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From ‘Letters Across the Sea’ to Marriage in Under a Year

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Eight months after they met, Alison Michelle Eggert and Raylynne Michelle Perez were married. Plenty of family members and friends had wondered why so soon. The answer was twofold.

“The first is that we both feel like we’ve waited long enough to find this love and don’t want to wait anymore,” Ms. Eggert said. “But the second is that we are keenly aware that our legal right to marry each other could disappear at any time.”

The two, who lived in Houston, matched on Bumble on June 7, 2023. Ms. Eggert had joined the dating app that very day, and Ms. Perez’s subscription, which she had no plans to renew, was set to expire three days later.

They immediately began messaging through the app, and then texted each other three days later. One June 11, Ms. Perez left on a weeklong cruise with her family.

“I was so excited for the cruise until I met this woman,” Ms. Perez said. “My family was so unhappy because all I was doing was messaging her. They still give me a hard time about it.”

Texting proved to be challenging while Ms. Perez was at sea. So, the two begin emailing one another. “We were writing letters across the sea,” Ms. Perez said. “It was like ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” Ms. Eggert said. “I hope the sea is treating you well,” she wrote to Ms. Perez.

Several days into the cruise, they had their first phone call. “The call dropped at least 20 times,” Ms. Eggert said. “We talked for three hours.” They had another three-hour call the next day.

“The only place Ray could get service on the boat was outside,” Ms. Eggert said. “The weather was not on her side. So, Ray got rained on for three hours.”

On June 18, when Ms. Perez returned from the cruise, the two met in person for the first time at Ms. Eggert’s apartment in Houston’s Rice Military neighborhood. “We had pizza and talked all night,” Ms. Eggert said. She asked Ms. Perez to be her girlfriend then, and Ms. Perez said yes.

The next day, Ms. Eggert gave Ms. Perez the key to her Houston apartment. And on June 21, they exchanged the words, “I love you,” for the first time. Two weeks later, on July 4, they bought each other engagement rings. The two talked about who would propose to whom. “Since it was Ray’s dream to be the proposer, I stepped back to let Ray plan,” Ms. Eggert said.

A week later they moved in together into Ms. Eggert’s apartment; they now live in a rented house in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Ms. Eggert, a huge fan of the Houston Astros baseball team, had once told Ms. Perez that if Ms. Perez got her into the exclusive Diamond Club at Minute Maid Park, home to the Astros, Ms. Eggert would marry her for sure.

On Aug. 5, Ms. Perez took Ms. Eggert on a private tour of Minute Maid Park. Unbeknown to her, the day would culminate in two proposals. Ms. Perez proposed as planned, and Ms. Eggert surprised her by proposing in return.

Friends and family were there, at Ms. Perez’s invitation to celebrate.

Ms. Eggert, 43, who is from Indianapolis, is a director of information technology for the United States Automobile Association in the life insurance division. She has a bachelor’s degree in genetic biology from Purdue.

Ms. Perez, 42, a native of Houston, is a promotions manager for Strike Marketing, a boutique marketing agency in Houston. She has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from University of Houston-Clear Lake. Ms. Perez first marriage ended in divorce.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

The couple married Feb. 16 at Station 3, an events space in Houston, before 50 guests. Ms. Eggert’s cousin, Daniel Streit, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the event, officiated.

The ceremony included a ring warming ceremony, during which Jennifer Streit, the officiant’s wife, performed Sara Bareilles’s “I Choose You,” a favorite song of the couple.

The evening went just as planned, barring one detail. “I did surprise Ray with a different private last dance song,” Ms. Eggert said. “We had decided together to dance to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ the Haley Reinhart version, but I secretly switched it to ‘Come What May’ from ‘Moulin Rouge.’ It’s Ray’s favorite song from her favorite movie.”

While their romance may have been a whirlwind, each felt that finding each other was a long-awaited dream.

“It felt like finally, finally finding my soul mate,” Ms. Eggert said.

“The night felt magical, a fairy tale come to life,” Ms. Perez added. “It’s was what everyone writes poetry and songs about.”

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