Martina and Amber’s Proposal Story
(An African American Lesbian Love Story)
“We are both originally from Philadelphia, and initially met 11 years ago. There was an attraction, but nothing more than brief conversations came of it. Somehow we were never in the same setting at the same time, despite having mutual friends (we’re convinced the universe kept us apart so we wouldn’t screw it up before our time). Years later at an event for a friend, we ran into each other and exchanged information to be friendly. Not much time passed before we realized that we’re pretty much made for each other, and as they say, the rest is history! I feel blessed to have found a partner who I can share my wildest hopes and dreams with and she’ll ask, “How can I make those dreams come alive.”
When I was ready to propose, I was nervous about what the engagement ring shopping experience would be like as a black lesbian woman (I realize the rarity in which I am.) I do believe there is a part of me that understands that when walking into a brick and mortar establishment to buy an engagement ring, I might not be welcomed with open arms. On the contrary, I would be more likely to encounter a white older male, who would question why I am buying the ring, and would perhaps not be supportive of my engagement. There is an element of truth to my own instinctual caution to limit unnecessary friction in these circumstances.
The climate in which we currently live reminds us of how precious, yet fragile life is. We are fortunate to be able to express our love freely, unlike same sex couples just a few years ago. There is a certain heaviness that we both feel at this current time; the continued racial injustice, Covid-19 disproportionately affecting the black community and the continued violence and discrimination against LGBTQ lives.
For Amber’s ring, I chose to work with this fabulous engagement ring concierge, Michelle Demaree, from Miss Diamond Ring,
because I wanted to feel safe and respected during the process. Michelle made me feel so special and was so supportive of our love story. After preliminary research, I also knew I wanted to be my own expert and I wanted to be educated on the various nuances that make each diamond special, not sold a generic ring by someone uninterested in my love story. Michelle was able to provide an environment that allowed me to be informed and together we selected a diamond style and setting that is simply gorgeous. She was able to procure the perfect stone, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
I proposed on a very quaint cobblestone street in Philadelphia. The street is too small for cars, so we had it all to ourselves. I hired a cellist and violinist, which were students from Philadelphia’s own University of the Arts. I rented a Porsche (for Glam affect), and drove us downtown for a “dinner.” I had the musicians play selections from our favorite scores. Once she heard the music and saw the ring box, the water works began! I stood tall, and vowed that with every day I would love her more.
We then went to a local art gallery that I rented, which was filled with loved ones for a surprise engagement party.
The following day we flew to Paris, and spent Valentine’s Day week walking the Parisian streets and enjoying our new engagement. It was a dream come true day for both of us, one of the best days of our lives. Our original wedding date had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are taking it all in stride and enjoying life as a newly engaged couple as best we can under the current circumstances.” – Martina Randall