(Photos by Ariel Baldwin)
Nothing about Nicole and Ingrid Mericle’s relationship has ever been traditional.
The two had been friends for years before their relationship blossomed into a romantic one in 2019. And with Ingrid being from London, much of their relationship was long-distance, as Ingrid had to return to update her visa in 2020 and got stuck there quarantining during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am so thrilled to never have to do long distance again,” Nicole says.
Nicole, being asexual, was never sure what a long-term relationship would look like for her. She assumed that if she wanted kids and wasn’t necessarily attracted to women, she would likely end up with a man.
“I didn’t so much have a gay awakening as a realization that my frequent wish that I could ‘just marry one of my friends and raise kids with them’ wasn’t unattainable or strange,” Nicole says. “I love being ace and I love being in a nontraditional relationship, even within the queer community. And I love my wife!”
About a year before the two officially got together, Ingrid visited Nicole at Nicole’s parents’ boat in Daytona Beach. Though they hadn’t planned on swimming that day, they couldn’t resist getting in the water. Nicole likes to think of their beach day as their “unofficial first date.”
“We went in one of those terrible tourist shops and got tacky T-shirts and way-too-expensive sunscreen and bathing suits just so we could go for a swim,” Nicole says. “In the car afterwards, we both sort of had the verbal realization that we got along really well one-on-one, and we would probably be good vacation buddies.”
Ingrid proposed to Nicole in May 2021, something Nicole was aware of because they had discussed marriage ahead of time and because Ingrid couldn’t keep it a secret.
When Nicole got home that day, she said “the whole house smelled amazing” because Ingrid had baked ziti and brownies for her. Ingrid also decorated one of the bedrooms with items that were special to them and played a playlist with songs that were significant to their relationship before popping the question.
Shortly after, Nicole surprised Ingrid with her own proposal at Langford Park, something Ingrid said she was not expecting even with a lot of “leading questions” from Nicole about Ingrid’s favorite spots in Orlando.
“[Ingrid] was later annoyed that I let her wear the same dress she was wearing the day she proposed to me, but I didn’t know how to tell her to change without giving it away,” Nicole says. “So that’s just her engagement dress now, I guess.”
The couple got married just under a year later. On their wedding day, in addition to reading their own vows, each of Ingrid and Nicole’s bridesmaids read a quote that was special to them, something that Nicole said was “so us in a way that anything else wouldn’t have been.”
“I had been like ‘oh I don’t know, I might not cry [at the ceremony], we’ll see’, at the rehearsal and then I started crying immediately and did not stop until the ceremony was over,” Ingrid added. “I could get through my vows, though. It wasn’t excessive crying!”
One of the highlights of the night for Ingrid was seeing their families together, a rare occurrence because her family is in England.
“We kept saying we should’ve mic’d up all the tables so we could hear everyone’s conversations,” she says.
Nicole and Ingrid ended off the night by staying in Daytona Beach, wearing the souvenir T-shirts they had gotten together years before.
In the past few months since the wedding, the two have been having fun building a life and a home together.
“I still can’t quite believe we did it,” Ingrid says. “But we did and I have a wife and I live with her in our home, and as much as it seems like something we made up, the relationship we have and the place we’re in together feels very real, and I know I’m going forward holding her hand.”
Engagement Date: May 7, 2021
Wedding Date: April 22, 2022
Officiant: Jeffrey Mandel
Venue: 520 on the Water
Colors: Turquoise/yellow and navy/silver
Wedding Song/Artist: “At the Beginning” by Donna Lewis and Richard Marx
Florist: Bouquets arranged by Ingrid, flowers collected from sales at Joann Fabric over the past year
Caterer: Chianti’s Ristorante Italiano
Cake Flavors: Brownies
Bakery: Nicole’s mom
Photographer/Videographer: Ariel Baldwin Photography/Encore Visuals and Media
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