Wedding of the Week: Lillian Dubiel and Laura Jones
A post-wedding proposal just made sense for these world travelers.
Feb. 16, 2020 | Navy flight surgeon Lillian Dubiel and Air Force pilot Laura Jones have a relationship that spans the globe, thanks to their enlistments. The pair met while stationed in Florida thanks to Tinder and dated for a year—four months of which Laura was deployed—before taking the next step in their relationship … but it wasn’t the step you might think.
“In true military fashion, nothing goes as planned,” Laura says. “I actually proposed after we were legally married.” While she was deployed, she received orders to move to Japan the following year. Knowing that they wanted to marry, the pair went ahead and made it legal in an intimate elopement in Pensacola, Florida. That step made it possible for Lillian to pursue a deployment to Japan herself, as Laura’s wife.
But the pair still wanted to celebrate with family and friends in Laura’s hometown of Columbus, which brings us to that oddly timed proposal.
“We’d had a trip to Paris planned for New Year’s and I was planning on proposing then,” Laura says. “The orders to Japan accelerated the process, but I figured, why let a good proposal go to waste?” Why, indeed! So, in front of the “Wall of Love” in Montmartre, Paris—a 40-square-meter mural that includes the phrase “I love you” more than 300 times in 250 languages—Laura proposed to her wife.
“Our wedding was full of small nods to either our upbringing or our current adventures together,” Laura says. From custom cookies shaped like their home states of Ohio and Washington, which served as guest favors, to a Japanese-inspired cake to honor their upcoming deployment, the couple’s personality was apparent throughout their vow renewal and reception at Franklin Park Conservatory. “My favorite touch was that we hired an exceptional team of women vendors,” Laura notes. “We wanted to support local women, and they all knocked it out of the park.”
A highlight of the day for both brides was when they entered the reception. After wearing their military uniforms for their vow renewal ceremony, they secretly changed into wedding gowns for the reception. “It was quite a reveal when we emerged at the top of the stairs with Kath Perry playing in the background,” Laura says. (Did we mention they entered to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”? Because that totally happened.) “It really kick-started the party.”
Other key musical selections were more sentimental than silly, though: each bride walked into the ceremony to their favorite love songs by some of their favorite artists (“The Promise” by Tracy Chapman for Laura and Dolly Parton’s cover of “The Story” by Brandi Carlile for Lillian); their post-ceremony recessional was Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” in a nod to their Parisian engagement; and they chose “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” by Elton John as their first dance, honoring their love of the song and the Disney movie that made it famous.
A few days after the wedding, Lillian returned to Japan and Laura departed for a training mission in Thailand. Within a few weeks, the world began to enter a COVID-19 lockdown. Laura made it back to Japan, but the newlyweds had to wait eight more months to reunite, as Lillian was deployed on a ship that remained at sea without port calls.
“The wedding was really our last time we got to see each other before Thanksgiving. It was also the last time we saw our families or were able to travel to the United States,” Laura says. “It was a huge bright spot in a rough year for everyone.”
Ceremony, reception and caterer: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Palm House)
Cake: Kuro Neko Cake Studio
Florist: Rose & Berry
Photographer: Jessica Love Photography
Music: The Goody Two Shoes
Rehearsal dinner: Clubhouse at Ravines at Flint Park
Accommodations: Hotel LeVeque
Brides’ attire: Military dress uniforms, plus Anthopologie and Adrianna Papell gowns from Brides Across America; accessories from Wendy’s Bridal; hair and makeup by Lé Luxe Beauty Concierge
Rings: Michelle Lenáe Jewelry (Seattle, Washington)