronica means by an un- conventional living arrangement, but the couple is thriving, and have been since they first met in summer 2020 (yes, THAT summer), while Veronica was visiting friends in Atlanta.

“I was just dating the wrong people,” Veronica said. While in Atlanta, she turned to Tinder and began to line up dates, and then, she recalled, “I just saw this chick, I didn’t even see her face in the picture. She had curly hair and was playing soccer. And I just liked her.”

After she and Bridgette started messaging, “I just canceled everything I had and focused on our first date,” Veronica said. Despite various hiccups, including the server wishing them “happy anniversary” and an abundance of water bugs that forced the women inside, Bridgette reached across the table and held Veronica’s hand, and one meeting led to another.

For their second date, “I put rose petals on the sofa, I cooked for her, it was a whole thing,” Veronica recalled. After that, she returned to Miami in a long-distance relationship that was – and still is – always worth celebrating. “It was July 24, 2020, the day we met,” Veronica said. “So every month I get her gifts and they have to arrive on the 24th. For the last year and a half, I’ve done that.”

AN “EXTRA” PROPOSAL

As you’ve likely guessed by now, Veronica does nothing halfway—and her proposal to Bridgette was no exception. “I spent about seven or eight months planning,” Veronica said. “And I was very methodical.”
Using every ounce of her considerable skills as an event producer, Veronica shipped 50,000 rose petals and other goodies to Tulum, Mexico, a place Bridgette had expressed interest in visiting. “Basically, Bridgette knew I was going to propose because we’d talked about the timeframe [of our relationship],” she said. “She had asked me if I’d ever been to Tulum, and I know that means, ‘I want to go.’”

Along with managing various shipping snafus and international wire transfers, and arranging pyrotechnics and a professional photographer/videographer, Veronica hired local vendors to build a teepee-like structure in the back of the couple’s Airbnb—to the surprise and delight of the property owner. “I don’t even know if I was supposed to do it, but once we did, the owners were just like, ‘Keep it up, we really like it!’” she laughed.
“Oh my gosh,” Bridgette said, when asked about the proposal. “I knew it was happening, but I didn’t really know the details. Veronica is extra when it comes to that stuff, really extra, but in a good way.”

The proposal took place on July 24, 2021, the one-year anniversary of their first date. In Veronica’s Instagram post documenting the occasion (with the hashtag #VeeandBreeForeverYoung), both are resplendent in chic black outfits: Bridgette in a gown and strappy heels, and Veronica in a sheer romper and sparkling boots. Their hair is wild and free, their smiles ear-to-ear, while Veronica kneels in front of giant letters reading “V&B” and Bridgette holds her hand over her mouth, overcome with emotion. The two women pose, senior prom-style, in front of a painting of themselves. Love radiates from every angle.

BACHELORETTE PARTY PIVOT

Though the wedding was private, the bachelorette celebrations were both public and sponsored. Originally, GO was assigned to cover the first party of the weekend, “Vee and Bree’s Bachelorette Brunch,” hosted by Bar One in Miami Beach. Due to venue issues, the event was canceled the night before, but Moxy Hotel stepped in, offering bottle service at its weekly rooftop pool party on Saturday, May 14. (“We’re pivoting,” Veronica texted me hours before.) Then on Sunday, May 15, after I’d left Miami, Veronica hosted a second pool party— “Let’s Get Nauti,” part of the Magic City Miami Festival—and in true Veronica fashion, invited friends to her home afterwards for a homemade feast, including chicken wings.

(L-R): VERONICA’S CHEEKY BACHELORETTE HAT; MATCHING HERS & HERS VOWS; “JUST MARRIED” Photo by Alyson Paige

The Moxy Hotel, and the powers that be behind their raucous pool party, welcomed Veronica and Bridgette with open arms on May 14, and the couple held court on the hotel rooftop with views of picturesque South Beach neighborhoods on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean, a perfect shade of turquoise, on the other. As the women and their friends gabbed about wedding plans, danced to DJ’d tunes, poured drinks and posed for photographs, beautiful queer people in their hottest swimwear strutted around the pool itself, full of gorgeous go-go dancers in Baywatch-like cosplay. While Bridgette sported an understated but elegant black visor to protect her face from the sun, Veronica stayed consistent with her “Wildchild” persona in a white baseball cap with a veil attached. The cap was festooned with bright pink letters, proudly proclaiming SAME VAGINA FOREVER.

