Rockwall couple will exchange vows Sunday at Wedding Expo and Party


Shawn Williams, left, and her partner of 13 years, Rebecca Stroud, will marry on Sunday.


Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Rebecca Stroud and Shawn Williams, who have been together 13 years, didn’t hesitate when their friend, Melody Gualtiere, of Melodies and Memories Entertainment, asked them if she could use photos of them in a slideshow at an upcoming LGBT wedding expo.

Then Gualtiere told them that the people putting on the expo were looking for men and women to model gowns and tuxedoes and other wedding fashions. Did they want to model?

“I told her, only if they’ll marry us, too,” Stroud laughed. “I mean, if they are already going to have us all dressed up for a wedding, then we should have a wedding!”

And that’s how Stroud and Williams are ending up getting married on Sunday, March 20, at The Wedding Party and Expo: An LGBT Community Event. The event, which is the largest LGBT wedding expo in Texas, is presented by Dallas Voice at Renaissance Dallas Hotel, 2222 N. Stemmons Freeway, from 1-5 p.m.

Stroud and Williams will tie the knot in a ceremony at the hotel, right after the expo. Bruce Wade, a hospice chaplain and close friend of the couple, will officiate. Williams will be wearing a suit provided by Al’s Formal Wear on Oak Lawn, title sponsor of the expo, and Stroud will wear a gown provided by Providence Place Bridal Shop in Rockwall. Noting that she and her fiancée live in Rockwall, Stroud added that “Lynette at Providence Place has been great, and she is very friendly to the LGBT community.”

It is, Stroud said, “a win-win situation. They have someone to model their clothes, and we get a great wedding.”

This really isn’t some spur-of-the-moment decision for Stroud and Williams. “We had already been talking about getting married. I mean, after 13 years, we already feel like such a solid couple. But we still felt like we should make it legal. But we just couldn’t set a date,” Stroud said.

There are, she said, so many decisions to make when it comes to weddings. “Do we invite a lot of family? Make it a big to-do, or keep it small and simple and intimate? But the date — that was the main thing. We just couldn’t settle on a date. And then Melody called, and settled that for us.”

And, Stroud said, the wedding will give her and Williams a chance to “set a great example for younger generations of LGBT people. They’ll have a chance to see what a really good, 13-year relationship looks like.”

Stroud admitted that as the big day draws ever closer, things can sometimes seem “a bit overwhelming. But at the same time, we are just so excited.

“We’ve known for a long time that we wanted to get married, but we always said that we were going to wait until it was legal in Texas,” she continued. “That’s something we really never thought would happen, but now, here it is. And we couldn’t be happier.”

Nerves aside, Stroud said, “Our goal for Sunday is just to have fun and really enjoy the moment, and to share that moment and our joy with everyone there.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2016.