Last spring, the world over was captivated by the wedding of Bri and Lindsey Leaverton. After canceling their long-planned, 100-person wedding at Hotel Ella in downtown Austin, they made one of the coolest pivots that the dawn of pandemic wedding season saw: a drive-in movie theater wedding.
Their vendors rallied to make it happen in just 17 days, and family, friends, and strangers showed up on a Tuesday in late April to witness Bri and Lindsey walk down the aisle (fittingly, to iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday”). It was undeniably one of the brightest spots of 2020’s disheveled wedding season.
“We traded our heels for cowboy boots, swapped an unforgettable dance-party reception for a movie that played for our guests after our ceremony (Airplane!), and switched our Tulum honeymoon for a 2-day staycation in an Airstream trailer,” says Lindsey. “The true magic doesn’t usually happen with plan A or even plan B … usually the most magic can be found somewhere between plans C and Z.
“We never thought we’d be getting married on a Tuesday during a global pandemic at a drive-in movie theater in Buda, Texas. But everything about it fit us.
Their story went crazy viral—captured in all its glory by the New York Times, LGBTQ Nation, Out Magazine, Buzzfeed, HuffPost, and more. Whether you were planning a wedding or not, Bri and Lindsey’s story created a feeling—if only fleeting—that things would be okay.
Pandemics aside, much of the course of Bri and Lindsey’s relationship has actually been rooted in unpredictable—but remarkable—life moments. We’re sharing a few of their incredible stories that will hopefully make you believe that sometimes, if you just let go and have a little hope, things will work out.
First, The Ring
As told by Bri. Lightly edited for clarity.
“In 2009, Lindsey came out after a life of living in the closet. As a result, she lost her career as a full-time touring recording artist and worship leader in the contemporary Christian music scene. On Good Friday Eve in April 2009, she’d returned home from what she thought would be her last gig. Out of complete desperation, Lindsey prayed a prayer that night that would change her life forever: She asked God to give her a sign that He/She loved her. She’s not one to ask for signs.
“The very next day, Good Friday 2009, Lindsey was flying to see her family for Easter. During one of her flights, a complete stranger sat by her on the plane. Out of nowhere, he looked at Lindsey early on in the flight and said, “I have to tell you something… God loves you and He thinks you’re beautiful.” Confused and surprised, Lindsey asked him to repeat it. As he repeated those words, she remembered the prayer she’d prayed the night before. Lindsey hadn’t told this man anything and they didn’t know each other. Blown away, she asked Randy if he was an angel. He jokingly replied, ‘Do you know how big them damn wings would have to be to fit me?’
“As the flight continued, the two went on to talk about all kinds of things. Randy did most of the talking and Lindsey listened. They got off the plane and headed to their respective gates to make the connecting flight. Randy called out to Lindsey and said he had something for her. She’d find out later that he’d had this item for 10 years and was waiting for the perfect person to give it to. Apparently Lindsey was that person. Randy proceeded to put something in her hand while saying, ‘This went through a great deal of pressure to become as beautiful as it is.” When she opened her hand, she saw a 2-carat diamond engagement ring. Frozen and stunned, she was speechless and had no choice but to accept the ring.
“Later that week, Lindsey got the ring appraised, because as she says, she’s a skeptic and had to prove it. It was 100 percent real. After getting it resized to fit her finger, Lindsey wore that diamond ring every day.”
“When I first heard the story from Lindsey, I knew this special diamond would be the cornerstone of the ring I’d give her someday. And that’s exactly what I did! I knew that I wanted to modernize her ring, add some extra sparkle to accentuate its natural beauty, while keeping the original magic of the gift. I searched for the perfect jeweler and worked with them to craft the most beautiful ring. Lindsey’s ring contains the original diamond and is surrounded by 50 smaller diamonds on a simple gold band. For the wedding band, Lindsey wanted a simple gold band for now. But someday I’m going to give her a major upgrade so she can have a diamond covered band to match her ring, as well!”
Bri’s Proposal to Lindsey
In August 2019, after months of planning in secret, Bri proposed to Lindsey at the Austin Pride Parade. “I knew Lindsey had no idea of said proposal because as we were getting ready to head out to Pride, she came out from our bedroom wearing a full sequence rainbow dress with the most obnoxious metallic rainbow hat, rainbow sweatbands, and a damn rainbow WINDSOCK attached to the back of her hat,” say Bri. “Little did she know that this would be the outfit that would be in all our on-the-spot surprise engagement photos. Forever.”
Bri had arranged for a group of friends to meet up with them at a rooftop bar in downtown Austin. “What she didn’t know is that I had extended invites to college friends, family, straight friends, and co-workers. Lindsey walked in, surprised to see all of those familiar faces. As she turned around, I expressed to her that I couldn’t imagine waiting another day to ask her to be my wife—yes, while Lindsey was STILL WEARING THE GD WINDSOCK. So down on one knee, I asked the love of my life to spend forever with me. Through tears and cheers, she said yes. It will forever be the best Pride celebration ever.”
Lindsey’s Proposal to Bri
Early on in their relationship, Bri had shared with Lindsey her bucket list dream of attending the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico and riding in a hot air balloon. Lindsey launched into a year of elaborate planning to surprise Bri with a proposal in the air at sunrise, enlisting the help of travel agent friend, and pitched it to Bri as her Christmas gift.
“I spent months working with a local hot air balloon company to coordinate a fail-proof and fool-proof master plan. I even went as far as making up an entire bogus story about how my travel agent had entered us into a drawing to win a free private, sunrise hot air balloon ride during the Balloon Fiesta. I knew she’d figure it out if I just went and bought us a private ride,” says Lindsey. She even had an actor friend leave her a fake voicemail pretending to be her travel agent, sharing how they had “won” the drawing. “I’ve never faked anything so well.”
In October 2019, Bri and Lindsey flew to New Mexico for the annual balloon festival. The day of the balloon ride, they woke up at 2 a.m. for their 4 a.m. check-in. “As we headed out to the field to get ready for take-off, I couldn’t stop shaking and smiling, knowing I was about to give the love of my life the engagement of her dreams. Then it all went to hell in a hot air balloon basket.”
The fog was so bad that morning that the FAA had to ground and cancel all balloon rides, the first time in the history of the nearly 50 year International Balloon Festival this had happened. “Bri and I waited in the basket for hours that morning, ended up missing the sunrise, and eventually heard the news from our pilot that all rides had been cancelled. I was absolutely heart broken, deflated (pun intended), and defeated. But I had to pivot and stay the course. And figure out how to make this happen despite the fog.”
While they waited to hear the final news about the cancellation, Lindsey noticed a local news crew, KOAT, approach their basket, looking to interview them. “Seeing the news crew and the camera gave me an idea for a plan B. Bri started answering a few questions on camera while I quickly pulled out my phone, pretending to show Hope, the news lady, photos of our kids.” What she was actually doing was showing Hope that she was planning to propose, and had the ring in her pocket.
Once the flights were officially grounded, the in-air proposal turned into a ground proposal outside the basket. “While Bri continued to be distracted by her 15 minutes of local news fame, I continued scheming with Hope. She had her crew ready to film this magic. As we climbed out of the basket, with much disappointment in Bri’s eyes and a heavy heart, I grabbed her hand, gave her a handwritten note, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. We were both bawling, beaming, and reeling.”
People around them cheered while the KOAT cameras rolled. The segment was picked up by their local news affiliate back in Austin, but they couldn’t stay awake long enough to catch it.
Looking back, says Lindsey, “Turns out FOG didn’t stand a chance because love wins.”