Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Kathryn Hagen and Constance Thurston

When Kathryn Hagen met Constance Thurston through Craigslist in the summer of 2007, she had no idea they would one day get married.

Having recently gotten out of a marriage, Kathryn wasn’t nearly ready to start dating again. But she was looking for friends, which prompted her to put an ad on the website’s Strictly Platonic section.

Connie responded and the two hit it off, doing everything from shopping to crafting and game nights together.

“Our relationship progressed and by Christmas time we both figured out that we had really been dating for the last few months,” Kathryn says.

After a decade of knowing each other, Kathryn decided to come out to Connie as transgender and begin her transition, which only made their relationship stronger.

“Many relationships do not survive a partner’s gender transition. Ours blossomed,” Kathryn says. “We have both grown as individuals and as a couple throughout the process. Having Connie in my life has been a blessing.”

Though Connie and Kathryn had been considering tying the knot for years, neither proposed. In the spring of 2021, the question came up when Kathryn went to the hospital for a minor procedure. When checking in, medical staff asked Connie how she was related to Kathryn. For simplicity’s sake, she said Kathryn was her fiancé.

Kathryn took that as a proposal, but they made sure later.

“We followed up and officially popped the question to each other on the beach in the moonlight,” Kathryn says. “We both said yes!”

They got married that December in Cocoa Beach. Kathryn said when planning the wedding, they wanted to keep as much “in the family” as possible.

The venue, caterer, bakery, DJ and the jeweler who made the couple’s rings were all either LGBTQ+ or strong allies of the community.

“We also made it a point to reach out to our friends who are parents of transgender or gender non-conforming teens to specifically invite them to bring their kids,” Kathryn says. “We were honored to have them there and to include them.”

Connie said one of her favorite moments of the day was seeing Kathryn walk down the aisle. The two had not seen each other’s dresses before the ceremony, which made the moment they saw each other feel more suspenseful.

“She was so beautiful,” Connie says. “Her face just radiated joy and happiness.”

She added that another moment she won’t forget was dancing with her nieces and nephews at the reception.

“It was a fun moment of silliness, but it was also important for them to be there and be a part of it all and for them and their cis-het parents to see our love and our community as we see it every day,” Connie says.

One of Kathryn’s highlights from the day was when her Uncle Jay offered to walk her down the aisle shortly before the church doors opened. She said that while Connie’s family was very supportive when she came out, hers had more trouble accepting her true self.

“I think my family has had a harder time coming to terms with having a rainbow sheep in the family,” Kathryn says. “I was stunned last summer when my uncle finally got to meet the real me. He didn’t skip a beat. My childhood idol, manly man, retired Marine Corps officer, Uncle Jay, had room in his heart for the niece he just met.”

Overall, it was a night to remember for Connie and Kathryn surrounded by their loved ones.

“As we were eating, Connie told me to take a moment and take it all in,” Kathryn says. “I put down my fork and looked around. The hall was beautiful, and it was full to overflowing with love. Chosen family, biological family and friends. Gay, straight, cis, trans, devoutly religious and committed atheist alike mingling, breaking bread and raising a glass in confirmation that love is love.”

Engagement Date: March 27, 2021

Wedding Date: Dec. 11, 2021

Officiant: Pastor Ed Middleton

Venue: Cocoa Beach Community Church

Colors: Red and green with rainbows too, because… Rainbows.

Wedding Song/Artist: “Your Song” by Elton John

Florist: Connie’s mom handcrafted lovely poinsettia-themed silk arrangements

Caterer: Catered Dish – Chef Brandon Milam

Cake Flavors: Vanilla with marshmallow buttercream icing, a rainbow-colored waterfall of flowers cascaded down the side of the three tiered cake. Inside, the bottom tier was plain white, the middle tier was six layers in rainbow colors and the top tier consisted of five layers of pink, blue and white arranged in a trans flag.

Bakery: Momma’s Homemade Cakes – Melbourne, Florida

Photographer/Videographer: Nu Interactive Media – Orlando, Florida

DJ/Entertainment: Jenna MissDirection Ramsey

Do you have an interesting wedding or engagement story you’d like to share with Watermark readers? If so, email the details to Editor@WatermarkOnline.com for consideration as a future feature on this page.

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