ROAD TO THE ALTAR

While Veronica and Bridgette’s bachelorette festivities were populated by Miami’s hottest and queerest, their actual ceremony on May 24—22 months from the day they first met—was a tiny, elegant Pinterest-fueled feast for the eyes and hearts, reflecting the couple’s shared love of quality goods and experiences. “Private” is perhaps an understatement: Veronica’s sister and the ceremony’s officiant, plus the Shutterfreek team, were the only witnesses. (“We promise to have a reception at a later date and location when our family and friends can join together and celebrate our union,” the couple pledge on their wedding website.)

After attending and participating in larger ceremonies, Veronica and Bridgette knew they wanted to be different. “Our vision was always small, intimate, private, because I know what [Bridgette] likes,” Veronica said, in one of our pre-wedding exchanges. “As much as I’m in everybody’s face, like all day long, I want to be able to really cater to her.”

Photo by Shutterfreek

“I’ve never been one to want a really big wedding,” Bridgette said, “because I just feel like a lot of it can be fictitious. I’d rather do something where we’re both, you know, intertwined. It’s all about connection and energy.”

The Navajo land of northwestern New Mexico, where Veronica had never been prior to her own wedding, provided an inspiring location. “I started formulating concepts based on the environment,” she said. “And the spirituality of everything, because I’m an atheist but I just feel like that space holds magic and power and I really want good vibes.”

(L-R): COMBINING TRADITIONAL WEDDING PIECES WITH NAVAJO SPIRITUAL ELEMENTS Photo by Shutterfreek

However, the venue also provided several hiccups, including the threat of wildfires, the challenges inherent in a remote area, and the concern of cultural appropriation, which the couple was careful to avoid.
“I don’t want to look like I am just stealing Native American culture,” Veronica said. “I went to Facebook chats and groups to talk to people, get the vibe and the opinions. We didn’t just want to go in there and take pictures and leave, we wanted to keep it in the community.” Though the onsite decor included a cow skull, Veronica assured me the skull was fake, joking, “No cows were killed in the making of this wedding!”

(L-R): WEDDING NECESSITIES; VERONICA’S DRESS GETS A TOUCH-UP; MAKEUP ARTIST LIZABETH RUIZ DOES BRIDGETTE’S MAKEUP BEFORE THE CEREMONY Photo by Shutterfreek

As for the honeymoon, “we had to change it five times,” Veronica recalled. The women wanted to travel to a place they’d never been that was also relatively secluded, “so we could enjoy each other,” Bridgette said. Of course, traveling safely during a pandemic is never easy, and finding a Black queer-friendly international destination was essential as well.

“There is a movement in the Black community, the Black queer community, and the Black street community just to travel,” Veronica said. “There’s a lot of travel blogs and I really like what they’re doing because I’ll see [places] on my feeds that are like, ‘Okay, this is safe for us.’” El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, with its un- touched rainforest, limestone cliffs and white sand beaches, eventually won out.

Though Veronica took the lead in wedding and honeymoon logistics, Bridgette played an active role in the process: a testament to the couple’s personality differences and also their ultimate compatibility. “Whenever we’re planning anything at all, I’ll say ‘This is what I want,’” said Bridgette. “But then she’ll say, ‘Alright,
what about this?’ Or I’ll show her and then we’ll decide, with wedding bands, bouquets, all of that stuff.
“We make decisions together, and I’m big on that. What I like, she may not like it. So it’s always good to communicate.”

