Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, novelist and newlywed Georgia Clark tells her story from New York City. Her latest novel It Had to Be You will be published by Simon & Schuster on May 4, 2021.
My wife, Lindsay, and I met the old-fashioned way: online. I came out at 19, and by 33, had been online dating for a few thousand years. I was Lindsay’s first online date. And her first date with a woman. We met up at a bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, called Beloved. The first thing I noticed was her smile: as big and warm as California, where she grew up. The attraction and connection were immediate. In true queer-girl fashion, we never even really dated, we were just together, from day one. Love is incredible that way; your romantic fortunes really can turn on a dime. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot and still do.
In true queer-girl fashion, we never even really dated, we were just together, from day one.
We’d both moved to New York in our late twenties to expand our creative and personal horizons. I’d become involved in the improv scene, with fantasies of being a novelist. She wanted to make the world a better place by supporting visionaries with something important to say. After I sold my first novel to Simon & Schuster in 2014, I moved into Lindsay’s gorgeous corner apartment with startling views of the Manhattan skyline and quit a 9-5 to become a full-time creative. Lindsay started a company with world-renowned relationship expert, Esther Perel. When Esther first met me, she later told Lindsay she was surprised: “I was expecting someone awkward and painfully shy. But here she is, this bright, funny, confident woman: not at all what you described!”
You see, I’m an introvert; Lindsay’s an extrovert. While I’m certainly very social—I host a live monthly storytelling series called Generation Women, and have planned more dinner parties and group weekends away than I can count—I’m a homebody and happiest tucked away at my desk, writing my books and thinking my thoughts. My wife’s a people person, and then some. She has zero need for alone time and gets visibly charged up interacting with other humans. She is always happy. I am mostly happy. It took us many years, and a good therapist, for her to truly accept that me being occasionally moody or depressed was normal, not a sign that I was deeply psychologically unhinged. Lindsay’s permanent bright side is her superpower but to paraphrase Esther, often, what we find most attractive about our partners will hold the keys to our greatest struggles. This, and more, came to a head when planning our wedding.
Often, what we find most attractive about our partners will hold the keys to our greatest struggles. This, and more, came to a head when planning our wedding.
I proposed in October 2018, on our five-year anniversary (we both bawled, she said “yes”). We gave ourselves a month to enjoy being engaged, before starting to plan our midsummer wedding. The weekend after Thanksgiving, Lindsay turned to me with her trademark smile. “So. Where should we start?” I promptly burst into tears. And I had no idea why.
I’d moved to New York at 29, eager to spread my wings from my then-stifling hometown of Sydney. But as the years passed, I’d come to appreciate its beauty and ease in a whole new light. Marrying an American, in America, was one more step in cutting myself off from my home country. I was radically unprepared for the stress and sadness this prospect would cause.
Compounding things was our guest list. I have a small family. Lindsay has a big one. I have a close-knit group of friends. My wife keeps in touch with women from elementary school. As mates from Australia began sending their regrets, unable to justify the money and time it’d take to fly to the U.S., the guest list began skewing heavily in my fiancée’s favor. Equality had always been woven into the fabric of our relationship. Now some difficult-to-explain part of me was confused over if this was being borne out.
It was Esther who helped put all this into words for us. As a foreigner she, too, had married an American in America; she understood better than I did why I was feeling so overwhelmed and conflicted. “Georgia is making a major sacrifice for your commitment,” she explained, helping Lindsay, who found my distress bewildering, understand how different our experiences were. This opened up a conversation about possibly moving back to Sydney at some point in our future. It was a lifeline I didn’t realize I needed. As soon as Lindsay said she would be excited about this, I felt immediate relief.
Our wedding day was perfect. We exchanged our vows in a joyful Catskills celebration that went long into the hot summer night. In light of 2020, we feel especially grateful we could gather our friends and family for a giant love party, with absolutely no masks.
I write rom-coms for a living—in fact, I was writing one over the entire time I was planning and celebrating my own wedding. Art imitates life: Just as my wedding was a love-stuffed celebration of modern love, so is It Had To Be You. The novel weaves five diverse love stories around a mismatched pair of Brooklyn wedding planners, highlighting unique relationships across race, age, sexuality, religion, and class.
It’s tempting to end this story as I would a novel, with everything neatly wrapped up. But this is real-life, and love stories don’t end; they evolve.
It’s tempting to end this story as I would a novel, with everything neatly wrapped up. But this is real-life, and love stories don’t end; they evolve. My cultural identity and where I find home are still in flux. My wife and I still live in New York City, but just last December, I got my first tattoo featuring Australian native flowers, creating a permanent connection to the place where I grew up. Where we settle? I’m not sure. Luckily, I’m married to my best friend, a literal ray of sunshine. I know we’ll figure it out, together.
To shop and read more about Georgia's latest novel It Had to Be You, out May 4, 2021, visit here.