Zara Barrie, 32, a writer, editor at GO magazine, and self-described “mascara lesbian,” thought she’d never get married. But after she met Meghan Dziuma, 39, head of creative brand experience at Samsung, she started to rethink her plans. Less than two years later, Meghan proposed on Zara’s weekly Facebook live show, in front of thousands of viewers and both of their families. (The video has now been viewed more than 18,000 times). Last October, they got married in front of 150 of their closest friends, plus a drag queen, a mermaid, and a unicorn. Here’s how it happened.
How did you meet?
Zara: We first connected via Tinder. Then it turned out we had a good friend in common, Stacy Lynch, who is a co-owner of the Stonewall Inn. She later officiated our wedding.
Meghan: We matched about a year before we finally met each other, but at first we sort of blew each other off.
Zara: She sent me a Facebook message that said, “Oh, we matched on a dating app and I wasn’t sure if you were a real person, but then Stacy shared one of your articles with me. Let me know if you ever want to meet up.” And for some reason, I was wildly offended. I was like, what does she mean, she didn’t think I was a real person? I saw Stacy a little while after that and she asked if I’d messaged Meghan back, and I was like, “No, I was offended. It was so rude, what she wrote.”
Meghan: Then, a year later on New Year’s Day, I got an alert about her on my phone reminding me that we had matched. I called Stacy and was like, “Tell me everything about this person. Are you sure she’s not crazy? Her articles are a little out there.”
Zara: I write about a lot of things, including sex, and I’m very open.
Meghan: When we finally decided to meet up, I stopped reading her articles because I didn’t want to form an opinion based on them.
Zara: I didn’t even realize she was the same person who had messaged me the year before.
What did you think of each other on your first date?
Meghan: Well, I showed up and I thought she was like 6’2”. She’s only like, 5’1”.
Zara: No, I’m not. I’m 5’6”. But she thought I was 6’2” because I was wearing incredibly high heels. I don’t know if I was subconsciously trying to scare her off, but I had just gotten out of a relationship where the person was always telling me I dressed too extra and she hated it. So when I went to meet Meghan, I was like, “This person should see what she’s getting herself into,” and I wore these crazy heels and a totally sheer dress. If she was going to be weird about my style, I wanted to know right off the bat. But I’m also weirdly shy, so it was probably confusing, right Meg?
Meghan: Well, I was also wearing a sheer shirt.
Zara: Yeah, I remember being really happy about that.
Meghan: I was also coming out of a relationship, and I was super nervous about getting to know someone new. And after Zara and I started talking, I realized that she’s actually quite introverted. And I said to our mutual friend, “Stacy, I don’t think this is adding up. I don’t think she’s just some party girl.” I realized quickly that Zara’s social media personality wasn’t the same as her personal personality.
Where did you meet?
Meghan: We met in the East Village at a bar that I had gone to a couple of times on weeknights. I didn’t realize how different it would be on a weekend. We met there on a Saturday, and it had turned into, like, a frat bar. It was so awful. We had never exchanged numbers, so I was sitting at a table waiting for her and she was sitting at the bar waiting for me, and we almost missed each other. But then we found each other. It was just a pre-date, an early drink before we were going out and meeting up with other friends.
Zara: I almost canceled because it was blizzarding. I didn’t expect to be so into her.
Meghan: The attraction was mutual, but Zara is stunningly beautiful and I was wary of getting caught up in that. It’s very easy to get enamoured and then realize six months later that you don’t have a lot in common. I didn’t want to go down that road again.
Zara: You paced it. I probably would have been more reckless. In the past, I’ve gotten caught up in my attraction to someone and then the oxytocin kicks in and the sex is good and I think I’m in love with them and I’m actually not. It’s very typical of lesbian relationships to tell someone you love them after the first date. I was used to that roller-coaster, and I really respected Meghan for being a grown-up and taking her time, getting know me. It made her much more attractive, even though it was frustrating. When you do the slow burn instead of a rapid-fire romance, you get a much better sense of whether you truly have deep feelings for someone.
When did you get engaged?
Meghan: I proposed on December 27, 2017, while we were with Zara’s family for the holidays. It was a little under two years after we’d met.
Zara: I have never been more shocked in my entire life. I do this Facebook Live show called “Love is the Drug,” where I answer questions from the readers and give advice about love and sex and relationships. We were in Florida at my parents’ house, and when I did the show, it happened to be a very honest one where we talked about sex a lot. Meghan was behind the camera watching, and my parents were there too, which is weird because they don’t usually watch those things. And then Meghan said, “I want to get on camera for a second. I have a question.” And I was like, “What?” I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone because Meghan never wanted to be on my show. I kind of left my body because I knew something big was happening. Then she got down on one knee, and I started making this weird, high-pitched squeal.
Meghan: It’s all on video. You can watch it online. I was terrified. I was drinking whiskey out of the bottle beforehand.
Zara: Readers who had been following me for three or four years were watching. My sister was watching in the Chicago airport. And Meghan’s entire family was watching, and so was mine. Which was embarrassing because I’d talked about really inappropriate things that I wouldn’t have said in front of her family. But it was magical.
Your wedding looked incredible. Was it hard to plan?
Zara: We had such a vision for it. I was like, “I want a unicorn. I want a mermaid. I want it to look like ’70s Beverly Hills Hotel meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” But I hated planning. I hated all the details and appointments. I just wanted to show up on our wedding day.
Meghan: I produce huge brand experiences for my job, so I was better about logistics. We did it at Zara’s mother’s house in Florida, and everyone pitched in. Zara’s brother-in-law is a great chef, and her sister is an event planner, so they helped a ton. Zara’s mom’s friends did all the flowers. We did the lighting ourselves. It was beautiful and exactly what we wanted, but planning it wasn’t fun.
Zara: I mean, I had fun making Pinterest boards and picking out the dress. And hiring the mermaid. But people don’t say this enough: Planning our wedding, we fought more than we ever have. We love each other to death, but we were at each other’s throats.
Was it worth it?
Zara: Yes. Our friend Stacy was our officiant, and instead of making it religious in the end, she was like, “On behalf of the gay bars, I pronounce you…” They also played the wrong song when we walked out, and I tripped over my dress.
Meghan: Which is all pretty perfect, because it was just so us.
Zara: All our favorite people were there. We also had ten bridespeople each, mainly gay boys on my side and girls on yours.
Meghan: At the reception, we had this woman wearing a Champagne dress — her entire dress was made out of Champagne glasses. And we had a drag queen who was our mistress of ceremony. Honestly, my only regret is that we weren’t guests at our own wedding because it was so fun.