Douglas Atkins and Charles Huck say their love for each other comes from finding the fun in everything.
“Whether that’s playing board games, walking the dogs around a new path, or trying a new restaurant or concert, we always keep the surprises coming and make sure we are having a great time,” Mr. Huck said.
Mr. Atkins, 31, from Northampton, Pa., graduated from West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. He works as an actor and has appeared on both stage and screen and is also a sales specialist at the Highland Village Peloton Showroom in Houston.
Mr. Huck, 33, a native of Darien, Conn., is a graduate of Tulane in New Orleans, where he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in finance. He works as a senior manager at EAG Services, an oil and gas consulting firm based in Houston.
The pair, who live in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, met in November 2015 at JR’s Bar & Grill, a gay bar in the city. Mr. Atkins first approached one of Mr. Huck’s friends, but he and Mr. Huck ended up hitting it off instead.
“We talked all night and, at the end of the night, Charles said to me, ‘I don’t want to take you home. I want to take you on a date,’” Mr. Atkins said.
They became “official,” Mr. Atkins said, that December and “we said ‘I love you’ for the first time in March 2016.” The next year, they moved in together.
The discussion of marriage blossomed organically while they dated. “We saw ourselves together in a long-term sense, but didn’t feel a pressure to rush into marriage,” Mr. Atkins said. A proposal came on March 12, 2020, while the couple was vacationing in Paris.
“We spent the morning at the Louvre. After stopping by a boulangerie to pick up a very typical lunch of bread, cheese, and rosé, we walked around the Tuileries Garden,” said Mr. Huck, who got down on one knee and told Mr. Atkins how much he loved him before popping the question. “The wine gives you a little courage. So that’s the trick,” Mr. Huck added.
Even though they had discussed marriage, Mr. Atkins said the proposal came as a surprise. “I had no idea,” he said.
Because Covid had already arrived by the time they started wedding planning, they chose Oct. 9, 2021, as their date. They also had the pandemic in mind in choosing their venue, the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, Calif.
“The reception area is indoor/outdoor,” Mr. Atkins said. “They have these garage doors that they open for dinner. The area is called the Commune. It’s all enclosed in with greenery around it. So, it’s secluded.”
The ceremony was held outside and officiated by the Rev. Jonathan C. Page, the senior minister of First Congregational Church of Houston. About 110 guests attended, all of whom were asked to show proof of vaccination against Covid or a negative test result. The couple’s miniature dachshunds, Jack Bauer and Olivia Benson, were also present and preceded the grooms down the aisle during the wedding.
“They came down right before our moms walked us down,” Mr. Atkins said.
At the reception, the music was carefully curated: The grooms entered to Queen’s “You’re my Best Friend,” had their first dance to Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s rendition of “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” and chose another Queen hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as the last song. Mr. Atkins said the dance floor was never empty.
“We had people who came to dance and party, and the DJ, Matt Phipps, put the perfect playlist together,” he said. “It was the perfect amalgamation.”
Mr. Huck added that a campfire was also lit, so “people who didn’t want to dance could hang out by the fire. It was like two different vibes.”
Neither groom is a big fan of cake. Instead, they served pumpkin, chocolate mousse, and pecan pies. And “we brought candy because it was October,” Mr. Huck said.