(L-R): “MRS. & MRS.” SUGARY CONFECTION; THE INSPIRING CEREMONY SITE IN NORTHWESTERN NEW MEXICO Photo by Shutterfreek

In the early morning hours of the wedding day, the party made their way up a three quarter-mile trail through the Ah-Shi-Sle- Pah Wilderness for the sunrise ceremony. In true Wildchild fashion, every detail was meticulously planned, beginning with beautifully mapped-out vision boards and executed with the help of Etsy and various vendors, many of them from the LGBTQ+ community. Everything was lovely and personal, from decorative silver balls to exquisite silk flowers, to custom champagne flutes for the brides and their officiant.
The brides each sported two separate looks: one for the ceremony itself and one for a subsequent photoshoot at the stables, in honor of Veronica’s background as an award-winning equestrian. Veronica’s form-fitting wedding dress matched her warm skin tone and was bedazzled from top to bottom with a slit up the side, the effect both classic and jaw-droppingly sexy. Bridgette eschewed a traditional wedding dress in favor of a cream-colored jumpsuit with extra flair, in the form of a long tulle accent on the left trouser.

The stables photoshoot look was equally striking, with flowing white pantsuits, wraparound tuxedo jackets, and turquoise-accented bolo ties. Looking at the photo they posted post-ceremony, it’s impossible to see this couple—with their glowing faces and beautiful outfits, embracing against a natural background reminiscent of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting—and not reverently whisper, “goals.”

“I just had a vision, you know?” Veronica said. “I knew this was an adventure.”

THE BEST LAID LESBIAN PLANS

Of course, sometimes visions and adventures go awry, as the couple reported via voice memo from their honeymoon. Veronica’s wedding dress arrived late and the couple had to re-dye it to match her skin tone, as well as make some last-minute alterations, the night before their 5 a.m. flight out of Miami. The locally-hired assistant had to cancel last-minute due to a COVID exposure and twisted knee. The ceremony setup and execution were complicated due to the wedding party hiking rocky terrain in 45-degree weather, and because one of the brides left a few key items behind at the truck parked at the base of the trail.

“I left the vow books!” Bridgette piped up.

“So I was kind of annoyed because like, you know, it was a matching set and it was chromed out,” Veronica chimed in. “But it’s okay, fine. You can read vows from your phone, we’ll figure it out. And then what happens?”

“Then I realized that I left the rings also!” said Bridgette. The two of them laughed at the memory.
With the help of Veronica’s “angel” sister and the Shutterfreek team, however, steps were retraced, missing pieces were fetched, and “we had a really lovely ceremony,” Veronica said. “And we didn’t cry. I think the reason is because it was so cold. Bridgette was literally shivering during the ceremony!”

FOREVER AN ADVENTURE

From their “love in the time of COVID” first date to their, quite literally, bumpy road to the altar to their Filipino honeymoon, life is a grand adventure for Veronica and Bridgette Young. (Veronica is taking her wife’s last name.) And when they return to the States, the adventure will continue.

Bridgette recently received a promotion at her job, and her be- spoke catering business, Catch a Vibe Cafe—specializing in Jamaican fruitcake, which Bridgette crafts and ships throughout the country at the holidays—now operates in Georgia and Florida. (“Her food is to die for,” Veronica enthused.) Veronica’s Wildchild Society continues to thrive, offering everything from event production to branding partnerships to LGBTQ+ business consulting. Bridgette owns farmland in her native Jamaica, and the couple will be using it for an eco-lodge retreat space.

The women would like to start a family sooner rather than later, and the “city versus suburbs, and which state?” debate regarding where to finally live together goes on. No matter what, however, this power couple remains devoted—every word each said about the other is proof. “Veronica knows me,” Bridgette said in one of our last exchanges, her voice soft. “Certain things I won’t even realize. I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve been with her, and that’s what life is about.”

“I always felt like an entertainer, and, like, maybe I didn’t deserve someone who was a little bit calmer,” Veronica said. “And it was Bridgette who showed me that I can still have quiet. There’s a maturity and balance that I’ve never had before.”

“A LESBIAN LOVE STORY FOR THE AGES” Photo by Shutterfreek

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